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? 

I am a person who likes to see meaningful quantitative data in order to determine if the education processes are working.   How do we obtain quantitative data without testing? While I do not support over-testing or "teaching to the test" in any regard, I do believe that quantitative data must be obtained at 2 or 3 points in the educational development of our children. I'm not sure exactly at which ages these tests should be conducted, so I will need to read through more information regarding the STAAR testing before I can make a judgement on the effectiveness of pending reform measures.

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? 

I support equitable access to educators and I would like to see this implemented through the Regions that currently exist.   From the data I have read in the reports, it seems that there is a fair amount of excellent teachers available and that the classification of "minority" students may need to be updated, since in fact the defined minorities are now a majority in the public school system.   I think we should offer bonuses to excellent teachers who teach in schools that are lacking in a bench-marked percentage of good / excellent teachers.   Another option would be to offer bonuses to teachers who are average or good teachers, currently teaching in these schools, to stimulate them to become excellent teachers.   This may be a motivation-based issue, both in the children's and the teacher's approach to learning.   How can we motivate both the children and the teachers to succeed? 

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? 

I understand that the new TEKS for Spanish and English Language Arts/ Reading are being implemented.   I want to make sure that these two TEKS come together as one at defined points in the curriculum.  I do not believe that we should be teaching children only in Spanish and that they must cross over into the ELAR at the earliest possible point.  So, I would support SLAR strongly as it pushes Spanish speakers into the ELAR at the earliest possible point.   We do not need to develop a dual language curriculum if they two curriculums do not merge into ELAR.   I do support multi-lingual education.  Honestly, I need to learn more about the ELAR / SLAR TEKS and read through them in detail.