It’s Important to have Educators on SBOE

The State Board of Education establishes policy and standards for the classroom. They also design and mandate the instruction in the knowledge and skills taught in the classroom. Who better to make these decisions than the teachers who are or have been in the classroom . Teachers who have “been there and done that” know what materials they need and what techniques will be successful; they know what the students need from the curriculum. Our children deserve a well-balanced curriculum that will prepare them for a successful future. Teachers should be the primary force on the State Board to develop the curriculum and instruction that is taught in the area of their expertise – the classroom.


Testing. Testing is a very big issue in the education field today. Much too much emphasis is being placed on the importance of state mandated tests.

One out of every five days in the classroom is spent testing. That amounts to 20% of the school year. According to the Texas Education Agency, 34 days out of 185 school days are spent testing. This is only state mandated testing and doesn’t include days spent on six-week tests, weekly or semester tests. Valuable teaching time is also spent on teaching test-taking strategies.

This current testing situation only creates students who are great test takers, but cannot apply the material learned to the everyday world.

Students are also being penalized for the results of this one-time test. A child’s knowledge cannot be measured in a single-shot picture. As accurate measurement of a child’s abilities can only be made using different tools and assessments.

Teachers cannot teach creatively when they must spend valuable teaching time instructing students in test-taking strategies. Teachers should be able to challenge and engage students in creative learning experiences. They should be able to use their creative teaching talents to spark interest and excitement in their students, not spend their time teaching students how to fill in bubbles on an answer sheet.

Teachers and students need and want to be accountable for the knowledge taught and learned. However, a one-size-fits-all test does not do this. Local districts and teachers know best what their students need. Districts need to have the flexibility to design assessments that meet or exceed state standards, but reflect their student’s needs.

My opponent has done nothing to alleviate these problems with testing during her tenure. As a member of the State Board, I want to change the emphasis on testing from a test penalizing teachers and students to a valuable diagnostic tool that will be a means of helping students in the classroom be successful. I want to ensure that teachers can have the chance to teach creatively and can offer challenging learning experiences that students can take into the future.

TEKS. Standards for curriculum in the classroom are important and needed in education.  Achievement standards for each grade level should be in place to guide teachers in the classroom.

The process of creating the TEKS for the classroom should be a joint effort between teachers and business advisors. Teachers know best what students in each grade level should achieve by the end of the year to be prepared to advance to the next level in the education. Teachers need to be in the majority when making these decisions. Input from experts in the business field is also needed to ensure that our students are well prepared for a successful future.

The TEKS should be broad goals that allow teachers to use their skills and creativity to reach the set standards, not a long list of specifics that micro-manage the classroom. The standards set in the TEKS should represent what is essential for students’ success, not what looks good on paper.

Textbooks. The instructional materials and textbooks used in the classroom are an invaluable tool for the students and teachers. However, each year billions of dollars are spent on textbooks and materials that sit unused in state warehouses. School districts are limited in the selections for classroom instruction because the State Board of Education only selects and approves a limited number of options.

Local school districts should be given the funds allocated for textbook purchases and allowed to purchase the materials they think are the most appropriate for their students.

I applaud the Texas Legislature for taking steps toward this end in 2011 through SB6 which represents a shift in policy that moves toward giving local districts more control over materials used in the classroom.

My opponent has supported setting mandates from Austin and limiting local districts’ ability to choose textbooks and choose how to best spend limited instructional funds.

As a 36 year educator, I have worked with many textbooks and served on numerous textbook committees. I feel that my experience in the classroom gives me better insight into what flexibility districts need to best serve local students.

One size does not fit all in the classroom. Each local district needs to be able to do what is best for their students to succeed.

Permanent School Fund. I will bring experience and integrity to the management of funding intended for public education.

The Permanent School Fund was established in 1854 by State leaders and is sometimes referred to as “the children’s fund”. It has helped pay a share of the cost of educating Texas school children since that time. The State Board of Education is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the investment portfolio assets of the fund.

It is imperative the use of this fund be managed properly and that decisions concerning the investments of the fund be made with wisdom. This fund is not intended for political use, but must be used for students and only for students. The use of this fund should reflect fiduciary responsibility on the part of the SBOE, with emphasis on what is best for the students in the classrooms in Texas.

As an officer of the largest non-union educator association in Texas and the United States, I have had experience overseeing a similar fund and have learned the importance of making decisions that affect the fund.