Let’s say you’re running for president and you think it wouldn’t hurt to have the 3-million National Education Association—and its campaign cash and legions of volunteers—in your corner.
Seeking the union’s endorsement typically means meeting with one-one-one with NEA’s president. (Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and Bernie Sanders can all check that box.)
And candidates must also fill out the NEA’s presidential questionnaire. Earlier this year, the union sent the form to roughly 20 potential candidates, or pretty much anyone who had declared they were running for president, said they were thinking about running, made a recent stopover in an early primary state, or had been spotted recently humming the theme song from NBC’s The West Wing. (Okay, fine not that last one.)
The form asks yes or no questions about a candidate’s stance on everything from prioritizing Title I funding for disadvantaged kids to providing federal money to help fuel teacher residency programs to questions on school nutrition and to a $10.10 minimum wage. There are also queries on state funds for early childhood education, vouchers, and competitive grants.
Oh, and there’s this question, central to the current policy debates:
And these are teachers, so of course ... there’s an essay portion. The question deals with qualifications for an edu-secretary and edu-priorities for the beginning of the 45th president’s very first term.
NEA was nice enough to share the entire questionnaire, which you can check out here. But the union did not share the candidates’ answers. (Bummer.)