By Amanda Menas
With educators represented in every congressional district across the country, 2020 presidential candidates are quickly producing plans and platforms to show support for K-12 education policies. NEA members will be key electoral influencers and strong advocates for pro-public education candidates in 2020.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García has praised each of the candidates who have prepared pro-public education agendas. Specifically, she applauds the proposals to guarantee educators a voice in creating strong public schools centered around equal opportunity for all students, to attract and retain quality educators, and to invest in the quality public schools every student deserves along with our members as part of the #RedForEd movement.
Here are the candidates who have prepared K-12 education plans:
– Joe Biden has pledged in his education plan to expand community schools, fully fund IDEA, and invest in universal pre-K. His plan includes supporting our educators by increasing pay, mentorship, and student loan repayment opportunities. The schools he plans to invest in, including especially in low-income and high-need communities, will provide environments for students to grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults.
– Bill de Blasio was praised for promising to establish a federal constitutional right to a quality education. His plan includes funding early childhood education, changing school funding formulas, and fully funding Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
– Julián Castro plans to invest in full-day kindergarten for all students along with universal pre-K. He was praised for his plan to attract and retain local educators, establish and require linkages between pre-K and K-12 systems, and prioritizing college affordability. Castro also plans to expand home visitations and other programs for infants and toddlers.
– Kamala Harris’s plan to help students succeed focuses on raising teacher pay across the country, providing relief from college debt today, and ensuring tomorrow’s students can attend college debt-free.
– Jay Inslee promises to give educators a voice in his plan which focuses on creating the “America’s Healthiest Generation Initiative” and a “Climate Conservation Corps.” In addition to reversing the DeVos attack on equity in schools, Inslee plans to retrofit every American school building and ensure all new school buses are zero-emission within 10 years.
– Beto O’Rourke called for a Permanent Fund for Equity and Excellence in his plan, which prioritizes ending racial disparities in school discipline, investing in a diverse teacher pipeline, and providing support for educators in advancing their careers.
– Tim Ryan focuses on developing wrap around services in his plan, which also encourages social-emotional learning environments and establishing 21st-century college- and career-ready pathways.
– Bernie Sanders received attention for his call to ban unaccountable, for-profit charter schools. His plan opposes DeVos-style privatization, and promotes making public colleges, universities, and trade school free for all.
– Elizabeth Warren’s education plan promises to cancel student loan debt, provide universal free public college, and fund universal child care.
NEA is in the early stages of evaluating 2020 presidential candidates and recently launched its Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign. Praise for any candidate’s proposal should not be seen as an endorsement of that candidate.