Independent / Third-Party
5002 Sundown, Lago Vista, TX, 78645
Previously ran unsuccessfully in a July 2020 special election for the same Texas Senate seat.
Candidate Survey Responses
Has not responded to the 2022 ATPE Candidate Survey.
RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:
1. If elected, what will be your top priorities for public education?
Empowering teachers and parents. Teachers need the ability and discretion to use their passion and talent to inspire and teach children. Forcing teachers to focus on mandated tests is a deterrent to effective education and attracting talented and passionate people to the teaching profession. At the risk of losing your entire organization, I favor empowering parents to choose what is best for their child. Children should not be treated as clones that are all trained the same way. Each child has an an individual personality and is inspired in their own way. A one size fits all approach is not best for parents and children.
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?
In regards to funding of government schools, I recognize the obligation under the Texas constitution to provide education that is available to all. It is clear we have not figured out how to do this. It seems that every session results in litigation over the fairness of funding under the Robin Hood plan. I do not approach this campaign from the perspective that I know everything and that my opponents are wrong. I think we need creative solutions that are clearly not found after years of Republicans and Democrats fighting over it. As a Libertarian I am going into the senate with an open mind and seeking common ground from deliberation with fellow senators and seeking expert opinion from organizations like yours.
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?
As with any business, you have to be able to attract and retain talent. Government schools are, of course, owned and operated by government. Therefore, the senate has a role in putting a budget together that can provide an attractive package to teachers. I am not going to offer detailed plans for doing so. I am going to talk to organizations like yours and deliberate with fellow senators to find common ground and support logical and reasonable approaches.
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 know your organization wants to maintain the existing defined benefit plan. I do not know what most teachers want, and I would like to see if there are creative ways to offer choices. It seems to me that teachers could be given either option instead of forcing them into having no choice.
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.?
The short answer is no. I addressed this previously. I understand that when money is given, there is interest in having accountability. Government obviously wants to know if the investment they make gives them the results they want. However, this is a one size fits all approach based on the premise that if students score well on these tests they will achieve in life. In my experience, those that have the most fulfilling lives are those that are inspired and follow their passion. I have a hard time believing that state mandated tests are inspiring anyone. Ultimately, accountability lies with parents when they can choose what is best for their child.
6. To what extent should student performance determine teacher pay?
In any business, a person that produces outstanding results should be rewarded. Those businesses that do this well tend to be the best performers. Therefore, when students are inspired and achieve, the teachers who have provided the inspiration and education deserve commensurate compensation. I think the best evaluators of a child's performance are their parents.
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?
At the risk of losing your entire organization, the answer is probably. Show me the legislation, and if it empowers parental choice I will likely support it. By the way, I reject the premise that when a parent has choice to invest money in their child's education that this is taking money away from government. That money came from taxpayers like me. It is our money.
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 am not sure I understand Dan Patrick's motivation or logic in denying the paycheck deduction. If indeed that state of Texas was using my taxes to pay for teachers to be union members I would oppose it. However, it appears to me the teachers are choosing the deduct their own pay to join. This argument can become rather metaphysical, but I think a logical and reasonable interpretation is that voluntary payroll deduction decisions of a teacher is not spending of taxpayer money; it is a teacher spending a portion of their own 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?
You won't like my answer, but I support empowering parents by giving them more options. Whether it is a charter, private, home, or other form of school I welcome them to the marketplace. Some of them will fail, which is good. Milton Friedman said that one of the most important attributes of a free market is not just the successes but the failures. In a free market a failure can result in lessons learned, innovation, inspiration, and a fast rejection of bad ideas. In government we typically see that failures result in more spending to make bad ideas better and perpetual. I do not expect government school to disappear. I expect them to be one of the options that are offered to empowered parents.
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?
I don't know. On the one hand, a government school that is receiving Robin Hood money has to be accountable to the state. On the other hand, if a creative solution can provide better results for parents I don't want to dismiss it. In discussion with organizations like your and deliberation with fellow senators, I would look for common ground and logical policies.
Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey
No additional comments