Working Super Tuesday primaries on behalf of students and public education

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by Brian Washington

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Tennessee educator Tanya Coats is going to have a long day tomorrow. She’ll get up at 5 am, arrive at work two hours later, and stay there until about 4pm. Then, after school, she’s going to be driving those without transportation to the polls so they can vote in her state’s presidential primary.

“Sometimes people have excuses about why they can’t vote,” said Coats. “They say they don’t have transportation. But I’ve told people, especially those at my church, that if they need a ride, I would come get them and take them back home.”

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TN educator Tanya Coats

Tuesday, March 1st, otherwise known as Super Tuesday, is a big deal for voters, like Coats, and the current roster of Republican and Democrat candidates seeking to become the nation’s 45th president.

More delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday than any other day on the primary calendar. Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses are taking place in the following states: Alabama, Alaska (R-caucus), Arkansas, Colorado (caucus), Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota (caucus), North Dakota (R-caucus), Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming (R-caucus).

Like thousands of educators across the country living in a Super Tuesday state, Coats will be sacrificing her personal time to make sure voters get out and cast their ballots. In addition to driving folks to and from the polls, she will be holding up signs for her pro-public education candidate outside various polling stations.

People are always worried if someone has an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to their name. But for me, it’s about the ‘E’—as in education. Are they going to be good for public education and our kids? It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican. We need to make sure that all of our kids have an opportunity to get a quality education.

Coats, an instructional coach who says her primary function is to provide encouragement and assistance to help educators get better, has been talking to her neighbors, family, and friends about the issues that impact students–and her own two kids. With a daughter in college and a son who’s about to start next year, making higher education more affordable is important to her.

“When I go to the polls, I always try to think about how the election is going to impact my family, in particular my two kids,” said Coats. “Yes, they are always on my mind—but not just my kids. We need to make sure we’re supporting candidates who are going to make a better tomorrow for all of our kids.”

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