Stapleton Barrera earned 35.6% of the vote in the March primary and will compete in a runoff election on May 26, 2020.
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RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?
My goals are to ensure that our children have a world class education system. Every child should be provided the opportunity to succeed. In order to accomplish this, we need an unwavering state commitment to provide every Texas child the opportunity to receive a quality education from pre-K through college or career programs. We must invest in our public education, minority and economically disadvantaged Texas students . So, how do we do this? We allocate resources equitably, get rid of piles of paper, make administrators into facilitators, plan before we build, buy what we need, when we need it, at the best price we can get it, we live up to our vision, we adopt policies and procedures that ensure our success, and we find every dollar we can.
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?
I would recommend that invest millions of dollars into education- paid for by a two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $10 million. I would also recommend a reallocation of funding. We need someone in the Senate who will investigate and figure out where our finding is really going, and reallocate the funds to our children.
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 fully support improving the TRS-Care health insurance program and expansion of Medicaid. No teacher should have to worry about not being able to seek treatment. Health care should be considered a human right and treated accordingly.
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 recognize that most retired teachers worked for years with inadequate pay and have no Social Security. I fully support protecting the TRS and providing a regular COLA for every retired teacher. I will fully protect the TRS defined benefit pension system against attempts to turn it into a risky 401-k plan that could put most retirees' pensions at risk.
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 oppose high stakes standardized tests that stifle creativity and leave little time for genuine teaching and learning. There is a better way to create an excellent classroom learning environment to help students think critically and succeed. I will support further changes in state law on educational accountability tests and ratings to reduce the classroom time spent on standardized testing and test preparation at all levels, PK-12 I will oppose all efforts to tie teacher compensation to unreliable student surveys. I will you support legislation to repeal the A-F ratings system and develop a better accountability and assessment system focused on identifying needs and marshalling support and resources for struggling campuses
6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
It shouldn't. I will oppose all efforts to tie teachers' compensation to their students' standardized test results.
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 strongly opposes privatization of our public schools, including vouchers, tuition tax credits, unaccountable charter schools, partnerships between charter schools and traditional public schools, and virtual charter schools. It believe that public education dollars should only be spent on public schools with democratically elected boards.
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?
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 a moratorium on charter schools until their impacts on public schools, students, and taxpayers can be fully assessed. I will demand that charter schools be held to the same transparency, accountability, and worker rights standards as traditional 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?
I support the repeal of so-called "District of Innovation" legislation that allows districts to "charterize" their campuses, nullifying state Education Code safeguards for teachers, students, and parents.
No additional comments
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS