These Are The Questions People Have For The Next Arizona Superintendent Of Public Instruction

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 1:17pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 3:34pm

At Tuesday night’s Arizona superintendent of public instruction debate, KJZZ asked the audience to write questions for candidates Kathy Hoffman and Frank Riggs.

Here’s a look at what attendees are thinking about Arizona education ahead of the November election.

To hear more about what the candidates thought about a variety of issues facing Arizona schools, tune in to the debate special airing Thursday at 7 p.m. on KJZZ 91.5 FM and kjzz.org.


The largest number of submissions weren’t about policy, but about the candidates’ backgrounds in education. Candidates went back and forth over whether Riggs’ background qualifies as “in-classroom experience.” The Hoffman-friendly crowd asked that as well.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

Next, there were a pile of questions about charter schools and school choice. Charter school funding has been a hot-button issue, and both candidates called for reforms. The candidates didn’t talk much about private/home/dual enrollment paths, but neither supports the Proposition 305 vouchers.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

And now the goods: funding model. Several attendees asked specific questions about private-public partnerships, specific types of tax increases and earmarked funds.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

Many expressed concerns about the achievement gap and asked how the candidates would support low-income students, rural schools and encourage diversity in leadership and support different needs of students in the classroom.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

There were also some questions about standards, testing and the curriculum. One attendee came prepared with a list of six questions on the topic. Both candidates spoke about their dislike of the current testing model, which ties some funding to A-F letter grades for schools.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

There were only a few questions about teacher pay, which was surprising considering the candidates focused on the issue heavily.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

There were also a couple of questions about class size, bilingual students and school safety.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

Including a personal account from a teacher of English-language learners.

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

Finally, there was a lonely “random” stack of questions. The one about candidates’ favorite book was actually the kicker to the debate. 

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Claire Caulfield/KJZZ

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