WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Senators John McCain and Barack Obama squared off last night in Mississippi for the first presidential debate. During one segment, the candidates were asked about which priorities they would adjust if elected president in hopes of improving the current economic crisis. The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: "In the midst of the worst economic crisis America has faced since the Great Depression, Sen. John McCain tonight showed that he still does not understand the needs of working Americans. He still fails to grasp the direct link between a 21st century education system and a robust economy. McCain also showed he cannot relate to educators because he is still proposing a spending freeze, effectively creating a No Child Left Behind funding gap of $15 billion and putting a crunch on millions of special education students, low-income students, children living in poverty and the hiring of future teachers. "Sen. Obama, on the other hand, understands that all roads to economic security and prosperity go through our public schools. That is why he insists education remain a priority. Obama's plan calls for making college both accessible and affordable, emphasizing math and science to keep America competitive in a changing global economy, and doubling the investment in early childhood education." The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
SOURCE National Education Association