Independent / Third-Party
2235 Homeway Circle, Dallas, TX, 75228
Candidate Survey Responses
RESPONSES TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?
If elected, my goal is to eliminate all state funding for public education and to return those property taxes back to taxpayers, in order that parents may use those funds to educate their students according to their own convictions and principles.
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?
I recommend a completely free-market approach to education, in which schools are privatized and directly accountable to those who fund them.
3. How would you address the challenge of rising health care costs facing Texas educators and ensure that active and retired educators have access to affordable health care?
Rising health care costs are the result of over-regulation, an insurance industry that is largely unnecessary (except in the cases of catastrophic illness), and a general lack of transparency regarding prices for care and medication. I will support legislation that takes the "middle men" away from the interactions between patients and their doctors, and support mutual-aid societies, fraternal organizations, and similar voluntary structures to help meet the costs of healthcare.
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 have been an active member in TRS since 1994, and I would support converting it to an individually-directed, defined contribution plan. While future benefits are not guaranteed under such a plan, TRS retirees and beneficiaries are at the mercy of a government bureaucracy that issues selective, meager cost-of-living adjustments whose frequency can almost be measured in decades. The current interest rate on TRS deposits comes nowhere close to keeping up with average inflation, much less the levels we will be experiencing as the result of failed Republican and Democratic economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Privately-managed funds will always benefit the retiree better than government-managed ones.
5. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in the Texas public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used for teacher pay, school accountability ratings, evaluating teachers, measuring student progress, etc.?
Mandatory standardized testing should be eliminated. It has transformed schools into "test prep centers" for STAAR tests, eroding and/or eliminating everything that would qualify as a rich, well-rounded education.
6. 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?
Voucher programs would still involve taxing Texans and redistributing that money to schools, whether public, private, or home schools. The government should be out of the education business completely, so I will not support any system that would allow for the state to put any conditions on how educational choices are made. I will support ending the funding of education through any form of taxes levied on Texans. That includes the present system, as well as any voucher program.
7. 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 support the right of an employer and and employee to negotiate such matters among themselves, with no interference from a third party.
8. 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?
Charter schools provide meaningful competition to the traditional ISDs. I support as many endeavors as can be created to give parents and students options to receive the educational experience that is best tailored to their needs and desires. However, I do not support taxpayer funding of charters any more than I support taxpayer funding of traditional school districts.
9. How much freedom should school districts have to make decisions during disease outbreaks, such as requiring face coverings and immunizations or transitioning to remote instruction?
Under current educational models, students are essentially captives, required by law to attend these schools unless other affordable accommodations can be made. That is why issues like these will always be part of a tug-of-war between those who support them and those who oppose them. True school choice would eliminate this struggle of each side attempting to make everyone else comply with their wishes.
10. What do you believe is the proper role of virtual education within the public education system? Do you believe full-time virtual education should be expanded, and if so, under what circumstances?
Virtual instruction is one of many viable options that parents would have access to in a privatized educational model.
11. What do you feel should be the state’s role (versus the role of school districts or individual educators) in decisions about public school curriculum and instructional materials?
Public school curriculum would not exist under a privatized, free-market model. Parents should be free to choose the schools, curricula, and/or materials that will equip their children in the best way.
12. The COVID-19 pandemic and additional instructional support needed to remediate students’ learning losses have placed additional strain on public schools’ staffing needs. How would you work to ensure classrooms are appropriately staffed, teachers’ workloads are manageable, and planning time is not sacrificed amid these challenges?
One of the few silver linings of the disastrous government responses to the pandemic was to uncover the utter inability of archaic models of public education to adapt to new circumstances. It is not a coincidence that teachers, administrators, and superintendents alike are leaving the profession at this particular moment in history. The question itself is flawed, because it assumes that each student should be at precisely the same place in their educational development based on their date of birth. Once that notion is thrown out the window and alternative opportunities to be educated are embraces, concepts such as "learning losses" and necessary "remediation" become meaningless.
Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey
COMMENTS SUBMITTED IN RESPONSE TO THE 2022 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
I do not address these issues as an uninformed "outsider." I was an educator in Texas public K-12 schools for 25 years, and I saw and experienced first-hand the things that are addressed in this survey. There will never be an adequate, "one-size-fits-all" model for publicly-funded education, even in the smallest of school districts. The solution is as many options for parents and students that the free market can support.