High-stakes standardized testing does not serve Texas or our future. Standardized tests like STAAR create undue stress on students and teachers and prevents a deeper understanding of subject matter. In fact, studies consistently demonstrate that high-stakes standardized testing reduces learning outcomes by forcing teachers to prioritize rote memorization over critical thinking skills and understanding. It’s not good for taxpayers’ wallets, either: Texas spends half a billion dollars every year on its contract with a testing service for a test that does nothing but frustrate parents, students, and teachers.
It doesn’t have to be this way. As an SBOE member, Dan will heed the calls of parents, teachers, and students and work to replace the STAAR testing program with a handful of other measures, including portfolio-based exams, social and emotional skills assessments, and more.
It’s no secret that Texas teachers are overworked and underpaid. Teachers are highly trained, degreed professionals, and we need to treat them with the respect that they are due. Dan is committed to reducing the barriers to teacher success and retention. This includes reducing micromanagement and needless paperwork, streamlining hierarchies, restoring the balance between parental and teacher oversight, and advocating for more teacher pay.
Let teachers do their jobs by giving them the resources and time they need to do them well.
The spirit of public education law holds that we all learn better together. Taxpayer dollars should not fund private religious schools exempt from paying taxes. Although parents have every right to choose where to educate their children, it is not the taxpayer’s responsibility to foot their bill.
Moreover, charter and private schools currently receive public funds and do not need to meet local or state requirements. This means they can teach whatever they want, however they wish, skirting public education law. Worse still, rural residents are forced to pay for wealthier students’ education fees under this setup.
As an SBOE member, Dan will work to reject new charter school applications. He pledges not to vote in favor of charter school expansion or raises in property taxes.
Let’s get this straight: critical race theory (CRT) is not taught in public schools. It’s never been taught in District 7 schools. CRT is a concept exclusive to graduate and law school that explains how systemic racism serves to undercut the social and financial advancement of people of color. Politicians and talking heads on TV have made CRT their cause simply because they’re grasping for something to get their voters to the polls—not because it’s a real-world issue or problem.
More cynically and maliciously, SBOE members on the right are using CRT to dictate their preferred version of history, gag humanities teachers, and ban books. This risks not only the quality of education our students receive but also the precious freedoms of speech upon which our great nation was founded.
As an SBOE member, Dan will oppose this nothing-burger nonsense from the right and restore honesty and integrity by writing and approving accurate curricula that serves our students—not politicians.
Policymakers in Austin are failing our students, plain and simple. The policies of the last 12 years have done nothing to improve Texas school performance. Currently, Texas ranks 43rd out of 50 states in education, with more than 70% of students unable to read at the 4thgrade level, with the majority black or Latino students, and many twice as likely to not graduate. We need to scaffold our curricula properly across the state, from kindergarten to high school, so that all students receive the same basic knowledge, regardless of resources or location. This will provide Texas students with a solid foundation of understanding across cultural groups and build a knowledge base that benefits us all.