Mary Helen Berlanga is the District 2 and senior representative on the Texas State Board of Education. Her district covers Corpus Christi and much of south Texas. Berlanga has been on the board since 1982 where she was appointed Governor Mark White and has served on the Committee on Instruction, Committee on Students and Committee on the Permanent School Fund. She is an attorney that focuses on immigration, disability and administrative law.
Not too shabby looking from the outside in. But for somebody who focuses on immigration law her proposed amendment leaves many asking why she would propose something that would potentially affect the children of immigrants and minorities. The proposed amendment would make it mandatory for anyone who serves on the Committee on Instruction to have a Master's Degree and have taught at the college level. Well that makes sense. Does it? Let's look at it from an El Pasoans point of view. Only 3% of El Pasoans have a Master's degree. That's not even breaking it down by ethnic group. And of the 3% even less have taught at the college level. Most have administrative positions at the elementary, secondary or high school level. As we all know the majority of those who live in El Paso are Hispanic. So by default her amendment would affect the largely Hispanic community. Some people would go as far as calling that racist. That's if the actions came from a certain side of the aisle. But since it didn't no one is really making a big deal about it.
By putting such rigid restrictions those who have spent most of there careers teaching our children will not be able to be involved in fixing school standards at the state level. There is a big difference in theory and practical application. I think that teachers that spend more time with our school age kids will know more about what is best for them than someone who has been taught what is best for our kids. There is definitely a disconnect in Berlanga's reasoning. But then again she is a lawyer. How many children do you think she has taught?
I personally think this is Berlanga's way of keeping certain people (conservatives) from serving in certain capacities. The struggle with conservatives has been heating up lately and has been in the news. This is possible an attempt by Burlanga and others on the board to get an upper hand on the situation. But does she really think that she can set minimum requirements just high enough and out of people's reach to keep certain people from participating? The board will vote on this tomorrow in Austin and you can see it live at http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index.aspx. The fun starts at 9AM Austin time, 8AM El Paso time. If you would like to reach Berlanga and tell her that her actions would only keep hard working Hispanics down you can reach her at (361) 881-1000.