RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
1. If elected, what do you believe your primary role and responsibility as a state board member should be?
My primary role would be to make certain that experts in each field are put on the committees that analyze the curriculum and make adjustments as necessary during the review process. I would also make certain that the curriculum includes factual information so that our students are not left behind in the economy of the future because they do not know the facts that are agreed upon by the majority of scientists, historians, or health experts. However, I would also continue my advocacy and testify before the state legislature for greater funding for public schools as well as a moratorium on approval of new charter schools until such time as an audit can be conducted. This audit would include not just financial issues but also an audit of accommodations provided to special education students and those with 504 accommodations. In addition, I would lobby for a law that shuts down charter schools if their state accountability rating is lower that the neighborhood schools around it for more than 2 years.
2. In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue facing public education in Texas?
The most pressing issue facing public education in Texas today is a combination of funding and STAAR. Because of STAAR, teachers are often forced to "teach to the test" and this is to the detriment of true learning. We need to move away from STAAR. In high school, we need to go to a portfolio system. We already use something similar for students who pass 3 or more of their required STAAR tests. Students would collect their work wither physically or electronically during their high school career and it would be analyzed by a graduation committee who makes a determination on the student's graduation readiness. More funding is absolutely necessary if we are to have a better education system in Texas. We need a lower teacher to student ratio. We need higher pay to attract and keep good teachers and we can get much of that money by getting rid of STAAR.
3. What role should educators and educator groups such as ATPE play in policy decisions made by the State Board of Education (SBOE)?
Educators and Professional educator groups play a part because they are an amazing resource for SBOE to use when finding members of the curriculum committees, textbook committees, and other areas. Groups like ATPE can reach out to members with experience with the curriculum to help analyze needed changes.
4. How much weight should the SBOE give to educators' input when it comes to setting curriculum standards (known as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or "TEKS") and evaluating instructional materials?
As an educator myself, I know that nobody knows curriculum and its weaknesses as well as the educators who teach it every day. We need to make certain that every curriculum and text book committee consists primarily of teachers who have been teaching the subject.
5. Do you believe our state's public education system, including current regulations on testing and accountability, graduation requirements, and curriculum standards, enables students to receive a well-rounded education throughout all grade levels? Would you recommend any changes?
I do not believe that students receive a well-rounded education. In most Elementary schools, students are pulled from social studies and music classes to prepare for STAAR. In high school, many students who have trouble passing STAAR have their electives taken away or turned into STAAR prep classes. Students need time in electives and non-STAAR classes so that they can become more well-rounded people. In addition, we need to bring Personal Financial Literacy into the required curriculum wither as a class of its own or adjust the Economics curriculum to include it. CIvics also needs to be included in a larger way in the Government curriculum. More opportunity for vocational classes should exist but that is more of an issue with funding and district priorities.
6. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Texas public education system?
If charters are to exist, they need to educate students AT LEAST as well as public schools. That means their accountability rating needs to be equal to or greater than the neighborhood schools nearby. In addition, for profit charters should not exist and any charter that receives public money should be required to have public board meetings and open financial disclosures.
7. What role should the SBOE play in overseeing charter schools, such as approving or denying new charter applications and expansions of existing charters?
The SBOE should be completely in charge of this. It is not right that an appointed employee (TEA Commissioner) is allowed to approve new charter schools once the system has been approved by TEA. In addition, the SBOE should oversee in some way the charter schools themselves.
8. Do you believe the SBOE should continue to have the authority to review and potentially veto any rule actions taken by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC)?
Yes. Elected officials can be held accountable to the will of the people. They should have the authority to review rule actions taken by SBEC.
I am an educator who has taught math, ELA, and social studies on the elementary, middle school, and high school level. I am very familiar with many curricula and pedagogy. There are problems with the history, science, and health curricula that need to be fixed.
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS