Times have changed. Education is increasingly essential to ensure our country’s economic prosperity, national security, and democracy. A good public education is the one promise we make to all Americans, but inadequate and inconsistent funding, substantial inequities across communities, and a failure to comprehensively prioritize education across the country have limited our progress. 

As a result, we have a patchwork system for early childhood, K-12, and post-secondary education – where the opportunities, supports, services, and funding vary considerably across different ages, different populations, and different localities. With this current system, we are not sufficiently preparing students, and our country, for success in the future.

We have the opportunity to change this, and it starts with the people vying to be President of the United States.

Public opinion shows a large and growing support for public education. About 87% of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, say increasing spending for education should be an important or top priority for the federal government

We also know more about what children and youth need to thrive. Based on the learning sciences, we know our system needs to ensure high-quality early learning opportunities, integrated student support services, and engaging instruction focused on developing deeper learning skills. We know that all children and youth – regardless of their background – must have access to high-quality learning. 

Creating a just, inclusive, healthy, and prosperous society demands a comprehensive system of public education that is universally accessible to everyone living in America. Lifelong learning should no longer be a personal aspiration, but rather a national imperative necessary to strengthen our democracy, economy, and society. 

As we embark on the 2020 election, presidential candidates across the country are highlighting their vision for the future of America. Education 2020 calls all presidential candidates – Republican and Democrat – to recognize education as central to building a secure future, harness public opinion, and offer actionable proposals to comprehensively advance our education system – birth through lifelong learning.