ATPE Endorsement Response
January 15th, 2014 | Back to Blog Listing

Association of Texas Professional Educators
On January 9th, 2014 I received an email from the Association of Texas Professional Educators (

The email read as follows:

Dear Kevin Ludlow

The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) invites you to take part in our 2014 candidate survey. With more than 100,000 members, ATPE is the largest educator group in Texas and the largest nonunion educator group in the nation. Our membership consists primarily of public school classroom teachers but also includes administrators, paraprofessionals, future educators, retired educators and public members. ATPE does not endorse candidates, but we do encourage our members and the public to enthusiastically support those candidates who place a priority on public education.

To help Texas voters learn more about candidates' stances on education issues, ATPE sponsors a nonpartisan advocacy website "" that features profiles of every Texas House of Representatives, Senate and State Board of Education (SBOE) candidate or officeholder. The website is accessible to the general public and also houses the Teach the Vote blog, which offers education news, resources for voters and general information about education-related politics.

If you choose to participate in our candidate survey, your responses will be posted on and will not be edited. We hope you will take advantage of this unique opportunity to communicate your views on public education to a vast audience.

  1. Is there a need to increase funding to meet the needs of our student population? If so, how would you recommend securing more revenue for public education?

    No. I do not believe there is a need to increase the funding to meet the needs of our student population. There is, however, a great need to streamline costs and to cut wasted spending. In my experience both as a student and observer of the public education system, much of this waste can be found in administration, boards, and other bureaucratic "educational" positions that receive bloated public salaries and provide little to no value towards actual education.

    Secondary to this would be properly utilizing technologies to streamline the costs of books, papers, and student administration.
  2. Regardless of the level of funding, do you believe that Texas public education dollars are being spent in an appropriate manner, or should the funds be reallocated and spent in different ways?

    No I do not. I believe that dollars in public education are largely being used to fund an enormous bureaucracy that benefits high-level positions in education while ignoring the basic needs of students and teachers.

    Funds should be allocated towards teacher salaries, teaching tools, a wide spectrum of academic studies (eg: arts, trades, music, etc) and proper nutrition.
  3. Would you vote to spend public tax dollars on a voucher, tax credit or scholarship that allows students to attend non-public schools in grades K-12? Why or why not?

    While I would ideally like to reduce the amount of tax dollars necessary for education in the first place, so long as we're arguing mid-stream, yes I would vote in favor of this.

    The educational path of any student should be up to the parents of the student, and the student him or herself, not the state of Texas and certainly not the federal government. There is no justifiable reason why parents who send their children to private institutions should not be reimbursed the same level of funding that they are otherwise being forced to spend (by taxation) to send their children to a public school.
  4. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined benefit pension plan for all future, current and retired educators, or would you vote to convert TRS to a defined contribution plan that is more like a 401(k), in which future benefits are not guaranteed? Why?

    Since I am not a teacher, I do not have a strong opinion one way or the other in this matter.

    My understanding of the TRS from teachers who are economically informed is that it is run well. If teachers are happy with their pension program, I don't see any reason to change it.
  5. Local decisions on whether to continue a teacher's employment and how much to pay each teacher are often based on evaluations. To what extent, if any, should a teacher's evaluation be based on his students' scores on state standardized tests? If you believe student test scores should factor into a teacher's evaluation, how would you recommend evaluating teachers in grades or subjects for which there are no state standardized tests?

    The current methodologies behind standardized testing are a travesty to the educational process. They allow lazy and incompetent teachers to remain in place teaching material they may have no real comprehension of in the first place while at best ignoring, and at worst penalizing the efforts of truly wonderful and gifted educators.

    I believe evaluations should be made by highly-competent overseers and should be based on criteria far beyond that of standardized testing. In my opinion, a teacher who is able to connect with a student is worth far more to that student than one who simply forces him or her to memorize a packet full of useless sample testing questions.
  6. Would you vote to maintain a hard cap on the number of students per class, or should school administrators be given more flexibility to increase class sizes? (Currently, the law imposes a cap of 22:1 in grades K-4 but allows schools to obtain a waiver, a step many of them routinely take.)

    Specifically as I am in favor of vouchers, administrators should be given the flexibility to run a school as they best see fit without nuanced ratios and state-based calculations. While I am sure such ratios are very well-intended, they simply can't account for the actual needs of the school.
  7. If a public school in your district failed to meet state accountability standards for two or more consecutive years, would you support allowing a private entity to take over the management of that school, essentially converting it to a charter school?

    No. While I am fully in favor of private schools, so long as public dollars are being used to manage a school, I am not in favor of mixing entities and otherwise paving the road for the government to pick their favorite private entities.

    Private entities ought to be chosen by the marketplace and are ultimately a function of their successes (or failures for that matter)
  8. Do you believe charter schools in Texas have been largely successful? Should their presence be expanded? Why or why not?

    I'm not familiar with data on this topic, but I am sure such data exists to illustrate the successes and failures of charter schools. That said, and because they're ultimately privatized institutions, I can see no reason why they should not be expanded if people are interested in expanding them.
  9. You may use the space below to provide additional comments.

    It would be nice if more than the Republicans and Democrats were represented in the party affiliation section.