How I became a candidate.

by

“Mom, you have to do this!”

Back at the beginning of 2009, it seemed like every week I would shake my head over those crazy statements coming out of the State Board of Education. My friend at work told me, “You should run for the board. You have kids who went to public school in San Marcos and you have a background in education and public service.” At Texas State University I have been teaching students who come through Texas public schools for 28 years and I’ve seen how hard many of them have to work to catch up – to learn what they should have been taught in high school or earlier.

I’m not a politician and I thought I wasn’t about to run, but I did start educating myself. I discovered the State Board of Education was even worse than I had realized. Frustrated teachers and parents talked about being shut out of discussions and having their work ignored and rejected by arrogant board members. The billions of dollars of public funds that are supposed to help our children get the education that they need to get ahead in life are being wasted. A majority of State Board members just do not seem to have any respect for our children, teachers, parents, or education itself.

I began to consider the possibility of running and I agreed to speak to a group along with a couple of other prospective candidates. I didn’t prepare much, since I figured I probably wouldn’t end up running. Someone else would step up to the task, I was sure. But listening to the others speak, it dawned on me that maybe I was the best person for the job. All I had to do was listen to people and tell them what I truly believed—why I care passionately about education and how my experience in teaching and community service in Texas over the past twenty-eight years has prepared me to serve on the State Board of Education.

It was my turn to speak, and suddenly I knew exactly what I was going to say. I looked around the room and realized that I had the best listeners I could ever hope for. They wanted what I wanted. They wanted to change the face of Texas. They wanted to bring ideas and knowledge into the public school classroom. They wanted to bring respect for community, for education, and for our duty to the next generation to the Board. We could do this together. I didn’t have a set agenda, but I knew the educational system.

When I got home that day, reality struck, and I started thinking about how much time and effort it would take to campaign. A few weeks later at a training session for candidates they gave us gigantic books filled with lists of things to do. They talked about spending at least three days a week making calls to ask for money and support, walking neighborhoods, and speaking to every possible group in the central Texas area. I went home and asked my husband, Jean-Pierre, what he thought, and then I called our daughter Marisa to see what she thought. They both said I should do whatever I believed was right.

Then I went to visit our younger daughter, Thea, in North Carolina, where I got an email from a person with long experience in Texas politics. He had heard me speak and he said I was, quite simply, the only person in the field who could win. If I didn’t run, we would have the same representative on board for another term, and another generation of students would suffer under this backward system.

I showed Thea the email, and she said, “Mom, you have to do this.” She was right. I have to do this.

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2 Responses to “How I became a candidate.”

  1. ErrowriggOw Says:

    Amazing, really interesting matter. I will blog about it as well!

  2. Paul Hoss Says:

    Rebecca,

    Whether it’s politically expedient or not you need to bring the issue of evolution v creationism/intelligent design in Texas classrooms into your campaign.

    Texas schools and the state BOE are currently a national embarrassment, a disgrace. Many would contend they’re a joke because of their existing posture on what they teach/don’t teach in their public school science classes.

    While the governor and state superintendent of schools argue it’s an issue of state sovereignty, the rest of the country knows all too well what the real issue is; Christian Fundamentalist or educators running Texas schools.

    I’ve never even been to Texas so I’m probably in no position to suggest to you what to focus your campaign on. I am not privileged to know the political climate of your state either. However, from a national perspective, my comments from above are all too legitimate. People nationwide look down at Texas in disdain. They cannot believe there is such a mindset still in existence anywhere in the country.

    If you have time, fill me in further as to what you see are the needs of Texas schools.

    Paul Hoss
    Marshfield, Massachusetts
    paulhoss@hotmail.com

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