I. Accountability and standardized testing.
- The current system of assessing the progress of Texas schoolchildren (TAKS and now STAAR) is not working. Instead of giving teachers the freedom to create a productive learning environment, it creates a “teach to the test” mentality, which frustrates teachers and hinders individual learning.
- I support a testing system that makes sure minimal standards of knowledge and skills are being taught, but not so much as to stifle individual learning for the student or creativity on the part of the teacher.
- Each child is unique and every teacher should be allowed to develop that child’s God-given attributes and abilities. One size does not fit all when it comes to educating children, and the growth of each child is measured by their progress as learners.
- Accountability should be based upon the relative improvement of each particular child over the course of that particular school year.
II. Choice of curriculum and vocational education.
- The primary role of the SBOE is to decide upon the curriculum taught in our public schools. I applaud the progress towards more conservative curricula that has been made by the SBOE over the last few years, particularly in the area of social studies.
- I support curricula that gives due respect to our original founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Founders’ writings.
- We should be teaching our schoolchildren to be critical thinkers, capable of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of various theories and reaching their own well-reasoned conclusions.
- I support allowing our Texas teachers and schoolchildren to look at all sides of scientific theories, including evolution, intelligent design and global warming, without fear of recrimination.
- I believe we should be preparing out Texas graduates to attend college without the need for remedial college courses. I support higher education as a beneficial path for high school graduates.
- However, I also believe that our public schools should prepare Texas students for whatever career choice is best for them. Not every Texas child will choose to go to college…that does not mean however that they have been “left behind.” Our educational system should prepare students for college, if they so choose, but it should also prepare them for a career or vocation that will result in them being productive members of society. Vocational trades are honorable and good paying fields. If a student desires a vocational track, we should equip them accordingly.
- I support school districts providing vocational, career and technical education, as well as training in the arts, and believe those decisions should be made on a local basis.
- I believe that we should not only teach our kids how to read, write, count and speak, but we should also help them develop a foundation for making right decisions. I favor character-based curricula that teaches our Texas schoolchildren how to treat others and how to make good life choices for themselves.
III. More local control and less government intrusion.
- I am opposed to the federal government’s attempts to impose a national curriculum in our local classrooms as well as dictating the policies that must be followed by our local school districts.
- I would encourage local school boards to carefully consider the consequences of accepting federal money in return for relinquishing local control.
- I believe the State Board of Education should work in partnership with local schools to achieve a workable public school system that utilizes the resources of the SBOE for the benefit of the local school districts.
- I believe in an elected State Board of Education that has authority over the Texas Education Agency and the Commissioner of Education. I also believe the SBOE should maintain constitutional authority over the Permanent School Fund.
- I believe that education needs to be governed as Constitutionally required at the state level, with a heavy emphasis on local governance, and not by Washington D.C. bureaucrats.