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).
Thomas Ratliff, District 9, R-Mt. Pleasant
District 9 SBOE member Thomas Ratliff announced Dec. 6 that he would seek re-election. Ratliff was first elected in 2010 when he defeated Don McLeroy in the Republican primary and then ran unopposed in the general election. His website can be found here.
During my first year in office, I have maintained my dedication to take the partisan politics out of the State Board of Education and to work with both sides of the aisle to do what is best for the schoolchildren in Northeast Texas. While we aren’t there yet, I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish so far. I am also proud to be supported by Texas professional teacher associations that together represent over 15,000 teachers in my district. They know that I am staying focused on education, not politics, and doing what’s best for our students.
I have also worked extremely hard to bring an unprecedented level of cooperation and communication between Northeast Texas and their representative on the State Board of Education. In fact, a school board member told me I was the first member of the SBOE to come talk to his school board in his 11 years on his local school board.
As with my first election, I promise to run a positive campaign that is focused on the challenges facing our schools and what the State Board of Education can do to address those challenges. I will not run a negative race. The people of East Texas deserve better. I will continue to talk about my position on the issues in a straightforward manner and give the voters a clear understanding of their choice in this election. I will also continue to make myself available to anyone interested in public education in Texas. My email is [email protected] and I would be happy to hear from you.
Should I win re-election, my main focus will be to continue to do what I can to get Austin and Washington D.C. out of our classrooms and restore more LOCAL control of our LOCAL schools. I firmly believe that local classroom teachers, school boards, PTAs and local communities know what they want and need from their schools. We don’t need people from the state or federal government trying to force-feed us more one-size-fits-all solutions to the challenges we face in our schools.
I look forward to continuing my travels across Northeast Texas and having a respectful dialogue about Texas public schools.