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Gwenn Burud
Texas Senate District 9
Status

Challenger

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Retired Teacher of the Deaf & Hard of Hearing

Address

8901 Tehama Ridge Pkwy., Suite 127 #609, Fort Worth, TX, 76177

Additional Information

Candidate is an ATPE member.

Previously ran unsuccessfully for the Texas Legislature in 2018.

Recommended favorably by Texans for Public Education, a grassroots educators' group that has researched and rated candidates in the 2018 election based on their stances toward public schools.


Candidate Survey Responses


RESPONSES TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:



We must be committed to the future of Texas via strong public schools. A quality public education should be a right for all children. I will work tirelessly for school finance reform. Additionally, we must reduce reliance on high stakes testing as it relates to student achievement, teacher competency and campus accountability. Finally, I will fight against the push for vouchers.



Without a doubt, school funding should be increased. We must invest in education like we invest in a retirement system–students are the future workforce, leaders, and drivers of success for all of their community. There is no better investment for society than quality education. I applaud the positive changes made by House Bill 3. We are fortunate to currently have a healthy budget surplus, but we have to safeguard it by ensuring that state dollars aren't diverted to privatization efforts that we know cost more for less return. The state has not been paying their fair share of the funding and it is now the burden of property tax payers to make sure that the public schools are adequately funded. The money is already there–as our property values have increased, the state’s input has decreased and that money is now sitting in general funds and allocated elsewhere. It’s a matter of prioritizing education so that the state returns to paying 50% (split with local tax entities) rather than the 36% it has reduced to in the past 20 years.



This is a travesty. Teachers have put their hearts and souls into serving our children, yet healthcare coverage through TRS-Care is unaffordable for many. Contrast this with state employees who receive coverage through ERS who enjoy cheaper premiums and lower deductibles. This sends a crystal clear message that our legislators devalue the service of educators. It would be great if healthcare could be solved at the federal level. Until then, Texas lawmakers must show that they are devoted to reducing the burden of healthcare cost by increasing the state's share of funding.



Rather than pay into Social Security, teachers in Texas pay into TRS. Consequently, this is the only nest egg for many educators. We cannot have our state legislature intentionally siphoning teachers' hard earned funds. For this reason, the system must remain solvent via the continuation of a traditional defined benefit plan.



Though they can be a benchmark to assess progress, the overuse of standardized testing is overwhelming for both students and teachers. Let's look at a variety of measures for determining campus accountability and educator competency. High stakes testing should not be the determining factor.



I stand in strong opposition to this. Public school tax dollars should not be diverted to fund vouchers. Especially concerning is the idea that these programs are not required to meet the same standards as public schools.



​​I completely support the option of using payroll deduction for association dues. I question the motives behind any legislative attempt to eliminate this option. It creates a false narrative that teachers somehow belong to a "Union".



Charter schools divert money that would otherwise go to public schools, and I oppose all efforts to take dollars for educating our students to educational institutions that are not required to abide by the same standards as our public schools.



It should be left up to each school district to decide how to protect their students from disease, and I oppose the attempts by Gov. Abbott to prohibit local school districts from making these decisions.



Most school districts are currently barred from pivoting to remote instruction, which makes it harder to keep schools open when outbreaks are happening. Even for students that primarily learn in-person, there are advantages to having a virtual component in education, and it may not be best for everyone, there are students that can benefit from it. However, we should also make sure that teachers are compensated fairly if they are responsible for running virtual education programs, and ensure they have the proper training to do so effectively.



While it makes sense for the state to set guidelines on curricula to ensure that all students are being adequately taught subjects such as math or reading, our state has abused that power to ban so-called "divisive" topics simply because they offend the sensibilities of our far-right Republican legislature. The current bans on what is presumed to be "critical race theory" would make it nearly impossible to discuss current events or policy, or teaching history in proper context, and laws passed would also make schools less safe for LGBTQ+ students. The state should not mandate which views or perspectives should be taught when it comes to social topics, and teachers should be given flexibility to teach the way that works best for their classroom.



In order to address this and other issues, we have to target what is stretching teachers thin in the first place and causing them to leave the field, such as low pay, one of the worst retirement packages in the country, high stakes testing, and a state legislature that seems to demonize educators rather than support them. We must also look at legislation like HB 4545 that is passed with good intention, yet implementation is overwhelming and confusing. I also support guaranteeing teachers sufficient planning time and ensuring that that time does not get repurposed in other ways by school districts that leave teachers spending more of their own time in planning.

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey


COMMENTS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:

As a veteran public school teacher, I've had a front row seat to the outcome of both good and bad legislation here in Texas. We are a leading world economy, yet the state is not properly funding our schools. Our legislature must be focused on making sure our students get the best education we can provide. That's why I'm ready to fight for our students in Austin.