Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Whosplayin Interviews Sheila Ford

The latest in candidate interviews is up on Whosplayin. Sheila Ford is the Democratic candidate running against incumbent Republican Charlie Geren for State Representative in District 99. In the interview, Ms. Ford highlights one of her passions in this campaign- education reform.

WhosPlayin: From hearing you speak, and reading your website, I know that improving and funding our public education system is the number one priority for you. It's also the number one issue that I hear from my neighbors, and fellow parents. In your opinion, what is going wrong with our public school system, and how do we fix it?

Sheila Ford: I have talked to many teachers lately and they say there are two main obstacles preventing them from delivering a good education. They need less standardized tests and smaller classes. I think we should listen to the teachers. Standardized testing costs money. Reducing the amount of these tests will also free up some much-needed funds for other uses. We should also re-evaluate our maximum class sizes and tailor them for each grade and subject.

WhosPlayin: The most recent legislature, after several special sessions, seemed to have taken a bit of a short-sighted approach to fixing school funding. As I understand it they spent a budget surplus, then lowered property taxes and introduced a modified business franchise tax. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it was a good compromise, or just a way to duck the issue for 2 more years?

Sheila Ford: I'm sure they think they've ducked the issue for another 2 years, but I don't see it. I think it will become apparent very soon that there is still a problem. I've already heard rumors from the Texas CPA society that changes are in the works for the next session. Until then, small businesses will bear the brunt of the modified franchise tax, while the wealthiest businesses will find loopholes and avoid paying their fair share. Teachers still do not have adequate pay or benefits, and our schools are still under-funded. Democrats need to gain some seats this November so we can make some real improvements in school funding.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

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