State Board of Education candidates respond to questions

Editor's note: The Advocate is profiling candidates in the Nov. 6 election. This profile compiled by the League of Women Voters features candidates for the State Board of Education, District 2.

• Name: Laurie Turner

• Political Party: Republican

• Website: lauriejturner.com

• Email: turner4texasschools@hotmail.com

What is your education and experience?

Bachelor of Science: Criminal Justice, Masters of Public Affairs: Public Policy, Doctoral candidate at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi: Education Law and Policy, Teacher Certification: 4-8 Social studies and Social Studies Composite 8-12. | Experience: Taught history in a public school for the last 8 years; history department chair for the last three years; served on a variety of committees: Campus Improvement Plan; sponsored Student Council; and Safety 1st campaign to promote student wellness.

What criteria should be used in developing and approving curriculum standards for courses?

Board members should confer with their teachers that they represent; asking them for directions in determining changes/deletions/additions. Teachers are the experts, therefore SBOE members should create a committee from these expert teachers to draft and revise curriculum. The new curriculum should be approved by the Board without altering it.

What changes, if any, would you make to current investment policies for the Permanent School Fund and to distributions to fund public schools? Please explain.

I would not change the current investment policies of the Permanent Fund. The fund has gained a 9.99 percent interest return for the last 10 years. But what I would change is the spending of $90 million dollars going to testing; redistributing the funds to schools and vocational education that would allow our students to have skills when they graduated.

What changes, if any, would you support to ensure sufficient oversight of charter schools?

As a SBOE member, I support initiatives to impose rigorous criteria for academic performance practices, compliance with state quality standards, governance requirements and financial accountability.

What are the two most serious public education issues facing the State Board of Education during the next term, and how would you address them?

1: Schools have failed to recognize the needs of students who are not college-bound. My top priority is to build up vocational education with the introduction of Career-Technical Training; creating business and industry partnerships with school districts. 2: Schools today have lost focus on teaching the child while aimed completely upon testing.

• Name: Lenard Nelson

• Political Party: Libertarian

• Email: eaglinsp@dbstech.com

What is your education and experience?

University of texas, ICC Comm. Inspector #51589366-B2, ICC Coastal Const. Insp. #5189366-C1, TREC Professional Inspector #6800, TDI Res. Prop. Inspector #0070503599 | Experience:

I grew up in a family of Educators that instilled in me the importance of education. From this background I have vigilantly kept a political interest in the Education processes at all Government levels. |

What criteria should be used in developing and approving curriculum standards for courses?

The curriculum standards should be assessed to be sure that they address creativity, problem solving and imagination. Otherwise, the curriculum will not have utility.

What changes, if any, would you make to current investment policies for the Permanent School Fund and to distributions to fund public schools? Please explain.

Not having expertise in finance, I would make my judgements after consulting with experts in the field who hold differing views. As to distribution of the funds, I believe the methodology has simply become too complicated. It has become like the IRS Tax Code and needs simplification.

What changes, if any, would you support to ensure sufficient oversight of charter schools?

I believe there is adequate oversight presently.

What are the two most serious public education issues facing the State Board of Education during the next term, and how would you address them?

The first priority is for the elimination of the insane testing for student regurgitation and allowing the teachers to teach students as individuals with individual abilities and needs. Secondly, the Board needs to pressure the legislature with solutions to the budgetary shortfall for education.

• Name: Ruben Cortez Jr.

• Political Party: Democratic

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