Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says the federal government must do more to ensure all four-year-olds can go to preschool and to change the way older students are taught.
Clinton was the headliner at a weekend fundraiser for Staci Appel, a state senator from Ackworth who has five children under the age of eight. Over three-hundred people crowded into a building on the Warren County Fairgrounds. "Thanks everybody for coming," Appel said. "We are like out the barn door. That’s wonderful."
Clinton began her speech by focusing on preschool education and promised as president she’d push to get every four-year-old enrolled in a pre-kindergarten program. "If we help them get a better start…the evidence is overwhelming," Clinton said. "They will stay in school longer. They will do better and they’ll stay out of trouble — all of which is good for everybody else."
Clinton would have the federal government provide money to states to ensure that the three million four-year-olds in America who are not currently in preschool get enrolled.
According to Clinton, there are some states in the country that review third grade reading scores to project how many prison beds they’ll need to a decade. "Personally, I would rather pay a lot less for prekindergarten than a lot more for prison," Clinton said. "If we make those investments now, they’ll pay off later."
During a question and answer session with the crowd, Clinton advocated better school menus and a requirement that students are enrolled in a physical education course. "We’ve got to get our kids to understand how important it is to be active and to eat right," Clinton said.
The last question came from a Simpson College student who worries she won’t find a job teaching music. "With this ‘No Child Left Behind’ program, arts are being cut left and right," the Simpson student asked. "Will you do something?"
Clinton said she would, but Clinton also joked about being tone deaf. "Anyone who’s ever heard me sing on YouTube knows I can’t sing," Clinton said and the audience laughed. "It’s really tragic because it always sounds right to my ears and I love to sing. I mean, you should hear me in the shower. It’s just operatic."
Clinton said music education is crucial to help "ignite" the creativity of students. "I get very passionate about this because I think that we are in danger of narrowing the curriculum and leaving children behind, the very opposite of what they expected to have happen," Clinton said.
Clinton also attended a fundraiser at a winery in Ames on Saturday night.
Click on the audio link below to listen to Clinton’s question-and-answer session with the crowd in Indianola.