QUESTION 2: In the 83rd legislative session, the number of state assessments required for graduation was reduced. In the 84th legislative session, a proposed bill would have eliminated state testing in writing at grades 4 and 7 (the bill was left pending in committee). What is your position on further reform of STAAR testing? 

The number of assessments is meaningless without also talking about the quality of assessments. We need assessments that give the teachers information to make adjustments in learning during the school year so that all students can succeed. We need to lessen the focus on high-stakes testing and move to more formative assessments with fewer summative tests. The reason we test is to make sure all students are learning. That process then should be helpful, not punitive and stressful.

QUESTION 3: Last year, the US Department of Education approved the Texas State Plan to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators. What can the SBOE do to support this effort to ensure that poor and minority children have equal access to experienced, qualified teachers? 

As a teacher educator, I take my responsibility very seriously. Each year I teach presevice teachers that will become the leaders of tomorrow’s classrooms. We need to ensure educator preparation programs are reflective of today’s public school classrooms and are teaching the most effective research-based practices. In addition, we need to recruit and foster preservice teachers that are representative of our school children. Texas needs more teachers of color in the classrooms.

QUESTION 4: The SBOE is charged with setting curriculum standards, and this year new English Language Arts/Reading and Spanish Language Arts/Reading (ELAR/SLAR) TEKS are being developed. What role can the SBOE play in the effective implementation of these new standards? 

 The SBOE is charged with overseeing the curriculum. It is then important for there to be two-way communication between the development committees and the board. TEA must also be involved in implementation procedures for new curriculum. Communication is vital.

I believe the SBOE needs to help move Texas forward with rigorous standards for our school children and appropriate and practical assessments for them. Instead of making the news for mistakes, we should be making the news as an exemplar of public education. I believe we need to protect our public school system from vouchers and charter schools and focus on improving education in the schools we have. I also believe we should look to educator preparation programs to become more innovative and rigorous.

QUESTION 5: What do you, as a representative of your district, see as priority issues for the State Board of Education? 

DISTRICT 9 - Keven Ellis (R), No response