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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Graves: Education funding remains a concern

  • When it came time for Congressman Sam Graves to go to Washington, D.C., he faced a big decision: Take his entire family to the capital, and have his children attend school there, or leave his family in Tarkio and allow his youngsters to continue their education in that community’s public school.
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  • When it came time for Congressman Sam Graves to go to Washington, D.C., he faced a big decision: Take his entire family to the capital, and have his children attend school there, or leave his family in Tarkio and allow his youngsters to continue their education in that community’s public school.
    Graves told those gathered at the Hannibal Early Childhood Center on Wednesday that the local school district was a major consideration in his decision to not uproot his family.
    Graves’ strong support of public education in Missouri was obvious again during his Hannibal Education & Opportunity Town Hall meeting.
    “He has been a supporter of early childhood in the past. It was great to hear his children were in the Parents as Teachers program and his continued support of it,” said Diane Addison, coordinator of Parents as Teachers in the Hannibal public school district. “I just encourage all of our legislators to put the focus on early childhood because that leads to a future of good economic development.”
    Also upbeat about what Graves had to say was Kylee Meyer, who works with Parents as Teachers.
    “I was excited about how he is all about education and how he is very in tune with what I think the school district needs,” she said.
    Addison applauded the fact that Graves is paying personal visits throughout his congressional district.
    “We appreciate our congressman being interested in early childhood issues, especially in rural Missouri,” she said. “I think it’s important for him to come out and visit and learn what people in Hannibal and smaller towns see as important for families and children. Obviously education is one we’re really promoting today.”
    Graves acknowledged that education is a frequent concern raised by his constituents.
    “There’s concern out there and it’s over funding for the most part,” he said. “We want to keep these programs intact, particularly early childhood programs that are out there. We just want to make sure they are funded. They may not get the increase as large as they would like, but we want to make sure we see whatever those basic needs are covered. The increase may be cut back but there still should be an increase.”
    Another frequent concern raised centers around the education initiative – Common Core State Standards – that seeks to establish consistent education standards across the country in subjects such as English language arts and mathematics.
    “People are concerned about it; I’m concerned about it,” said Graves. “It’s another federal initiative to try to make a one-size-fits-all and that doesn’t work. Rural school districts in Missouri aren’t the same as urban school districts in Chicago. It comes down to the state. The state should be in charge of its own curriculum. Their No. 1 priority is education and so we ought to make sure that they’re able to keep that.”

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