1. What are your top priorities if elected into office, and how do you plan to address them?
My top priority is to enact a moratorium on new charter schools. I plan to ask for a moratorium at the first meeting of the board after election. My second priority is addressing the issues of LBGTQ, gender and gender identification of students in curriculum and textbooks.
2. What’s your stance on public education, and how can we better our schools right now?
I have heard many politicians say the educational system is broken. I don’t think it is. The State Board of Education can’t in its capacity do anything about funding for public education but it most certainly can develop a curriculum that promotes equality, balance and and most importantly critical thinking skills. As a state, we have been so focused on teaching to a test that we have forgotten the needs of our students. We also need to stop funding charter schools. The SBOE has no jurisdiction over funding but they do have a say so over who receives a charter.
3. What are your thoughts about the state’s school funds, and what programs would you like to see added or done away with?
I want funding to cease to charter schools. Put the money towards funding more public school options. Not all students are college bound. More vocational programs geared towards entering the workforce after high school graduation is needed. I would like to see programs in elementary schools to address social and economic challenges facing today’s youth. Bullying has gotten out of hand and the current programs we have are not working. Starting at the junior high level, I would like to see programs addressing sex education beyond abstinence and contraceptives. Teen pregnancy is on the rise in Texas but so are STD infections. We are educators, along with parents, should be worried about our youth and the long term effects of untreated STDs.
4. What do you think about the current curriculum standards, instructional materials and graduation requirements in the midst of a pandemic, and would you change anything?
For the most part, schools have done a remarkable job addressing the pandemic. Considering they had very little preparation to transition from in person teaching to virtual teaching, Texas school officials deserve our thanks. The curriculum standards, in my opinion, should be modified for the next two years to reflect the lack of classroom instruction particularly in rural schools were broadband is either limited or nonexistent. The STAAR test needs to be either put on hold or modified to reflect the reduced instructional time. Students are under enough stress dealing with the disruption of their normal schedules without adding the stress of a test. Graduation standards need to be modified to meet the disruption, also.
5. What have you learned from dealing with the pandemic that you can apply to your job in the future?
The pandemic has shown me that the educational system was not ready for a major disruption. Curriculum and TEKS were designed for in person instruction. The SBOE needs to address the what we learned from the pandemic so that schools are better prepared in the future.