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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ducey and DuVal debate over Arizona education

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Doug Ducey (Courtesy of Gage Skidmore) and Fred DuVal (Cooper Temple / The Daily Wildcat)

The candidates for Arizona governor, Democrat Fred DuVal and Republican Doug Ducey, debated on the future of Arizona’s K-12 education after November’s midterm elections last night in Phoenix.

The state of Arizona spends 43 percent, nearly half of the state’s budget, on education, according to John Hook, moderator of the debate and Fox 10 Phoenix news anchor and reporter.

DuVal addressed his worries for Arizona in his opening statement, and stated education is not properly funded in our state and that Arizona is headed in the wrong direction.

“We are not properly funding our children’s schools, and our children are being left behind,” DuVal said. “I will stop the cuts to our public schools. I will use the veto if I have to, but I will not allow another dollar … to be cut from our public education.”

Ducey opened with background on his family, noting that he comes from a family of educators. He said that his sister-in-law is a public school special education teacher in Paradise Valley, his mother-in-law is a school nurse in the Roosevelt School District and his brother-in-law is a former school principal on the Hopi Reservation.

Recently, Arizona voters passed an initiative to insist that there is more investment in public education, and the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld its commitment, DuVal said. While DuVal said he believes the commitment should be enforced immediately, he said that Ducey does not feel the same way and will appeal the decision.

Hook’s first question of the night was how each candidate would grade Arizona’s public education system.

DuVal said that grading Arizona’s education system is a challenge because some schools are A’s, some are D’s and the state’s schools are all over the map. According to DuVal, Arizona has some of best local schools and charter schools, but there are disappointments in both categories.

Ducey said he gives our system a C minus, adding that Arizona’s high school graduation rate is 77 percent, while the national rate is 81 percent.

“We have such room for improvement,” Ducey said. “We have pockets of excellence, and we have places in this state where we demonstrate that we can educate a child better than anyone else in the country. But we have far too many places that aren’t working, where children are falling through the cracks.”

DuVal stressed the importance of valuing public education teachers. He said that one third quit every year, which equals losing 50 percent of teachers over five years, because the state cannot compete with the salaries other education systems are offering around the country.

Ducey said he will not cut public education funds or raise income taxes, and will create a state that will appeal to out-of-state businesses, so that they will relocate to Arizona; according to Ducey, all of this will happen over a term or two.

“I believe that talent is equally distributed in the world,” DuVal said, “but opportunity is not.”

Ducey said the state shouldn’t try and make everyone attend college, because it’s not working. He said he supports vocational training, using the East Valley Institute of Technology as an example.

DuVal also said that the state needs to send children where they will pursue their passions and maximize on their future careers.

“Education and talent is the driver of 21st century growth,” DuVal said. “And if we improve our K-12 system and make commitments across the board, not only will we have a better workforce, but we will be communicating to businesses looking to grow that they will find their workforce needs here.”
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Follow Adriana Espinosa on Twitter @adrianaespi7

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