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Marisa B. Perez-Diaz
Texas State Board of Education District 3





Director of Governmental, Community and Judson Education Foundation Relations


8759 Seneca Creek, Converse, TX, 78109

Candidate Survey Responses

Has not responded to the 2022 ATPE Candidate Survey.

Below are the candidate's responses to the 2018 ATPE Candidate Survey:

1. If elected, what do you believe your primary role and responsibility as a state board member should be?

If re-elected to the State Board of Education, I will continue to prioritize, as my primary role and responsibility, 1) the nomination of practicing educators from across District 3 to serve on TEKS review and textbook review committees; 2) make informed and responsible investment decisions pertaining to the Permanent School Fund that will yield the best results for return on investment back into our schools; and 3) keep all necessary stakeholders informed of issues pertinent to their roles in the education sphere to ensure that the most beneficial decisions are being made to support the success of our scholars in the classroom.


2. What role should educators and educator groups like ATPE play in policy decisions made by the State Board of Education (SBOE)?

Educators/Educator groups are vital and necessary partners not only in the final policy decisions being made by the SBOE, but are also significant contributors for proving guidance toward future issues/challenges/decisions that need to be taken up, which are not always clear to those who do not work in the field. As individuals who are fully committed to the work of education on a daily basis, educators are THE best people to engage in order for policy makers to understand the short and long-term implications that decisions have on everyday practice and thus projecting the impact on student achievement. Educators/Educator groups must have a seat at the table and be heard and should always have their opinions/recommendations considered. Not only does this help to support our schools and scholars; when an educator's voice is heard and respected in the decision-making process, this could be a turning point in teacher retention.


3. Do you believe the number of curriculum standards written into the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) is generally too high, too low, or just about right?

Unfortunately, the breadth of our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, in many cases, far outweighs the depth. Time and again, I have engaged in conversations with practitioners who are passionate about the content they teach, but disheartened with the amount of time they have to cover the subject matter. The "180 instructional days" that are so often spoken about are not truly reflective of what is happening in our schools. Our scholars are pulled from instructional time, throughout the year, for a variety of reasons, which further exasperates the issue of "mile wide and inch deep" standards. Now, not only are we looking at too many standards in a short amount of time, we are also facing interruptions within that insufficient time.


4. Do you believe our state's curriculum requirements allow students to receive a well-rounded education throughout all grade levels? Would you recommend any changes?

I believe that recent graduation requirement changes (HB5) have certainly opened the door for not only more well-rounded scholars, but also more opportunity for our scholars to explore future careers that they may not have otherwise been exposed to. That said, this change only benefited our high school scholars. While I believe that all of us who work in education intend to foster well-rounded scholars, I feel as though our curriculum standards are so expansive that they pose a serious challenge for so many of our committed educators to wholly provide a meaningful experience in the content. Thoughtful streamlining of our curriculum standards is absolutely necessary. Since serving on the board, we have started this process by prioritizing core content areas, beginning with Science, with a plan to work our way to additional TEKS assigned content. I believe that as long as the SBOE continues this process with educator feedback, we are on the right track.


5. Would you recommend any changes to the process for adopting and revising the TEKS curriculum standards?

There is always room for improvement and as a committed life long learner, I recognize, after having gone through a few TEKS review cycles, that there are certainly some things that we must change. The first would be maintaining fidelity to the transparency in our process: we must do better to communicate to the community when our committees are meeting and who is serving on our committees. Although the review committee capacity is limited, that does not mean that committee members should work in silos. Other individuals should have access to our committee members as they work through the review process to provide as much feedback as possible on what is relevant, necessary and applicable. The board should also be given more than two to three days to make decisions based on final public comments and review committee recommendations. There have been times when the board receives stacks of recommendations for changes just a few days before a final decision is to be made. This is not a sufficient amount of time for board members to go through recommendations and make a truly informed decision, in cases where there are stacks and stacks of submissions to read.


6. What do you think of the overall performance of charter schools in Texas? Should their presence be expanded? Why or why not?

Overall, the performance of charter schools is unimpressive. There remain early generation charter schools that serve a particular niche, however throughout the generations, the need to innovate and expand has resulted in redundancy and saturation in some parts of our state. I believe that Texas currently has a multitude of choice in our traditional school districts and current charter schools. It would be my desire to see a halt to the expansion of additional charter schools, until a proper assessment can be made to determine the efficacy on student achievement that current charters have and begin the process of closing down those institutions that are not turning out results before adding new ones. We cannot continue to add schools and add schools for the sake of "choice," without responsible insight to the current environment. Texas scholars deserve to have their schools assessed and be held accountable.


7. What role, if any, should the SBOE play in approving textbooks and instructional materials?

Just as the SBOE seeks out stakeholders to serve on review committees for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the SBOE must do the same for the review and adoption of all instructional materials. It is the responsibility of each member to identify and recruit individuals who bring to the conversation expertise in the subject matter, an understanding of pedagogy and classroom application. The SBOE must also listen and consider the recommendations made through public comment and weigh the most appropriate feedback given to determine whether an instructional material is appropriate and classroom ready.


8. Do you believe the SBOE should continue to have the authority to review and potentially veto any rule actions taken by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC)?

Absolutely! SBEC is an appointed board and therefore is answerable to the Commissioner of Education. As an elected body, the SBOE has a responsibility and is accountable to our constituents. SBOE members serve to speak for the public and share concerns or questions that arise with certification issues. Therefore, the authority to review and veto rule actions should remain intact.


Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey

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