user avatar
Ann Johnson
Texas House District 134
Status

Incumbent

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Former Harris County Chief Human Trafficking Prosecutor; adjunct professor of law at South Texas College of Law; Attorney in private practice representing those who cannot afford a lawyer

Address

P. O. Box 56386, Houston, TX, 77256

Additional Information

First elected to the Texas House in 2020. Current term expires Jan. 2023.

Endorsed in the 2020 general election by Texas Parent PAC, a pro-public education organization that advocates for adequate and equitable funding of public schools, local control, teacher quality, and the prevention of private school vouchers.

Endorsed by the Houston Chronicle editorial board in the 2020 Democratic primary election.

Ran unsuccessfully for the same House seat in 2012.


  • House Vote #1 - 2021: VOUCHERS

    Voted for a budget amendment to prohibit state funds from being spent on private school vouchers. ATPE supported the amendment. 

    House Floor Amendment #84 by Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Robstown) to Senate Bill 1 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. The House passed the ATPE-supported amendment during its debate on the budget bill, April 22, 2021. (Record vote #410. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.)

  • House Vote #2 - 2021: SPECIAL EDUCATION

    Voted against a bill creating the "Supplemental Special Education Services" grant, which allows parents of eligible students in special education to apply for a grant of up to $1,500 for the purchase of supplemental educational services and materials.

    Senate Bill 1716 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), sponsored in the House by Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. The bill as passed by the Senate would have created a special education voucher program, which ATPE opposed, but the House removed the voucher language. On May 26, 2021, the House voted to pass its version of the bill on third reading, sending SB 1716 to the governor without objection from ATPE. (Record vote #1516. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.)

  • House Vote #3 - 2021: COMPENSATION

    Voted for an amendment that would have ensured teachers could keep pay raises they had received as a result of 2019 school finance legislation. ATPE supported the amendment.

    House Floor Amendment #14 by Rep. Chris Turner (D-Arlington) to House Bill 1525 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingsville), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 21, 2021, the House passed the ATPE-supported amendment during its floor debate on a school finance clean-up bill. (Record vote #387. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.)

  • House Vote #4 - 2021: CIVICS AND CURRICULUM

    Voted against a bill that mandated changes to social studies curriculum standards, sought to ban the teaching of concepts that have been associated with "critical race theory," limited students' access to course credit for activities related to legislation, and restricted educators' discussions of controversial topics and current events in the classroom. ATPE opposed the bill.

    House Bill 3979 by Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 11, 2021, the House voted to pass the ATPE-opposed bill on third reading. (Record vote #982. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.) Read more about the bill here.

  • House Vote #5 - 2021: CIVICS AND CURRICULUM

    Voted against a bill passed during the second special session that replaced HB 3979 passed during the regular session. The bill requires the State Board of Education to change social studies curriculum standards and seeks to ban the teaching of concepts that have been associated with "critical race theory." SB 3 mandates a civics training academy for certain teachers and requires that teachers address controversial topics in an objective manner free from political bias. ATPE opposed the bill overall but supported House floor amendments that made the bill better than its predecessor, HB 3979.

    Senate Bill 3 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), sponsored in the House by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), 87th Legislature, Second Called Session. On Sept. 2, 2021, the House amended and then voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #150. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal). Read more about SB 3 here.

  • House Vote #6 - 2021: HOME-SCHOOL UIL

    Voted once for and once against a bill that allows home-schooled students to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities on behalf of and at the expense of a school district without meeting the same academic requirements under "no pass, no play" rules that apply to public school students. Johnson voted against HB 547 on third reading. Later, she switched her position to vote for a motion to concur with Senate amendments to the bill. The motion to concur passed and sent HB 547 to the governor. ATPE opposed the bill.

    House Bill 547 by Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 13, 2021, the House voted to approve the ATPE-opposed bill on third reading. (Record vote #1028. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.) The Senate later amended HB 547, removing House provisions that would have given coaches additional authority to verify home-schooled students' academic eligibility and allowed students served by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department to participate in UIL. On May 28, 2021, the House voted to concur with the Senate amendments to the bill, thereby sending a final version of HB 547 to the governor. (Record vote #1556. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.) Read more about the bill here.

  • House Vote #7 - 2021: CHARTER SCHOOLS

    Voted against a bill that expands property tax exemptions for charter schools and those who lease property to a charter school. ATPE opposed the bill.

    House Bill 3610 by Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 8, 2021, the House voted to approve the ATPE-opposed bill on third reading. (Record vote #913. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.) Read more about the bill here.

  • House Vote #8 - 2021: RETIREMENT

    Voted for a bill authorizing a one-time supplemental payment or "13th check" of up to $2,400 to TRS retirees. ATPE supported the bill.

    Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), sponsored in the House by Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), 87th Legislature, Second Called Session. On Aug. 30, 2021, the House voted to approve the ATPE-supported bill on third reading. (Record vote #98. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.)

  • House Vote #9 - 2021: VIRTUAL SCHOOLS

    Voted for a bill that would have expanded full-time virtual school programs statewide. ATPE opposed the bill.

    House Bill 1468 by Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On April 28, 2021, the House voted to approve the ATPE-opposed bill on third reading. (Record vote #497. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.) The Senate passed an amended version of HB 1468, and the bill was eventually sent to a conference committee to generate a compromise version. HB 1468 ultimately died when the House failed to vote on the conference committee report before the regular session ended.

  • House Vote #10 - 2021: VIRTUAL SCHOOLS

    Voted for a bill that expands funding and authorization for full-time virtual school programs statewide. ATPE opposed the bill.

    Senate Bill 15 by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), sponsored in the House by Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney), 87th Legislature, Second Called Session. Based on the ATPE-opposed HB 1468 that failed to pass in the regular session, SB 15 expands state funding options for students in full-time virtual schools. On Aug. 30, 2021, the House voted to pass the bill on third reading. (Record vote #96. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal.)

  • House Vote #11 - 2021: ACCOUNTABILITY

    Voted against a bill that pauses accountability ratings for the 2021-22 school year, halts progressive sanctions for D- and F-rated schools once they earn a C rating, and clarifies due process protections for districts facing sanctions.

    Voted for/Voted against/Was "present not voting" on/Was absent for the vote on a bill that pauses accountability ratings for the 2021-22 school year, halts progressive sanctions for D- and F-rated schools once they earn a C rating, and clarifies due process protections for districts facing sanctions.

  • House Vote #12 - 2021: TESTING/ACCELERATED INSTRUCTION

    Voted against a bill that eliminated the STAAR passage requirement for grade promotion but requires accelerated instruction for students who failed a STAAR test. 

    House Bill 4545 by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston), 87th Legislature, Regular Session. On May 28, 2021, the House voted to concur with Senate amendments to the bill, which sent a final version of HB 4545 to the governor. (Record vote #1689. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal). Read more about the bill here.

  • House Vote #13 - 2021: ACCELERATED INSTRUCTION

    Voted for a bill that would have eased implementation of HB 4545, passed during the regular session, by limiting the subjects in which tutoring is required for students who failed a STAAR test and offering temporary relief from tutoring group size limits.

    House Bill 233 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), 87th Legislature, Second Called Session. On Sept. 2, 2021, the House voted to approve the bill on third reading. (Record vote #153. View an official record of the vote in the House Journal). The bill ultimately died when the Senate declined to hear it before the end of the session. Read more about the bill here.

Candidate Survey Responses


HAS NOT RESPONDED TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY.

BELOW ARE THE CANDIDATE'S RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:


1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?

I'm running to make education a priority in Texas again. Without new leadership in Austin that makes education a top priority, the next generation of Texans is likely to be less educated, less employable and less prosperous than we are. My first priority will be finding the sustainable funding lacking in HB 3. I will also work to reduce the reliance on standardized testing, remove the barriers to recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, and – especially given what we are going through in Houston – repeal state takeover laws and revamp Robin Hood.

 

2. What are your recommendations for funding public education, including securing the necessary revenue to sustain the improvements made by House Bill 3 in 2019? Do you believe additional funding is needed?

We have shortchanged the children of Texas for too long. House Bill 3 was a welcome development, but hardly a substitute for the decades-long neglect of public education in Texas. We must increase the state's share of spending on public education. HB 3 relied on one-time revenue sources. We must find new and sustainable revenue streams, starting with closing the "equal and uniform" section of Texas tax law that enables owners of large commercial and industrial properties to have their assessments reduced below fair market value.

 

3. How would you address the challenge of rising healthcare costs facing Texas educators and ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?

I will fight for Medicaid expansion and for expanding healthcare coverage for all Texans, including educators. As a cancer survivor, access to quality healthcare saved my life. I also support increasing the state contributions toward health insurance for active and retired educators.

 

4. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined contribution plan that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

I support keeping TRS as a defined benefit plan. It provides the best and most secure retirement for our teachers.

 

5. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in Texas's public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used for school accountability purposes, for evaluating teachers, for measuring student progress, etc.?

Standardized testing should never be the primary determinant on whether a student can advance or graduate. I support input from IGC committees, teachers, staff and parents.

 

6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?

I am opposed to "merit pay" based on measures such as standardized test grades. These are not a valid measure for teacher performance any more than student performance. The state should help fund across-the-board pay raises for Texas teachers until they reach the national average.

 

7. Would you vote to create any type of voucher, tax credit, scholarship, education savings account, or other program aimed at paying for students, including any subpopulation of students, to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?

In no circumstances should public funds be spent on private or charter schools. We are in no position whatsoever to drain funds from public education, period.

 

8. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?

I absolutely support voluntary payroll deductions. The state has no right to tell educators how to spend their hard-earned money.

 

9. What role, if any, should charter schools have in the public education system, and do you feel the number of charter schools operating in Texas should be reduced or expanded?

There can be a limited role for charter schools in Texas, but there is no reason they should not be held to the same standards of accountability, transparency and performance.

 

10. Recent legislation has made it possible for school districts to exempt themselves from many state laws (e.g., class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, minimum salary schedules, school calendar restrictions, etc.) by partnering with outside entities, allowing campuses to be managed by a charter school operator, or becoming part of a District of Innovation, for example. Do you agree with this type of deregulation of public schools, and how should such non-traditional schools be governed?

Districts of innovation need to be reined in. If the state would adequately fund public education, as I believe is constitutionally required, there would be no need for the abuse of this concept to get around regulations that are necessary to protect students and teachers.

 

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey


Comments submitted in response to the 2020 ATPE Candidate Survey:

For me, this job is all about education and the state's responsibility to provide a solid foundation for all our people, which results in innovative economic growth and prosperity. Gov Abbott brags of Texas being an economic leader, yet we fail to reinvest that prosperity in our future and most precious natural resource – our people and public education. My parents started out as teachers. I have been an adjunct professor for more than a decade and have seen a trend in students asking: "tell me what to do." My concern is we have shifted our priorities from challenging student's ability for critical thinking and problem-solving to performance-based metrics of a "right answer" on a scantron. I survived cancer because somewhere, a teacher taught a kid to think – in music, math, biology class – and that kid later helped to develop the treatment that saved my life. I'm running to make education a priority in Texas again. Without new leadership in Austin that makes education a top priority, the next generation of Texans is likely to be less educated, less employable and less prosperous than we are. As I said above, we can speed progress by removing Republican control from the Texas House of Representatives. Whether or not that is successful, I want to work on continuing to backfill decades of cuts to public education, and on common-sense reforms, including reducing the reliance on standardized testing, removing the barriers to recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, and – especially given what we are going through in Houston – repealing state takeover laws and overhauling Robin Hood.