Garcia focuses on education

WINDOW ROCK

As an educator, Arizona gubernatorial candidate David Garcia’s platform focuses on supporting public education.

“Right now so much of our education is focused on standardized testing instead of teaching real world outcomes,” Garcia told a crowd of voters during the Democratic Get Out The Vote rally on Wednesday in Window Rock.

Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
David Garcia at a stop in Window Rock, Ariz., on Nov. 1, 2018.

Garcia is running against incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey.

Garcia promised voters as governor he would treat teachers as professionals and support language programs. He would like to see all children leaving public schools knowing more than one language.

“It is a resource to speak more than one language,” Garcia said. “Children who speak two languages have two words for everything.”

This is why Garcia would begin to move public education away from teaching to a test to teach real world outcomes. Doing this would allow for language courses to become more developed and a priority.

“Having students leave speaking Navajo and English would be an asset and a tremendous resource,” he said.

Students would be tested to make sure they are learning the required knowledge but it wouldn’t be the main focus of education.

“When we no longer make that one of the sole requirements then what happens is we allow other real world outcomes to be included like language or getting career technical certificates,” Garcia said. “Passing a test should not be the end all, be all of education.”

When it comes to language Garcia would like solutions to come from the Navajo community and support those initiatives. This is also how he would address violence against Native women and families.

“I am a local control guy,” he said. “I believe the best ideas come from those closest to the problem. They’re more sustainable. They have better buy in. I’m going to look to local communities to develop these ideas and my job would be to support them.”

If elected as governor, Garcia would also protect tribal sovereignty.

“We’re going to respect tribal sovereignty,” Garcia said. “You protect tribal sovereignty by respecting tribal sovereignty.”

As a lifelong resident of Arizona, Garcia knows the history of Native American communities and what tribal sovereignty and self-determination are.

“I come into office with that knowledge,” he said. “As governor I look to leave the office in eight years from now having not taken away from sovereignty or efforts of self-determination but to be someone has built and helped and contributed to those efforts.”

Garcia has visited the Navajo Nation several times and looks forward to returning in the future.

“I look forward to working with the Navajo communities and helping to build and continue to build a greater Arizona,” Garcia said.


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About The Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah