Policy Outlines Regarding Education

Teachers are professionals. We should treat them like professionals.

 

Testing.

 

The only people who benefit from the STAAR test are the shareholders of the company creating the test. We should put an immediate stop to how we test in Texas.

 

Texas should test at the beginning of the year. This would allow students to be placed in appropriate classes and track student progress.

 

Testing should only determine placement. School funding and teacher salary should have nothing to do with testing. I will be vocal and active in ending these practices.

 

Retirement & Health.

 

The idea that a retired teacher in Texas has to decide between medication and food is disgusting. I promise to give my full-throated support and voice behind legislation that not only gives a cost of living adjustment to teachers but also ties automatic living adjustments to reasonable state metrics. I am so sorry things have gotten to this point and I will do everything in my power to change it.

 

Teachers can’t afford healthcare. While I am firmly for a Medicare for all system en route to a universal system. I recognize we need relief now. I not only will advocate for TRS funding increases but matching the funding to the ERS system. We cannot continue to only prioritize education when it’s an emergency.

 

Income.

 

Being a teacher is difficult, rewarding work. The state could mitigate some of that difficulty by providing teacher assistants. I firmly believe in an immediate funding increase to ensure that teacher assistants are compensated well for the service they provide.

 

We should make a meaningful increase in the base teacher scale in Texas and bring it to the median income for the state and set it to that metric. While this would not have a huge immediate impact on teacher salary in cities, it would in our rural areas. It would also send a message that we value teachers as professionals and believe they should be compensated as professionals.

 

Psychology.

 

While we can continue to debate the merits of resource officers in public schools, my discussions with teachers locally have produced a good idea that we can all agree on. School counselors are overburdened and their job has essentially become administrative. We should invest in additional mental health professionals who not only have continuous, direct access with students but teachers as well. We should also invest in social work professionals for schools. We should be giving all students the resources and allies to succeed. This includes taking an active interest in the their mental health and well-being. Investing in counselors and social workers for schools is an investment in the health and well-being of our schools.

 

Parents.

 

There is a huge disconnect between parents and schools. If we are going to have education seen as a profession rather than a group of glorified babysitters then we are going to have to reach out to the parents. I would like to see an education budget that includes outreach to increase awareness of what public education provides and the value of having it.

 

Administration.

 

The thumb of the state is on teachers. They are regulated to a degree not seen in other professions. I have interviewed multiple teachers about their choice to leave teaching to pursue higher education. Their answer is almost always because of administration. We are sacrificing talented teachers to poor administrators. The state should not be in the business of micromanaging teachers. If the state has a presence in schools it should be in the form of managing administration. Providing for quality administration allows for schools and districts to run more efficiently and ultimately gives more power to local districts.

 

Teachers have year to year contracts. They are evaluated. They pass strict measures and are granted another contract if they are seen to have performed adequately. Who don’t we to this with administrators and principals? We should hold everyone to the same standard.

 

Funding.

 

I will work toward ending the practice of sending 50% of state recapture money to private schools. This practice is unfair to our public schools and has handicapped them in competing with private and charter schools.

 

I believe in setting the oil & gas exploration tax at 1970’s percentage levels to fund higher public education. Before 1980 people could afford to go to college in Texas on a part-time salary because we subsidized higher education with the oil & gas exploration tax. This tax, like most state business taxes, has become essentially symbolic. Reinvesting in the Texas tradition of funding higher education goes a long way toward creating an intelligent and fully vested workforce.

 

The rainy day fund is an important tool to maintain Texas’ credit but it is being invested poorly. I believe we should invest the fund in a slow-yield bond that would provide millions to be invested in public education.

 

The lottery was passed in Texas with the promise it would subsidize public education. We haven’t kept our word on this. I would like to propose legislation that keeps the lottery profits in education without pulling from other sources that feed the general education fund.

 

The “Equal and Uniform” loophole allows purchasers of huge investment properties an advantage over everyday homeowners. I want to stop this practice and invest the state money that would be gained from it directly into education.

 

We should not tie school funding and teacher salary to standardized testing. 

 

Voucher programs only benefit the rich. I promise to be a loud advocate for public education and in doing so work against any legislation that proposes to expand vouchers.  

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