Rep. Mark Kirk seems to be having an issue with the facts that make up his own life. First there was his military service that he got caught lying about, then his closeted love life and now his teaching career.
On the floor of the House, in campaign commercials and during interviews, Mr. Kirk has invoked his experience in the classroom. At a speech this spring to the Illinois Education Association, Mr. Kirk declared, “as a former nursery school and middle school teacher, I know some of what it takes to bring order to class.”
A review of public comments that Mr. Kirk has made over the last decade shows that while he may refer to himself as a former teacher, he does not talk about the brevity of his experience: a year in London at a private school and part-time in a nursery school as part of a work-study program while he was a student at Cornell University.
The biographies of political candidates are receiving extra scrutiny this year, as accusations of embellishments or exaggerations have touched Democrats and Republicans. With an unusually high number of candidates on the ballot, strategists in both parties are beefing up their teams of researchers to pore over résumés line by line.
The background of Mr. Kirk, a five-term congressman who is running for the Senate seat once held by President Obama, has come under additional examination after he apologized this month for errors and discrepancies about his military record.
His Democratic rival, Alexi Giannoulias, is raising questions about Mr. Kirk’s classroom experience, including his time as a nursery school teacher. The Giannoulias campaign provided The New York Times several examples of Mr. Kirk referring to himself over the years as a former teacher. The comments were verified and more imprecise references were found by The Times as it reviewed his background.
Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Kirk campaign, said that his work in the nursery at a United Methodist ministry called Forest Home Chapel in Ithaca, N.Y., took place in his final year of college in 1981. The campaign did not provide verification, and it could not be independently confirmed. A longtime member of the church who had a son in the nursery around the same time said she did not recall any male teachers...read on