I am a teacher.
"I am not a career politician. I have spent my years teaching, and I am proud of every one of those years. I am proud of the men and women who spent those years teaching in the classrooms to the right and left of mine. Year after year, I watched as the mantle of professionalism was lifted off my fellow teachers and passed to those who had never stepped foot in a classroom but were now the ultimate authorities on curriculum and instruction. Education designed in committee by faceless data-driven bureaucrats replaced the education offered by the classroom teacher. Spreadsheet-education replaced education based on the individual needs and personalities of students. I say no more. Education, at the core, is about wonder. We need to bring the wonder back."
Teaching to the Test
I’m a parent. I’m also a teacher. Both roles have taught me at least one thing: one size doesn’t fit all. But that is what our education system has become: a factory to churn out standardized test-takers, teaching the successful nothing but how to complete a task they’ll never face in the real world. The unsuccessful get a different message: you can’t measure up. You’re broken. You’re defective. It starts at third grade, when our kids should still be playing on the monkey bars as much as playing with arithmetic.
We need to acknowledge that there is as much value in the student who has a genius for machinery as there is for one who can write an academic essay or paint a beautiful picture. Education is not about test scores. Education is not about treating students as defective cogs in a testing machine, deficient numbers to be corrected.
A television hero of mine once said that education was the silver bullet. That education was everything. I agree, and I cannot stress enough that you cannot expect to educate children by taking the educators out of the equation and replacing genuine learning with test preparation. You cannot hide corruption and greed behind the mantle of “accountability” or “school reform”. Send me to Congress, and I’ll fight for a real Education for our children.
Local Control of Standardized Testing
I think we should give education back to the communities of Hurst and Southlake, of Grapevine and Colleyville, of Coppell and Irving. I say we let the stakeholders in each community decide the true need for standardized testing, and which tests need to be applied at which grade levels. I say you give teachers back the ability to sprinkle a little magic and wonder and engagement in a child’s education instead of spreadsheets, data, and testing prep. I say we tell the big-money corporations and their big-money representatives in government that the days of making billions of dollars off the undue burden those testing companies place on our children are over and done.
Teacher tax credit
Education, at the core, is about wonder. We need to bring the wonder back.
To help bring wonder, and innovation, and no small amount of magic, back into our classrooms, I propose we recruit and retain the best and the brightest as teachers, and I suggest we do this by offering an Educator’s Tax Credit of $1000 annually for everyone who makes the sacrifice of working with our future day in and day out. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot say we want the best education for our children, for yours and mine, but we don’t think teachers are worth it. For the cost of a single stealth bomber, every teacher in Texas could receive this tax credit with over 600 million dollars left over. As a society, we can incentivize teaching while we also acknowledge the simple fact that teachers are the tools Americans use to build the Future.
I have a lot of questions about vouchers. I’m not entirely sure vouchers solve the urban education problem. Rarely is a simple solution the answer to a complicated problem and education, like health care, is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts. Saying that choice would solve an urban education problem is really based on the assumption that people want an easy answer and quick fix.