Educators’ letter to Joe Biden.


Dear Vice President Biden:

As the Democratic Party presumptive nominee, you have the power to fight for the public schools and colleges and universities that our students deserve. We are concerned educators, public education advocates, union members, parents, and students, writing to request that you demonstrate your commitment to that agenda.

Over the past decade, politicians on both sides of the aisle have made devastating cuts to public education, while privatizing public schools, scapegoating educators, and providing massive tax breaks to corporations and the rich. These attacks have resulted in a national teacher shortage and reduced educational opportunities for many of our students — especially students of color, those from low-income households, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities.

The public health and economic emergencies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have only made public education more vulnerable. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of public education itself is at stake.

To reverse this offensive against public education, we call on you to pledge to appoint a Secretary of Education publicly committed to reversing this failed billionaire-backed “education reform” agenda and we call on your campaign to immediately adopt the following policy planks:

* Implement a Federal Emergency Education Program that would:

Provide direct federal aid to ensure that school districts and public higher education institutions are able to prevent budget cuts and maintain pre-crisis staffing levels.

Empower educators to determine how best to utilize remote learning education technology when it is deemed necessary for health and safety reasons and how best to teach those students for whom remote learning is not feasible or appropriate.

Suspend all federal requirements relating to the use of high-stakes testing for the duration of the emergency.

* Triple Title I funding to ensure that at-risk schools get the funding and resources they need and invest in broadband so that students have access to critical resources.

* Repeal high-stakes testing mandates that force educators to “teach to the test.”

* Address the school-to-prison pipeline by investing in public schools and calling for the elimination of zero tolerance policies and over-policing.

* Ban for-profit charter schools and for-profit colleges and universities.

* Support the NAACP’s moratorium on public funds for charter school expansion until a national audit has been completed to determine the impact of charter growth in each state.

* Eliminate the $440 million annual federal subsidy for new charter schools, which have a failure rate of 40 percent and currently subsidizes billionaire-funded corporate charter schools.

* Give teachers a much-deserved raise by setting a starting salary for them at no less than $60,000 (pegged to the cost of living), expanding collective bargaining rights and teacher tenure, and funding out-of-pocket expenses for classroom materials.

* Strengthen the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by ensuring that the federal government provides at least 50 percent of the funding for special education.

* Provide year-round, free universal school meals, increase funding for Community Schools and after–school programs, and implement universal child-centered pre-kindergarten for all children beginning at the age of 3.

* Guarantee tuition-free public colleges, universities, HBCUs, Minority Serving Institutions and trade-schools to all, not just those who qualify through means-testing.

* Cancel all student loan debt and place a cap on student loan interest rates moving forward.


  1. Diane Ravitch, education historian and activist
  2. Jonathan Kozol, National Book Award-winning author and advocate for children
  3. Danny Glover, Actor, Social Justice Advocate
  4. Michael Moore, Academy Award-winning director
  5. Alex Caputo-Pearl, President, United Teachers Los Angeles
  6. Cecily Myart-Cruz, Vice President, United Teachers Los Angeles, NEA
  7. Cornel West, Professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University
  8. Senator Nina Turner, campaign co-chair, Bernie 2020 and former Ohio State Senator
  9. Shaun King, CEO, The North Star
  10. Debby Pope, Chicago Teachers Union, Delegate and Executive Board
  11. Arlene Inouye, United Teachers Los Angeles Secretary
  12. Carol Burris, 2013 NYS High School Principal of the Year, Executive Director of the Network for Public Education
  13. Angelina Cruz, President of Racine Education Association
  14. Demetrio Gonzalez, President of United Teachers of Richmond, CTA/NEA
  15. Jesse Hagopian, Teacher; Editor, Rethinking Schools; Co-Editor, Teaching for Black Lives
  16. Juan Ramirez, UTLA/AFT Vice President
  17. Julie Van Winkle, UTLA Secondary Vice President-elect
  18. Ari Bloomekatz, managing editor of Rethinking Schools
  19. RoseAnn DeMoro, Former Executive Director of National Nurses United
  20. Steven Thrasher, Professor, Northwestern University
  21. Larry Cohen, Board Chair of Our Revolution and past president of the Communications Workers of America
  22. Frank Holmquist, Professor of Politics, Emeritus, Hampshire College
  23. Jane F. McAlevey, Organizer, Educator, Author
  24. Cynthia Liu, K12 News Network
  25. Eric Blanc, author Red State Revolt
  26. Adolph Reed, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
  27. Nikhil Goyal, former adjunct professor at New York University and PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge
  28. Charles Palermo, Professor of Art History, William & Mary
  29. Bob Peterson, Rethinking Schools editor and Member, Milwaukee Board of School Directors
  30. Eleanor J. Bader, English teacher and freelance writer
  31. Kilynn Lunsford, National Organizer, Labor for Bernie
  32. Annelise Orleck, Professor of History, Dartmouth College
  33. Gordon Lafer, Professor, University of Oregon and Member, Eugene, OR Board of Education
  34. Corey Robin, Professor, Brooklyn College, CUNY
  35. Michael Lighty, Leading Advocate for Medicare for All
  36. Joanna Wuest, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer, Princeton University
  37. Jennifer Ashton, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  38. Penny Lewis, Associate Professor, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  39. Stephanie Luce, Professor, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  40. Steve London, Professor, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  41. Douglas A. Medina, Instructor, CUNY, Guttman Community College
  42. Thomas J Adams, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney (US Citizen)
  43. Cedric Johnson, University of Illinois at Chicago
  44. Samir Sonti, Assistant Professor, CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
  45. Steve Striffler, Professor, UMass Boston
  46. Allen Cholger, Sub District Director, USW (retired) and former Executive Assistant to the President, APWU, (retired)
  47. William Mello, Associate Professor of Labor Studies, Indiana University
  48. Nomiki Konst, Director, Matriarch
  49. Nancy Fraser, Henry A. and Louise Loeb Professor of Philosophy and Politics, New School for Social Research
  50. Liza Featherstone, Adjunct Professor, New York University and Columbia University
  51. Bruno Gulli, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY
  52. Christian Parenti, Associate Professor of Economics, John Jay College CUNY
  53. Rebecca Tarlau, Pennsylvania State University
  54. Glenn Kaplan, filmmaker, Member IATSE Local 600
  55. Rick Armstrong, Associate Professor Department of English, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY
  56. Heather Lee Compton, Studio Zahiya
  57. Meg Kallman Feeley, Adjunct Lecturer English, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY
  58. Merlin Chowkwanyun, Donald Gemson Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  59. Jim Zogby, Founder of the Arab American Institute
  60. Daniel Moak, Assistant Professor, Ohio University
  61. Wamiq Chowdhury, Attorney, Member NC Piedmont Democratic Socialists of America
  62. Sarah Cate, Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University
  63. Rebecca Garelli, Lead Organizer, Arizona Educators United
  64. Marquita Walker, Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Labor Studies, Indiana University
  65. Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  66. James Counts Early, Board Member, Institute for Policy Studies
  67. Steve Presence, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, University of the West of England
  68. Colleen Mihal, Professor, College of Marin
  69. Lisa McLaughlin, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Department of Media, Journalism and Film and Department of Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University-Ohio
  70. Christopher R. Martin, Professor of Digital Journalism, University of Northern Iowa
  71. Karyn Hollis, Villanova University
  72. Adam Safer, Graduate Student, Stony Brook University
  73. Bryan Wagner, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  74. Janice Peck, Professor, Media Studies Department, University of Colorado at Boulder
  75. Paul Prescod, Political Liaison in Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
  76. Kevin Howley, Professor of Media Studies, DePauw University
  77. Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Professor of American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  78. Carlos Figueroa, Ithaca College
  79. Gino Canella, Assistant Professor and filmmaker, Emerson College
  80. Daniel Brenner, Teacher, Eastern Suffolk BOCES (retired)
  81. Michelle Strater Gunderson, First Grade Teacher, Chicago Public Schools, Trustee, Chicago Teachers Union
  82. Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania
  83. Max Page, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  84. Nathan Godfried, Adelaide & Alan Bird Professor, University of Maine
  85. Inger Stole, University of Illinois
  86. Philip Fiermonte, Former Burlington City Councilor
  87. Joel Jordan, former Director of Special Projects, United Teachers Los Angeles
  88. Rich Potter, Assistant Professor, American Jewish University
  89. Kevin Gotkin, Visiting Assistant Professor, New York University
  90. Lee Artz, Purdue University Northwest
  91. Dr. Eileen R. Meehan, Professor Emerita, Department of Radio, Television and New Media, College of Communications, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois
  92. Jay O’Neal, West Virginia teacher and strike leader
  93. Emily Schnee, Professor of English, Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York
  94. David Duhalde, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Fund
  95. Roxana Marachi, Associate Professor of Education, San José State University
  96. Jeffrey A. Winters, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Equality Development and Globalization Studies Program, Northwestern University
  97. Rod Metts, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, California State University, San Bernardino
  98. Nino Gulli, Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland Global Campus, UMGC
  99. William Riordan, History Instructor at the University of Colorado
  100. Nicole McCormick, President, Mercer County Education Association
  101. Mary Summers, Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania
  102. Doug Henwood, Journalist
  103. Herbert G. Reid, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky, Department of Political Science
  104. Christina Dunbar-Hester, 2019-2020 Berggruen Fellow, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
  105. Hadrian Predock, Associate Professor of Practice, University of Southern California School of Architecture
  106. Robert M. Saltzman, Emeritus Professor of Lawyering Skills, USC Gould School of Law
  107. Howard A. Rodman, Professor, University of Southern California, Past President, Writers Guild of America West 108. Larry Gross, Professor, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California
  108. Mark Jonathan Harris, Distinguished Professor, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
  109. Kathy Smith, Professor, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
  110. Miki Turner, Assistant Professor, University of Southern California 112. Sean T. Mitchell, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rutgers University, Newark
  111. Rebecca C. Glasscock, Professor Emerita, Geography and Peace Studies, Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  112. Priya Kapoor, Professor, Portland State University
  113. Carlin Meyer, Prof. Emerita, New York Law School
  114. Rianne Subijanto, Assistant Professor, Baruch College, CUNY
  115. Janet Poppendieck, author, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America
  116. Tulia Falleti, Class of 1965 Endowed Term Professor of Political Science, Director of Latin American and Latino Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania
  117. Marisa Chappell, Associate Professor of History, Oregon State University
  118. Micaela di Leonardo, Professor, Northwestern University
  119. Judith E. Smith, Professor Emerita of American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
  120. Julie Van Winkle, Secondary Vice President-elect of United Teachers Los Angeles
  121. Lawrence Blum, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education, Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston
  122. Michael Schwartz, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Emeritus, Founding Director, College of Global Studies
  123. Richard Lachmann, Professor of Sociology, University at Albany SUNY
  124. Keith Brooks, retired educator, NYC alternative high school division
  125. Richard Strier, Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Department of English, University of Chicago
  126. Laura Anker, Distinguished Service Professor, American Studies, SUNY Old Westbury
  127. Alan Gilbert, Distinguished University Professor, Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
  128. Susan Jhirad, retired Professor of English from North Shore Community College
  129. Bill Bigelow, Curriculum Editor, Rethinking Schools
  130. Kathy Hall, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania
  131. Jane Kauer, Consulting Scholar, Physical Anthropology Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum
  132. Ilana Gershon, Ruth N. Hall professor of anthropology, Indiana University
  133. Karen Koran, retired educator, School District of Philadelphia
  134. Ana Croegaert, Assistant Professor, Anthropology + Sociology, University of New Orleans
  135. Amy Stornaiuolo, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania
  136. Brenda Beaudette-Kaim, French Department, University of Vermont
  137. Kathryn Moeller, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  138. Bonnie Urciuoli, Professor Emerita, Anthropology, Hamilton College
  139. Christy Schuetze, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Swarthmore College
  140. Fran Ansley, Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Tennessee College of Law
  141. Frederick Erickson, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Los Angeles
  142. Arléne Amarante, Assistant Professor of Law at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law
  143. Karen Weinstein, Peralta Community College District
  144. Alessandra Visconti, assistant professor of instruction, Northwestern University
  145. Polly Murphy – Retired teacher TN School for the Deaf
  146. Alan Spector, Professor of Sociology, Purdue University Northwest
  147. Maria Catalfio, retired member, OPEIU Local 494
  148. Ann Jefferson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Lecturer, retired
  149. Piotr Axer, PhD Candidate in Slavic Studies at Brown University
  150. Bonnie Blustein, Professor of Mathematics, West Los Angeles College
  151. Frances Maher, Professor Emerita, Wheaton College
  152. Matt Witt, Editor, World Wide Work
  153. John C. Berg, Professor Emeritus, Suffolk University
  154. Ana Celia Zentella, Professor Emerita, UCSD Department of Ethnic Studies
  155. Arleen Llanes, Middle School School Teacher, Bay Area
  156. Daniel Merin, Climate and Culture Coach, Office of School Climate and Safety, School District of Philadelphia
  157. Sylvia Lester, Child Psychologist, NYU Postdoctoral Program for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy
  158. Julia A. McWilliams, Lecturer, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, University of Pennsylvania
  159. Monica Emerich, Instructional Designer/Project Manager, CSU Global Campus
  160. Judy Norsigian, Co-founder and board chair, Our Bodies Ourselves
  161. Rachel Rubin, Professor and Chair, University of Massachusetts Boston
  162. Danya Lagos, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Texas at Austin
  163. Elizabeth Manley, Kellogg Endowed Professor, Associate Professor of History, Xavier University of Louisiana
  164. Gianmarco Savio, Assistant Professor, County College of Morris
  165. Andrea Reyna, public middle school teacher; California Democratic Party Executive Board, San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee
  166. Maia Cucchiara, Associate Professor, Urban Education, Temple University
  167. Jeffrey Melnick, Professor of American Studies, UMass Boston
  168. Sherene Seikaly, Associate Professor of History, University of California Santa Barbara
  169. Nelson Lichtenstein, Distinguished Professor of History, University of California Santa Barbara
  170. Alice O’Connor, Professor of History and Director of Blum Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Democracy, University of California Santa Barbara
  171. Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
  172. Linda Burrows, Public School Teacher
  173. Laurie Katz, Professor of Early Childhood Education, Ohio State University
  174. Wayne Au, Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  175. Susan Fountain, Adjunct Professor, CUNY School of Professional Studies
  176. Robert Farrell, Associate Professor and Chair PSC-CUNY Chapter at Lehman College, CUNY
  177. Elizabeth Hovey, John Jay College, CUNY
  178. Glenn Kissack, Retired Mathematics Teacher, Hunter College High School
  179. Leo Parascondola, Adjunct Lecturer, William Paterson University
  180. Michael Spear, Assistant Professor of History, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY
  181. Jonathan Buchsbaum, Media Studies, Queens College, CUNY
  182. Sigmund Shen, Associate Professor, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
  183. Dwight Billings, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky
  184. Richard Maxwell, Professor, Queens College, CUNY
  185. Stan Karp, Editor, Rethinking Schools
  186. Lori Rothstein, CUNY Graduate Center
  187. Carol Stabile, Professor, University of Oregon
  188. Eileen Moran, Queens College, CUNY
  189. Phaedra Pezzullo, Associate Professor, Dept. of Communication, University of Colorado Boulder
  190. Philip Barnett, Professor, City College and Graduate Center, CUNY
  191. Priya Kapoor, Professor, Portland State University
  192. Rachel Youens, Adjunct Assistant Professor, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY
  193. Vincent DiGirolamo, Assistant Professor and PSC Chapter Chair, Baruch College, CUNY
  194. Ryan Bruckenethal, New York City Special Education Teacher, United Federation of Teachers
  195. Gabriel Winant, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
  196. Ruth Wangerin, Department of Anthropology, Lehman College, CUNY
  197. Kathleen Offenholley, Professor of Mathematics, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
  198. Olga Steinberg, Professor, Hostos Community College, CUNY
  199. David Gerwin, Professor, Dept. of Secondary Education and PSC Chapter Chair, Queens College, CUNY
  200. Eric Freas, Associate Professor of History, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
  201. Jocelyn Wills, Tow Professor of History and Affiliated Faculty Member, American Studies & Women’s and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College, CUNY
  202. Marc Kagan, Graduate Assistant, CUNY Graduate Center
  203. Ruth Milkman, Professor of Sociology, CUNY
  204. Nelly Tournaki, Professor of Special Education, College of Staten Island, CUNY
  205. Adam Sanchez, Teacher; Editor, Rethinking Schools; Zinn Education Project
  206. Blanca Vazquez, Adjunct Associate Professor (Retired), Film and Media Studies, Hunter College, CUNY
  207. Lisa Rivera, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  208. Josh Staub, Director of Restorative Programming, School District of Philadelphia
  209. Rachel Buff, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  210. Christopher Zurn, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  211. Eric Fishman, Elementary School Teacher, Boston Public Schools
  212. Susan Kang, Associate Professor of Political Science, John Jay University, CUNY
  213. Sarah Soanirina Ohmer, Assistant Professor, Department of Latin American and Africana Studies, Lehman College, CUNY

Names being added.

4 thoughts on “Educators’ letter to Joe Biden.

  1. Fred, you should add your name to the list.  Bob

    From: Fred Klonsky Reply-To: Fred Klonsky Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8:37 AM To: Bob Lyons Subject: [New post] Educators’ letter to Joe Biden.

    Fred Klonsky posted: ” Dear Vice President Biden: As the Democratic Party presumptive nominee, you have the power to fight for the public schools and colleges and universities that our students deserve. We are concerned educators, public education advocates, union members, p”

  2. Add “card check” so if a majority of a group of employees sign up in favor of union representation, the
    representation is affirmed. This would cover all employees, teachers, other public employees, and all workers in the private sector. This would eliminate years-long stalling tactics and intimidation of employees before representation elections.

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