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Moms Decide Election 2012: Education Reform

This important issue will be hotly debated in the upcoming presidential election. See what the moms on our political panel have to say about it.

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-My name is Allison. I am the parent of an almost 2-year-old son. I am a Special Education teacher at the New York City Department of Education. My concern is that the push towards paper and pencil tests, bubbling in answers and then assessing both teachers and students solely on those exams is creating an environment that doesn't focus on a whole student. The candidate that I want is the person that's going to support the development of a child as a whole. -Hi. My name is Suzanne Khan. I write for Mom Confessionals and I'm a mom of 2 kids. My daughter is gonna be 5 soon and I sent her to a private school. And I can afford private school, but I spent every cent and every dime that I can save to send her to private school because I want her to have a better life. -Hi. My name is Valerie Bebb. I am the parent of 2 daughters. One is a child who attends a charter school and I also want a program on education engagement and advocacy program called The Charter Parent Action Network. -When parents don't feel confident coming into the school building because some of them have not completed their educations, they feel very left out8 of the discussion. We kinda look at the why behind the things and the, you know, the direct effect of how parents being engaged in education not just saying that but making it, you know, actually, accessible to them so that they can help to prepare their children alongside school leaders. -My name's Alana Newman and I have a 2-month-old daughter. And one thing that we can do to increase our success level academically is concentrate on nutrition and family stability because when kids- family situations are falling apart and the parents are divorcing. You cannot expect them to reach their potential academically. -My name is Tamil Spidel. I'm near West Point. We have a very small little school district up there. I have a son that's in 1st grade and a 2 and 1-year-old. I have been elected to the school board. I take the position on July 1st. Fundamentally, it's gonna end up coming down to how do we finance this? And the whole funding model needs to be completely changed. This year, our Special Education costs soared. They like nearly doubled and the people that are in my community that don't have children, that are retired, that own their homes are asking me why do I need to pay more taxes for these- for these other people's children? -My name is Stephanie Lind. I have 2 children. One is turning 3 today and my aunt's daughters is Julianne. Actually, also has Down Syndrome. And I was just- have not stepped into the education system yet, but I was wondering a lot of people had inside full comments about funding, etcetera. Does anyone see sending less money into Washington and they're receiving a fraction of it back into our local communities as part of the problems since the constitution doesn't actually afford the federal- the right to have an education department? Does anyone see the states taking more responsibility for education instead of a federal level? -I think, when it comes to education, there's something and maybe it's especially as a parent that just seems brutally unfair and almost makes you wanna cry when you hear individual stories of kids who fall to the cracks because they're not sort of that 1 lone crazy story of how some child didn't make it. I feel like we could all mean 5, 6, 10 kids where- and they're not kids in desperate poverty. This is sort of seems to me, at least, today, it'd be a middle income problem of youth. And I feel like it's a shift from when I was growing up that, if you were a middle income family, you will probably gonna go to a perfectly fine public school somewhere. And now, and maybe people will agree or disagree with me, that seems to have shift dramatically that being middle income doesn't guarantee that regular, perfectly fine public school seems different. Is there anybody who would disagree with that?