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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.

 

 

Attorney General

Rottelini a must as state attorney general

Advocates of education — and sanity — across the state should have one unifying thought this election season: In any position, anyone but Tom Horne.

The current state superintendent of public instruction touts such dubious “”accomplishments”” as “”required character education for students,”” “”exposed the curriculum of ‘ethnic studies'”” and “”permanently banned bilingual education.”” In other words, Horne has used the office of state superintendent to be an overbearing, meddling bully targeting certain demographics he finds threatening.

Now Horne wants to be Arizona’s attorney general, a position from which, if elected, he’ll surely offer more of the same. His platform for the position is based almost entirely on racist, nuance-free nationalism and aggressiveness toward illegal immigration. Not the good, thoughtful, policy-driven kind of aggressiveness, though; the kind that wants to foster “”an atmosphere of patriotism”” by marginalizing and criminalizing Hispanic people in the bogus spirit of being tough on immigration. Like many other Arizona Republicans, he plans on riding the one-trick illegal immigration pony straight into office.

Luckily for Arizona, there couldn’t be a starker contrast between Horne and his opponent. With Felecia Rotellini, Arizonans don’t have to just vote for “”anyone but Horne“” — they can vote for a strong, smart candidate who will stand up for Arizona. While her platforms are still tough on illegal immigration, she’ll crack down in a sane way that uses Arizona’s resources wisely. Instead of vague platitudes about “”securing the border,”” Rotellini plans to crack down on human and drug smugglers; in other words, those with the money and power to facilitate illegal immigration. Rotellini will also aggressively prosecute financial and mortgage fraud, a vital pursuit in Arizona’s current economy.

Felecia Rotellini is an experienced attorney who will protect Arizonans without wasting resources. She is the clear, and indeed the only acceptable, choice for attorney general.

 

 

Secretary of State

Bennett the right choice for today’s Arizona

The secretary of state race is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise toxic midterm election. Rather than a battle between wild-eyed ideologues, which many of the other races feel like, both candidates have smart, measured platforms and would, if elected, be an asset to Arizona.

Ken Bennett, the Republican incumbent, has been invested in Arizona politics for 25 years. He has been involved in many facets of Arizona governance, including education; he has served on both the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Charter Schools Board. He has been secretary of state since he took over the post from Gov. Jan Brewer in 2009. As secretary of state, he’ll push for a transparent, honest election system, which is exactly what voters in this state should be guaranteed. Bennett’s record also shows a commitment to bipartisanship — he aggressively supports alternative energy solutions and has been an advocate for public education.

His opponent, Chris Deschene, also sports an impressive background in serving Arizona, but he’s less experienced and more partisan. One of Deschene’s main goals is to protect the rights of rural voters who are often excluded from the voting process. This pursuit, while admirable, is better suited for political activism and community organizing, as it targets a specific group of voters rather than the general populace.

The Arizona secretary of state, in addition to overseeing Arizona’s elections, public records and other duties, must be prepared to step in if the governor is no longer able to serve. Chris Deschene is not ready for this role, and would be unlikely to make any headway with an incredibly conservative state Legislature. Bennett has proven he’s ready for such a task, and would be able to work with the state’s leaders to keep Arizona’s government working. For his experience, honesty and fairness, the Daily Wildcat endorses Ken Bennett for Arizona secretary of state.

 

 

Superintendent of public instruction

Experience, vision make Kotterman the clear choice

The superintendent of public instruction in Arizona should be someone who not only views education as something that should be preserved, but as a priority moving forward. Penny Kotterman does just that, whereas John Huppenthal has voted repeatedly to cut education without raising serious complaint to what was happening despite holding an influential policy position as the chair of the Senate Education Accountability and Reform Committee.

Arizona needs a superintendent who will view education as a resource that needs to be cultivated, not simply red ink on a budget that must be reduced no matter the ramifications. It is also troubling that Huppenthal has elected to support both the ban on the teaching of ethnic studies and more stringent, and unreasonable, limits on sexual education in public schools. This combination of apathy toward funding and overreaches into curriculum display, at the least a fundamental misunderstanding of the role public education must play and at the most partisan loyalties that run too deep to set aside in order to make choices that are truly in the best interest of the state’s education system.

As a professional in the education field, Kotterman has displayed a commitment to education that is virtually unmatched among candidates running for state office this year. In a survey released by the Arizona Education Network, Kotterman expressed her desire to recover all the funds that were cut from education by the Arizona Legislature in a way that best identifies the needs of those who rely on public education system.

Kotterman has also publicly advocated for increased funding for K-12 education, and to amend Arizona’s Constitution to increase mandatory levels of funding. Whether she can actually accomplish such lofty goals remains to be seen, but, by our reckoning, she should be given the opportunity to try. For these reasons, Kotterman is the best choice.

 

— Heather Price-Wright recused herself from the endorsement for state superintendent of public instruction.

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