Posted: Sep 26, 2012 9:47 AM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Updated: Sep 26, 2012 9:47 AM
The two candidates running for Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction squared off in Helena on Tuesday night.
Democratic incumbent Denise Juneau defended her four years in office, saying she's made great strides and Montana voters should continue to trust her.
Republican challenger Sandy Welch criticized Juneau for not listening to the people of Montana and growing the bureaucracy at the state level.
Juneau says due to her "Graduation Matters" program, the drop-out rate in Montana has declined and more students are graduating from high school.
Welch agrees that Montana students are doing well, but believes that they can do better with new leadership.
Welch said, "While Montana does very well nationally on most of our educational measures of student attainment, our growth has been flat for the past few years, while the national average continues to increase. Flat and stagnant growth is going to get us further and further behind as the rest of the nation and world catches us and passes us."
Juneau said, "Together we are producing results. Our students score in the top 10 states in reading, science, and math consistently. Our 8th-graders have the top score in the nation in science and reading. We outpace the nation on nearly every educational measure there is. And where we do have challenges we confront those head on."
Juneau says Welch was quick to criticize but wasn't offering solutions.