The NEA had a fantastic 2020 Presidential Forum on education earlier this summer with many of the 2020 contenders attending, including the lesser known Democrats and Bill Weld, the lone Republican who agreed to come.
Their website has all the answers from all the candidates who attended. They also have a nifty comparison tool. To save time, I did a comparison focused on the Top 5 candidates (Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, and Warren). You’re welcome to check that out or the rest of the sites responses.
I’ll also add for disclosure purposes that I am a recurring monthly Warren donor, an NEA member, and was a paid NEA summer organizer. I proudly have a strong pro-union bias and an even stronger anti-charter bias (having worked in one).
With all that said, I actually think Harris has the most direct and easy to understand plan. Her proposed across the board $13k raise to me would be better tailored to high need districts (admittedly like the urban one I teach in) or high need gaps (we desperately need more teachers and administrators of color and special needs/ESL qualified teachers). I don’t see the benefit of giving Sudbury or Cambridge another $13k per pupil to play with.
She’s also the only candidate who made the key connection between the need for new schools with government job creation in high need areas. Updating buildings would make them more sustainable, climate resilient, and healthier to work and learn in. Increasingly public schools also serve as vital community health centers, auxiliary libraries, adult education, and career training places as well as community gathering places to vote or in case of disaster. Our dilapidated schools need to be repealed and replaced with new ones. Only Harris gets that.
Otherwise, I think it puts the most money most directly in the most classrooms. Sanders, Biden, and Buttigieg are my runner ups. Warren’s education plan is actually fairly weak-considering she is the only former teacher in the field it’s certainly disappointing and something I’ve contacted her field office about. So there you have it, check it out and make your own decisions. Educationvote is also a great resource for local elections too.