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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Education is key topic in DuVal, Ducey debate

%09Courtesy+of+The+Republic%0A%0A%09Democratic+gubernatorial+candidate+Fred+DuVal+said+he+doesn%26%238217%3Bt+want+any+more+money+taken+from+education.+Republican+gubernatorial+candidate+Doug+Ducey%26%238217%3Bs+platform+is+centered+on+jump-starting+the+economy.

Courtesy of The Republic

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal said he doesn’t want any more money taken from education. Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey’s platform is centered on jump-starting the economy.

Arizona gubernatorial candidates Republican Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal met last night to answer questions on, among other things, Arizona’s education system.

The first gubernatorial debate of the election season was moderated by Brahm Resnik, a 12 News anchor and host of “Sunday Square Off.” Each candidate began his opening statement by fully supporting President Barack Obama on his stance on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which had been relayed to the country immediately prior to the debate.

Ducey’s key point during the debate was his experience as a businessman and how he is looking to “jump start” the economy. DuVal said he is against any budget that cuts additional money from public education.

“I am calling for us to begin funding our schools immediately,” DuVal said.

The first issue debated was the budget deficit that Arizona faces.

Resnik was particularly confrontational on this subject because both candidates laid out ideas, but neither offered specifics on where they were going to get the money to fix the budget deficit.

DuVal said he wants to give more money to education, but couldn’t say where that money was going to come from, while Ducey said he wants to cut taxes, but struggled with the same problem. Eventually, Ducey said that everything is on the table to be cut except for education, while DuVal suggested privatizing portions of the government, such as the lottery, to save some money.

The candidates became combative when talking about DuVal’s role in tuition increases while he served as chairman on the Arizona Board of Regents.

DuVal said that there was nothing else he could have done to find the money sans closing campuses, which he adamantly said was off the table. Ducey said that he would have looked at education with a business-like approach and would have also opposed closing campuses.

The candidates were then asked to describe their philosophical differences in fixing Arizona’s K-12 education system.

DuVal said that Ducey’s plan is unrealistic because there is no way to have both systematic educational improvement and tax reform due to Arizona’s deficit.

Ducey defended himself by saying that getting the income tax down to zero is merely a direction he intends to drive the government. He also said that in order for his plans to work, he is going to need “a term or two” in office.

On the topic of Arizona’s standard for K-12 students, also referred to as common core, Ducey said he does not support the program, calling it “unworkable” in today’s world. He said he would not force a school board to comply with common core if it did not want to do so.

He also said he will fix long wait lists at schools in order to more quickly enroll students at their preferred schools, but he failed to provide specifics when pressed by Resnik.

DuVal, during his turn, said that the world is talent-driven and that opportunity should be equal for students across the board.

“You can’t get there if your first priority is tax reform,” DuVal said.

Ducey said in closure that kick-starting the economy is what motivates him. He said that his business-like approach and entrepreneurial energy are his assets, and that his plan of action includes reforming K-12 education and encouraging innovation by Arizonans.

In DuVal’s closure, he said that he wants to reform education, energize business growth and create an inclusive environment. He said that education was the most important of the three.

—Follow Max Rodriguez @njmaxrod

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