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Chris Reykdal, Maia Espinoza square off in debate as superintendent race heats up

Chris Reykdal and Maia Espinoza. Photo Credits: Associated Press (left) / Maia4Us, Facebook (right)

The race for Washington state’s superintendent of public instruction continues to ramp up, highlighted by a virtual debate between the two candidates Thursday evening, hosted by Washington State Wire.

Incumbent Superintendent Chris Reykdal garnered just over 40% of the vote in August’s Primary, followed by Maia Espinoza at 25%. With 35% of the vote up for grabs, both candidates stated their case Thursday.

For Reykdal, much of the focus was on improvements Washington has made to its education infrastructure in recent years, as well as strides it’s made in managing the ongoing COVID crisis under his direction.

“We’re a top 15 state in the nation in performance in math and English,” he said in his opening remarks. “We’ve made incredible headway in this state, but we’ve got real challenges ahead, and obviously COVID is one we want to work through and manage carefully.”

The picture of Washington’s education system Espinoza painted, though, was far less rosy as she described how she has been “disheartened by the rigidity of our system,” and how it continues to leave some students behind.

You can listen to the full nearly hour-long debate below:

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