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?
If elected, my job will be to do my homework, study the agenda and related issues, seek input from and develop relationships with teachers, administrators, parents, and students, and be prepared to discuss and vote on the agenda items at the meeting.
2. In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue facing public education in Texas?
For me, the most pressing issue is failing kids. I believe in the American Dream, and that education is the pathway for each Texas student: "Education, then, beyond all other divides of human origin, is a great equalizer of conditions of men." (Horace Mann) Our Texas schools should be preparing each student to pursue their own American Dream, whether it is to enlist in the military, start a career or business, or enroll in college. All of us, whether we are parents or not, should be interested in how our public schools are doing in this regard. One possible answer here is benchmarking successful teachers, schools, ISD's, and charters who are achieving success with their students, and seeing what we can learn from them to use in other classrooms.
3. What role should educators and educator groups such as ATPE play in policy decisions made by the State Board of Education (SBOE)?
Educators should play a critical role in SBOE decisions. I will not forget that the "E" stands for Education. As the group delivering or implementing SBOE's decisions, educators should be consulted about what is working and not in Texas schools. There are also other stakeholders in Texas education; I am in favor of increasing teacher, administrator, parent, and student input. I have begun meeting with education leaders throughout the SBOE6 District to seek their input, and look forward to meeting with many more.
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?
Two of SBOE's main functions are setting curriculum standards and evaluating instructional materials. As above with question #3, Educators should play a critical role in SBOE decisions, especially those regarding TEKS and textbooks. I am in favor of increasing teacher, administrator, parent, and student input in this process. As a parent involved at 3 SBISD schools, I have never heard about a textbook or curriculum review. I would try and seek increased input online or through email, make the textbooks and TEKS under review easily accessible, and publicize the process to all the ISD's in my district.
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 am in favor of expanding the use and meaning of high school endorsements, by adjusting the foundation program for each of the endorsements, requiring more endorsement related courses in each foundation, and allowing the selection of more elective courses to prepare students to start their chosen career or college at graduation. Regarding testing and accountability, testing is critical to identify students and schools where intervention is needed. We should ensure the original intent of the legislation of checking reading level for 3, 5, and 8th graders is being measured. I am open to discussions about whether the STAAR is the best way to do that, or if we should look at other tests to evaluate Texas students' and schools' performance.
6. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Texas public education system?
I am in favor of choice and options for all parents and students in Texas. Texas parents should decide whether to enroll their kids in a zoned public school, a neighboring ISD, a magnet school, a charter school, a private school, or home schooling. Charter schools have been a positive choice for some students. My wife and I have decided to enroll all 3 of our kids in our zoned public schools.
7. What role should the SBOE play in overseeing charter schools, such as approving or denying new charter applications and expansions of existing charters?
Building on question #6, there are good and bad charter schools in Texas. Not all charters are successful or are a benefit to Texas education. The SBOE should play a critical role in applications for new charters, oversight of existing charters, and shutting down failing charters. Charter schools should be held to the same accountability standards as all other public schools.
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 do not have enough knowledge about the SBEC / SBOE relationship to answer this question. Please reach out and advise me of the issues.
Thank you for the opportunity to educate your members about my campaign. I look forward to meeting and working with your group and its members before and after the November, 2020 election.
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