Educators to presidential candidates: Here’s how to earn my vote

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By Amanda Litvinov

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EducationVotes is speaking to educators across the country about what they’re looking for in the nation’s next president.

Their priorities are clear: They’re seeking a candidate who will call for an end to the economic austerity that public schools continue to face even as the economy recovers. They want a candidate who will take a stand against overtesting. They want a candidate who will ensure taxpayer money goes toward school resources. And they want a candidate who will close tax loopholes for wealthy corporations and individuals who don’t need them.

The bottom line? Educators are ready to support a president who respects what every community wants: strong public schools for every student, in every ZIP code. This includes:

Opportunity for All Students

140731-0509_Tercero_crop“Every child deserves a great public school where they receive one-on-one attention and have access to a well-rounded curriculum. I want a president who understands that kids need libraries, nurses, art, and music, in addition to well-prepared teachers and support staff. Our next president must believe that the federal government has an important role to play in making sure all our schools have the resources they need.”

—Cyndi Tercero, dropout prevention coordinator, Phoenix Union High School District, Phoenix, Arizona

Less Testing Time

Terry Ben Carson_crop“The test-and-punish era is ending. Everyone we elect—including our next president—should support assessment systems developed in collaboration with educators that use multiple sources of evidence of student learning. Research shows those systems are more reliable than high-stakes tests in evaluating student progress, and they promote the teaching of critical thinking over test taking.”

—Terry Burlingame, foreign language teacher, Gilmanton Elementary School, Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire

 

Support for Special Education

140731-0887_Grisby_crop“Each year our government fails to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Act, shifting costs they pledged to cover back onto the states. Our next president has to take a stand on behalf of our special needs students, and all of us who care about them, by supporting the full funding of IDEA.”

—E-Ben Grisby, special education teacher, Green Bay West High School, Green Bay, Wisconsin

 

College Affordability

IMG_0143_Raysby_crop“All hardworking students deserve a chance to go to college, without the burden of crushing student loan debt. The average amount of student debt is nearly $30,000. The next president should push for more need-based federal aid, expansion of Pell Grants, programs that allow students to streamline and refinance their loans, and loan forgiveness for those who choose careers in public service, including teachers.”

—Amanda Raysby, NEA student member, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Collective Bargaining Power

140731-0504_Bichko_crop“I will never support a candidate who doesn’t support my right to bargain collectively. Restricting that right doesn’t save money or solve problems. It leaves teachers and education support professionals with little say in the quality of public education. Kids need us to advocate for them at every bargaining table and in every voting booth.”

—Michael Bichko, history and Spanish teacher, Northgate High School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

Proper Funding

0855_Guzman_crop“Research calls for more resources to address the challenges of educating children in poverty. But federal education funding has been stuck for the last five years. We need a president who will change that—someone who will call for an end to corporate tax loopholes in order to protect critical formula grant programs like Title I that provide extra academic supports for economically disadvantaged students.”

—Amy Guzman, special education teacher, Midland High School, Midland, Michigan

 

Early Childhood Education

1752_Cooley_crop“We know that quality early education programs put students on a pathway to high academic achievement and keep them there. Not only do such programs help our littlest learners gain early language, literacy, and math skills, they also net billions of dollars in economic benefits and are shown to reduce crime rates. Only a candidate who supports expanding pre-K opportunities will earn my vote.”

—Lakisha Cooley, first-grade teacher, Tangelo Park Elementary School, Orlando, Florida

 

 

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