UH alumni compete for State Board of Education position

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Will Hickman and Michelle Palmer will once again compete for a position on the school board. | Photos courtesy of Will Hickman and Michelle Palmer

Two UH alumni are vying in the upcoming Nov. 8 election to represent the Texas State Board of Education District 6.

Incumbent Will Hickmana Republican, face a Democrat Michel Palmier for the second time after the two faced off in the 2020 election, with Hickman beating Palmer by 2 percentage points.

Palmer recently spoke at an event sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Positions

Hickman wants to write a new course that gives college students the chance to take career aptitude tests and work with counselors to develop their skills.

This comes after noting that 40% of high school graduates feel unprepared to continue their career or education after graduation, according to the College, Career and Military Readiness program.

Hickman notes his particular interest in vocational and technical training programs and the abundance of courses in Texas, as he believes they are beneficial no matter what career one is heading into.

Palmer said his positions were “180 degrees” to how Hickman would vote. If elected, one of the first things Palmer wants to do is call for a change to the state’s social studies curriculum, which was recently controversially delayed by the board, as well as to the administration of new textbooks including the teaching of climate change.

Palmer also wants a health program to be required for graduation, including classes on sex education, LGBTQ health issues and teaching consent.

“Texas has one of the highest rape cases in the country,” Palmer said. “And states that teach consent have been shown to have fewer incidents, at least date rape, because students understand that it’s not just violent rape that is rape.”

Reasons to run

As a father of three, Hickman wants a parent’s perspective on the board and said he has the best interests of all Texas children in mind when making decisions. about their program. He also received the endorsement of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and other state officials.

“We’re working hand-in-hand with the state legislature to get things done,” Hickman said. “I think it’s important to have a good working relationship with the Capitol.”

Palmer first ran against Hickman in 2020 when the seat was open. As a high school history teacher, Palmer discovered factual inaccuracies in the curriculum, which she hopes to change if elected.

“It wasn’t something I was looking to do, but I saw a need and jumped in,” Palmer said. “And I plan to run until I win it because my students deserve better than they’re getting.”

UH experience

While first attending Texas A&M University, Hickman later went to UH and earned three of his five degrees, most recently earning his BA in Spanish. Hickman also received advanced degrees from the UH Law Center.

“My philosophy on education is that education prepares you to do something,” Hickman said.

Palmer graduated from UH in 1994 and double majored in political science and Russian studies. While at UH, Palmer served as Senate President of the Student Government Association and worked with other political organizations.

“The knowledge I gained from my many political science classes obviously helped me understand how the political system works and to be able to work within it and fight against it,” Palmer said.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Hickman and Palmer attended the SGA event. This version of the story has been updated to reflect the change.

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Key words: Election 2022, School Board, Michelle Palmer, Will Hickman


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