Both of the major party candidates for governor this week said their expectations for Iowa’s education system are tied to the experiences of their children. Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle rarely talks in public about his children, but referred to them directly as he began speaking to the State Board of Education this past Thursday.
“I really believe that everything that we are and everything we hope to become starts with a rock-solid, world-class education and that’s not only true for all of us but that’s true for my two kids who are in high school, public school up in West Delaware, in Manchester today,” Nussle says. “It’s true for any of our kids who are going to be successful in the future.”
Nussle’s kids — Sarah and Mark — are teenagers who live with Nussle’s first wife and unlike many other politicians, the Nussle kids are not featured in campaign materials. But Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chet Culver’s campaign regularly features images of his two younger children in campaign ads and pamphlets.
This past week Culver told the Board of Education he wants to spend more state taxdollars to get more preschool programs up and running as only 57 percent of Iowa school districts have an “accredited” pre-K program available in their area. “I’m a proud parent of two kids under the age of five. They both benefitted from access to early childhood education,” Culver said.
“My son just turned four last Saturday and he’s at a state-accredited early childhood program.” The Culver kids — Clare and John — have attended a private preschool run by a Lutheran church in the Des Moines area.