The Arizona Republic endorses David Garcia for Superintendent of Public Instruction

I have long advocated for a “none of the above” option on the Arizona ballot. Only the state of Nevada affords its citizens this option. ‘None Of The Above’ Ballot Option In Nevada Upheld By Federal Appeals Court. Voters should have the right to register their disgust with their choice of candidates by voting, rather than staying at home.

education_appleThe Arizona Republic fka The Arizona Republican may finally be ready to join me in this lonely quest after it could not bring itself to endorse a Republican candidate in the GOP primary for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Republic’s sole reason for existence is to promote Republicans for office, and even The Republic could not bring itself to endorse a Republican candidate in this race. No good choice in GOP schools race:

Two strong candidates are running for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Neither, however, is on the Republican primary ballot.

GOP primary voters are faced with a choice between an incumbent who fails to meet a basic civility threshold for public service, and a single-issue challenger whose depth of knowledge about education rivals a cardboard cutout.

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We cannot recommend Huppenthal. But in this GOP primary, he is the best choice available.

Hence the need for voters to have the option of “none of the above.”

The Republic endorsed David Garcia in the Democratic primary — and suggested that he hire his opponent Sharon Thomas to work for him at the Department of Education. Obviously, this is as an endorsement for the general election as well. David Garcia is a champion for education:

GarciaBoth Democratic candidates to be the state’s schools leader demonstrate a strong commitment to education and a sincere desire to help Arizona’s K-12 students achieve more. Both have good ideas and a keen understanding of how important it is to focus on what happens in the classroom.

But decades of varied and relevant experience make David Garcia the best choice to be his party’s nominee for Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction.

Garcia served in the Department of Education under two Republican superintendents, Lisa Graham Keegan and Jaime Molera. He knows how to get along.

In addition to high-ranking positions in the department, Garcia was a research analyst for the state Senate Education Committee and a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education. He is an associate professor of education leadership at Arizona State University.

Garcia brims with self-confidence and big ideas. He says he’ll go to the Legislature and set an education agenda that includes reforming school finance. He wants to tap the best of the charter and district systems, resulting in less regulation for district schools and more transparency for charters.

On the hot-button education issue du jour, Common Core, Garcia correctly points out the state has long had standards. The key to making these new standards successful is a high-quality assessment.

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Garcia says Arizona needs to see the Spanish language skills students bring to school as a resource worth developing. That doesn’t mean they don’t learn English. It means they don’t lose Spanish. In a global world, proficiency in two languages is an advantage.

Garcia’s opponent is Sharon Thomas, a high-school English teacher in Phoenix who says it’s time to put an educator back in charge of education. She supports Common Core and favors “rigor and relevance” in the classroom.

Thomas is thoughtful, passionate and deeply committed to education. She’s taught at every classroom level from kindergarten through college.

Garcia, should he win in November, would be wise to hire Thomas. She’d be a good assistant. She just doesn’t have the track record, breadth of experience or personable style Garcia brings to the race.

Garcia’s accomplishments and experience make him well qualified for this job. His temperament and ability to reach across the aisle will make him a formidable and effective champion for public education, something the office sorely needs.​

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