Education News

Where do the presidential candidates stand on education?

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. 

8 responses to “Where do the presidential candidates stand on education?

  1. I agree with Donna Vandermark. Many charter schools cream off the best students and send those with special needs and bilingual needs back to public schools while eschewing state requirements such as examinations and curriculum. They fund raise for outrageous salaries for their administrators and while taking tax-levy funds from public education. They are running private businesses on the public dime.

  2. Betsy Devos is ignorant should never have been handed a job as some kind of pay offf ! Only reason a person who has a background in education got the job ! She didn’t know what IDEA Was———Dana dung ding.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly. The only education experience the the leader of education has is of private school as a student or parent. The idea of allowing someone, that has not one bit of knowledge or experience in public education to make decisions for millions of students, teachers and parents a slap in the face to our tax paying public.

  3. I hope that the Democratic plan wil eventually combine all of the good ideas, especially early childhood ed and mental health professionals in every school

  4. So, not one candidate will actually put an end to charter schools. That is unacceptable. Ic you want education for your child other than public school. Pay for it yourself.

    1. So, not one candidate will actually put an end to charter schools. That is unacceptable. If you want education for your child other than public school, then pay for it yourself.

    2. Notice that Sanders spoke aggressively against this for-profit and insufficiently educative phenomenon.
      Explore the candidates most amenable to
      1. meeting with educators to discuss quality of education
      2. Act to remove for-profit private schooling
      3. Require strong scientific curricula
      in your local district, state,region, and nationally.

      Thank you!

    3. The cost of public school education is paid by tax paying citizens that work for a living. If parents want special schools to educate their children they need to individually pay out of their pockets. Since private schools do not have the same responsibilities according to laws they should not be able to accept tax payer money. Do the private school students take the state mandated tests and curriculum? Are the private schools graded? Are the teachers in these schools certified by the state in their teaching field?

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