IDAHO — Two candidates debated Monday night, seeking to take over the State Superintendent of Public Instruction seat.
The role is currently held by republican Sherri Ybarra — who lost her nomination in the primary after almost 8 years in the position.
Terry Gilbert, the Democratic nominee, is a former teacher and former president of the Idaho Education Association
“I think it's time for a change. I can spark that change if you allow me," he said during his opening statement.
Debbie Critchfield, the GOP nominee serves as the president of the Idaho State Board of Education and formerly on the Cassia County school board as a trustee.
“I am ready and prepared to lead on day one,” she said.
Both debated over pandemic learning loss, school safety and more. Candidates were asked how they would address the state's ISAT scores which showed students are scoring below proficient in math.
“I have proposed tutors. I’m not the only one to propose this. It is occurring in Oklahoma right now the tutors are in the classroom dealing with the students. I do not want to put all of the burdens on our practicing teachers," Gilbert said.
“How do we train and prepare our teachers so they feel that they have the skills and the tools that they need? I feel that math has been overlooked. There’s a fantastic focus on literacy which we need to have but we now need to turn our attention equally to math," Critchfield said.
Also, a topic was school choice. Critchfield said she wants to discuss a voucher system, allowing parents to put public school funds toward non-public education.
“If we’re going to talk about honoring all choice, it has to be a discussion where we bring people together and we take a lot at all of these factors and then come up with something that makes sense,” she said.
Gilbert - very much opposed.
“If you want to kill public schools, let’s adopt a voucher program. Let's give money to the voucher program. Let's have those corporate greedy voucher people swallow up the money," he said.
To watch the full hour-long debate, click here.