Christie and O'Malley Speak to Kids Issues in Iowa

Every Child Matters staff continue to trail presidential hopefuls across Iowa to raise the profile of issues affecting children in the state’s caucus process, last week catching a current and a former governor in the act of campaigning and making sure that kids get plenty of attention.

At Iowa State University in Ames to discuss education reform on Thursday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie responded to a question on early childhood education, noting that in his state, “it’s in the more challenged school districts that it’s had a real effect.” New Jersey is targeting pre-k money to failing districts rather than statewide – a reflection of Christie’s priorities, he said.

Christie outlined college-affordability proposals in the talk, including:

  • more transparency in tuition bills—an itemized bill explaining what the tuition and fees actually cover;
  • the idea of paying just for classes, not add-ons;
  • tax incentives for employers to cover costs of apprentices’ wages;
  • college credit for on-the-job training; and
  • income sharing or tax incentives allowing students to pledge future earnings and/or perform community service in exchange for loans.

For an overview of Christie’s ideas on education reform, click here.

ECM staff met newly-declared candidate Martin O’Malley, former Governor of Maryland, at a meet-and-greet in Marshalltown, IA later the same day. During remarks at the event, O’Malley detailed his work as Governor and as Mayor of Baltimore, battling poverty and seeking to create an even playing field for kids in need.

ECM advisor board member and Mid-Iowa Community Action Agency Executive Director Arlene McAtee asked O’Malley about early care and learning, as well as his plan to ensure that the educational system serves every student.  Noting that one in five kids lives in poverty, O’Malley pledged his commitment toward “eradicating childhood poverty,” while emphasizing the need to move to universal pre-k. He urged accelerating the development of technology and merging it with “what we now know about how individuals learn differently, to match the material to the way the child learns.”

More candidate reports are on their way!