State Superintendent Candidates Square Off In A Debate

Tuesday, October 21st 2014, 11:44 pm
By: News 9

“I think it's time that we get out there and give money to public education so that we can hire more tutors, hire more teachers, pay for the supplies,” said Democratic candidate John Cox.

“I'm proposing an eight year plan that deals with a dedicated funding stream, a plan to provide competitive teacher pay,” said Republican candidate Joy Hofmeister.

Both candidates agreed, the issues facing students and schools across the state are critical.

Longtime educator and Democratic nominee John Cox was alongside former board of education member and Republican, Joy Hofmeister to hash out some of the biggest issues in Oklahoma public education.

“I'm for eliminating the testing process that we have right now,” said Cox.

“We certainly have a testing environment now that is toxic. We have a climate that is causing incessant stress for students, and it's also demoralizing to our teachers when so much is riding on one score,” said Hofmeister.

Both candidates endorsed a reduction in the number of tests public school students must take every year.

The two also agreed that pay raises are highly needed.

Oklahoma teachers are consistently among the lowest paid in the country. In fact, they haven't seen a pay raise in seven years.

But the two said what really sets them apart is experience.

“My experience is at the state level with statewide advocacy working with students all over the state,” said Hofmeister.

“This is my 21st year being school superintendent, 29th in public education and so I think that's what really separates the two of us,” said Cox.

The fight to become Oklahoma's top education official is in a dead heat.

Just a month ago, our exclusive News 9 poll showed only three points separating the candidates.

09/04/2014 Related Story: State Superintendent Candidates React To News 9 Poll

But our latest survey showed Hofmeister and Cox in dead even at 38%, with Cox losing some ground since last month.

10/03/2014 Related Story: EXCLUSIVE POLL: Hofmeister, Cox Even Again In State School Superintendent Race

Nearly a quarter of voters are still undecided.

A series of debates will continue with Joy Hofmeister and Dr. John Cox.

The two candidates are seeking to replace state superintendent, Janet Barresi.