In his first public remarks since announcing his resignation as the state’s education chief, Michael Williams said Saturday that the biggest threat to Texas schools is the state's teacher shortage.
In an interview with Dan Rather Saturday at The Texas Tribune Festival, Williams said it's crucial that Texas expand the state's teacher pool and get them the training they need.
Williams, a Midland Republican, was appointed Texas Education Commissioner by then-Gov. Rick Perry in August 2012. He has cited the long-distance relationship with his wife as his reason for leaving the position effective Jan. 1.
The Texas Education Agency, which the state's education commissioner runs, oversees 1,200 Texas public school districts where more than 5 million students are enrolled.
In the interview with Rather, Williams reflected on his childhood growing up with two public school teacher parents, which he said instilled him with a "strong appreciation for educators." He said he knows Texas teachers need more support than they're getting.
Answering a question from Rather about whether teachers should teach to the test or teach the student, Williams insisted that testing is important but noted, “if you teach to the test, your kids are going to fail. You’ve got to teach to the curriculum standard.”
Looking ahead to his next act, Williams said, “I’ll probably do absolutely nothing for a while, not a thing.” He went on to muse about opening a scotch distillery — or something else that does not involve public service.