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National Education Association releases Strong Public Schools 2020 candidate interviews

Nation’s largest union moving towards next phase of primary recommendation process

WASHINGTON - December 04, 2019 -

The National Education Association today moved to the next phase in its presidential primary recommendation process, as it released the first five presidential candidate interviews. These interviews enable NEA members and the public to learn more about the candidates’ stances on critical issues that the next president must address to strengthen public schools across the United States. 

“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. 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.

“With major wins in the Kentucky and Louisiana governors’ elections, as well as Virginia legislative races, educators are reshaping the political landscape to deliver victories for students and public schools. And educators look forward to using that influence to make the difference in the presidential election,” said National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García.

“Today, we are excited to be moving to the next phase of our inclusive and robust presidential recommendation process. Our priority is listening to our members, letting them continue to lead this process, and lifting up their voices so that every candidate is not only hearing from educators, but also directly answering their questions about how to expand opportunities for our students by strengthening our neighborhood public schools.”

The first wave of videos, which can be found by visiting, includes interviews with Sen. Michael Bennet, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. More candidate interviews will be released as they are filmed.

NEA’s Recommendation Process

NEA has invited every candidate from both parties to participate in its recommendation process, which requires each candidate seeking NEA’s recommendation to:

  • Fill out and return NEA’s 2020 candidate questionnaire,
  • And sit down with NEA’s President, Lily Eskelsen García, for a recorded interview that our members can view.

Once that is complete, the NEA PAC Council—comprised of representatives from every state, NEA caucus and our Executive Committee—has the authority to put forward a presidential primary recommendation for consideration by the NEA Board of Directors.

NEA’s Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign

In addition to the formal recommendation process, NEA has launched the Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign, with the priorities of listening to our members, learning what matters to them in the presidential election, and giving them tools to engage with the candidates. As part of that effort, NEA has: 

  • Launched where our members can learn more about each of the candidates and how to get involved in the 2020 campaign,
  • Asked for and received tens of thousands of questions from NEA members for the presidential candidates, and used the top six issues submitted by NEA members for the Strong Public Schools 2020 candidate interviews,
  • Hosted the #StrongPublicSchools Presidential Forum at the annual NEA Representative Assembly in July, where the candidates answered questions posed directly by NEA members,
  • Hosted house parties across the country that marked one year until Election Day 2020, enabling NEA members to discuss what is at stake in the election and how educators will play a key role in selecting the next president.
  • NEA also is partnering to co-host the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All” on December 14, 2019, where member questions will be featured.


The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

Eric Jotkoff, NEA Communications