Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Want to Know Where 2020 Democratic Contenders Stand on Education? Don’t Look at Their Websites

By Alyson Klein — March 20, 2019 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

If you’re looking for information on the education visions of 2020 Democratic candidates for president, you probably won’t find it on their campaign websites.

More than half the announced candidates don’t bother to include anything about education in the “issues” section of their official campaign websites. The candidates who left out education include:

In fact, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Kloubachar, O’Rourke, and Sanders don’t even appear to have an “issues” section on their websites.

Other candidates do talk about K-12 in some way, but they don’t share a lot of detail about their positions.

On her website, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York calls for small class sizes, paying teachers a “living wage” and making sure schools get the support they need. But she doesn’t have any details on what she means beyond that or or how she’d make it happen.

The site for Sen. Kamala Harris of California doesn’t have much either. She points to her record, noting that she helped fight elementary school truancy as attorney general of California. But she doesn’t spell out her vision for the future of K-12 schools.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper also took this approach.

Hickenlooper’s website notes that he expanded pre-kindergarten, and created the Denver Scholarship Program, which provides donations to help low-income students attend college.

And Inslee touts signing “historic” investments in public schools, teacher pay, and school infrastructure, and a new investment in all-day kindergarten.

Meanwhile, ex-Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who was the first to declare his candidacy, has a meaty section of his site talking up his past support for expanding pre-kindergarten, offering students two years of community college free, bolstering STEM education, and providing more grant money for low-income students to attend college.

Two long-shot candidates also have comparatively substantial sections outlining their education policy visions. Andrew Yang, a businessman, is calling for promoting vocational education, increasing teacher pay, free early-childhood education for all three- and four-year-olds, and free or nearly-free vocational courses at community colleges. (He doesn’t get into detail about how all of this would be funded.)

And Marianne Williamson, an author, is calling for universal pre-school, increased funding for free-and-reduced priced lunch, a big increase in federal K-12 funding, bolstering social-emotional learning, reducing high-stakes testing, repairing schools, and more. (Again, she’s light on details on how this would be paid for.)

So why is the lack of information on candidates’ websites important? Well, there are a lot of Democratic candidates to sort through, and education is a really key issue for the party’s base. Sure, many if not all of these candidates might say something about schools on cable TV or tweet something about Betsy DeVos. But most people aren’t glued to their Twitter feeds or CNN—they have lives. Campaign websites are a relatively direct way for people to try to to figure out, on their own time, what the candidates believe and what they’ve gotten done.

If you’re interested in education and trying to figure out who to vote for—or at this point in the race, who to send money to or volunteer for—based on what’s on their website, the odds are pretty good that you’ll be out of luck.

Of course, it’s early on in the primary. We’ll check back in a few months to see if candidates have fleshed out their education visions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, speaks during a campaign stop for Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Andrew Gillum in Tampa, Fla., in 2018. --Chris O’Meara/AP-File


Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Education Department Opens Civil Rights Probes in 5 States That Ban School Mask Mandates
The move on behalf of students with disabilities deepens the fight over masks between the Biden administration and GOP governors.
4 min read
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles in April 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP