DeMerchant earned 29.6% of the vote in the March primary and will compete in a runoff election on July 14, 2020.
Ran unsuccessfully for the same House seat in 2016 and 2018.
DeMerchant was endorsed in the 2016 general 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. Two years later, she was recommended favorably by Texans for Public Education, a grassroots educators' group that researched and rated candidates in the 2018 election based on their stances toward public schools.
No bills for this candidate.
Has not responded to the ATPE Candidate Survey for the 2020 primary election.
The candidate did not respond to the 2018 ATPE Candidate Survey, but below are her responses to our 2016 survey:
1. Is there a need to increase funding in order to meet the needs of our growing student population and ensure that students have access to high-quality teachers? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education?
There is absolutely a need to reinstate the original education funding, plus an increase to revamp to a new state of the art education institution, to pay teachers better, and provide all the tools and resources for teachers to do their jobs better. To secure revenue I propose we open casinos in Texas.
2. On what types of programs or specific areas of need would you prioritize the spending of state funds for public education?
1. A long overdue increase in teacher pay and incentive packages. 2. Remove restrictions from teachers to allow their creativity to educate their students. 3. Put remediation funding to help students that are struggling. 4. Purchase new software to better assist teachers with measuring student performance on classroom assignments on a day to day basis.
3. Would you vote to create a voucher, tax credit, grant, scholarship program, or any other type of incentive that would help cover the cost for students to attend non-public schools in grades K-12? Why or why not?
I do not support vouchers, tax credit, scholarship programs or any other incentive that would cover the cost for students to attend non-public schools in grades K-12. It is the public school system that built this country and will drive our future growth. With one exception, students with special needs that a typical K-12 school cannot meet. Under section 504 and the ADA in special education cases, I believe schools have leeway to support alternate education as needed. Teachers and parents should be part of the review process for determination of alternate education.
4. Would you vote to maintain a hard cap on the number of students per class, or should school administrators be given more flexibility to increase class sizes? (Currently, the law imposes a cap of 22:1 in grades K-4 but allows schools to obtain a waiver, a step a number of them routinely take.)
School administrators in combination with the teachers should be given a cap range. The dynamic is different per class. It is the teachers that understand this dynamic in their classroom.
5. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in Texas's public education system? For instance, should tests be used for school accountability purposes, for evaluating teachers, for measuring the progress of students, etc.?
No. It is an evaluation of where a student is today and you can set goals of where you want them to be based on their strengths and weaknesses. It should not be used to evaluate teachers. Teachers should be able to build a custom solution based on student need. Some students are not good test takers, but excellent on course work.
6. Local decisions on teacher pay and whether to continue a teacher's employment are often based on evaluations. To what extent, if any, should a teacher's evaluation be based on his students' scores on state standardized tests? If you believe student test scores should factor into a teacher's evaluation, how would you recommend evaluating teachers in grades or subjects for which there are no state standardized tests?
No. In some schools teachers are given the best students. Then, some teachers may be given the students that need remediation. How are their standardized tests going to impact both? Administrators should visit unannounced and announced to view teacher performance with students. In addition, there should be private conferences with the school principal. We need the human interaction of administrators and teachers. Administrators need to know the teachers.
7. Do you believe that the state should maintain a floor for classroom teacher salaries that includes annual increases based on experience over the first 20 years of a teacher's career?
If a teacher has been great and brought students through hard times, if they have been there a long time, yes, they deserve more money. Teacher evaluations should also be taken into consideration.
8. If a public school in your district failed to meet state accountability standards, what course of action would you recommend? Are there circumstances in which you would support allowing a private entity to take over the management of that school (for instance, by converting it to a charter school, placing it under a special statewide district for low-performing schools, replacing the elected school board, or hiring an outside entity to operate the school)?
I would not recommend giving up on the school. A root cause must be determined, then a remediation plan should be put in place. Everyone needs to work together and provide constructive feedback. Also, bonuses should be based on teacher performance.
No additional comments
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS