Perhaps my biggest frustration in running for Texas State Board of Education District 10 has been the way certain editorial boards have been unable to see the differences between me and my Republican opponent. These people look at us, two women with Ph.D.s in education, and conclude that the safer choice is to back the Republican in red-state Texas. Safer for their reputations, perhaps, but certainly not safer for Texas children. For the benefit of those editorial boards, I have highlighted key differences between me and my opponent below in bold.
The current State Board of Education has politicized the curriculum-writing process because of the narrow personal political agendas of a few extreme Republican members who have depended on advocates of voucher programs for financial and political support. We have an opportunity to prevent the extremists from reprising what they have done with science and history standards, but to do so will require strong leadership from someone willing to stand up to the extremists. Repeatedly, so-called moderate Republicans on the current Board have failed to do so. My Republican opponent Marsha Farney, unlike me, has refused to state she would not align herself with those who politicize the Board. Her investment choices provide a clear indication of her fundamental values and political preferences.
Before filing as a candidate, my opponent divested herself of stock in a company called K12, which provides resources for homeschooling. Some of this funding no doubt was used in the $250,000 of her own money she spent to win the Republican primary. K12 twice lobbied the Texas Legislature to fund a program which would have diverted funds from neighborhood schools to provide what would have effectively been a voucher program for home-school students. So, let me be clear: I believe that public schools are the backbone of the Texas educational system, and very important to our society; I do NOT support diverting tax dollars from neighborhood schools.
I have strong concerns about Marsha Farney's ability to stand up to the extremists on the Board when making decisions that affect the public school students of Texas. When the Republican party chair made the ridiculous allegation that the League of Women Voters is biased and barred Ms. Farney from participating in their debate, she went along, denying the voters of SBOE District 10 a chance to hear our different views on public education. I have never taken and will never take any orders from any party boss.
I have worked hard in my career as an educator and in this campaign to think first about the interests of children: what is best for their education? I think the best answer is that we need to prepare children to succeed and thrive in the world. We accomplish that by putting the advice and insights of teachers, parents, and subject-matter experts ahead of partisan political agendas and not by injecting politics into the classroom or into our children's textbooks.
As I mentioned, my opponent has already spent a fortune of her own money to win her Republican primary. I expect her to dig even deeper into her pockets, and the pockets of the pro-voucher Republican party bosses, to flood the airwaves in the next two weeks. I can't match her personal funds, and there is unfortunately no "save neighborhood schools" PAC that could support me. The only chance I have is by the committed action of people like you. Please sign up to help our phone banking operation to spread the word one voter at a time. You don't need to live in the district to help, you can live anywhere and help us make phone calls. To sign up please send an email to email@example.com and I will send you the information. I know many of you have been inundated with requests for donations and many of you have been very generous to my campaign, and I want to thank you all for your generosity. We have a new commercial on the airwaves now and every new donation goes to helping us keep it on the air. Any amount you can spare would work wonders for keeping us getting our message out. Thanks for all your support.
Cross Posted at Burnt Orange Report