The Texas State Board of Education has improved since I first ran for it, when its members’ antics made Texas fodder for late-night comedians. Nowadays, most of our outrage arises from a constant flood of outrageous White House news, but we must not lose sight of the fact that our public-school curriculum is still sadly outdated and in need of revision.
We need a fresh look at the skills and tools needed to solve 21st century problems, including global warming and environmental devastation, challenges to democracy, rampant worldwide income inequality, and political strife. Let’s remember the slogan, “Think globally, act locally,” as we tackle problems that affect not only the nation, but the entire globe. Now, more than ever, we have an opportunity to shape the future of Texas and the planet through our choices in public education.
Several key principles should guide our thinking and our actions as we look at public-school curriculum, which is decided by the fifteen members on the unpaid State Board of Education. With our booming population, our public schools educate nearly one in ten students in the United States. What they learn is key to our future, and we must work on improving our corner of the world. This will involve challenging the board’s obsession with Algebra II, choosing instead the more useful path of teaching new skills and subjects, from statistical analysis to computer coding. Aside from providing young people with important work skills, a revised curriculum will conform to new entrance exams and employer demands for an educated workforce.
Even though I live in a district gerrymandered to elect a Republican, I have been committed to winning a seat on the State Board of Education to help change its direction. Since my first run that I lost by 24%, I’ve improved each time, closing the gap to 8% on my next try and then coming within 4% in 2016. Not only does this trajectory suggest that victory is within reach in 2020, but so does the trend of suburban voters being more likely to support Democrats because the Austin-San Antonio corridor is the core of my district.
As a candidate, I will be running at full speed, with a leave from my teaching duties and a steadfast commitment to the same vision and principles that have inspired me from the beginning. Winning will take grit, determination, hard work, and a unified Democratic party. I am excited for our future, and I hope you’ll join and support me!