Encouraging Excellence in Education is perhaps the most important role of the Texas Legislature. Education receives the largest percentage of state tax dollars, so how we spend those dollars will receive a large amount of my focus and attention. I believe that while it is the responsibility of the state to set measurable goals, it is counterproductive for the state to set specific unfunded mandates that often make the schools operate less efficiently and less effectively.
My wife (who is a former public school teacher with a master’s degree in education curriculum) and I fully understand the importance of a quality education. We are both products of the public high schools and public universities. We understand that the future of our six boys and of this state will largely depend on the quality of education that we provide.
It is important to understand that the needs of families and children are not the same in every case. We must provide the foundation that prepares our students for higher education if that is their chosen path. However, there must also be a greater emphasis on vocational education for children, based on their desires and competencies. We must have a renewed appreciation for those who wish to build products with machines and their hands – and be paid well in the process.
I will work hard to remove the funding inequalities that are especially damaging to rural schools.
While everyone would like to operate in a world with unlimited funds (especially when it comes to our children), our education system competes with health care, transportation funding, and other priorities for limited resources. I believe the legislature can help by ensuring strong funding for our schools coupled with results-based, performance measures.