By Danielle Sklarew, Mallory Johnson, and Emily Bricker
As the 2020 election approaches, it is no secret that educators are poised to play a major role in choosing the president of the United States. With more than 3 million members, the NEA is the largest labor union in America and the world’s largest professional association of educators. One in 100 Americans is an NEA member and 1 in 39 voters reside in an NEA household.
Education is certainly going to be a top-tier issue in the upcoming election. In fact, a recent survey shows that education is on Democrats’ list of top-5 priorities for 2020. Candidates are well-aware of this and are passionate about constructing solutions.
While only some candidates have already released explicit education platforms, every single nominee for the Democratic candidacy has made certain education stances clear via Twitter. Their education initiatives have a range of focal points, including improving teachers’ unions, creating better school infrastructure, providing free school lunches, and getting Betsy DeVos out of office. Here is a quick look at the candidates’ perspectives on improving education:
Stronger teacher’s unions lead to stronger communities. Educators and school staff are at the frontlines of ensuring our kids thrive. I’m committed to supporting them and ensuring they have the wages, benefits, and working conditions they deserve. https://t.co/ZC7i7pe3VB
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) July 3, 2019
It’s not just Arizona. Teachers are overworked and underpaid across our country.
They invested in us, it’s time we invested in them. My plan would give the average teacher a $13,500 raise — the largest investment in teachers in our nation’s history.https://t.co/HbQEZzKgEm
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 21, 2019
I believe every student should have access to quality music, arts, and language programs in school. My #PeopleFirstEducation plan supports investments in programs that celebrate culture and humanities. https://t.co/rKAaQ3wflk
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) May 14, 2019
Disabled students are twice as likely to be expelled and are more likely to be referred to the police, putting them in the same school-to-prison pipeline that ensnares students of color. Our kids deserve accommodation, not incarceration.https://t.co/LAoCl6YEwu
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) May 24, 2019
Our schools should be as great as our hopes for the next generation. That’s why my infrastructure plan makes a big investment in our schools. Thank you to the students, teachers and administrators of J. Harold Brinley Middle School in Las Vegas for showing me around today. pic.twitter.com/zJEDBbwnat
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) April 8, 2019
Kids cannot learn if they are hungry, and kids in the richest country on the planet should not be going hungry.
When I am president we are going to provide year-round, free, universal school meals.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 25, 2019
When I think of education, I think of all the lives impacted by my dad Frank, who taught biology for decades.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) August 2, 2019
No student should live in fear of discrimination. As president, I will not only fight my heart out for LGBTQ+ students' rights, I will nominate a former public school teacher as education secretary. We need a leader who will actually fight for our kids. https://t.co/eAssxYgC5C
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 29, 2019
US presence in Afghanistan costs us $4 billion a month. Imagine what we could do with those billions to care for our sick, support our teachers, provide housing and education, and in other ways serve the American people. I’ll end wars that waste our money and make us less safe. pic.twitter.com/Qg80DKj2hF
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) July 14, 2019
I've spent my political career fighting for better schools, higher teacher salaries, and more opportunities for our students. I have a plan for Pre K-14, increased investment in STEM programs, & affordable college. #TeacherAppreciationWeek Read my plan: https://t.co/jkE2PgpRRg
— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) May 8, 2019
One in five students experience mental health problems, but too often they don’t get the care they need. In a Biden administration, we will double the number of mental health professionals in schools to give our kids the support they deserve. https://t.co/tGh2Rgd9MX
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 2, 2019
There wasn't a single question about K-12 education during the first debate. It's about time we focus on education — and our future. pic.twitter.com/0XbWS3mREL
— Michael Bennet (@MichaelBennet) July 2, 2019
Far too many children who rely on meals provided at school are left at risk of hunger during the summer months.
— Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (@gillibrandny) July 10, 2019
Children of color make up more than half the student population—but only 20% of public school teachers are people of color. Our plan will devote $500 million per year to create-world class teacher academies at MSIs and HBCUs, so more students can have teachers who look like them.
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 24, 2019
“Education clearly has not been at the top of his list of [President Trump’s] priorities to address directly.”
I didn’t think it was possible, but looks like Betsy DeVos and I have one opinion in common. https://t.co/suAl6vJfmm
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) June 27, 2019
America's hardworking educators deserve a lot more than an incompetent Secretary of Education and a broken student loan system. We must make student loan forgiveness available to more than 1% of applicants. Simply outrageous.https://t.co/8j2yRmacTB
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) July 13, 2019
In America only 6% of high school students are on a technical or vocational track. In Germany it is 59%. We should massively invest in apprenticeships and vocational programs as they will lead to resilient opportunities for millions of Americans. https://t.co/i7WX3QNYJH
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) July 27, 2019
We have to support our teachers. Here's where we can start:
✅ support teachers' ability to organize, form unions & bargain collectively
✅ fully fund special needs education
✅ forgive student loan debt of public school teachers pic.twitter.com/Vlc3foRwsx
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 30, 2019
Yesterday in my address to @NEAToday I proposed a constitutional amendment to establish a right to an adequate education in America.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) July 6, 2019
We should tie federal education funds to stricter vaccine compliance, and we should provide vaccines at low or no cost to ensure access is never an issue. https://t.co/IpFKeXjHhN
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) April 26, 2019
We’re the only major country that bases most of our educational funding on property taxes. Every American school should be a palace of learning and a temple of culture and the arts. America’s gold and America’s greatness lie waiting to be mined in every one of our kindergartens.
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) April 30, 2019