Composed of elected officials from 15 districts across Texas, the State Board of Education (SBOE) is currently represented by nine Republicans and six Democrats. Due to redistricting by the state Legislature, all 15 districts are on the November ballot.
The SBOE is primarily responsible for setting curriculum standards, approving instructional materials, and establishing graduation requirements.
As part of their task to set curriculum standards, the SBOE came under fire this summer for considering “radical” social studies standards that inflamed both parents and lawmakers. The SBOE, therefore, delayed changing any of the social studies standards until a more thorough review could be completed.
The next 15 SBOE members, chosen by voters, will complete all future considerations of the social studies standards.
With the vote to delay any changes running along party lines, some are hopeful the Republicans will pick up another seat on the board, thereby strengthening the majority.
In SBOE District 3, located in South Texas, Republican Ken Morrow is challenging 10-year Democrat incumbent Marisa Perez-Diaz.
Perez-Diaz is known for supporting the LGBT lifestyle and promoting social justice, with an academic background including studying “the impact of a social justice-oriented principal training program called the Urban School Leaders Collaborative on the transformation of prospective K-12 administrators.”
Her platform includes a “Representation and Inclusivity” statement, which reads, “The curriculum standards and instructional materials the SBOE approves must not only be factually accurate but reflective of the culturally and experientially diverse student population in Texas.”
Meanwhile, Morrow is advocating for educational transparency, parents’ rights in education, American exceptionalism, school choice, and a return to academics over social justice principles.
Morrow told Texas Scorecard, “I believe that this district is slightly left-leaning, but people are fed up with the existing system where children continue to get worse scores on their standardized test, are inundated with radical gender theories, and where—every day—less emphasis is on academics. We need to teach kids to love to learn; and let’s choose to teach our children facts over theories.”
He also says he wants Texas children to “graduate high school having learned how to read, write, do arithmetic, and be prepared for either college or the workforce,” and having “learn[ed] that we live in the best state, in the greatest country in the world.”
Election Day is November 8.
Citizens can utilize Texas Scorecard’s elected officials directory for more information on the current SBOE members.
Marisa Perez-Diaz did not respond to Texas Scorecard’s request for comment prior to publication.