Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill says she hasn’t met anyone who doesn’t think the No Child Left Behind law is flawed. McCaskill has been on a state-wide tour, talking to local educators about what they want to see changed in federal education policy. She capped her tour in Columbia Thursday at Hickman High School. She told educators she understands why they’re frustrated. She said unfunded mandates by the federal government are not only unfair to states, but “frankly wrong.”
McCaskill asked educators if they though the federal government should have any role at all in education policy. She said unless the government can fund the requirements it places on the states, it’s unfair to expect them to fund it. She did pointed at the state legislature to fix the problem by raising taxes. She said Missouri is 47th in the nation for education funding, and 50th in the amount it taxes cigarettes.
The debate on education policy reform will take place sometime between now and the fall, McCaskill said, but did not seem hopeful that it would be easy. She says many of her colleagues are more concerned about winning elections than making compromises. She also noted that funding for most things would not raise in the coming years, though she said she is in favor of cutting spending.