Democratic Presidential Candidates To Discuss Education Issues In Pittsburgh This Month

Dec 2, 2019

Several Democratic presidential candidates will answer questions on equity in public education on Dec. 14 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in a forum hosted by a coalition of activists groups and unions.

According to a press release issued by activist group One Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh was one of many cities in the running to host the first-ever candidate forum focused on education. MSNBC is cosponsoring the event and will provide moderators. 

Among the candidates confirmed to appear are: former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden; U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; and businessmn Tom Steyer. 

According to organizers, other candidates may be added to the lineup in the coming days.

The event is already at maximum capacity. About 1,000 people from the coalition of organizations are expected to attend. Each group will ask up to two questions. 

“In Pittsburgh, we try to solve tough education challenges with innovative solutions in a pragmatic, collaborative manner," said Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers President Nina Esposito-Visgitis. "We won’t shy away from asking tough, fair, probing questions of these candidates."

The PFT is hosting the event along with the national teacher’s unions the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. Other groups in the cohort include Alliance for Educational Justice, Center for Popular Democracy, Action Journey for Justice Alliance, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Network for Public Education Action, One Pennsylvania, Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Service Employees International Union.

In the press release, organizers called the forum an opportunity “to ensure that the public education’s promise is fulfilled. It’s time to give all our children the schools they deserve, regardless of demography or geography.”

*U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris was originally confirmed to attend the forum before she announced she had dropped out of the race.

*U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Michael Bennet were added to the lineup Dec. 6.

This story was updated on Dec. 6 at 12:20 p.m.