Tag Archives: Obama

What advice would you give?

Everyone seems to have advice for the president-elect; Parents as Teachers National Center is no exception (see previous posts here).


But Maffitt McDonald, a freshman at McCluer High School in St. Louis, had some especially perceptive insight recently. He was one of the finalists in an essay contest for high school students sponsored by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, STLtoday.com and Lindenwood University. Students were asked to write about what they would change if they were president, and while most suggested the economy, health care reform, energy consumption, Maffitt wrote a particularly articulate argument to focus the nation’s efforts on education above all else.


“If the public is uneducated, they make bad decisions which will have a large impact on the economic status of America,” he writes. He offers the president-elect a three-point plan: implement a huge media campaign; require high school diplomas for employment; and offer parenting classes to teach children how to be good parents.


Listen to all the finalists read their essays (Maffitt’s essay begins about a minute into the video), then let us know what you think the new president should do first.


Item #1 on a proposed agenda for the new administration

Dear President-Elect Obama,

Yours is a big job and we realize there are many constituents clamoring for your attention just now. We know that some things, like the economy, trump others when it comes to garnering your support, so we thought we’d start a list to help you prioritize some of the biggest issues from our perspective.

1. Expand early childhood home visiting services by enacting the Education Begins at Home Act

Evidence-based home visitation services, such as Parents as Teachers, make a real difference in the lives of children and families by promoting school readiness, increasing long-term school achievement, enhancing parental involvement, reducing child abuse and neglect and increasing health outcomes for children and pregnant women. But only a small percentage of American families are able to receive home visiting services due to insufficient program funding.

This act would establish a dedicated federal funding stream to support quality, voluntary home visiting programs for parents with young children. And rather than requiring all states to offer the same home visitation model, this bill gives states the authority to put into practice a range of evidence-based home visitation approaches that best meet the needs of the families in each state.

First, we recommend that the Obama-Biden administration include the Education Begins at Home Act as a key component of the administration’s early childhood legislative agenda.


Your Parents as Teachers friends

But where do you stand on education, Senator?

By Jane Callahan

Want to learn more about the Presidential candidates’ views on education policy? Tune in to a free webcast of the education advisors from the Obama and McCain campaigns sponsored by Teachers College, Columbia University. 

Tuesday, Oct 21 at 7 p.m. Eastern time, Linda Darling-Hammond, an education advisor to Senator Obama, will join Lisa Graham Keegan, an education advisor for Senator McCain, to discuss education issues.  To register for the webcast visit www.edweek.org/go/tcdebate.

Up for debate

By Jane Callahan

While I’m not a single issue voter, I do listen to see if candidates mention early childhood education and family support issues. As a nation we face many difficult and complex issues, but I care about what the candidates are proposing to help children and families. If you’re really motivated or just want to learn more about the specifics of the candidates’ proposals, I urge you to visit their campaign web sites for more detailed information their positions on the issues: www.johnmccain.com and www.barackobama.com. If you don’t agree with their positions, let them know through the web-based “contact-us” icon on each of their web sites.

We are especially excited here in St. Louis because Washington University is hosting the vice presidential debate on October 2nd. With the recent announcement of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate, this is shaping up to be a very big event! From the viewpoint of Parents as Teachers National Center, we are excited that both Delaware, the home state of Democratice vice presidential candiate Joe Biden, and Alaska, the home state of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, both have strong Parents as Teachers programs serving families. 

Wouldn’t it be great if early childhood education would be an issue for discussion at the Wash U debate?