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Educators Energized After Hearing From Top 2020 Candidates At Public Education Forum 2020

PITTSBURGH - December 14, 2019 -

After hearing from seven of the leading Democratic candidates for president at the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Opportunity for All” in Pittsburgh today, educators, students, and parents emerged energized to play a pivotal role in choosing the next president.

At the forum, hosted by National Education Association and 10 public education groups, including civil rights organizations and community groups, the candidates laid out their visions for America’s public schools, while answering questions from educators, parents, students, and moderators Ali Velshi of MSNBC and Rehema Ellis of NBC News.

“For more than two years, educators have been demonstrating their power in actions across the country as they joined with parents and students to fight for stronger neighborhood public schools as part of the #RedForEd movement. Together, they have reshaped the political landscape by advocating for stronger public schools and expanding opportunity for all students in public education. Now, as the nation’s largest union, our 3 million members are taking this activism and ground game to the 2020 campaign where they will play a vital role in electing the next president,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We appreciate the candidates showing up to answer NEA members’ questions and tell us how they will work to make sure all students have the tools, resources and opportunities they need to succeed.”

The eight candidates who participated in the forum included: Sen. Michael Bennet, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Topics discussed included school investment, student services, special education, student debt and teaching conditions, as well as key education equity and justice issues facing America’s students and public schools.

Going into the forum, NEA invited its members from across the country to submit questions for the candidates through its Strong Public Schools website, which formed the basis of the questions to the candidates asked by NEA members. Additionally, NEA released its Strong Public Schools 2020 candidate interviews, as the nation’s largest union moves towards the next phase of its primary recommendation process.


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