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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The Candidates: Governor

For a short while last winter and spring, it seemed Jan Brewer might turn out to be a friend to education. In a political climate in which “”tax increase”” is a taboo phrase, the Republican governor fought for the passage of Proposition 100, a temporary sales tax increase designed to create funding for education and public services.

Unfortunately, that was Brewer’s only legitimate contribution to education in Arizona and she herself, on her website, acknowledges that the measure is “”not a cure-all.”” In her campaign for re-election, Brewer’s education platform is based almost entirely on the passage of Prop. 100  — in other words, on the past. Her plans for the future of education in this state are thin, and focused on the right-wing misconception that failing schools are primarily the fault of failing teachers, not the state’s failure to support those teachers. She throws around Republican buzzwords like “”tougher standards”” and “”rigorous teacher evaluations”” without presenting a way to organize or fund such improvements. She puts the funding onus, too, on schools rather than the government, warning schools to “”watch their dollars and cents.”” Her K-12 education platform is patronizing and unhelpful, offering few long-term solutions and no legitimate funding strategies.

As far as higher education goes, Brewer has no discernable platform. Her website makes no mention of the state’s universities or the massive budget cuts those institutions have seen since she took office. She has made it clear throughout her time as governor that higher education is dismally low on her administration’s list of priorities.

Terry Goddard, on the other hand, understands that the governor must address both K-12 and higher education. His platform includes detailed descriptions of his many plans to improve Arizona’s universities. These plans include supporting the Arizona Board of Regents’ commitment to the “”2020 Vision,”” which aims to double the number of bachelor’s degrees produced by Arizona universities in the next decade, and the “”Pathways to Postsecondary”” initiative, which stresses the need for alternative routes to higher education, such as a more seamless system with which students can transfer from two-year to four-year institutions. In addition, Goddard has pledged to fund higher education in Arizona, though his funding policy is vague and unfortunately does not include a promise not to cut education further.

Though his plan is not perfect, Goddard is clearly more interested in and qualified to support quality public K-12 and higher education in Arizona. Unlike his opponent, he does not place the blame for underperforming schools solely on the backs of students and teachers; rather, he acknowledges that schools and the state have a responsibility to work together to search for new and innovative solutions. For these reasons, the Daily Wildcat endorses Terry Goddard for governor.

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