Lalani earned 31.7% 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?
Educational under funding did not end with a stopgap measure. We must come to a long-term solution to fund our schools now and into the future. We must attract and retain quality teachers by adequately compensating them for their services.
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?
State funding is the most realistic option. Local governments know their community best.
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?
That should be determined by the cost of living, nothing else. The rising costs in TRS Care for retire must be offset by increased benefits to our retirees.
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?
Defined benefit plan, because that was the deal and it is much safer.
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.?
STAAR testing can be hard on a student if they feel that they didn't perform as well as they'd like. No standardized testing is most ideal. It is not an accurate measurement of the student's abilities. Teachers know their students better than a standardized test. Merit pay should not be tied to test performance. Testing does not necessarily demonstrate a student's potential for success.
6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
As I said before, merit pay is unfair and should not be linked to the student's test performance.
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?
No, and especially not to public vouchers. It does not improve their academic performance.
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?
As you said above, memberships to professional associations like ATPE are a person's right. It supports a healthy working environment for educators and other public employees.
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?
The priority should be increase funding and finding a long-term sustainable funding mechanism for public education.
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?
There must be an equal standard for our children's education. The state must do its part in making sure all our students are being educated enough.
No additional comments
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A NONPARTISAN VOTER EDUCATION PROJECT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF TEXAS PROFESSIONAL EDUCATORS