Sanders wants universal Pre-K, free college tuition and to abolish the no child left behind program.
“Let me thank all of the educators at the NEA for the great work that they do every single day. You guys are on the front lines, you’re dealing with enormous problems and I for one appreciate what you do. I’m a big football fan, I’m a baseball fan but at the end of the day the real heroes and heroines in this country are the educators of this country who are doing everything that they can to make sure that our kids get the quality education they need in these difficult and complicated times. To my mind we need some fundamental changes in our national priorities. I know it may sound like a radical idea but I think instead of giving tax breaks to billionaires maybe we invest in our children, maybe we invest in education, and what that means is not only strengthening public education in America it means that we have universal Pre-K so that our kids are fully prepared and ready to go when they get into school and it also means that the United States joins many other countries around the world in saying that tuition at public colleges and universities should be free. And that is important not just for those kids in high school who want to go to college it is important for the kids in the 5th grade, in the 8th grade and the 1st year of high school who know that they will be able to get a higher education if they study hard, if they do their school work well, regardless of their income of their family. And that’s a very important issue I’ve been focusing on a lot during this campaign and will implement if I’m elected President of the United States of America.
The last point that I want to make is I want to thank Martha Allen and the Vermont NEA for the support they have given me in this campaign and for working with me for so many years to address many of the problems we face here in Vermont and around the country. Martha understands as I do that it is unacceptable that in the United States of America we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth and she understands also that this no child left behind program has been a disaster. And I should tell you that as a member of the health education labor committee we are working hard to get rid of no child left behind (to put it behind us) and that means that what we want to see is a process in which teachers and kids are working together to get the best education that they can rather than forcing teachers to teach for tests rather than for the whole child. So we’re going to make progress on that issue I believe. Thank you very much for this opportunity to chat with you. I look forward to working with the NEA in the years to come. Thank you.”