Education Advocacy : Orthodox to Democratic Presidential Candidates

The Pew Research Center conducted a survey in 2015 that asked respondents which political party does a better job of addressing educational issues. The survey showed nearly the same results as that of similar polls conducted by NYTimes/CBS in 1988 and 2000. Forty-six percent (46%) of the Pew respondents held the Democratic Party in high esteem as far as educational policies are concerned. Only 34% gave confidence to the Republican Party for this particular matter.

 

In 2016, Hillary Clinton was much applauded for her plans to introduce a student reform policy that will work toward the reduction of student debts among college graduates. She also advocated free tuition for students coming from low income families, and vowed to push for higher pays for public school teachers.

Clinton’s opponent Donald Trump, made similar promises in his campaigns. Unfortunately, Trump won and proved to be uninterested in fulfilling them. In fact, 2018 under the Trump administration, saw a national wave of strikes among educators, referred to as the “RedfoEd” protests. Mainly because most of the strikes were initiated by educators in the “red states” or Republican states.

Keeping on with what appears to be a tradition, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates continue to focus on problems related to education. .

Education Reforms Put Forward by the Top 3 2020 Democratic Presidential Hopefuls

Now more than ever, putting value to education is important for the Democratic candidates of the 2020 Presidential Election. After all, winning the support of teachers unions can do a lot in strengthening a presidential hopeful’s position in the race.

According to Jeffrey Henig, a political science professor and director of Columbia University’s Teachers College – Politics and Education Program, Democratic presidential aspirants are figuring out ways on how to win teachers’ support without making them appear as catering too closely to educator organizations; particularly the National Education Association (NEA) and its 3.5 million members, as well as the 1.7 million members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT),.

The NEA and AFT are likely to side with the Democrats since both vehemently dislike Trump’s School Choice policy and proposals to reduce K12 spending.

The top three (3) leading Democratic presidential candidates and their education advocacies:

Joe Biden intends to increase teachers’ salaries, as well as boost federal investments in America’s public schools in order to level the education field for the poor, the colored and the disabled students. Biden asserts,

that a child’s future should not be determined by family income, race, disability and/or zip code.

Bernie Sanders calls his proposal the “Thurgood Marshall Plan for Education,” a plan that could triple federal investments for students with financial needs and with disabilities. Part of his proposal includes raising teachers pays, by setting a minimum salary starting at $60k. Sanders actually has a long list of educational reforms, which includes banning for-profit charter school operations, as well as free tuition in all public colleges and universities.

Elizabeth Warren– Although Senator Warren’s top agenda is centered on universal child care and pre-kindergarten, she tops them off with her advocacy for free tuition in public, higher education institutions, 95% cancellation of outstanding student loans, and a push to increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).