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Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Debate

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Two Republican candidates for Illinois governor sparred this morning over how to improve the state’s education system.

In a debate sponsored by Chicago Public Radio, Bloomington State Sen. Bill Brady said he’d like to abolish the State Board of Education and give the governor more responsibility.

But former board head Ron Gidwitz said other changes would be more effective, such as increased funding.

""I mean, the fact that we use, that we are a local control state, and that the state itself is a relatively small contributor to education funding, has nothing to do with the governance structure,"" Gidwitz said.

""Oh, it absolutely has something to do --Ron, I’ve been down there for 12 years, it absolutely has,"" Brady says.

""Bill, I’ve been working on education reform for 20 years. So you may have been in Springfield ... maybe you’re part of the problem, Bill,"" Gidwitz says.

""Ron, you’ve been chairman of the state board, you want to talk about a problem,"" Brady says.

Gidwitz and Brady were joined by the three other Republican candidates for governor: State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, businessman Jim Oberweis, and Internet columnist Andy Martin.

The Republican primary will be held March 21. “

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