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We’re less than a year away from the 2020 presidential election; last week we saw seven Democratic presidential candidates participate in a forum dedicated to education issues held in Pittsburgh. If you follow my column, you were well-prepped on the issues they discussed. If you didn’t tune in, here’s a primer on the educational issues at stake in this election, the policy actions of the current administration, and what I think of candidates’ proposals.

These columns provoked strong, favorable reactions — from charter advocates, parent advocates and policy analysts — suggesting that people want the federal government to take an active approach to elementary, secondary and higher education.

Engagement, examination and critique of the government are part of our responsibility as citizens, and central to our advancement in society.

This year I’ve enjoyed engaging in the debates we should be having around the upcoming election, and, through various media, helping to shape the narrative on issues that are key to families. Engagement, examination and critique of the government are part of our responsibility as citizens, and central to our advancement in society. That’s why a free press is protected by the U.S. Constitution. I look forward to continuing to write for a better democracy in 2020.

Bold, progressive ideas aren’t unrealistic

Alabama’s investments in quality pre-K are a result of conservatives embracing what was once considered a liberal issue. Democrats, meanwhile, are chasing white working-class voters and abandoning their liberal principles.

Support for charters in 2020 election comes with a price

For the 2020 election, black people cannot afford to be human shields for the charter school lobby, which doesn’t have the legitimacy to enter black locales on their own. Democrats who support the idea of charter schools should make it clear to Republicans that they will not tolerate a charter system that offers improved academic performance for some black students only by harming the communities in which those students live.

Can teachers live where they work?

In many parts of the country, teachers can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods where they work. Former Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris is trying to change that with a plan to raise teacher salaries. Harris bowed out of the race, but she can still pass the legislation from her Senate seat. Will it work?

Schools should not be battlegrounds for Trump’s fake war

Students and school leaders bore the brunt of the national immigration program Operation Matador, announced by Jeff Sessions in 2017 as a partnership between ICE, local cops and school police officers.

To boost black students, we should give free college to students who don’t need it

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ College for All Act would make public two- and four-year colleges, trade schools and apprenticeship programs tuition-free. The program would be expensive. But an inclusive proposal means getting legislation passed so it can help those who need their debt burden lifted, and so college can be affordable, even for black people who are saddled with disproportionately heavy loan debt.

As Republicans stress political fiction over facts, students’ math and reading scores fall

The Nation’s Report Card is out and our students are lagging in academic achievement. Yet, ignoring the impact of decades of discrimination, Republicans such as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, only offer shopworn ‘fixes,’ not an increase in funding.

DeVos’ support of charters spells disaster for their Democrat backers

Instead of backing charter schools, Democrats must focus on boosting teacher diversity. Millennials of color are not going into teaching, which is going to have a negative impact on students of color.

We should all ‘go back’ — to the American founding ideal of shared struggle, despite our differences

President Trump told three American members of Congress — two of whom were born here — to “go back” to the countries they came from. His language is a patently racist attempt to rally white people under the umbrella of the Republican Party. Whatever the different histories of people of color and non-Christians, and whatever the nuances of the various laws enacted against us, our struggles and fates are so intertwined that the pathways toward justice, equity and democracy must be shared.

Elizabeth Warren shows she understands education in ways charter advocates did not

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released a comprehensive education policy proposal that takes students’ communities into account, while also tackling the inequality in housing that drives much of educational inequality.

This story about education issues was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for Hechinger’s newsletter.

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