By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday October 28, 2002
Because Arizona's next Superintendent of Public Instruction will have a voting seat on the Arizona Board of Regents, it is important for the UA community to determine which candidate's platform best fits the university's proposed new direction. Republican Tom Horne looks to be most compatible with President Pete Likins' "Focused Excellence" plan.
Horne, a former Arizona legislator and 24-year member of the Paradise Valley School Board, is most in tune with the needs of current and future college students. He is in favor of raising high school graduating standards and bringing more accountability to K-12 teachers. And while he does not presently support university tuition increases, he is willing to consider that they may be necessary later.
Horne understands better than his opponents that what is best for K-12 education is best for our universities. He will actively seek to give students every opportunity for a first-rate education. He supports cutting administrative perks from public schools and putting that money into the classroom, which he achieved in Paradise Valley. He supports tax credits for private schools and full-day kindergarten.
Democrat Jay Blanchard, a professor at Arizona State University, undoubtedly means well, but makes some impractical suggestions. His idea of offering residents the opportunity to prepay university tuition sounds good, but would likely have little impact at making universities more affordable since tuition accounts for only a small percentage of total college costs.
Blanchard also seems to have trouble pinpointing his stance on certain issues; deriding certain regulations on charter schools one minute and endorsing them the next. Such inconsistency does not suggest that Blanchard would make for a strong leader for the state.
Libertarian John Zajac's idea of privatizing public education is intriguing and should be further examined. But Zajac has not made it clear enough that he is truly serious about undertaking the job.
Because of his practical stance on the relationship between K-12 and higher education, the Arizona Daily Wildcat believes Horne is best suited for the job of Superintendent.