Can Facebook Save Missouri's Parents as Teachers?

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The news keeps getting worse for Missouri's Parents as Teachers, the model early education concept founded here in 1984 and now duplicated in 3,000 programs across the nation and in eight other countries.

Last year, state legislators cut $3.4 million in funding for Parents as Teachers for this fiscal year. Last month, Governor Jay Nixon cut another $4.1 million in state funding for the agency in the 2011 fiscal year. And finally, last week, the governor said he was going to withhold another $2 million in funding, effective this year, as part of his new reductions in the state budget.

The cuts have reduced funding for the agency by 28 percent and outraged many of the parents of the 156,000 Missouri children currently visited and screened by Parents as Teachers aides.

Enter Facebook. 

Over the past two weeks more than 12,000 people have joined the Facebook group Save Mo Parents as Teachers Program.

Pat Simpson, communications director for Parents as Teachers, tells Daily RFT that the outpouring of support on the site should send a strong message to the governor.

"You read all the comments on the Facebook site, and you realize the impact that Parents as Teachers has on Missouri families," says Simpson. "For the governor and legislators to then cut this program -- which was founded here and emulated all over the world -- it just doesn't set a good example."

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