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From the School House

to the White House


Policy • Funding • Workers’ Rights

Where the Candidates Stand on the Issues 2016

Joe Biden (D)

Vice President of the U.S.

Jeb Bush (R)

Former Governor of FL

Lincoln Chafee (D)

Former Governor of RI

Chris Christie (R)

Governor of NJ

Hillary Clinton (D)

Former Secretary of State

Ted Cruz (R)

U.S. Senator from TX



Supports a Holistic

Approach for All


Biden says it’s about

“classroom sizes that

allow a child to be recognized”

and “whether or

not we offer courses in

math and science, art and


(NEA Annual Meeting,


Believes in Pre-K and

College Access.

On early childhood,

Biden says, “every child

is capable of succeeding,

they just need a chance.”

Later, “it’s about whether

we provide educational

and financial capability

for those who are able to

go to college.”

(NEA Annual Meeting,

7/30/11; ABC News,


Supports Collective

Bargaining for


In his 2014 Labor Day

speech, Biden stressed

the need to “re-establish

the bargain,” to a crowd

of union workers.

(NBC News, 9/1/14)

Pushes for Broader Use

of Testing.

Bush advocates for grading

schools based on standardized

tests; increasing

high-stakes testing

requirements; paying

teachers based on student

performance; and growing

vouchers as well as online

and private schools.

(State Impact Report, NPR.

org, accessed 1/15/15)

Supports Conditional

Funding for Schools.

In his 2002 Florida State

of the State address, Bush

attached himself to the A-F

system for grading schools.

He tied increased school

funding to schools that

get A’s.

(Florida State of the State

Address, 1/22/02)

Would Eliminate

Collective Bargaining

for Teachers.

Bush says, “We must move

away from the unions and

collective bargaining on

teachers’ wages.” Instead,

he says, we must “pay

teachers based on student


(The Irish Rover, 10/21/11)

Says Education Is

“Great Equalizer”

Chafee believes that

public education system

should offer “inspiring

teachers, clean

and safe classrooms,

up-to-date textbooks,

and the chance to lead

better lives than their

parents did.”

(Forbes, 6/7/15)

Supports the

Individuals with


Education Act.

Chafee says, “I believe

our chief emphasis

in federal education

policy should be funding

for the Individuals

with Disabilities

Education Act.”

(Forbes, 6/7/15)

Raises the Minimum


Chafee says, “As governor,

we raised it three

times in my four-year

term. I’ve raised the

minimum wage. So,

actions speak louder

than words.”

(KCCI Des Moines,


Wants to Link Pay to

Test Scores.

Through executive order,

Christie will convene a

Task Force to develop evaluations

that link teacher

pay to student test scores.

He would also eliminate

pay increases for earning

a master’s degree.

(The Christie Reform

Agenda, State of NJ DOE

website, accessed 1/15/15)

Cuts Education Funding

to Give Tax Breaks

to Corporations.

Christie cut at least $1

billion in state funding

for public education while

giving tax breaks of $2.3

billion to businesses and


(Politifact, 5/23/13)

Says Teachers’ Unions

Deserve “Punch in the


Christie said teachers’

unions deserve “a punch

in the face” because

“they are the single most

destructive force in public

education in America.”

(Politico, 8/2/15)

Supports Educators

and Preschool, Not


Clinton wants to “recruit,

support and retain the highest-quality

educators.” She

supports preschool, and is

critical of over-testing, saying,

“we sacrifice so much

else in the curriculum.”

(The Huffington Post 6/9/15;

Wall Street Journal, 7/13/15)

Fights to Provide

Resources to Public


Clinton calls for “universal

preschools, higher teacher

salaries and schools that

emphasize discipline and

respect.” She criticizes

“outsourcing” of tutoring

and other services to private


(Concord Monitor, 3/31/07;

New Republic, 6/3/14)

Supports Union Workers,

Bargaining Power.

Clinton says, “it’s time to

stand up to efforts across

our country to undermine

worker bargaining power,

which has been proven

again and again to drive up


(Wall Street Journal,


Supports the Expansion

of Vouchers and


Cruz says “the most

compelling civil rights

issue of the 21st century

is the need to expand

school choice.”

(CNN, 12/9/14)

Wants to Shut Down

the Department of


Cruz favors eliminating

what he calls “unnecessary

or unconstitutional

agencies.” He says, “The

first agency I would

eliminate would be

the U.S. Department of


(The Daily Caller, 9/2/12)

Opposes Raising the

Minimum Wage.

Cruz says raising the

minimum wage “consistently

hurts the most

vulnerable” because it

forces employers to cut


(Washington Post,


continues on next page

Where the Candidates Stand on the Issues 2016

Mike Huckabee (R)

Former Governor of AR

John Kasich (R)

Governor of OH

Martin O’Malley (D)

Former Governor of MD

Rand Paul (R)

U.S. Senator from KY

Marco Rubio (R)

U.S. Senator from FL



Wants to Get Rid of the

Department of Education.

Huckabee says the Department

of Education has

“flunked” and “needs to be

expelled.” “Education policy

ought to be set by states,

local school boards and, best

of all, by the moms and dads

of the children.”

(Forbes, 5/6/15)

Let Funding Drop Below

Constitutional Levels.

When governor, Arkansas

courts deemed Huckabee’s

low funding levels for public

schools unconstitutional.

Huckabee eventually raised

taxes to increase funding, saying,

“I want to make sure that

if we’re going to spend more

money—and the court said we

have to—then let’s make sure

we spend it wisely.”

(Meet the Press, 12/30/07)

Argues for Merit Pay for


Huckabee says, “School

should adopt merit programs,

which would make the

teaching profession more

competitive and thus attract

better candidates.” He says,

“Merit pay at every school

in the country would create

a system superior overall to

what we have now.” (A Simple

Government, 2011)

Wants Accountability for

Charter Schools.

Kasich says, “We’re not going

to tolerate any of these things

[charter schools] that don’t

work. Our love is for the kids.

Our love is not for some sort

of structure.”

(The Columbus Dispatch,


Calls Current Funding

Formula “Unsustainable.”

Kasich plans to roll back funding

guarantees to schools.

His administration says that

wealthier districts “should

step up.”

(The Columbus Dispatch,


Attacked Collective Bargaining.

Kasich signed into a law

a limit on the collective

bargaining rights of public

employees in Ohio, including

educators. Ultimately, the law

was repealed by voters.

(The Washington Post,


Believes in the Whole Child.

When giving O’Malley the 2010

NEA “America’s Greatest Education

Governor Award,” then-NEA

President Dennis Van Roekel

said O’Malley “made great

strides in increasing school

funding, expanding school

programs, and taking the needs

of the whole child into account

in education policy decisions.”

(NEA press release, 7/5/10)

Works for Affordable

Higher Education.

O’Malley says, “We must

continue to make college more

affordable for more families.”

In 2012, a College Board report

identified the University of

Maryland as the leader in holding

down the price of tuition.

(Maryland State of the State

Address, 2/3/11; Washington

Post, 10/24/12)

Expands Collective

Bargaining Rights.

As governor, O’Malley signed

an executive order expanding

collective bargaining for child

care workers and home health

workers, saying, “If workers want

to elect a union so their voices

can be heard, we should not

stand in the way

of that.”

(Baltimore Sun, 8/15/07)

Supports Vouchers.

Supports using tax-payer

dollars for private, religious,

charter, homeschooling,

and online programs while

reducing funding for local

public schools.

(Sen. Paul website, accessed


Proposes Deep Cuts to

Public Education.

At a committee hearing,

Paul offered the idea of cuts

that would total some $1

billion per year for Kentucky

schools by slashing federal

funds, which make up about

10 percent of Kentucky

education funding.

(KEA Advocate, 2/23/11)

Drives Federal Right-to-

Work Legislation.

Paul has repeatedly introduced

federal right-to-work

legislation, arguing that

unions infringe on “the

right to freedom of association.”

(Sen. Paul website, press

release, 2/1/13)

Supports Private School


As Speaker of the Florida

House of Representatives,

Rubio voted for a program

to expand the availability of

private school scholarships

using taxpayer dollars.

(Vote #319 on HB7145,


Votes Against Education

Funding Legislation.

As a member of the U.S.

Senate, Rubio voted for

a budget resolution that

included some $1.5 trillion

in cuts to social programs

including public education.

(Vote #79 on S.Con.Res.21,


Proposes Legislation to

Weaken Collective


Rubio offered legislation to

undermine collective bargaining

agreements. “This

system [the National Labor

Relations Board] is unfair to

workers and out of step with

the modern workplace.”

(Rubio Press release,


continues on next page

Where the Candidates Stand on the Issues 2016

Bernie Sanders (I) *

U.S. Senator from VT

Jill Stein (GR)


Donald Trump (R)

Chairman and CEO, The Trump Organization

Scott Walker (R)

Governor of WI

Jim Webb (D)

Former U.S. Senator from VA


Supports Early Childhood

Education for All.

Sanders says, “We have got

to make sure that every kid

in this country, regardless

of income, has high quality

early childhood education.”

(Burlington Free Press,


Believes Education is a


Stein says, “We have the

power to provide education

as a right and abolish

student debt.”

(Announcement speech,


Wants to “Open the

Schoolhouse Doors.”

Trump says, “Education

reformers call this school

choice, charter schools,

vouchers, even opportunity

scholarships. I call it competition—the

American way.”

(The America We Deserve,

Trump, 2000, excerpted

on American Principles in


Uses School Report Card

Program to Privatize Public


Walker proudly touts a school

report card program that forced

high-needs schools to close

and reopen as private charter

schools, funneling those public

resources to unaccountable

private corporations.

(Wisconsin State Journal,


Supports Infrastructure


Webb introduced the

Rehab of Historic Schools

Act, saying, “The need to

rehabilitate schools drives

revitalization in some of

our most economically

vulnerable neighborhoods.”

(Sen. Mark Warner press

release, 10/12/11)


Wants Investments in

Public Education at All


Sanders says, “Quality education

in America, from child

care to higher education, must

be affordable for all. Without

a high-quality and affordable

educational system, we will be

unable to compete globally

and our standard of living will

continue to decline.”

(Huffington Post editorial,


Says Education Funding

is in “Crisis.”

Stein says, “Years of neglect,

fiscal mismanagement, and

promotion of privatization

have combined with a budget

shortfall to seriously threaten

the viability of our public

education system.”

(, 9/29/10)

Says Education Funding

is Too High.

Trump criticizes U.S. spending

on education, saying

“People are tired...of

spending more money on

education than any nation in

the world per capita.”

(Announcement Speech,


Signs the Largest Cuts to

Education in Wisconsin

History, Then Funds


Walker exacted deep cuts to

education in 2011, carving out

$1.85 billion from funding.

He subsequently authorized

$192.5 million for private

school vouchers in 2013.

(Politifact, 2/19/12; AP,

6/26/11; Politifact, 6/26/13)

Offers Moderate Support

for Education Investments.

Webb voted against a bill

“to prevent interest rates

on federal student loans

from doubling.” Voted for

the 2012 Appropriations

Act, which “provided small

increases for IDEA and Title I

and preserved the maximum

Pell Grant award.”

(The Hill, 5/24/12; NEA

Legislative Report Card, 2012)


Backs Workers Over


Sanders says, “Today, corporate

opposition to union

organizing makes it extremely

difficult for workers to join a

union. We need legislation

which makes it clear that when

a majority of workers sign

cards in support of a union,

they can form a union.”

(Huffington Post editorial,


Supports a Living Wage

and Workers’ Rights.

Stein wants to “move our

economy away from the

greed and exploitation of

corporate capitalism.” Her

plan favors a “human-centered

system that puts

people, planet and peace

over profit.”

(Announcement speech,


Blames Educators’

Unions for Schools’


Trump says, “Our public

schools have grown up in

a competition-free zone,

surrounded by a very high

union wall. Why aren’t we

shocked at the results?”

(The America We Deserve,

Trump, 2000, excerpted

in American Principles in


Advocates a “Divide and

Conquer” Strategy to End

Collective Bargaining.

In a discussion with a wealthy

donor, Walker said, “The first

step is, we’re going to deal

with collective bargaining for

all public employee unions,

because you use divide and


(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,


Has Mixed Views on Key

Labor Issues.

In 2006, Webb supported

Virginia’s “right-to-work” law

because “people should be

able to choose whether they

want to join a union or not,”

but he told local union members

that “he was with them

in the need for collective

bargaining in the workplace.”

(Daily Press, 10/21/06)


Bernie Sanders serves in the U.S. Senate as an Independent, but is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.

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