Rogers earned 43.8% of the vote in the March primary and will compete in a runoff election on May 26, 2020.
Endorsed in the 2020 primary election by Texas Parent PAC, a pro-public education organization that advocates for adequate and equitable funding of public schools, local control, teacher quality, and the prevention of private school vouchers.
No bills for this candidate.
RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?
Listen. Although I spent time as an educator at the college professional level (NCSU-CVM), I have not been an educator in a Texas public school. One of my primary roles as a state legislator will be to have regular meetings with school superintendents, school board members, other educators and students about local school issues and the effect of state laws and mandates. This dialogue will be continuous, and the goal will be to find solutions that are financially viable and benefit the education of our Texas children. Recruitment and retention of talented professionals. This will require a fair salary and stable health and retirement benefits. Non-productive mandates, such as being required to "teach to a test" are demoralizing and should be modified. Student discipline issues continue to place stress on many teachers and appears to be a growing concern. More local control. There needs to be more local control and ability to make local decisions on school boards. Community standards differ and there should be more flexibility to adapt curricula and criteria that match local community standards. The standard in Austin may not fit Gordon, Texas. Increase emphasis on career and technology training. These programs can be expensive, so there may be a need (especially in smaller, rural schools) to have alternative and simpler methods to bring local, trained individuals (welders, mechanics, plumbers) in as part-time "hands-on" educators without traditional teaching certificates. In many cases, rural schools would have better resources for teaching career and technology skills than that found in urban areas. This could facilitate recruitment to rural schools. I fully support certificate programs whenever possible but realize some of the size and financial restrictions of smaller, rural schools. Sharply reduce standardized testing requirements. At a bare minimum, Texas should not exceed federal requirements for standardized testing. Replicate the Early College model where feasible. The Roscoe district has evolved away from the 20th Century concept of an Independent School District into more of a System Model approach. This approach has shown promise in making more students competitive in a work force and educational environment.
2. What are your recommendations for funding public education, including securing the necessary revenue to sustain the improvements made by House Bill 3 in 2019? Do you believe additional funding is needed?
School funding should be adequate to meet the educational needs of Texas children as stated in the Texas Constitution. However, providing a solid education involves much more than funding. There should be substantial effort to continuously strive to reduce waste and inefficiency. SB2 and HB3 slowed the growth in property taxes and revamped the school finance system. A plan in the 86th legislature (HB 4621/HR3) would have increased the sales tax 1% and dedicated the proceeds to reduce school property tax rates. I would support this approach in lieu of further increasing the property tax burden. Reliance on property tax growth and recapture is not sustainable. Under the current trajectory, over 2/3 of the school finance system in Texas will be funded by local property taxes by 2023. Texas must act to reform both the educational and property tax systems soon. As a representative in rural Texas, I will place public education as the number one priority. Thriving rural communities must have excellent public schools. In many of our rural communities, public schools are one of the leading sources of employment. Many rural communities are deteriorating and one of the keys to survival is great public education. As a state representative, I will always vote for what is best for public education/rural communities. This may or may not involve increased funding.
3. How would you address the challenge of rising healthcare costs facing Texas educators and ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?
I will not try to address the "rising cost of health care" in general, but rather, how can educators be provided with adequate healthcare in a rising healthcare environment. TRS-Care should be fully funded and based on health care cost increases, not salary increases. Retired Educators with TRS-Care should be covered at the same level as ERS retirees.
4. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined contribution plan that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?
Initially, when considering this question, it seemed logical that phasing in a 401-K type plan would have an upside, especially for new teachers. However, the TRS plan would need to continue as a defined benefit until those receiving benefits had passed on. In talking with educators, the general consensus is a preference for TRS to remain as a defined benefit. I support TRS remaining as a defined benefit.
5. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in Texas's public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used for school accountability purposes, for evaluating teachers, for measuring student progress, etc.?
I am not opposed to some form of standardized testing requirement, but the current system is out of control and creating many problems. "Teaching to the test" does not encourage creative learning and may result in teaching to mediocrity. Texas should not require any standardized testing above what is required by Federal law. The standardized testing is causing unnecessary stress, especially in very young students.
6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
"Student Performance" should be only minimally evaluated by standardized test scores. There is so much more to evaluate for comprehensive assessments. Teachers should be adequately trained and then evaluated by a combination of overall student engagement, success and improvement as evaluated by the teacher and her local supervisor. The talents of local administrators (principals, superintendents) should be better utilized and not impeded by too much central regulation from Austin that takes time away from productive teaching activities. Eliminate unnecessary administrative activities and excessive standardized testing and we will see increased teacher retention and better educated students. As an example, teachers sometimes move to courses that do not have standardized testing requirements. The pay is not predicated on whether or not standardized testing is required. This could result in better teachers being moved into a "non-testing" subject as a retention incentive.
7. Would you vote to create any type of voucher, tax credit, scholarship, education savings account, or other program aimed at paying for students, including any subpopulation of students, to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?
I would not support vouchers. I support school choice (public, private, home-school options), but not at the expense of public-school funding, which is already stretched. Vouchers would be even more detrimental in rural school districts, especially if available for home schooling.
8. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?
I would not oppose the current state law allowing (non-union) payroll deductions for association dues for educators and other public employees.
9. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the public education system, and do you feel the number of charter schools operating in Texas should be reduced or expanded?
I support whatever provides the best educational opportunity for students. Charter schools have been maligned by public educators and criticism has been warranted in many cases. High performing and efficiently run Charter schools can be an improvement over low performing public schools in specific instances. However, in the situation where public schools are high performing there is no reason to add a charter school to compete with public schools.
10. Recent legislation has made it possible for school districts to exempt themselves from many state laws (e.g., class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, minimum salary schedules, school calendar restrictions, etc.) by partnering with outside entities, allowing campuses to be managed by a charter school operator, or becoming part of a District of Innovation, for example. Do you agree with this type of deregulation of public schools, and how should such non-traditional schools be governed?
Although having goals for class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, minimum salary schedules, school calendar restrictions, etc. are important, when pushed to local schools as unfunded mandates these restrictions can have devastating effects, particularly on small, rural schools and low income districts .I would support targets, but not strict caps on class sizes. The student: teacher ratio should always be monitored, but strict caps are an example of over regulation and would create a potentially detrimental lack of flexibility. There needs to be enough flexibility at the local level to effectively provide positive educational experiences for all Texas children. We need to always strive to provide the best education experience possible for every student in Texas. There is a place for charter schools, private schools and home schools. However, the fir
There needs to be an effort to look at a systems-based and holistic view of the entire public education continuum. This approach would be from pre-K, through high school and include options for career/technical training, community colleges and universities. Start with the end in mind and work backwards to determine the best possible overall system to provide the educational and workforce needs for Texas in the near and distant future. This approach would focus on improved educational results at a lower cost.
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS