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Candidates for Arizona's top school post spar in debate

Associated Press | Matt York
Superintendent of Public Education Kathy Hoffman

The candidates seeking Arizona’s top K-12 education post sparred in a debate over critical race theory, services for LGBTQ youth and whether students are safe and learning as they should.

The at-times contentious debate featuring Republican Tom Horne and current Superintendent of Public Education Kathy Hoffman also featured exchanges over school shutdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoffman is a Democrat seeking a second four-year term. Horne said schools were shut down for far too long at Hoffman’s urging, leading to learning loss for children, job issues for their parents and sagging test scores.

Hoffman defended her decisions, saying she was trying to keep students and families safe.