- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Candidates hoping to be Wyoming’s next superintendent of public instruction squared off over the federal government’s role in crafting education policy during a debate at Casper College on Thursday night.

Republican candidate Jillian Balow tried to tie Democrat Mike Ceballos to Washington, D.C., and liberal unions - charges Ceballos denied. She also said that as superintendent, she would place a greater emphasis on education policy at the community level.

“The more we are tied to the federal government, the more we lose our ability to control education locally,” Balow said. “I propose a much more robust form of communication with communities.”

Ceballos countered that the key to education is open policymaking.

“If we really want our community to be involved, we have to be as open as we can be,” he said. “If we make it political, the community becomes polarized. We need to be able to get to the point and work with our communities to ensure we employ the best standards.”

The Casper Star-Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1CZLw5C ) the candidates agreed that the main role of the office will be providing stability to a department that has seen its share of turmoil.

Former superintendent Cindy Hill’s tenure was marked by a testy political fight with the Republican-dominated Legislature and GOP Gov. Matt Mead over her administration of the state Department of Education. Hill challenged Mead for governor, but she finished a distant third behind him in the primaries.

Balow and Ceballos will debate again in Riverton on Oct. 16.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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