State Superintendent Candidates More Critical Of Each Other At Recent Debate
TULSA, Oklahoma - The state superintendent's race is down to two candidates and one week. Tuesday, the two running for the spot spent the evening debating at OSU-Tulsa.
In one of the last debates of the campaign, the candidates were far more critical of each other than they have been before.
It started and ended with the candidates attacking each other over the qualifications each has for the job.
Democratic candidate, John Cox, a longtime superintendent, said Republican candidate, Joy Hofmeister, wasn't in touch with public schools.
"My opponent hasn't lived it, she hasn't lived public education, she's been here in Tulsa 15 years, but not as a teacher. I couldn't even hire her as a teacher or a principal at my school," he said.
But Hofmeister, the owner of a tutoring company, said Cox's long tenure in a small town wasn't the right experience. He's been a superintendent in Peggs for 20 years.
"My opponent has very limited experience where mine is statewide and experience matters," she said.
The debate covered the familiar themes of teacher pay and school funding, overall. Both said schools need more dollars, but differ on how much.
They differ on what should be done about testing; Hofmeister said Oklahoma should continue testing, with some improvements.
"That we have balanced assessments that measure how our students are doing so we can inform instruction that we have an accountability system that provides good information so that local communities can make good decisions,” she said.
Cox said he would try to stop most state testing right away.
“We don't know if the tests are measuring what they're supposed to measure, so I've been out there saying let's take a moratorium this spring,” Cox said.
“As much as that sounds great to an audience, that is not something that is responsible,” Hofmeister responded.
There wasn't much new ground plowed in the debate Tuesday, but more direct attacks.
They've had more than 20 debates, so they've answered just about every question and now it's up to voters.