Ran unsuccessfully for the same SBOE seat in 2010, 2012, and 2016.
Endorsed in the 2020 Democratic primary election by the San Antonio Express-News editorial board.
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 role will be to do research on the best subject area experts, textbooks, and curriculum available for students in Texas. This will include examining best practices in other states and countries to determine the data that would support emulation of best practices. This bench-marking is crucial to making progress in Texas, which ranks 49th in the percentage of people with high school diplomas. My will also include research on charter schools to determine what issues the board may wish to address in its oversight capacity. This will include making sure that schools meet proper standards of health and safety, academic rigor, and support services, with responsible boards that are accountable to the students, parents, and citizens of Texas. I will also pay attention to the budgetary issues within the domain of the board. I also plan to visit the districts in the counties (11 complete and 2 partial) in District 5, to get feedback from teachers, students, parents, and superintendents on their progress and concerns. I also plan to submit editorial comments to newspapers to inform citizens of issues facing the board and accomplishments that merit celebration. I hope to work with other board members to improve our process for hearing citizen comments, in order to insure that everyone has a chance for comments to be heard and considered.
2. In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue facing public education in Texas?
The overemphasis on high-stakes testing that is based on tests that fail to provide longitudinal or comparative data, since they change so often and are not used by any other states. They are used in a punitive way that results in teachers "teaching to the test." We need to use assessment that is done by experts in assessment, not homegrown tests that include information that is not necessarily thorough or accurate. This problem is related to the cumbersome and sometimes biased curriculum that is often based on personal views and not on the latest research in the field. Texas needs to catch up with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world in order to give students a current, up-to-date education that meets the challenges of the modern world, including health issues, climate change, and statistical and financial literacy.
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 ATPE should have a seat at the table to determine what students need and how teachers can be freed from over-supervised and demanding requirements that do not serve the needs of teachers or students. Teachers should work with subject area experts to determine the best way to teach their subjects, and they should be given time to plan together. Educator groups are important partners in determining what to teach and the best way to teach it.
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?
SBOE should consider educators' input, along with recommendations from educators and researchers who base their judgments on data and best practices from around the country and internationally, when these knowledge and skills are relevant to Texas students. This may mean streamlining standards and allowing teachers more flexibility and creativity, with less detail that ends up burdening teachers and students alike
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 would recommend that we move to a test like the Iowa skills test, for the reasons mentioned above. We need to move away from home-grown tests that may benefit testing companies financially but do not give valuable data. Because these tests are so specific, they end up encouraging teachers to "teach to the test," which is not good practice. Also, teachers, students and schools should not be penalized for scores. They should be formative information, not a way to punch schools for low test scores.
6. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Texas public education system?
Charter schools should be used and regulated as initially intended, as laboratories for creativity and experimentation that would serve as a testing ground and model for schools, if the methods and materials proved effective and promising. This would require evaluation and monitoring that is more stringent than is currently practiced. It would be particularly useful if charters were all set up on a lottery system and if they were required to take as many special needs students as public schools take.
7. What role should the SBOE play in overseeing charter schools, such as approving or denying new charter applications and expansions of existing charters?
SBOE should be much more demanding their oversight, and they should not increase the number of charter schools without examining the performance, practices, and standards of existing schools. The data does not indicate that current charter schools are doing as well as public schools, even though they are not required to accept any and all students, as public schools are.
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)?
I believe the board should have an advisory position, but I believe they should provide thorough justification and consensus to actually veto SBEC actions. This is a power that could be abused, so it needs to operate with some sort of checks and balances. This could be determined by working on this issue in a cooperative manner that would encourage citizen and teacher input, along with advice and research-based discussions about the pros and cons of this practice.
I have a vision for the board that would allow greater students, citizen, and teacher input, combined with more rigor in oversight of charters, more examination and study of best practices and more consideration of the standards for subject area experts, publishing companies, and authors for textbooks and curriculum materials. We should create a curriculum that fulfills the needs of the future, for an environmentally responsible, equitable, sustainable and well educated society.
Some events are submitted by third-party entities. ATPE does not endorse candidates. Publication of an event does not constitute endorsement of a candidate or event.
A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS