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Joe P. Herrera
Texas House District 53
Status

Challenger

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Key Account Manager

Address

P O Box 772 , Natalia, TX, 78059

Additional Information

Ran unsuccessfully for the Texas House in 2020 and 2018.

Candidate Survey Responses


HAS NOT RESPONDED TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY.

Did not respond to the 2020 ATPE Candidate Survey.

Below are the candidate's responses to our 2018 survey:


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

I will ensure that funds for Public schools stay within the Public school systems and are not channeled to vouchers. I would also focus on improving how we fund public schools, working to find a fair solution for both urban and rural districts. Finally, finding solutions for our retired teachers, their pension and healthcare needs.

 

2. Is there a need to increase state funding to meet the needs of our student population? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education?

Yes, we need more state funding for our Texas Students. I believe that we need to look at several ways to raise funds for public education. 1. We need to look at wasteful programs that have been given funds that had once been marked for public education. 2. We should look at reallocating more Lottery funds to education. 3. We should consider an increase to the Gasoline tax, funds would be dedicated to public schools only. This tax would be shared by both residents and visitors.

 

3. Healthcare costs for educators have increased dramatically and outpaced the state's contributions, with many current and retired educators now paying more out of pocket than their counterparts in other states or in other professions. As a legislator, how would you address this crisis to ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable healthcare?

I would propose that all educators at all levels of the public education system have access to one pool of healthcare providers. If we move away from a district by district approach and let healthcare providers fight for access to the entire states pool of employees, we would be able to negotiate lower premiums for more educators vs. the current system that favors larger districts. I would also propose that retired educators be included in the current educators pool, allowing them to have access to more choices and better rates.

 

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 do believe that the TRS should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current and retired educators. However, I do believe that we should give future educators the option to participate in the pension or have funds diverted to a 401K plan.

 

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.?

Student scores should be used as a 50% of the accountability regarding evaluating teachers and student progress. We should have be teaching students only test material, it needs to be a mixture of basic STEAM course work and standardized testing course work. I believe that we have been putting too much focus on test scores being the only measure of a students progress and in many cases just because a student is scoring at or above grade level, it does not mean that at graduation, they are college ready.

 

6. Would you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas classroom teachers?

No, I would not support across the board pay raises for all Texas classrooms. This sounds like a solution to the pay issues, but it does not address the bigger issue. The goal should be to raise the pay of under compensated teachers. If everyone gets a raise, the pay gaps remain the same. We should look at a performance based pay increase for teachers who deserve raises.

 

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

Student performance should be used to determine 50% of a teachers pay. There are too many outside factors influencing a students performance to have all of the burden put on our teachers and especially their pay. Additionally, other duties, administrative and support work should be factored into their pay. We should be measuring teacher pay the way we measure pay in other industries. If there are high demand positions and limited talent to fill those spots, than those teachers would demand a premium in pay. Additionally, if a teacher has many talents and can cover more courses they should be paid accordingly.

 

8. 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?

No, I am anti-voucher. We have a public funded system so if we move funds out of the system to a voucher program, students that remain in the public system are negatively impacted because the districts funds are reduced.

 

9. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations like ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees use payroll deduction for their membership dues?

I support letting all public employees use payroll deductions for their membership dues, it is their money, they can use it as they please.

 

10. Current law allows school districts with accountability ratings of "C" or better to become Districts of Innovation (DOIs) and exempt themselves from many state statutes, such as elementary school class-size limits, requirements for hiring certified teachers, and more. Would you recommend any changes to the criteria for becoming a DOI? Would you place any limitations on the state laws that can be waived by DOIs?

I would recommend placing limits on the state laws that could be waived by DOI's. We should never waive class-size limits or lower requirements for hiring certified teachers.

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey


No additional comments