Answering a question from a nine-year-old elementary student, Sen. Barack Obama, speaking at a town hall meeting in Cape Girardeau, outlined his education plan.
"Our kids have to get the best education possible. They are going to have to compete. They may not all need a four-year ocllege education, but they are going to need post-high school training."
"I want to invest in early childhood education. Not just pre-K, but earlier. So many kids are behind when they start school. Every dollar you invest in early childhood education," he said, "you get seven dollars back," he added noting that includes less dropouts and lower crime rates.
"I want to pay our teachers more money. We don't pay our teachers enough. There is such a big gap between what a teacher and another professional makes. You don't go into teaching to get rich. Teachers don't expect to get rich, but they expect to lead a middle class life."
Obama said we need to train teachers more effectively and have teachers teaching subjects they know. "We have to recruit about a million new teachers. Pay them more and give them more professional development. I want to have after-school programs and summer programs." Obama said he wanted to give the students more activities that can keep students learning and out of trouble.
Obama added he wants to make college affordable. "The price of college is going up so fast." He proposed a $4,000 per student per year credit in exchange for public service.
Obama is taking his last questions and is about to take off for an event in Michigan.