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On Wednesday, a group of teachers gathered in Springfield's Fassnight Park to show their support for Senator Claire McCaskill. KSMU’s Shane Franklin was at the event, and has this story.
The applause is for Ray Smith, a math teacher at Hickory Hills Middle School. It comes from fellow teachers of the Springfield Public School district as he finishes speaking about why he supports McCaskill, and why he thinks her opponent, Congressman Todd Akin, wouldn’t be a good choice for a Missouri Senator.
“I think the opposition has some very hardline ideological views that are a little bit disconnected from reality, frankly. I haven’t heard anything positive come form that camp regarding public education. He has not demonstrated to me any understanding of what’s going on in our schools.”
Nancy Wiser was a teacher in the Springfield Public School System for 26 years. She said that McCaskill has shown that a dollar invested in Missouri's education system is a dollar invested in all.
She was especially vocal about her support for the National School Lunches Program. That's a federal reimbursement program for schools that provide meals to low-income kids. Akin has said he would consider shifting that responsibility to the state rather than the federal government.
“I know that his position is to send it back to the states for funding there, but then it would be fifty different ways, and when children move from school to school and state to state, it wouldn’t be seamless anymore. There would be lapses in children being able to get those services. That’s why it was always a federal program to begin with. Harry S. Truman signed it into law, so it’s a Missouri value all the way.”
KSMU tried repeatedly to reach out to Akin’s campaign for comment, but we were unable to connect. Earlier in the campaign, he told KSMU that he's interested in finding innovative ways to solve this problem. He said the states need to be addressing their own issues, like feeding low-income kids at school, and the federal government should focus on paying off its debt.
For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.