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"Music City" Throws Block Party, Rally, Kitchen Sink to Focus Candidates on Kids

October 6, 2008

Nashville, TN – There will be dancing in the streets for the presidential debate. Child advocates and supporters are pulling out all the stops today and Tuesday in Nashville, with a series of music and dance events leading up to the debate.

Linda O'Neal, of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, says they want candidates to "hear their message" that kids and education need higher priority in the next administration.

"The investments we make in children today determine the kinds of parents and citizens they will become in the future."

O'Neal says some of the key issues are access to quality health care and support for the most vulnerable children, particularly those living in poverty and those with special mental and physical health needs.

Becky Pringle, a top leader of the National Education Association, is in Nashville for the events. She says that although education has been largely ignored during the campaign, teachers are looking forward to a more supportive administration.

"We want to make sure there is a renewal of the partnership between the federal government and state and local governments."

Organizers will also be calling for quality education for all children and respect for teachers.

Rallies and related pre-debate events will take place on Monday from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Bicentennial Mall; and on Tuesday at Legislative Plaza (10:00 to 11:30 a.m.) and at Belmont University (12:00 to 6:30 p.m.)

Barbara Dab/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - TN