EDlection2018: Arizona Superintendent Race Between Charter Advocate and Public School Educator Remains Too Close to Call
EDlection2018: This is just one of many races we have examined for the upcoming midterms in 2018 that could potentially impact education policies at the state and federal level. Stay updated with the latest news by signing up for Newsletter.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, the race for Arizona superintendent remained undecided with a close competition between a charter school advocate and a public school educator.
Republican candidate Frank Riggs currently holds a lead of less than 1 percent over Kathy Hoffman, a former preschool teacher and speech pathologist. Riggs is ahead by fewer than 7,000 votes, according to the election results reported by ABC15 Arizona.
The Arizona Republic reported that there are still around 650,000 votes to be counted statewide as of Wednesday, which could potentially affect major races like the superintendent race.
Hoffman expressed her gratitude to her supporters in a tweet on Wednesday, stating that there are still votes to be counted and that she wants every voice in favor of public education to be heard.
Amidst the uncertainty, Hoffman remains optimistic and thanked everyone who contributed to Team Hoffman through door knocking and making calls. She assured her commitment until every ballot is counted.
The superintendent of public instruction in Arizona holds the responsibility of overseeing all public and charter schools in the state and is also a member of the Arizona Board of Education. This position serves as a significant platform for shaping education policies.
During his campaign, Riggs emphasized his strong connections to the charter school sector. As a former congressman in California, he played a key role in the establishment of the Charter School Expansion Act in 1998, which allocated federal grants to newly formed charter schools. Riggs is also the founding board president of Arizona Connections Academy, an online K-12 charter school operating statewide.
However, Riggs does not intend to neglect the critical oversight of charter schools. In an interview with the Phoenix New Times, he emphasized the need to police the sector and hold accountable those who act inappropriately, as failure to do so would result in increased regulation.
Riggs also highlighted the importance of charter schools in Arizona, stating that they contribute to the diverse educational landscape and provide parents with a broader range of choices. He expressed his commitment to support both district schools and charter schools if elected as the superintendent of public instruction.
In addition to charter reform, Riggs’ education platform includes the establishment of parent advisory boards and the expansion of civic education.
On the other hand, Hoffman, like many other educators in this election cycle, capitalized on the momentum created by the #RedForEd movement, which led to a weeklong teacher strike in Arizona in late April. Riggs opposed the strike while Hoffman actively participated in it.
Hoffman’s platform focuses on supporting bilingual education programs, opposing the arming of teachers, and advocating for paid maternity and paternity leave for educators.
Out of the 12 teacher candidates interviewed by before Election Day, at least half of them have lost their races.
The winner of this race will replace Republican Diane Douglas, whom Riggs defeated in the primaries.