Next month, Democratic presidential candidates will travel to Houston and meet with members of the largest teacher’s union in the U.S. The topic of discussion at the forum: the future of public education for America’s kids.
So far, presidential candidates Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Gov. Jay Inslee; former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke; former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro; and others have confirmed they’ll be attending the National Education Association event.
The forum will take place during the union’s major annual meeting, held this year at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston on July 5. The event follows the “She the People” forum held in Houston months ago to discuss women of color in politics.
In recent years, teachers unions throughout the country have marched on their state capitals demanding better pay and benefits. The nationwide teacher’s movement has mostly occurred in Republican-led states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky with good results.
“For more than a year, the national #RedForEd movement, led by educators and supported by parents and students in communities across the country, has seen hundreds of thousands of people taking action to ensure every student has equal opportunity regardless of where they live or how well off their families are,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García in a statement.
“Educators are poised to play a major role in choosing the president of the United States. And now we are taking this energy to the 2020 campaign where we will lead a conversation about the schools our students deserve,” García said.
It’s no surprise the education union chose Texas as their destination for the presidential forum and annual meeting. Texas teachers earn an average salary of $54,122— almost $6,000 less than the U.S. average.
Most, if not all the candidates attending the forum have called for a raise in teacher pay, including O’Rourke, Castro, Warren and Sanders.