Independent: The race for AZ education

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The White Mountain Independent reported that education could very well be the defining issue across many state races in 2018 and Jonathan Gelbart, a Republican from northwest Phoenix, thinks he can be the voice for that issue. He’s running for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Gelbart has some competition. In addition to incumbent Diane Douglas, others in the race include Tracy Livingston, board member for Maricopa County Community College District; Frank Riggs, 2014 Arizona gubernatorial candidate; and Robert Branch — all Republicans. Democrats in the field include David Schapira, a Tempe councilman, and Kathy Hoffman. Stuart Starky (Green Party) and Stacie Banks (I) are also candidates.

Teacher pay is a big issue in Arizona. Depending upon the study, Arizona ranks at or near the bottom in teacher pay, which has, according to a study from Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, coupled with increasing workloads, caused a teacher shortage.

To ensure broad, ongoing feedback from education professionals, Gelbart has formed an Educators Advisory Group composed of educators and school leaders with more than 100 years of combined experience in Arizona schools.

If elected, Gelbart, 28, would be the youngest superintendent of public instruction since statehood.

READ: Gelbart sets sights on becoming state schools chief