Educators are poised to play a major role in determining who is elected the next President of the United States. Harnessing the power of the #RedforEd movement, educators, parents, and students across the country have taken action to force a conversation about the years of chronic neglect that has taken a toll on student opportunity in our nation’s public schools.
And no one knows this better than the candidates themselves. Which is why many of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination will be traveling to the NEA Representative Assembly in Houston, TX this week to answer questions from educators about the future of public education.
The event – scheduled for the afternoon of Friday, July 5 – is the first ever #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum and the first public forum following the NBC presidential debates that took place this week. It will be moderated by NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.
Confirmed attendees include former Vice President Joe Biden, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Sen. Kamala Harris, Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
One in 100 Americans is a member of the National Education Association, the largest union in the U.S, and 1 in 39 voters reside in an NEA household. NEA members represent sought after demographics including college-educated women and suburban professionals swinging elections from coast to coast. They live in every state, in every Congressional District, and in every ZIP code, and are a trusted and influential voice in every community who consistently exercise their right to vote. So educators will play a significant role in determining who wins the White House.
“For more than a year, the national #RedForEd movement, led by educators and supported by parents and students in communities across the country, has seen hundreds of thousands of people taking action to ensure every student has equal opportunity regardless of where they live or how well off their families are,” said Eskelsen García. “And now we are taking this energy to the 2020 campaign where we will lead a conversation about the schools our students deserve.”
At the forum, each candidate will have a one-on-one seated conversation with Eskelsen García, who will field questions from NEA members about the candidates’ plans for public education. Topics will include how to provide opportunity for every student, how they plan to provide the resources and tools that attract and retain educators to the profession, and how they will listen to the voices of the professionals who know better than anyone what needs to be done to help every student succeed.
Although live attendance to the forum will only be available to elected delegates to the Representative Assembly, the livestream will be available here.
While the forum presents an exciting opportunity for its members to hear directly from the candidates about their thoughts on public education, it is only one of many avenues NEA has created to provide engagement opportunities in the 2020 presidential campaign. In May, NEA launched Strong Public Schools 2020, a campaign aimed at engaging and listening to its members, lifting up their voices, and engaging presidential candidates.
Via StrongPublicSchools.org, NEA will inform members and the public about where the candidates stand on key issues, share events and volunteer opportunities, provide a portal to submit questions to the candidates, watch videos, provide news from the campaign trail, as well as take action to support public education. The hub also includes important information about the NEA’s presidential recommendation process.
“We are defining who we are as a country and determining the core values and principles that will guide this great nation moving forward,” said Eskelsen García. “Educators plan to be front and center in this conversation. We will make our presence felt in this election and will play a major role in choosing the next president of the United States.”