RUNOFF ELECTION INFOEarly Voting: May 19-23Election Day: Tuesday, May 27Find out where to vote here.Dear Friends,After much discussion with family and encouragement from friends in the community, I've decided to run for State Board of Education (SBOE) District 11, which encompasses all of Parker, most of Tarrant, and some of Dallas County. The SBOE is an elected, part-time, unpaid citizen board that provides leadership for the Texas public school system — responsibilities include the Permanent School Fund, curriculum standards, student testing, charter schools, and adult educational programs. Why run for SBOE? The board presents a great opportunity to positively impact our educational system. Having attended public school in district 11, I respect the hard work our teachers and administrators do. As your SBOE member, I will focus on what our district needs by listening to local school boards, to teachers, and to (sadly often overlooked) parents. The SBOE should not be some top-down board of bureaucrats that singularly sets education policy and dictates standards to local school districts without local input. While the state oversees the public education system, it is important that our school districts are actually independent — that they have the freedom to innovate and to improve locally to provide the best learning experience for students. "One-size-fits-all" regulations and common standards — whether from the federal government or from the state — too often shift teaching responsibilities from the classroom to educational bureaucrats who are backed by publishing giants and interest-group consultants. As your SBOE member, I will be an advocate for school reform that provides greater educational opportunities for ALL children. I will work to increase public accountability — particularly with parents — regarding curriculum that the SBOE supports. I will be a voice against the culture of testing versus actual learning that has been fostered in Texas. End-of-the-year testing does not ideally assess student progress in a timely manner; such testing hurts numerous school districts and unnecessarily penalizes teachers who have dedicated their time creating valuable lesson plans for students. Teaching is more than just instructing students on how to fill out a multiple-choice scantron. Finally, the Permanent School Fund is an uniquely Texas institution that helps finance public primary and secondary education in our state. Established with a $2,000,000 appropation in 1854, the fund, through prudent investing and through land revenues, now has a portfolio of more than $28,000,000,000. The fund must continue to be a sound investment — protected from wayward spending and misuse. As a conservative and an experienced manager in the hospitality industry, I recognize the need for fiscal responsibility when dealing with any kind of budget or investment. As your SBOE member, I will work to ensure that the Permanent School Fund is transparent and solvent going forward.There's been enough talk about education reform in Texas. It's going to take a new generation of passionate and concerned citizens to make a difference. I am confident that I will bring a fresh and common-sense approach to the State Board of Education. And I will view my time on the board as a full-time responsibility for me to develop strong relationships with educators and parents in our district. The time to act is now. I thank you for your support.— Eric Mahroum
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