Pearland ISD School Board Trustee
The TEA reports that the state standardized test, the STAAR, costs $90 million to administer each year. This merely accounts for the contacts that Pearson receives to print/grade the exams. The total costs that both the state and local districts pay is close to 13 billion dollars, according to the TEA. I support HB 1336, proposed by Rep. Jeff Leach (R), called "Testing Transparency", which would require school districts to report their expenses for administering the tests. This is an important step in reducing overall costs related to the STAAR Tests.
I am greatly concerned with both the emphasis and preparation that our students receive to take the STAAR tests, particularly our young students in elementary school. We must prepare them to take the tests without placing too much worry or stress on our third and fourth graders.
Students do not come in standardized packages - they shouldn't be tested like they do. Our district has fallen into the trap that standardized testing is the way to go. Our children are suffering and end up "studying to pass", not to learn. We need to place more emphasis on learning, not just passing the STAAR test. One size does not fit all. As Albert Einstein once said, "If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid".
The increasing emphasis on testing and reprisal needs to be adjusted to pursue meaningful change that can help students succeed. We should work toward an accountability system that builds on the capacity of educators and schools to improve student knowledge and skills. A capacity-building accountability system should be designed for enhancing student outcomes, rather than for assigning blame. This requires not only better measures of academic performance and broader evidence of student mastery, but also the careful analysis of critical input data to ensure that students, teachers, and schools have the resources necessary to promote the desired goals of schooling: academic excellence, civic responsibility, and individual development.
I strongly oppose school vouchers and I condemn the efforts of State Senator Larry Taylor and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to privatize schools. "School Choice" is a phrase co-opted by the opponents of public school to convince working Texans that vouchers would help them. In fact, vouchers would hurt nearly everyone in Texas aside from the wealthy few. I support public education and the right for everyone, regardless of income, zipcode, or any other factor, to receive the highest quality education possible.
More issues and stances to come!
I want to see more transparency at every level of our government, including school boards. I would like to see Pearland ISD expand the public comment section of regular meetings. Public comment is a great time for parents, students, and stakeholders to voice their opinion and concerns to the board. Starting in late 2017, I will be introducing "Pearland ISD Townhalls" - an evening in which I, along with my fellow trustees, will take questions from the people they serve. Further, this will allow us to explain the more complex and detailed issues our district is facing.
I fully support the transgender community and I believe that transgender students should use the bathroom they identify with. This issue is truly a civil rights issue. As a proud American and as someone who believes everyone was created equal, I am standing strong in affirming the rights of all of people, regardless of race, income, religion, origin, or any other fundamental trait that we cannot control. Currently, I am the only board member who publicly supports in right for girls to use the girl's restroom and boys to use the boy's restroom. #YallMeansALL
It's no secret that Pearland ISD has major funding problems. A large part of this problem is the way that the State of Texas allocates funding to school districts. The algorithm that the state uses to distribute funds is roughly 4 pages long and is so complex that it is said only one man in our government truly knows how to use it. However, it makes no sense that Pearland ISD receives less money per student than the surrounding districts. I will continue to be a strong advocate for fairer funding which can help our district grow and keep up with education standards that our parents and students deserve.
Currently, Pearland ISD has a budget deficit of $10,535,819. In the 2017-2018 term, Pearland ISD lost 3% of its revenue from the State.