By Kaila Wyman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday September 5, 2002
Editor's note: This article is part of the Wildcat's continuous coverage of the 2002 Arizona election.
Ten of the 13 candidates running for the new Congressional District 7 seat spoke yesterday at an educational forum geared toward the Latino community.
Candidates spoke about problems they see in education and proposed solutions, and responded to questions on educational topics, including Pell Grants, Title One (a tutoring program), education for undocumented children, Latino drop-out rates and the No Child Left Behind program.
Democrat Mark Fleisher said he wanted sports, music, drama and other extracurricular activities brought back into all schools to keep drop out rates low. He said open enrollment takes money out of public schools and that everyone has an obligation to make schools better.
Democrat Luis Gonzales said he believes more money needs to be put into schools for bilingual education. He said he would like to improve the school system starting at kindergarten.
Democrat Raul Grijalva said he wants to work toward making Pell Grants available to more middle and working class families.
Democrat Jaime Gutierrez, UA's assistant vice president for community relations, said he would like to apply adequate funding to the policy proposals of undocumented children. He said all students should receive equal education and he would protect students' confidentiality so student records would not be turned over to the federal government.
Republican Ross Hieb said Title One is a start to the extra attention some students need, but the program is not enough because more funding is needed.
Democrat Lisa Otondo said she would like to increase the number of Pell Grants by 29 percent and make them available to independent and part-time students as well as low-income students.
Democrat Elaine Richardson does not fully support the No Child Left Behind program. She said every child should read by third grade but that the program should address bilingual education.
Democrat Jesus Romo expressed his concern with high drop out rates and proposed solutions, including lowering teen pregnancy rates and increasing bilingual education programs in schools.
Democrat Sherry Smith said high school graduates are less marketable than in the past and she wants to set up a system to help students find careers.
Republican Joseph Sweeney said he wants to urge students to continue their educations through graduate school. He said the best place to put money is education.