Over drinks of iced tea and ice water, Democratic candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman passionately conveyed why she would be the best choice to lead our public schools starting in January 2019.
She is a native of Oregon who moved to Arizona and has taught special needs, and elementary age children in Tucson and the Valley. Ms. Hoffman said she was propelled to run by the Women’s Movement following the electoral college victory of Donald Trump and the ascension of Betsy DeVos, an opponent of public schools, to Secretary of Education.
She is competing with David Schapira in the Democratic primary.
An advocate for special needs children, mainstreaming ELL students in order to achieve immersion, and protecting the safety and rights of students in the LGBTQ community, Ms. Hoffman would pursue the following policies and positions if elected this November.
- Promoting safe schools that include increased staffing for counseling and social workers to help detect children early who need assistance with social skills and anger management. She is also in favor of structural renovations to schools that the local community feels are necessary to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment. She is not in favor of arming instructors or making them carry guns on school grounds.
- Encouraging schools to provide S.T.E.A.M. as opposed to just S.T.E.M. educational programs. Ms. Hoffman recognizes that the arts, as well as the sciences, are necessary ingredients to a well-rounded education. Furthermore, Ms. Hoffman feels class sizes in any grade level should not exceed 25 children per classroom. She also supports the idea of High School graduates leaving school with experiences in service learning, exposure to college classes, and a form of career pathways and apprenticeship but would let the local districts determine the best interests of their students. Ms. Hoffman also supports increased time for recess and extracurricular activities.
- Making sure that teachers and staff are properly compensated. Ms. Hoffman supports a 20 percent raise for teachers and supports their goals to have these raises also tied to the rising costs of pensions and healthcare. She supports what educators are doing in other states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, and will participate in the April 11 walk-in with other Arizona instructors. Ms. Hoffman wants to make the teaching profession in Arizona an attractive and competitive venue for people across the country to consider.
- Bringing all stakeholders together to solve the education funding crisis. Virtually all ideas ranging from increasing the sales tax to closing corporate tax loopholes to making higher earners pay more in either income or property taxes are on the table. Ms. Hoffman also wants to conduct another audit of the Department of Education School Finance Division to make sure that any discrepancies discovered last year have been corrected. One policy measure that would not be entertained are any proposals to fund school vouchers which could blur church and state lines and just be a disguised tax cut for the rich.
- Doing away with the current school grading system. Ms. Hoffman feels that the current school grading system does not take socioeconomic factors into full consideration and instructors and leaders at educational institutions that do incredible feats with their children with meager resources are unfairly penalized.
- Ensuring that all students, no matter what race, religion, creed, orientation, or need are treated equally without fear of harassment, bullying, or other forms of discrimination. Bilingual in Spanish and English, Ms. Hoffman supports the multicultural studies popularized in the Tucson Unified District and is against any measure that promotes English-only instruction in a segregated classroom.
For more information on Ms. Hoffman’s views and background, her website is https://www.electkathyhoffman.com/