Education News

Educators to host presidential candidates at Public Education Forum 2020

Educators are working hard to keep public education a central issue in the 2020 presidential election. Next up: A public education forum with eight top candidates focused on equity.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 educators, students, parents, and community activists will gather to hear Sen. Michael Bennet, Vice Pres. Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren address their plans for K-12 and higher education. The “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Opportunity for All,” hosted by MSNBC, will focus on issues of economic, racial, and social justice that affect educators, students, and their families.

The National Education Association organized the forum in conjunction with many partner groups, including the Schott Foundation, the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, NAACP, the American Federation of Teachers, Voto Latino, and many others.

Ali Velshi, host of “MSNBC Live,” and Rehema Ellis, NBC News education correspondent, will moderate the event, which will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. The forum will be streamed live on NBC News Now, and NBC News Learn, and will be featured across MSNBC programming.

Each candidate will give opening remarks before answering questions from the forum moderators and from educators, parents, and students. 

For months, thousands of NEA members have submitted questions that they would like to see the candidates address at events such as this over the course of NEA’s candidate recommendation process. Educators’ top concerns include school funding, boosting special education services, investing in community schools, and specific issues around equity that affect educators, students, and families across the nation. 

“Over the last several years, educators have joined with parents and students across the nation as part of the #RedforEd movement, which has forced politicians to better fund our public schools, expanded opportunities for students, and helped educators find their collective advocacy voice,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Now educators are ready to harness this energy, invest their shoe leather going door to door, and play a powerful role in electing the next president, as we take this activism and ground game to the 2020 campaign.”

NEA has invited every candidate from both parties to participate in its recommendation process, which requires candidates to complete NEA’s 2020 candidate questionnaire and sit down with NEA President García for a recorded interview that NEA members can view.

The five candidates who have interviewed so far answered educators’ questions about issues such as immigration reform, student debt, teaching conditions, and educational equity. All candidate interviews can be seen at, and more will be added as additional candidates complete their interviews.

6 responses to “Educators to host presidential candidates at Public Education Forum 2020

    1. After watching the debate on Tuesday I’m not sure any of them can make a difference in any issues we have as a country. They are too busy bashing each other and screaming and talking over each other. I believe that we need to keep Donald Trump in office. At least he will listen to what is needed in our educational issues. So sorry but I would not vote for any of the democratics…they are for socialism. I am not. So I believe none of them give two hoots about our educational problems. Thank you..

  1. Do away with private schools completely. When everyone must attend their local public school, many problems would be corrected.

    1. There’s an urgent supply/demand issue regarding the mental health and social emotional needs of students, especially those from historically oppressed groups. We cannot meet their serious mental, social and emotional needs in the school house without partnerships and intentionality in the staffing AND funding of/for humans services and medical professionals in mental and behavioral health. There needs to be more money and effort put into this type of support so that students can receive the specialized care for whole-child success. Academics, for many students, are not paramount because of the heightened need for immediate attention to their human survival demands. How will the federal government prioritize the funding and staffing necessary to effectively counter this burgeoning crisis? Poor mental/emotional health leads to behavior issues, leading to school discipline, leading to suspensions/expulsions, and ultimately a continuously growing achievement gap.

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