Nov. 4 preview: State Board of Education

Here’s a look at the contested local State Board of Education races:

State Board of Education, District 11:

Republican Patricia “Pat” Hardy (i)

Age: 65

Occupation and/or your main source of income: educator

City: Fort Worth

Campaign phone number: 817-732-1786; Campaign email address: pathardy2008@sbcglobal.net; web site: www.votepathhardy.wordpress.com

Education background, including all degrees: Howard Payne University, B.A.; University of North Texas, M.S.

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Community involvement: For the past twelve years I have served on the Texas State Board of Education, where I presently chair the SBOE’s Permanent School Fund Committee. For the past three years I have participated in Kid’s Hope mentoring program at George C. Clarke Elementary in Fort Worth ISD. I am an active member of Travis Ave Baptist Church and serve on the Indian Creek Condominiums HOA. Member of the following organizations: Texas Retired Teachers Association, Texas Council for the Social Studies, Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association, World Affairs Council, Texas Alliance for Geographic Education; Dallas Arboretum

What in particular about your background, skills and experience makes you qualified for this office? My life’s work has been in education. I spent 30 years as a classroom teacher and am completing my fourteenth year as a central office administrator. I have received numerous recognitions for my expertise and commitment to Texas schools, including the Texas Social Studies Supervisor of the Year and Texas Excellence in Education Award from The University of Texas Ex-Students' Association. Because of my interest in education issues, before I was elected to the State Board, the Speaker of the House appointed me to serve on several education policy committees. During my term of service on the SBOE, I have built consensus and guided the Board to become more efficient and cohesive. My vast experience in education is an extremely valuable asset.

What are the highest priority issues that you plan to address? Presently the State Board is in the process of addressing Proclamation 2015 which deals with the social studies textbook adoption. The Board is also in the process of revising the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career Technology Education, to be followed in January with the revision of English Language Arts & Reading TEKS. With updated technology, in recent standards revisions the board has been able to include more ideas and opinions from educators around the state. I would like to see more input by both interested educators and qualified community members. At the last Board meeting I was asked to serve on an ad hoc committee to work on the Board of Education’s Long Range Plan for Texas Education.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? Although service on the SBOE is costly and unpaid, it is an especially rewarding opportunity to give time, energy, and expertise to the students and state of Texas. I cherish the votes of my constituents and am grateful for the personal physical and mental resources that have allowed me to serve in this critical position. I trust the electorate to decide the number of terms that I serve.

Democrat Nancy Bean

Age: 60

Occupation and/or main source of income: Educator /Counselor with Arlington ISD

City of your residence: Arlington

Best way for voters to reach you via phone, email or website: www.facebook.com/nancybeansboe or nancy@nancybeanfortexas.org

Highlights of your current and past civic involvement: Founding Board member of Friends of Justice, a faith-based non-profit; Member of Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Member of American Association of School Counselors; Member of United Educators Association; Member of, endorsed, and supported by Texas Democratic Women, Tarrant County Democratic Women, Greater Arlington/Mansfield Democratic Women, Mid-Cities Democrats; Endorsed by Tarrant County Central Labor Council-AFL-CIO

Past public offices you have run for or held: This is my first candidacy.

Why are you the best candidate for this office? I am a veteran educator with over 20 years experience in public education, serving students from three years old to post-secondary, first as a teacher and now as a counselor to children with special needs. My husband, Dr. Alan Bean, and I ingrained in our children the value of education. Our daughter, Lydia, taught at Baylor after earning her doctorate from Harvard and is now organizing with faith communities for increased civic engagement. Our sons are both public teachers in Texas: Adam teaches Spanish in HEB and Amos teaches elementary special education in Arlington. I am committed to quality universal public education as the foundation of democracy and as access to equal opportunity for the most vulnerable in our society. As a member of the SBOE, I will work within the prescribed parameters to increase professionalism and quality of the curriculum review process. I will also use my platform to advocate for more equitable funding and increased respect for educators and public education. In a recent editorial interview with Dallas Morning News, Ms. Hardy defended the current way of writing curriculum standards and conducting curriculum reviews. I am committed to moving towards credentialed professionals in the field making these content decisions, with the SBOE serving to guide the process rather than to determine the standards and content. The incumbent has had a decade to lead the SBOE in a more professional and culturally relevant direction. But instead she has contributed to our national embarrassment by single-handedly removing Arch Bishop Romero (now nominated for sainthood) from the curriculum and by consistently siding with those who deny the cultural and ethnic diversity of the heritage of our nation and state. Most recently she voted against the Ethnic Studies Framework which had evolved from wide-spread requests for Mexican-American Studies. In contrast, I have shown, both in my work with the most needy students and in my civic activity with the most vulnerable communities, that I will advocate for a quality education for all Texans.

What are your top issues? 1. Premier universal public education is my top priority in this candidacy. Universal public education is the foundation for democracy. When public education is under attack, democracy is under attack. And public education is under attack in Texas and in the nation. The move toward privatization is education's return to Jim Crow. "School Choice" is a euphemism for segregation. Privatization and charters allows the privileged to segregate "our children" into different schools from "those children". The privatization initiative is fueled by the myth of school failure (insured by defunding and demoralization of public education and public educators) and by billions of dollars from those who profit.

2. The smartest investment in Texas is universal quality pre-kindergarten. Children who participate in quality pre-k are more likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be employed and at higher wages, more likely to own their own homes, and less likely to be incarcerated. Studies estimate that states receive a return of from two to four times on their pre-k dollars.

3. Vocational technical training is essential for Texas workforce development and the living wage employment of Texans. HB5 is a good start to restoring vocational education as a priority for public education in Texas. Texans should not be forced to incur debt to obtain workplace skills and become productive citizens.

4. Curriculum standards should be developed by credentialed professionals in the field. Texas curriculum reviews should reflect the consensus in the educational field and not provide an opportunity for politicians to promote their ideologies.

5. Texas should resist the national move toward high stakes standardized assessment. Assessment and accountability should be formative and responsive to the deficits and strengths of individual students in the classroom. Professional educators know how to do that. Meaningful assessment does not rob but rather enriches classroom learning. Professional educators want to do that. Standardized tests produce standardized Texans. We want to educate citizens who, like all great Texans, think for themselves.

Do you plan to limit the number of terms you would serve, and do you believe there should be term limits for the office you seek? The electorate determines the number of terms any candidate can hold an office. I do not have plans for future candidacies.

Should the state keep, kill or expand the Texas lottery? The Texas lottery should be replaced with progressive taxation. Infrastructure, such as public education should be supported by progressive and just taxation.

Should Texas allow historical racing at horse and dog tracks? Texas should allow, regulate, and tax racing as it does other recreational and sporting industries. Taxation should be used to support Texas infrastructure, including public education.

What do you think about casino gambling in Texas? Texas should allow, regulate, and tax casino gambling as it does other recreational and sporting industries. Taxation should be used to support Texas infrastructure, including public education.

What should Texas do regarding the border crisis? Texas should educate all children within its borders. Texas should advocate for economic and humanitarian development with those regions of the world with inhospitable and hostile living environments. Texans should take pride in providing a new life and livelihood for those who seek our borders.

Do you agree with the abortion law passed last year by the Legislature and now being fought in the courts? HB2 was an attack on women's healthcare in the most vulnerable communities. Access to healthcare should be universal and available to all Texans.

What are your priorities for improving Texas' infrastructure? Texas infrastructure includes Public Education. Funding should be restored to 2010 levels immediately with the goal of increasing funding to bring Texas from 47th in the nation to the top ten states for educational funding. Public post-secondaries should also be fully funded as essential infrastructure. Texas students should not be forced to incur debt in their preparation to become productive citizens. Building Texas means investing in our potential workforce and citizenry.

Do you agree with the school funding plans passed in 2013 and 2011 by the Legislature and now being fought in the courts? The school funding formula in Texas in indecipherable, inequitable, and inadequate. Every child in Texas should receive the same final per student funding. Vulnerable communities with limited resources should receive at least as much final per student funding as communities with high property tax resources. Funding for public education should be a top priority for Texas.

Should open carry be allowed in Texas? As a representative on SBOE, I would argue against school staff carrying guns or other weapons on school property.

Libertarian Craig Sanders Did not respond to questionnaire

State Board of Education, District 13

Democrat Erika Beltran Did not respond to questionnaire

Libertarian Junart Sodoy Did not respond to questionnaire

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