Because of redistricting, all 15 seats on the Texas State Board of Education will be up for grabs in the November 2012 elections. The results of those elections will determine whether the religious right’s corrosive influence over public education will weaken or grow as the board considers what the next generation of public school students in Texas will learn about sex education, social studies, science and other subjects. We plan to publish on TFN Insider candidate announcements for a seat on the SBOE. We will publish announcements in no particular order, and their publication does not constitute any sort of endorsement by TFN. We will redact requests for contributions or mentions of fundraising events from the announcements, but we will provide links to the candidates’ websites (if available).
Ruben Cortez, Jr., District 2, D-Brownsville
(Current District 2 Board Member: Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi)
On Dec. 2, former Brownsville Independent School District trustee Ruben Cortez, Jr., filed his candidacy for the District 2. The District 2 seat is currently held by Mary Helen Berlanga, but she has announced she will not seek re-election. Cortez’s website is rubencortezjr.com.
Cortez, a former trustee of the Brownsville Independent School District, is a strong advocate for keeping politics out of the classroom and providing all children their fundamental right to receive a quality education.
“When it comes to educating our children we can not compromise on their future. The best way to ensure our children’s future and prosperity is through education,” said Cortez, “Education is priority one.”
“The complexity of education begins with the criteria approved by the State Board of Education when determining the standards and curriculum for our school systems,” Cortez continued. “I believe in a common sense approach. We must keep politics out of the classroom and this includes textbooks. I will stand strong against those who would rather see politics dictate the educational standards and curriculum of the State of Texas. I am prepared to take the fight to those who oppose impartial oversight,” affirmed Cortez.
“I firmly believe public education must serve all children and we, as a society, must recognize the benefits public education gives back to society. With diminishing funding for education we will see “At Risk” children fall through the bureaucratic cracks, further erosion in the graduation rate—Texas ranks 43rd in the country. The educational resources required to meet the demands of special needs children will become a casualty of recent educational budget cuts,” stated Cortez.
State Board of Education – District 2, serves the counties of Aransas, Calhoun, Cameron, Goliad, Jackson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Wharton and Willacy, as well as parts of Hidalgo County.
“Historically, District 2 has a high percentage of “At Risk” students. This is why I believe in program criteria sharing. Program criteria sharing is a methodical approach that gives educators, from all districts, the opportunity to review the programs of Texas Exemplary schools. This would allow each school or district to implement and modify programs that best fit their individual situations, an excellent tool for teachers,” added Cortez.