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June 7, 2014

Superintendent candidates discuss education issues at Cooperative council conference

NORMAN — Oklahoma school administrators ready for a change listened attentively and applauded vigorously as five candidates for state superintendent of public instruction discussed their opinions and goals.

Candidates each had the opportunity to answer four questions in a political debate at the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) summer conference Friday. The debate was moderated by Alex Cameron, of News 9.

Republican candidates for the position include current State Superintendent Dr. Janet Barresi, Joy Hofmeister and Brian Kelly. Democratic candidates for the position include Dr. John Cox, Dr. Freda Deskin, Dr. Jack Herron and Dr. Ivan Holmes. Barresi and Kelly were not present for the debate.

1. What is your platform and vision for Oklahoma and how does that set you apart from other candidates?

The only Republican candidate to appear at the debate, Hofmeister said she was compelled to run because of current failed leadership and discussed three important goals of her platform.

First, Hofmeister said more time should be put on instruction and less on testing. Second, she said she believes in reliable accountability and that the A-F grading system should be fixed to produce reliable, valuable and accurate information.

“We also need to set high expectations but make sure to provide support,” she said of her last platform point.

Next, Cox said the most important thing to this election is that someone who is an educator and trained to be in that position is elected.

“This is my 20th year I just finished as a school superintendent. Eight years before that, I was a teacher, and I think that’s powerful. Also, the fact that I am an adjunct professor at NSU, where I actually teach teachers to become superintendents and principals. ... I think that’s valuable information to go in and for the state department to have,” Cox said.

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