18 education leaders provide a comprehensive vision for universal access to learning

As the November election approaches and too many students still don’t have access to the high-quality education they deserve, education leaders are calling for action to create a comprehensive and more inclusive education system.

Education 2020 (ED 2020), a coalition of organizations representing educators, parents, children and youth, people of color, people with disabilities, and more spanning the child well-being, early childhood education, K-12 education, and higher education sectors, is calling for the presidential candidates to enact a list of Education Principles. These principles include guaranteeing access to high-quality early childhood education, strengthening the K-12 system and investing in the educator workforce, with the goal of advancing universal inclusion and access to ongoing learning opportunities for everyone living in America.

The following spokespeople are supporting education as a focus for 2020 election season and into the future:

“We must recognize education as the rock that smashes racism and inequity!”Dr. Frank London Gettridge, Executive Director, National Public Education Support Fund
“Education is critical to economic recovery. Education is our investment in the next generation, and we cannot afford to leave them out of the recovery.” — Vivian Tseng, Senior Vice President, Program, W.T. Grant Foundation
“Black parents must be centered in this moment. We are at a crossroads and we need immediate direct investments and resources to support our children(s) learning during this pandemic and beyond.” — Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, National Director of Activism, Brightbeam
“It’s time we recognize that our education sector will be an essential tool in the fight against climate change, and we should support schools in moving toward climate action, solutions, and environmental justice.” Laura Schifter, Senior Fellow, K12 Climate Action initiative, Aspen Institute
“Anti-racist education takes more than a statement, it means commitment to actions that lift up Black lives, Indigenous peoples, and communities of color.” — Keith Catone, Executive Director, Center for Youth & Community Leadership in Education
“Our times call for us to forge a future where each day holds promise for every learner — where youth, families, and educators connect timeless ideas and new ways of learning to prepare for what comes next, no matter what tomorrow might bring.” — Gregg Behr, Founder and Co-chair, Remake Learning and Executive Director, The Grable Foundation
“It is time we recognize that students’ future success depends as much on their social and financial status as their skills and credential attainment. Quality of life and quality of learning are inextricably bound.” Stephanie Malia Krauss, Senior Director, JFF, and Staff Consultant, Youth Transition Funders Group
“There are no more important promises we can make as a nation in the coming years than to double down on our commitment to public education, to the understanding it creates, to the divisions it can heal and to the future it can create for all of us.”Donald Cohen, Founder and Executive Director, In the Public Interest
“In the next century, humanity will turn either toward interdependence or barbarism. Today, public education is already shaping the generations who bear the responsibility of our collective fate. The future of our public schools is the future of our world.” Stuart McIntyre, Community Learning Center Organizer with the Ohio Federation of Teachers
“In four years, universal funded teacher residencies could stop chronic teacher shortages, improve student outcomes, and save money.”Karen DeMoss, Executive Director, Prepared To Teach, Bank Street College of Education
“Our schools will remain the key place where young people learn the habits and skills needed to rebuild and replenish our democracy in the coming years, needed now more than ever!”Cyrus Driver, Senior Director, Partnership for the Future of Learning
“The ramifications of multiple crises — public health, racial justice, and economic — have magnified and exacerbated challenges in our most vulnerable communities. Our government is responsible for minimizing negative impact, navigating these challenges, and restoring pathways that provide all children with the equitable education and learning opportunities they deserve.”Kwesi Rollins, Vice President for Leadership and Engagement, Institute for Educational Leadership
“Government must work for all of us, not the few. That starts with adequately funding public schools in underserved communities.” — Jeremy Mohler, Communications Director, In the Public Interest
“What does it mean to radically reimagine what schooling can be? It means following the organizers that have been fighting for policies and practices to make schools holistically safe for decades.”Cierra Kaler-Jones, Communities for Just Schools Fund, Education Anew Fellow
“We didn’t build this inequitable education system, but its ours to redesign. As we recover from these intersecting pandemics, let’s build back a system that supports thriving kids and communities.” Zoe Stemm-Calderon, Director, Education, Raikes Foundation
“There is almost no challenge we can’t address with high-quality public education that is equitably and adequately funded to educate students of every income level, geography, race, and background.”Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director, William Penn Foundation
“Youth are ready to dream and define their path. Adults need to ready the road and celebrate the journey. All paths are honorable. As educators, we must be the open door to access and opportunity.” Miles Sandler, Director of Engagement-Education in Public Affairs, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
“Public education is core to our democracy and this election season gives us an opportunity to lift up its importance. Schools — whether brick and mortar or virtual — are a microcosm of our larger society. The challenges we see now are a reflection of larger systemic inequities. Our country can prosper and thrive only to the degree that all of our communities and people do. How we secure a positive future for public education is a matter of proper investment in public structures like schools and extending support to communities, children, and families.” April Callen, Senior Strategist, FrameWorks Institute

Education leaders are Education Ambassadors with the National Public Education Support Fund and the Partnership for the Future of Learning. They are not necessarily part of the “coalition” comprising ED2020 but are in support of education as a topic relevant to our political landscape, a core premise of ED2020.

ED2020 is housed and supported by the National Public Education Support Fund. Further information about education as part of the political conversation is available at ed2020.org and in this briefing booklet that the coalition encourages all candidates to read and employ.