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Midterm Election 2014 - Fix the Texas Board of Education

TEA LogoThe midterm elections are tomorrow. Seven seats on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) board are up for grabs (sort of - one candidate is running uncontested). With all the shenanigans and controversy associated with the board, this is a chance to replace some of the extremists responsible for those problems, and of course, keep the members who are doing a good job. And of course, you should also be voting just out of general principle on all the races - that's how a representative democracy works.

For general election information, Texas has a pretty good website to inform you about what's going to be on the ballot, where you can vote, etc.:
Texas Voter Information Website

One particularly helpful section that's buried in that site allows you to enter your address to see who represents you at all the various levels of government:
Who Represents Me?

I've found two good resources for assessing the candidates' positions - the Texas Freedom Network, and the iVoterGuide. Both sent out questionnaires to candidates and have listed the responses of those that responded. TFN put them all in one place. iVoterGuide, who also covered much more than just the SBOE election, have it broken down by district. The iVoterGuide links appear to be a little glitchy, so you may just need to go through their main site, iVoterGuide.com.

TFV SBOE Voter Guide
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 3
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 4
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 7
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 11
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 12
iVoterGuide - SBOE Dist. 13

Here's a summary of the candidates for each district. The ones marked with an asterisk are the incumbents.

District 2: Ruben Cortez* (D) - uncontested

Not much to comment on here.

District 3: Marisa B. Perez* (D), Dave Mundy (R), Josh Morales (L)
Perez gets my endorsement. Mundy appears to be exactly the type of ideologue that caused so much trouble in the Board's past.

District 4: Lawrence A. Allen, Jr.* (D), Dorothy Olmos (R)
Allen gets my endorsement. Olmos also appears to be the type of ideologue that caused so much trouble before.

District 7: Kathy King (D), David Bradley* (R), Megan DaGata (L)
From their responses, King and DaGata both look like they'd be reasonable. Bradley is simply horrible, with a proven track record of divisiveness.

Megan DaGata's answers to iVoterGuide questions
TFN Summary of David Bradley

District 11: Nancy Bean (D), Patricia "Pat" Hardy* (R), Craig Sanders (L)

Take your pick on this one. I don't agree with all of Hardy's responses to the iVoterGuide survey, but she's done a good job with her time on the board and hasn't been part of the extremist contingent (during the primaries, it was her Republican challenger, Eric Mahroum, who got the endorsement from the extremists - more info).

District 12: Lois Parrott (D), Geraldine "Tincy" Miller* (R), Mark Wester (L)
Parrott gets my endorsement on this one. Wester's responses to the TFN surveys seem mostly reasonable, except that he doesn't want climate change taught to students. Miller has done some good things in her time on the board, but she's also sided with the extremists too many times, and her answers to the iVoterGuide questions are horrendous.

District 13: Erika Beltran (D), Junart Sodoy (L)

Beltran gets my endorsement. Sodoy isn't as bad as some of the other candidates, but he's against having qualified experts review curriculum standards and textbooks, is against teaching about climate chage, wouldn't take a position on denouncing creationism as not science, and didn't think schools should protect students from bullying and harassment.

So that's my take. I won't lie and say I'm particularly optimistic, but this is a chance to improve the school board responsible for our children's education, and take some of the culture wars out of that organization.

I've written about the board a few times over the years, so for some background on this issue, here are my previous entries, in chronological order, with the newest at the top.


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