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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Superintendent Of Public Instruction Seeks Re-election

Elsie Arntzen is Montana's superintendent of public instruction.
Montana Legislature

Republican Elsie Arntzen says she’ll seek re-election next year as Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

“I still have a lot of energy and I’ve always been a positive person,” Arntzen said. 

Arntzen is from Billings and was a teacher and legislator. She says she has successfully led efforts to bring together different groups to promote career and college readiness for students beginning in middle school, and also pushed for education funding and student safety.

Montana saw record-high graduation rates during Arntzen’s first term, but student scores stagnated on national assessments in the same time period. Arntzen says assessments are only one measure of student success.

“An assessment needs to be parallel with what the student is learning," Arntzen said. "And this also comes to what I would also like to put into play and that's more personalized learning. Innovation reflecting that it’s student success, not system success.”

Arntzen’s announcement Tuesday sets up a possible rematch of the 2016 superintendent race that Arntzen won against Democrat Melissa Romano.

Romano is a fourth grade teacher in Helena who won Montana Teacher of the Year in 2018. She’s criticized Arntzen for what she calls a lack of leadership at the head of the Office of Public Instruction.

“I honor Ms. Romano for jumping into this race," Arntzen said. "But I know my credibility understanding budgets, understanding policy makers and being that voice for Montana as the lead teacher. I believe my past is the best."

Arntzen and Romano are the only two announced candidates so far to lead the agency that oversees public schools in Montana. 

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