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Candidates address what matters to Arizonans – education

Guest Opinion//October 13, 2022//

Candidates address what matters to Arizonans – education

Guest Opinion//October 13, 2022//

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At Education Forward Arizona, we believe in one common principle: improving the quality of education in our state will improve the quality of life for all Arizonans. Public opinion research, including a poll we recently commissioned, backs up that likely voters agree with that principle.

Unfortunately, in a political era where charged rhetoric can often appear to return more value to a campaign than substance, the discourse on improving education in Arizona has been generally missing from most candidates’ platforms.

That said, when every word a candidate can say is fraught with risk, taking a stand on anything can prove difficult. Traditional debates have often become more about political theater than meaningful opportunities to share ideas. With the website EdVotersArizona.org, we’re seeking to change that by providing our future elected leaders with a neutral and nonpartisan forum where they can share their views on teacher recruitment and retention, education funding, improving student outcomes, helping more students go to college, and early education opportunities.

We were grateful to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, Republican nominee for governor Kari Lake, and Republican nominee for state superintendent of public instruction Tom Horne for recording videos with us and for Katie Hobbs, current secretary of state and Democratic nominee for governor, for submitting written responses to our questions about education.

What makes EdVotersArizona.org unique and innovative is that each candidate was interviewed by a panel of education’s most important stakeholders – students. Each of the four Education Forward Scholars conducting the interviews featured on this site graduated from an Arizona high school and attends a community college, tribal college or university. The interviews are truly informative and helpful for voters who want to learn more about each candidates’ positions on education.

Our hope for EdVotersArizona.org is that people see it for what it is, a project by a nonpartisan organization striving to show that even in this divisive moment we can all still come to a neutral, public place and share how we’ll work to make our children’s future a little brighter – which will ultimately improve the quality of life for all Arizonans.

We’ve started that process with this website and look forward to growing this concept in future elections.

Rich Nickel is president and CEO of Education Forward Arizona, which champions P-20 education attainment as critical to advancing the state’s economy and improving the quality of life of residents.