Endorsed in the 2018 primary election by the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle.
No bills for this candidate.
1. If elected, what will your top priorities for public education be?
1. Increase funding. Our current level of funding on a per pupil basis is far below the national average and grossly inadequate to meet the needs of our students. 2. Reform school finance. The "Robin Hood" system of funding is antiquated, cumbersome & unfair. We need a fairer and more equitable funding system (that does NOT rely on increased property taxes). 3. Re-examine and reform high stakes testing. Many educators oppose the continuous forced testing of students, and this entire issue must be re-examined and reformed.
2. Is there a need to increase state funding to meet the needs of our student population? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education?
Yes. Currently we spend far less than the national average on per pupil spending. We need to increase spending by approximately $5 billion/year on K-12 education. This should be done ONLY by increasing the state's portion of education funding, which is now approximately 40% of total funding. This increased funding should be financed by three sources: (1) increased property taxes from businesses and industry (who currently pay less than their fair share); (2) restoration of the business margin tax; and (3) use of money in the state's "rainy day" fund.
3. Healthcare costs for educators have increased dramatically and outpaced the state's contributions, with many current and retired educators now paying more out of pocket than their counterparts in other states or in other professions. As a legislator, how would you address this crisis to ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?
Expand Medicaid (which would be almost entirely funded by the federal government per the Affordable Care Act), and allow current and retired educators to elect to participate in same.
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?
I believe TRS should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan.
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 believe standardized testing should only be used to measure student progress, and should be limited in scope.
6. Would you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas classroom teachers?
7. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
I do not think teacher pay should be linked to student performance, due the complex variables that go into how students perform, such as SES, overall district resources/funding, etc.
8. 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?
NO! I think vouchers are legalized theft of tax dollars, and have not been proven to be effective.
9. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations like ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees use payroll deduction for their membership dues?
I support permitting payroll deductions.
10. Current law allows school districts with accountability ratings of "C" or better to become Districts of Innovation (DOIs) and exempt themselves from many state statutes, such as elementary school class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, and more. Would you recommend any changes to the criteria for becoming a DOI? Would you place any limitations on the state laws that can be waived by DOIs?
I do not have an opinion on this issue.
No additional comments
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