State Board of Education District 1: Michael “Travis” Stevens Q&A | #Education

Education: I hold a Bachelors in English, Masters in Education and Doctorate in Education. 

Previous elected office: None.

1. What is your platform, and what issues are most important to you?
My platform consists of 3 issues: 1. Teachers first 2. Parental Rights 3. Education, not indoctrination.
Teachers first:  Unfortunately, the vast majority of those making decisions at the highest level for public education, are individuals who have never worked in the classroom, or who are far removed from the classroom. Teachers need a seat at the table to voice their concerns and express opinions about public education. Teachers need someone who has worked in the classroom during COVID and who has had to deal with the aftermath of HB4545. Teachers need one of their own to represent them on the SBOE. As someone who is working in the K-12 setting and having last taught during the 21-22 school year, I have a clear understanding of what is happening in the classroom and will be a relevant voice for teachers. 
Parental Rights: The rights of Texas parents must be protected. Parents, not the SBOE, local school boards, campus administrators, or teachers have the final say when it comes to their children. Schools must be transparent with parents about all aspects of what takes place at school. Parents should feel welcome at their child’s campus and at local school board meetings. Parents should feel heard when they have a complaint and not left with a feeling of helplessness. 
Education, not indoctrination: Students go to school to get an unbiased education. Education should be 100% free of political agendas, personal ideologies of the School Boards, campus administrators, and teachers. Classroom discussions, assignments, assessments and instructional material materials should be inclusive of all students, not just one group of students. Texas schools are filled with a diverse group of students, from multiple races, backgrounds and religious beliefs. No student should feel uncomfortable due an assignment, or curriculum material. 

2. As the pandemic heavily impacted many at-risk and/or financially struggling parents and students, what changes should be implemented to address the learning loss resulting from the pandemic?
To address the learning loss from the pandemic, we need to shift the focus from students passing the STAAR test, to student master of content material (TEKS). The Texas legislature passed HB4545 to address the COVID learning loss, however HB4545 is primarily focused on helping students pass components of the STAAR test that they did not pass during the pandemic.
3. What aspect of the state’s curriculum would you most like to change?

I would most like to change the graduation requirements for high school students, specifically removing STAAR as a graduation requirement. Passing, or not passing STAAR is not an indication of a student’s ability to master grade level content material. For example, some “A” student’s struggle to pass STAAR, due to suffering from Testing Anxiety. These students have to take on additional tutoring hours during the school year, or even during the Summer, with the strict objective of passing the STAAR. Not only is this stressful for students, but it takes away from the real reason they go to school; students go to school to learn, not to attend “kill and drill” sessions. 
4. What are your thoughts on Texas’ critical race theory law that went into effect in December 2021?
I support SB3, as it is intended to keep political agendas out of Texas classrooms. 

5. Have you ever been arrested or convicted of any crime? If so, explain the circumstances and the outcome.
No, I have not been arrested, or convicted of any crime.



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