JILL MCDANIEL: Chris has a personal dedication to public education.

I’m Jill McDaniel. My husband is running for U.S. Senate.

Recently, some have made some comments in the media about Chris’s dedication to education that I feel must be corrected.

Chris is very much against Common Core. Consequently, he has fought federal involvement in local educational matters. He doesn’t believe the Federal Department of Education should be wasting $110 Billion each year maintaining a bloated federal agency which has experienced a failing track record since its creation in 1979.

Education must remain a local concern, not federal. Teachers should be allowed the flexibility to instruct, without unreasonable mandates and burdensome testing requirements.

Like me, Chris believes the money should be spent in the classrooms, not on wealthy federal administrators, and he disagrees with social experiments like Common Core and other federal programs which only add extensive paperwork and regulations to the already difficult job of teaching.

Chris’s dedication to educators is one that is personal. You see, I am an educator. I taught school for nearly a decade in Jones County before electing to stay home to raise our boys.

My mom, Chris’s mother-in-law, is a life-long educator. And Chris’s late father Carlos was a professor at Jones County Junior College for 32 years. Before that, he also taught in a public high school. He dedicated his life to the education of Mississippi’s young people, and was loved for it.

Chris has been around public education his entire life. Chris is a man who deeply appreciates the value of education, and he understands his own path is integrally tied to the public education system, from JCJC to Ole Miss. Indeed, both Chris and I have taken full advantage of the public education system in Mississippi.

As a result, he works to make sure Mississippi’s children and adults are able to avail themselves of the same opportunities.

When I was employed with the Jones County School District, Chris spent thousands on classroom supplies and even personal supplies for individual students in my class. As a state Senator, he has repeatedly voted for pay raises for teachers, has authored bills to reduce the tax liability for the purchase of school supplies, worked to pass legislation that exempts school fundraisers from sales taxes and strongly defended the PERS system.

And Chris also recognizes the need in Mississippi to reform our schools. He has been a champion of school reforms, including the Mississippi “Education Works Program,” the “Literacy-Based Promotion Act,” and the “New Start School Program,” each of which aims to improve the quality of education we give our children in the public schools system.

But the most significant sign that Chris cares about public schools is that we decided to send our school-aged son to a public school, and will do so with our younger son when he reaches school age. If that’s not a clear marker of support for public education, I’m not sure what is.

Chris is not going to defund education; he simply wishes to limit federal meddling in our local schools. Both of his children’s futures depend on funding and improving our educational system. He will fight for his children, just as he will fight for a better Mississippi for everyone.