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What’s Hillary Clinton’s Record on Teachers?

By Alyson Klein — July 04, 2016 2 min read

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is speaking Tuesday before the annual gathering of National Education Association, a 3-million member union that’s already endorsed her.

So what’s her record on teacher issues, what’s been her rhetoric this campaign season—and what might be her plan when it comes to teacher quality? (A speech to a teachers’ union, after all, seems like a prime opportunity for at least a preview of that agenda.)

Her record:

Her 2016 rhetoric:

What her proposals could be:


  • Clinton’s 2008 campaign proposal called for a serious new investment in teachers (see that $500 million program described above). It’s easy to imagine her talking about something similar at the NEA Tuesday.
  • One of Clinton’s overall campaign messages is that her administration would continue to build on Obama’s legacy. She’s not going to run out and hug evaluations based on test scores, but it’s easy to imagine her proposing something really, really similar to the Obama administration’s $5 billion RESPECT: Best Job in the World Initiative. Past versions of that program included things like evaluations through student outcomes—but the most recent pitch puts greater focus on policies that teachers love, like reducing class size, creating career ladders for teachers, and offering wraparound services (like health) to students.
  • The Center for American Progress, a think tank closely associated with Clinton, also has a teacher initiative, “Teach Strong,” which is aimed at elevating the profession. That could provide inspiration for Clinton, too.
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