At Houston forum, 10 presidential candidates make their pitches to thousands of educators

At Houston forum, 10 presidential candidates make their pitches to thousands of educators

July 5, 2019

Weeks after state lawmakers wrapped up an education-focused legislative session, Texas teachers heard Democratic presidential hopefuls share their plans to reshape public education nationally.

HOUSTON – Aaron Phillips is a fifth-grade teacher in the Amarillo Independent School District. Before the 2018 election, he organized for local Republicans like state Sen. Kel Seliger and state Rep. Four Price, whom he considered "friendly" to public education.

But on Friday afternoon, he was at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston alongside thousands of union-affiliated teachers listening to 10 Democrats running for president explain their views on standardized tests, teacher pay and school safety. This summer brought an end to a state legislative session focused almost entirely on public education, and Texas educators are continuing the political pressure at the national level in an already heated 2020 cycle.

Despite his support for Republicans in the Texas Legislature, Phillips said he finds himself drawn to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, convinced in part by his plan to achieve universal health care. Phillips currently has the free high-deductible health insurance plan his school district offers, and he knows he could be one accident away from paying thousands of dollars in medical bills.

"I would hate to fall further into debt because I had an accident," he said. "I don't go for yearly check-ups. I don't do any preventative services because I can't afford it."

Credit by - The Texas tribune

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