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Penny Morales Shaw
Texas House District 148
Status

Incumbent

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Attorney

Address

1604 W 34th 1/2 St, Houston, TX, 77018

Additional Information

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

Shaw earned 22.1% of the vote in the March 2020 primary and subsquently defeated incumbent Rep. Anna Eastman in a runoff election on July 14, 2020.

Endorsed by the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle in the 2020 general election.


  • 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

    Was absent for the vote on 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. In comments entered into the House Journal after the vote, the representative stated she intended to vote for the bill.

    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

    Was absent for the vote on a bill passed during the second special session that replaced HB 3979 passed during the regular session. In comments entered into the House Journal after the vote, the representative stated she intended to vote against the bill. 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 for 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. 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

    Was absent for the vote on a bill that would have expanded full-time virtual school programs statewide. In comments entered into the House Journal after the vote, the representative stated she intended to vote against the bill. 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.

RESPONSES TO THE 2020 ATPE CANDIDATE SURVEY:


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

My top priorities for public education include, sourcing and allocating sustainable funding; establishing access to the resources and tools needed for online public school learning for all children and teachers in light of COVID-19; reviewing recapture for improvements to funding high-need public schools; prioritizing tax dollars to fund community public schools; and ensuring that there be stricter adherence to regulations and oversight for charters. I am a strong believer in the benefits of traditional public education for every child, regardless of their background or circumstances. Public education has been an economic equalizer and fosters social connectedness within communities. After years of defunding, under-investing and prioritizing testing over teaching, our school system is debilitated. Students and teachers experience an inordinate amount of instability, while schools are under threat of closure and state takeover.

 

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?

House Bill 3 was a stopgap measure. Sustained adequate public school funding will be a priority issue in this session, along with other major items like redistricting and CoronaVirus recovery. Our school population continues to grow, while federal funding continues to decrease- making challenges greater. This year we face the 5th year of this Administration's federal education funding cut proposals (proposed cut is over 5 billion). Rethinking the recapture model so that more money stays locally in districts where it is needed the most, reevaluating changing needs, and reprioritizing public schools over privatization, are some common-sense approaches to secure funding. Identifying new revenue streams could also be a possible source of additional available funds.

 

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?

To start, according to studies, when Texas accepts Medicaid expansion, the State will see an infusion of much-needed federal funding. This, in turn, will bring down healthcare costs for everyone by bringing down billions in annual unpaid healthcare costs. Until that happens, educators need healthcare that is affordable. Our current healthcare model, while working for some, continues to fail to meet the needs of all. We must work to improve the current healthcare model so that working families have coverage that is not only affordable, but that covers medicine, preventative care, and pre-existing conditions. No one should have to experience rapid, unexpected, and excessive jumps in healthcare costs, especially not someone that is on a fixed income. Spikes in healthcare costs cut into fixed incomes and make it impossible to maintain a standard of living. Additionally, I will work to add annual C.O.L.A. increases to pay and benefits to keep up with the rising costs.

 

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 am in favor of maintaining and strengthening the Teachers Retirement System as a traditional defined benefit pension plan in a sustainable way. As education needs and models evolve, we must make sustainable choices that make fiscal sense.

 

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.?

I agree with educators that testing, while useful when reasonably applied and balanced with student needs, has become overly burdensome, costly, and counter-productive in its application. Relying heavily or solely on test scores to measure teachers, students and schools isn't working. Testing tied to teacher evaluations inevitably begets a system where teachers are forced to teach to the test, instead of teaching to the needs of their students. Many other negative cascading effects follow, such as, teacher turn-over rate, classroom instability, and greater numbers of retention. My opponent is a strong supporter of raising the stakes even higher in standardized testing. I believe that would put increased pressure on our already overburdened and under-funded system.

 

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

Determining teacher pay should certainly take student performance into consideration while equally considering the many other key factors that play into a student's performance. These could include the availability of public education student support services; a student's unique needs, challenges, and abilities; and the kind and amount of education resources available. While teachers play an important role in student performance, there are other important factors that also affect the way our students perform. For that reason, I am opposed to allowing student performance to solely determine teacher pay.

 

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 a time when our public school system needs more funding and resources, not less, I would reject measures for more vouchers, tax credits, scholarship, or other program aimed at paying for students to attend non-public K-12 schools, unless such measures are warranted and prove beneficial to public education. Given that the majority of families and children rely heavily on their community public schools as a basic life cornerstone, I believe that the Texas legislature should continue to strive to serve those families and children, (and in turn, society), by strengthening and supporting our public school system.

 

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?

"Right to Work" laws were established to weaken union institutions. The consequence of such laws result in weaker protections for employees and their right to collectively bargain. So while it is beneficial for folks to have the union advantages, despite not paying dues, the "Right to Work" law ultimately prevents unions from having the necessary funds to effectively and fully advocate on behalf of workers.

 

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?

Charter schools should have a minimal role in Texas public education. I do not support charter expansion at the expense of funding children who attend community public schools. Charters may serve a needed purpose in communities that cannot otherwise be served by a traditional public school -for example, extreme rural communities. Nonetheless, I strongly support strengthening and improving our public schools in lieu of privatization.

 

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 am opposed to unnecessarily deregulating and dismantling our public schools, particularly during a time when school districts are struggling to adjust to the resultant effects of the pandemic. Many of the goals of the District of Innovation proposal have been shunned by educators as ill-conceived and redundant. Publicly-funded schools should be strictly regulated by democratically-derived public law.

 

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey


No additional comments