Where 2020 Democrats stand on
education

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How should the government subsidize public four-year college?

Specifically for middle- and low-income families

Many Democrats are proposing free or debt-free college for less-well-off students.

Should be free

Should be free

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg's campaign website said he will make “public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes — combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.” During the first Democratic debate, Buttigieg said, “I just don’t believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires. I think the children of the wealthiest Americans can pay at least a little bit of tuition.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools, breaking the work-school tug of war,” Castro's education plan said. “Share the financing of tuition costs with state governments and provide incentives to reduce the cost of college programs including fees, discourage underinvestment into public education by states. Require accountability and standards that include fair pay for all employees and staff, including adjuncts and non-faculty staff, and respect for their right to join a union.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsored the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students, and would lower student loan interest rates.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Governor Inslee’s approach will include making attendance at public college and community college tuition and debt-free for students from lower-income and middle-class families,” Inslee's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports free college tuition and fees at four-year schools, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“As President, I would have the federal government allow students to attend 4-year college without taking on debt. I would ensure this is available to everyone,” Ryan told The Post. He cosponsed the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students, and would lower student loan interest rates.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders “believes the right to a good and free education is a basic human right,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “That means we have got to make public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs tuition and debt-free and cancel all student debt,” Sanders told The Post. “Every young person, regardless of their family income, the color of their skin, disability, or immigration status should have the opportunity to attend college. ... If we are to succeed as a nation, public colleges and universities must be tuition free and debt free.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“My plan also eliminates tuition and fees at technical, two-year, four-year public college,” Warren told The Post. Warren is also a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Should graduate without debt

Should graduate without debt

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports helping low- and moderate-income students graduate from school debt-free. “Students from higher-income families should pay for a higher education,” he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker's campaign website said he pledges to “establish a path to debt-free college, because choosing to pursue higher education should not mean a lifetime of debt.” Booker is a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies. “Kirsten’s national public service plan would reward students with two years of tuition-free education at a community college or public university for every one year of public service they perform,” her campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris “believes that in America, your family’s wealth should not dictate your success,” according to her campaign website. It said she plans to “make four-year public college debt-free, and provide an income boost to nearly 1 in 7 Pell Grant recipients through her LIFT Act, the largest tax cut for working Americans in generations.” Harris is also a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper told The Post that tuition at four-year colleges should be reduced based on income. He has also “proposed reducing student debt, including student loan forgiveness in high-need areas, urban and rural,” according to a campaign spokesperson.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke “wants to ensure there are debt-free higher education options,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “He supports making the first two years of tuition at a state institution or technical college free for every American. He also supports meeting the full cost of attendance for low-income students and ensuring the middle-income students have debt-free options — covering the full costs of tuition, books, as well as room and board — through increased grant aid tied to a commitment from states and institutions to do their part and keep tuition stable.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Marianne Williamson

Author

William supports allowing students to attend 4-year state colleges without taking on debt, she told The Post. “My governing philosophy is that all public policy should help citizens in their efforts to thrive and actualize their talents and creativity. If that is the case, their contribution to society will create the greatest economy and prosperity for everyone,” she said. “In addition to making community colleges and state schools affordable or free, we must also include trade schools for those who are changing jobs and upgrading skills.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Something else

Something else

Joe Biden

Former vice president

A campaign spokesperson said Biden will soon release a plan for “making higher education affordable and accessible to all Americans.” While vice president, Biden helped pass proposals including increasing funding for Pell scholarships and increasing the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“The fact is, while promises of free college and total loan forgiveness make for flashy press releases, they aren't serious solutions for most people's daily lives,” Bullock wrote in a CNN op-ed. Bullock has proposed freezing tuition by increasing higher education funding, as he did in Montana.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney’s campaign website suggests ways to make college more affordable including providing “more grants to help students from lower-income families” and allowing “borrowers to discharge public and private student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

“I want to make it easier for kids to go to college. And I think we do it by focusing our resources on the people that need it most. And my problem with some of these [free college] plans is they literally would pay for wealthy kids, for Wall Street kids to go to college,” Klobuchar said at the second Democratic debate. “I would allow people to refinance [student loan debt] at a better rate and I would make sure that we improve those student loan repayment programs for our teachers and expand them so that you literally — over 5, 10 years — can get it paid for if you go into occupations where we don't have enough workers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak told The Post he opposes free college for all but offered proposals to lower costs. “1) Making federal aid and loan payments to universities and colleges contingent on their keeping tuition increases pegged to inflation, or lower; 2) Restructuring federal student loans so the government does not make a profit, as it currently does because the interest rate is based on the 10-year Treasury bond ...; 3) Increasing Pell grants; and 4) Implementing a national credit transfer system (since the average transfer student loses 43% of their credits, costing billions of dollars nationally.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang supports lowering costs by proposals including reducing the ratio of administrators to students and redirecting portions of the weathiest endowments to fund a new university in Ohio, according to his campaign website.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Without guaranteed access to a good education, there’s no such thing as equal opportunity,” Steyer's campaign website said. “Our government must protect the right to a free, quality, public education from preschool through college and on to skills training.” Steyer did provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

For all families

Some would make college free for wealthy families, too.

Should be free

Should be free

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools, breaking the work-school tug of war,” Castro's education plan said. “Share the financing of tuition costs with state governments and provide incentives to reduce the cost of college programs including fees, discourage underinvestment into public education by states. Require accountability and standards that include fair pay for all employees and staff, including adjuncts and non-faculty staff, and respect for their right to join a union.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports free college tuition and fees at four-year schools, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders “believes the right to a good and free education is a basic human right,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “That means we have got to make public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs tuition and debt-free and cancel all student debt,” Sanders told The Post. “Every young person, regardless of their family income, the color of their skin, disability, or immigration status should have the opportunity to attend college. ... If we are to succeed as a nation, public colleges and universities must be tuition free and debt free.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“My plan also eliminates tuition and fees at technical, two-year, four-year public college,” Warren told The Post. Warren is also a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Should graduate without debt

Should graduate without debt

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker's campaign website said he pledges to “establish a path to debt-free college, because choosing to pursue higher education should not mean a lifetime of debt.” Booker is a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies. “Kirsten’s national public service plan would reward students with two years of tuition-free education at a community college or public university for every one year of public service they perform,” her campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris “believes that in America, your family’s wealth should not dictate your success,” according to her campaign website. It said she plans to “make four-year public college debt-free, and provide an income boost to nearly 1 in 7 Pell Grant recipients through her LIFT Act, the largest tax cut for working Americans in generations.” Harris is also a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“As President, I would have the federal government allow students to attend 4-year college without taking on debt. I would ensure this is available to everyone,” Ryan told The Post. He cosponsed the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students, and would lower student loan interest rates.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Marianne Williamson

Author

William supports allowing students to attend 4-year state colleges without taking on debt, she told The Post. “My governing philosophy is that all public policy should help citizens in their efforts to thrive and actualize their talents and creativity. If that is the case, their contribution to society will create the greatest economy and prosperity for everyone,” she said. “In addition to making community colleges and state schools affordable or free, we must also include trade schools for those who are changing jobs and upgrading skills.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Something else

Something else

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports helping low- and moderate-income students graduate from school debt-free. “Students from higher-income families should pay for a higher education,” he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

A campaign spokesperson said Biden will soon release a plan for “making higher education affordable and accessible to all Americans.” While vice president, Biden helped pass proposals including increasing funding for Pell scholarships and increasing the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“The fact is, while promises of free college and total loan forgiveness make for flashy press releases, they aren't serious solutions for most people's daily lives,” Bullock wrote in a CNN op-ed. Bullock has proposed freezing tuition by increasing higher education funding, as he did in Montana.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg's campaign website said he will make “public tuition affordable for all and completely free at lower incomes — combined with a large increase in Pell Grants that provides for basic living expenses and keeps up with inflation. Middle-income families at public colleges will pay zero tuition.” During the first Democratic debate, Buttigieg said, “I just don’t believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize even the children of billionaires. I think the children of the wealthiest Americans can pay at least a little bit of tuition.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney’s campaign website suggests ways to make college more affordable including providing “more grants to help students from lower-income families” and allowing “borrowers to discharge public and private student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsored the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students, and would lower student loan interest rates.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper told The Post that tuition at four-year colleges should be reduced based on income. He has also “proposed reducing student debt, including student loan forgiveness in high-need areas, urban and rural,” according to a campaign spokesperson.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Governor Inslee’s approach will include making attendance at public college and community college tuition and debt-free for students from lower-income and middle-class families,” Inslee's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

“I want to make it easier for kids to go to college. And I think we do it by focusing our resources on the people that need it most. And my problem with some of these [free college] plans is they literally would pay for wealthy kids, for Wall Street kids to go to college,” Klobuchar said at the second Democratic debate. “I would allow people to refinance [student loan debt] at a better rate and I would make sure that we improve those student loan repayment programs for our teachers and expand them so that you literally — over 5, 10 years — can get it paid for if you go into occupations where we don't have enough workers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke “wants to ensure there are debt-free higher education options,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “He supports making the first two years of tuition at a state institution or technical college free for every American. He also supports meeting the full cost of attendance for low-income students and ensuring the middle-income students have debt-free options — covering the full costs of tuition, books, as well as room and board — through increased grant aid tied to a commitment from states and institutions to do their part and keep tuition stable.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak told The Post he opposes free college for all but offered proposals to lower costs. “1) Making federal aid and loan payments to universities and colleges contingent on their keeping tuition increases pegged to inflation, or lower; 2) Restructuring federal student loans so the government does not make a profit, as it currently does because the interest rate is based on the 10-year Treasury bond ...; 3) Increasing Pell grants; and 4) Implementing a national credit transfer system (since the average transfer student loses 43% of their credits, costing billions of dollars nationally.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang supports lowering costs by proposals including reducing the ratio of administrators to students and redirecting portions of the weathiest endowments to fund a new university in Ohio, according to his campaign website.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Without guaranteed access to a good education, there’s no such thing as equal opportunity,” Steyer's campaign website said. “Our government must protect the right to a free, quality, public education from preschool through college and on to skills training.” Steyer did provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

As college costs and student debt have risen, more attention — at least among Democrats — has been focused on increasing federal support for higher education. A few years ago, the conversation centered on lowering interest rates for borrowers, and then on making community college free. But now several candidates aim to make four-year public colleges free for some or all students. Some go further, promising to erase existing debt. The plans are expensive, but draw support particularly from young people struggling to afford college.

Candidates also are talking about new ways to support elementary and secondary education, including new initiatives to increase access to pre-kindergarten and to supplement teacher pay. But there’s less support today for public charter schools, which many Democrats once considered a way to help poor kids escape low-performing schools. This version of school choice may have been tainted by association with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is reviled among Democrats. There’s scant support, too, for DeVos-backed vouchers or tax credits that help pay for private schools.

The sleeper education issue of the year, though, is school segregation, after Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) challenged former vice president Joe Biden on his 1970s-era opposition to court-mandated desegregation and busing. That conversation has prompted a debate about how to best address segregation in schools today.

Where the candidates stand

Here’s where the candidates stand on education issues, based on their statements, voting records and answers to a questionnaire that was sent to every campaign.

Question 2 of 10

Should be free

Should be free

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports free community college, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden supports free community college, a campaign spokesman told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker supports free community college, he told The Post. “Make tuition-free community college and vocational training a reality across the country,” Booker's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Two-year community college and career and technical education programs should be free for all Americans,” Bullock told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools, breaking the work-school tug of war,” Castro's education plan said. “Share the financing of tuition costs with state governments and provide incentives to reduce the cost of college programs including fees, discourage underinvestment into public education by states. Require accountability and standards that include fair pay for all employees and staff, including adjuncts and non-faculty staff, and respect for their right to join a union.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“Delaney believes Pre-K through 14 education (two-year community college or technical training) is the new K-12 and that children should have it guaranteed,” his campaign website said. “Community college or technical education after high school can provide a crucial lifeline to young adults trying to find meaningful employment.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsored the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students, and would lower student loan interest rates.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris “believes that in America, your family’s wealth should not dictate your success,” according to her campaign website. It said she plans to “make community college free, make four-year public college debt-free, and provide an income boost to nearly 1 in 7 Pell Grant recipients through her LIFT Act, the largest tax cut for working Americans in generations.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper supports free community college, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Governor Inslee’s approach will include making attendance at public college and community college tuition and debt-free for students from lower-income and middle-class families,” Inslee's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports free community college, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messams’s campaign website said, “This year, California’s 114 community colleges are offering full-time students free tuition for the first year. 73 New York and Rhode Island are offering similar programs. As more jobs require some post-secondary training, such programs will become essential. We must work to expand these programs nationwide to help students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow without the debt of today.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O’Rourke “supports making community college free for every American,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan co-sponsed the College for All Act, which would make four-year college free for middle-class and lower-income families and community college free for all students.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders “believes the right to a good and free education is a basic human right,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “That means we have got to make public colleges and universities, tribal colleges, community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs tuition and debt-free and cancel all student debt,” Sanders told The Post. “Every young person, regardless of their family income, the color of their skin, disability, or immigration status should have the opportunity to attend college. ... If we are to succeed as a nation, public colleges and universities must be tuition free and debt free.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“My plan also eliminates tuition and fees at technical, two-year, four-year public college,” Warren told The Post. Warren is also a co-sponsor of the Debt-Free College Act, which provides funding to states to subsidize student costs associated with college, including tuition, room and board and supplies.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“My governing philosophy is that all public policy should help citizens in their efforts to thrive and actualize their talents and creativity. If that is the case, their contribution to society will create the greatest economy and prosperity for everyone,” Williamson told The Post. “In addition to making community colleges and state schools affordable or free, we must also include trade schools for those who are changing jobs and upgrading skills.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Something else

Something else

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand’s “national public service plan would reward students with two years of tuition-free education at a community college or public university for every one year of public service they perform,” her campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak told The Post he opposes free community college but offered proposals to lower costs. “1) Making federal aid and loan payments to universities and colleges contingent on their keeping tuition increases pegged to inflation, or lower; 2) Restructuring federal student loans so the government does not make a profit, as it currently does because the interest rate is based on the 10-year Treasury bond ...; 3) Increasing Pell grants; and 4) Implementing a national credit transfer system (since the average transfer student loses 43% of their credits, costing billions of dollars nationally.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“All community colleges should be funded at a level to make tuition free or nearly-free for anyone, especially those who are taking vocational classes,” Yang's campaign website said. “The government can be involved, but businesses should also be encouraged to invest in their area’s community colleges, both to create stronger ties to their communities and better access to this potential workforce.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Without guaranteed access to a good education, there’s no such thing as equal opportunity,” Steyer's campaign website said. “Our government must protect the right to a free, quality, public education from preschool through college and on to skills training.” Steyer did provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Hover for more information

Tap for more information

Background In the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton battled over how best to subsidize the cost of college. Clinton’s plan would have ensured that students did not have to take out loans, but still required contributions from families that could afford it. Sanders’s plan was free tuition for all. Since then, some have suggested even bigger plans — making tuition and fees free at public schools. There remains a divide as to whether the benefits should depend on students’ financial need.

Question 3 of 10

Cancel all debt

Cancel all debt

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam’s website said “federal student loans would be cancelled in full” and private lenders would be paid off, too. “The goal is to zero out all student loan debt — no matter what the source.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“We will cancel the entire $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt for the 45 million borrowers who are weighed down by the crushing burden of student debt. President Trump provided a tax cut of more than $1 trillion to the top one percent and large corporations,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “[Sanders] believes that money would be better spent on freeing millions of hardworking people from the burden of student debt, boosting the economy by $1 trillion over the next ten years, and creating up to 1.5 million new jobs every year. By canceling student debt, we will save the average student loan borrower about $3,000 a year in student loan payments — and hundreds of thousands of Americans will have the financial resources they need to buy new homes, cars and start new businesses. In addition, this proposal would cut the racial wealth gap for young Americans by more than half — from 12:1 to 5:1.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Cancel based on income

Cancel based on income

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“We should provide targeted relief for those for whom the debt is crushing, hindering basic life functioning,” Bennet told The Post. “We should not cancel all debt for high-income students and students with graduate degrees that will allow them to increase their earnings over their lifetime. Yes, we should limit student debt payments as a share of income for all student debt holders, to ensure that nobody is paying more than 8 percent of their income toward student debt. That would be a 20 percent decrease in payments based on income relative to the current system. For students who make these payments for 20 years, their debt should be forgiven. We should also forgive up to $40,000 in debt over four years for people engaged in public service, including teachers who teach in high-need schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“Student loan debt is holding millions of Americans back from buying their first home, starting families, and starting new businesses,” Booker told The Post. “We should start by looking at means-tested debt forgiveness for those who work in public service professions like teaching. As President, I would also work to reduce the burden of student debt by allowing eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their federal loans, and allowing eligible student loan borrowers to refinance their private loans into the federal program.” Booker supports "forgiving and/or refinancing debt for low-income individuals and individuals who go into certain public services professions, among others," a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Until a borrower is earning at least 250% of the federal poverty line, their monthly loan payment will be capped at $0 with no interest accrual on unpaid interest for three years, exempting half of unpaid interest after three years,” Castro's education plan said. “This is not a deferred payment. The payment amount is $0. Once the borrower is earning above 250% of the federal poverty line, they will not pay more than 10% of their qualified income each month.” His plan also calls for “a new program of targeted loan forgiveness to forgive a proportion of loans for individuals who qualify for and receive means-tested federal assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Medicaid for any three years within a five year period.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I also have a plan to cancel student debt for more than 95% of those who carry it,“ Warren told The Post. “The plan offers no debt cancellation to people with household income above $250,000 (the top 5%). This was to ensure we offer broad debt cancellation while simultaneously increasing wealth for Black and Latinx families and reducing both the Black-White and Latinx-White wealth gaps.” Warren’s plan would eliminate up to $50,000 in student debt for borrowers with an annual household income of less than $100,000.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Yes. This generation of students cannot thrive if they are saddled with the chronic burden of college loan debt,” Williamson told The Post. “The majority of existing student debt should be cancelled, and others should be able to refinance to a lower level. We should also remove the restriction that prohibits people who declare bankruptcy to include student loans in the debt relief.” Her campaign site said, “We need to explore student loan forgiveness and options to remove red tape and lockouts, and reduce on-time payments from 10 years to 5 years. We need to reduce the interest rate for repayment of loans to a nominal, if not zero, percentage rate. We need to eliminate the origination fee on federal student loans, and eliminate the annual caps on federally subsidized loans.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Alleviate debt burdens in other ways

Alleviate debt burdens in other ways

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden supports canceling or adjusting payments based on income, his campaign told The Post. “Vice President Biden chaired the Middle Class Task Force and laid the groundwork for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act to ensure college students can afford their student loans.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“There’s a big difference in how the debt crisis impacts wealthy and lower-income Americans,” Bullock told The Post. “That’s why I don’t support blindly canceling debt regardless of job or income. Instead, student loans should be managed by the government at low interest rates that can be refinanced. We can forgive student loans for people who enter public service — like teaching. And we can make repayment plans tax-free and incentivize more workplaces to offer these benefits.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“That would be great for us,” Buttigieg said in response to a question about Sanders's debt cancellation plan in the second Democratic debate. “And then the next day, there would be a student loan program and people would be out taking student loans wondering they weren't — why they weren't lucky enough in timing to get theirs wiped away completely, too.” Buttigieg told Vice that he supports improving existing programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“The federal government shouldn’t be making a profit on student loans. Delaney will reduce interest rates on federal student loans and set them equal to the interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds,” Delaney's campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard co-sponsored legislation that would incentivize businesses to help employees pay off their student loans.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. “Senator Gillibrand believes in allowing students to refinance their student loan debt, and in eliminating student loan debt for public service,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Feb. 18: “Student debt is at a crisis level in this country, and it holds our whole economy down. One of the first things I'd do as president is allow all students to refinance their loans at 4%. The federal government shouldn't be making money off the backs of our students, period.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“Students shouldn’t fear decades of debt just because they want to pursue an education. But today in America, students graduate with so much debt, they often can’t take the job they want, start a business or a family, or even pay the bills,” Harris's campaign website said. “Kamala believes we need to act. As president, she’ll provide relief from crushing debt today, and ensure tomorrow’s students can attend college debt-free. That starts with immediately allowing current debt holders to refinance high-interest loans to lower rates, expanding Income Based Repayment (IBR) to ensure no student pays more than they can afford, and cracking down on for-profit colleges and lenders that defraud our students.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Under my plan, we will cut the interest rate of all federal student loans to 2.5 %,” Hickenlooper told The Post. “For future students, we will increase funding to public universities and we will tie certain federal grants with requirements for states to provide their share of funding. We also will make all community colleges tuition-free for future students.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Take steps to reduce the burden of student debt, including fixing the dysfunction of the Public Service Loan Program and enforcing the borrower-defense rules promulgated by the Obama Administration, allowing students defrauded by for-profit institutions to pursue legal action to eliminate their remaining debt burden,” Inslee's campaign website said. “Additionally, Governor Inslee will also propose a new program supporting STEM education and scientific and technical career paths through a student loan debt-forgiveness program for graduates entering clean energy, sustainability, and climate science-related jobs in the non-profit and public sectors.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar “supports allowing borrowers to refinance student loans at lower rates, loan forgiveness for in-demand occupations, expanded Pell grants, and tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications,” her campaign website said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Jun 27: “Our college plan would do 3 things: 1. Nobody in America will pay more than 10% of income on student loans. 2. If you still have loans after 20 years, they’ll be forgiven completely. 3. Cancel student loans for anyone who chooses to serve the country, civilian or military.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O’Rourke “would allow borrowers with high interest rate private student loan debt to refinance at a lower federal interest rates,” a campaign spokesman told The Post. He “also would reform the existing public service debt forgiveness program by streamlining the options and accelerating debt forgiveness. He will propose that we forgive 10% of a borrower’s outstanding debt at the end of each year that they work in a public interest job tax-free.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“The skyrocketing price of higher education is crippling the economic prosperity of our young people before they even have a chance to begin their careers,” Ryan told The Post. “We must figure out how to make college more affordable and how to help those drowning in student loans. That is why I support proposals that would make higher education tuition and debt-free. Because for too long, higher education has been promised only for the privileged few, and everyone’s sons and daughters should have the ability to get the skills they need to succeed — no matter if it is a four year, two year, or certificate school program. From parents who are losing their retirement savings to graduates with crippling debt, no family or individual should have to deal with that burden.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“No, the government should not cancel existing student debt, but we must reduce student debt and the cost of higher education by: 1) Making federal aid and loan payments to universities and colleges contingent on their keeping tuition increases pegged to inflation, or lower; 2) Restructuring federal student loans so the government does not make a profit, as it currently does because the interest rate is based on the 10-year Treasury bond (due to this, government will make $127 billion in profit this decade); 3) Increasing Pell grants; and 4) Implementing a national credit transfer system (since the average transfer student loses 43% of their credits, costing billions of dollars nationally),” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“Immediately reduce the student loan payments for millions of Americans by ensuring that the American government does not profit one cent from its educational loan servicing and that students get the same interest rates as the wealthiest bank,” Yang's campaign website said. He also pledged to “initiate a program that allows graduates to pay a percent of income instead of a fixed amount.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

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Background In years past, Democrats’ focus has been on future students and helping them afford college, but that does nothing for those who already have student debt. The new proposals seek to wipe out existing loans, a controversial notion given that many of those who owe large sums are people who attended graduate schools for law, medicine or business and went on to earn large salaries.

Question 4 of 10

No

No

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“Hearings offer ample evidence to determine whether students have conducted sexual misconduct. Allowing accused students to cross examine survivors would discourage survivors from coming forward and could exacerbate trauma,” Bennet told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Vice President Biden continues to support the Obama-Biden Department of Education Office of Civil Rights guidance that ‘strongly discourages schools from allowing the parties personally to question or cross-examine each other during the hearing,’ ” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“No. Campus sexual assault is unacceptable, and rates of assault are especially high among students of color and LGBTQ students. Many students do not come forward out of fear and potential retaliation,” Booker told The Post. “We should not allow an alleged perpetrator to cross examine their accuser as that could make it harder for victims to seek justice and could put them in further danger.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“No,” Bullock told The Post. “I believe this proposal will unacceptably dissuade campus sexual assault survivors from reporting assault — the president of Association of Title IX Administrators stated that cross-examination would lead to a 50 percent drop in the reporting of misconduct. Schools have already been required to address campus sexual assault in a manner that is impartial and timely. This can be done without cross-examination and is critical to ensure that schools resolve sexual harassment allegations.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand does not support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “I do not support the Trump Administration’s proposed changes to regulations around campus sexual assault, which make it more harrowing for victims to pursue justice,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam does not supports giving college students accused of sexual assault the right to cross-examine their accusers, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan said he would “absolutely not” support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“No,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ rule was a big step backwards towards addressing the crisis of campus sexual assault by making it less likely that survivors report their assaults. As president, [Sanders] would reverse Secretary DeVos’ decision to weaken Title IX protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. When [Sanders] is in the White house, he will protect students from harassment, discrimination, and violence in educational institutions by protecting and enforcing Title IX.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak does not support a right for college students accused of sexual assault to cross-examine their accusers.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“On college campuses, we also have an obligation to protect all students, including survivors of sexual assault,” Warren told The Post. “Requiring schools to subject survivors to live cross examination undermines Title IX and discourages victims and witnesses from coming forward.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

A campaign spokeswoman said, “No, she would not support this in a university setting. They are not bound by rules of evidence or due process as they are not courts of law.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Strengthen and clarify Title IX protections so they are fully extended to all students,” Castro's education plan said. “Issue regulations clarifying that Title IX protections include a prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, and parenting status. Increase oversight and enforcement to ensure that violations of students’ Title IX rights are properly addressed.” Castro did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“As President, Beto will work with his Secretary of Education to first undo the damage done by Secretary DeVos, re-instating the Obama Administration's 2011 Dear Colleague letter. Beto will then consult with experts and people affected by this issue on the best way to adjudicate complaints of both sexual assault and harassment,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed new rules for how schools handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault. In general, they offer the accused more due process rights, such as the right to cross examine one’s accuser, within certain parameters.

Question 5 of 10

No, ban for-profit charters and pause funding for new charters

No, ban for-profit charters and pause funding for new charters

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports a ban on for-profit charter schools and a moratorium on funding for new charters, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Recognizing the problems in a one-size-fits-all model of education, teachers’ unions and parent activists established alternative, experimental “charter” schools to better serve kids struggling within the traditional system. But few charter schools have lived up to their promise. Instead, billionaires like DeVos and the Waltons, together with private equity and hedge fund executives, have bankrolled their expansion and poured tens of millions into school board and other local elections with the hope of privatizing public schools,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Charter schools are led by unaccountable, private bodies, and their growth has drained funding from the public school system. The damage to communities caused by unregulated charter school growth must be stopped and reversed. Bernie believes we must make sure that charter schools are accountable, transparent and truly serve the needs of disadvantaged children, not Wall Street, billionaire investors, and other private interests. As president, [Sanders] will ban for-profit charter schools and implement a 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. That means halting the use of public funds to underwrite new charter schools. The truth is, we do not need two schools systems; we need to invest in our public schools system. That said, existing charter schools must be made accountable by mandating that charter schools comply with the same oversight requirements as public schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Ban for-profits and increase accountability

Ban for-profits and increase accountability

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“I support high-quality, nonprofit charter schools that offer choices for families, spur innovation, and most importantly, improve outcomes for students. I do not support private, for-profit charter schools. Charter school authorization is a local decision,” Bennet told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden supports banning for-profits and increasing accountability, a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“While not all charters are good, public, non-profit charter schools should be an option in some places,” Booker told The Post. “As mayor of Newark, I closed poor-performing charter schools. My education reforms have borne fruit and, in fact, today Newark is leading the country in so-called “beat the odds schools,” meaning schools that are high performance despite having many of their students living in poverty.” Booker supports a ban on for-profit charter schools, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“I am committed to investing in our country’s public schools. The education of our children should be one of the main priorities of the next President of the United States, and that means a strong, robust well funded ... public school system. For the families and children who attend charter schools, they deserve a charter school system that promotes transparency and is held accountable to make sure every student is receiving the best education,” Ryan told The Post. “That is why I pushed legislation that would increase transparency and oversight of the U.S. charter school system. I support efforts to eliminate for-profit charter schools, for too long these schools have put profit over education. The most recent reauthorization of the ESEA strengthens the accountability and transparency within the charter school program, but that is only a first step. As a country, we need strict regulations and oversight.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I think we should ban for-profit charters and charters that outsource their operations to for-profit companies and I have publicly opposed the expansion of charter schools in Massachusetts,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Yes, but increase accountability

Yes, but increase accountability

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I support limited public funding for charter schools that offer necessary alternatives to conventional educational methods, as long as those public charter schools have oversight from public boards of education,” Bullock told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Yes, I believe that high-performing and accountable public charter schools have a role in public education,” Hickenlooper told The Post. “I support limits on charter schools based on performance but not an across-the-board moratorium. I personally oppose efforts to give taxpayer dollars to for-profit charter schools. However, I also believe that this is a decision to be made by each local school district.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“Beto believes public funds should be used for public schools,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “He opposes using public funding for for-profit charter schools or private school vouchers. Beto believes that any public charter schools that are currently operating should be subject to the same standards and accountability as other public schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“I accept them, but with strong accountability measures to ensure they are successful, including full inclusion of students on the basis of special needs,” O'Rourke told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

May. 13: “Charter Schools are public schools (this point is often misunderstood) and in many places they have provided important innovation within the public schools system.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Both, as long as the money does not come from current public-school budgets,” Williamson told The Post. “I support flexibility in public school pilot schools which can have different approaches to education to meet the needs of different learning styles of students. However, I am not open to it if it takes money from current school budgets.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question. “Let me be clear, I am pro good school,” he said at the third Democratic debate.

May. 17: “Castigating all public schools or all charter schools does educators a massive disservice by calling into question the work they do with our kids every day. We should be looking to make all of their jobs easier by putting resources into both schools and households.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background For many years, public charter schools have been the most popular form of school choice among Democrats, a way to give children in low-performing schools alternatives while keeping the money in the public system. President Barack Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, were big proponents of charter schools. But the party has moved away, partly in response to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an enthusiastic supporter of school choice, who is deeply unpopular among Democrats. Today, many Democrats who have supported charter schools will emphasize opposition to for-profit versions.

Question 6 of 10

Yes, free for everyone

Yes, free for everyone

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden supports a national, free universal pre-K program, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“The federal government should guarantee that all children have access to high-quality pre-K. There are a number of ways to get there, and the federal government, states, local school boards, teachers and parents should all work together on policies that ensure no child in the country is without access to high-quality pre-K,” Booker told The Post. “I am a co-sponsor of legislation to guarantee universal access to early learning opportunities for all children by stipulating that no low- or middle-income family pays more than seven percent of their income on child care, while families who make 75 percent or less of their state’s median income will not have to pay anything at all.” Booker also co-sponsored’ Warren’s Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act. Booker believes pre-K should be considered an extension of K-5 education, so should be universal and free, his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro supports a national, free universal pre-K program, his campaign told The Post. While mayor of San Antonio, Castro offered free pre-K for four-year-olds from low-income families.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

“In New York City, I worked with supporters to create universal, full-day, high quality Pre-K for every four year old — and we are on the path to expanding that to every three year old. Investing in education is absolutely essential to ensuring that every child has an equal starting point and a truly equal opportunity to live up to their potential,” de Blasio said on Facebook.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

“Delaney believes Pre-K through 14 education (two-year community college or technical training) is the new K-12 and that children should have it guaranteed,” his campaign website said. “While in Congress, Delaney introduced H.R. 3466, the Early Learning Act, which would provide every four-year-old child guaranteed access to a free Pre-K program, fully paid for by a surtax on high income earners of 1.5% on income over $500,000.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand supports a national, free universal pre-K program, her campaign told The Post. “Every child deserves the same opportunities to learn, grow and reach their potential — which is why I would enactBiden supports a national, free universal pre-K program, his campaign told The Post. universal pre-K,” Gillibrand’s plan said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam supports a national, free universal pre-K program, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O'Rourke supports a national, free universal pre-K program, a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “If we believe in an economy that works for all, then let us invest in a world-class Pre-K through 12 public education system and ensure that we are paying our educators a living wage so that they don’t have to work a second or third job,” O'Rourke said in his campaign kick-off speech.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“Yes, the federal government should fund and implement a national, free universal pre-K program and it should do it immediately,” Ryan told The Post. “It is imperative that all children have access to pre-kindergarten, which will help their cognitive development. That is why I support efforts to create universal pre-kindergarten, where [a] three-or four-year-old child in a state to be voluntarily enrolled by the child's parent, regardless of income, in the program at the public school in which the child would be enrolled for kindergarten.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes. In America today, we have a dysfunctional pre-K system ... [Sanders] believes we need a revolution in this country in terms of how we provide pre-K education,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “[Sanders] will guarantee childcare and universal prekindergarten for every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents to more easily balance the demands of work and home. The federal government will provide enough funding to implement this nationally.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak supports a national, free universal pre-K program, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

“Without guaranteed access to a good education, there’s no such thing as equal opportunity,” Steyer's campaign website said. “Our government must protect the right to a free, quality, public education from preschool through college and on to skills training.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Yes. The federal government should fund free universal pre-K immediately and work with the states for implementation,” Williamson told The Post. Her campaign site said, “universal quality education for all Americans, starting in pre-school and extending through college or technical school, should be available to all our citizens, in every neighborhood in America.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Yes, free for low-income families

Yes, free for low-income families

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet supports a universal pre-K program that would be free for low-income families, he told The Post. “We need preschool for every kid in America who needs it, and that’s every kid in America,” Bennet said at Essence Fest.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports a national universal pre-K program that would be free for low-income families, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“[I]n February, I introduced my plan for universal child care and early education,” Warren told The Post. “Under my plan, high-quality child care and early learning programs will be free for millions of American families, and affordable for everyone. The cost of this historic federal investment would be covered by just a quarter of the revenue from my Ultra-Millionaire tax.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Universal access, but cost unclear

Universal access, but cost unclear

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I’m pushing for universal access to pre-K so that every child can be put on the path to success,” Bullock told The Post. “While many states have taken steps towards public pre-K — including Montana, where we made our first public investment in pre-K during my administration — it will take leadership at the federal level to achieve quality universal pre-K. We should implement the program over a 6-year period in order to work out the kinks as we scale up.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris is a co-sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act, which supports “universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds,” according to the bill’s supporters.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “All communities should have a public pre-K option for 3- and 4-year-olds. The federal government can play a supportive role, particularly in tax policy, to support working families,” Hickenlooper told The Post. “Governor Hickenlooper supports tax incentives and sliding scale support to make sure every family can afford to go to work and meet their childcare and children’s educational needs. States and communities should implement pre-K programs.”

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Funding would be provided to states investing in high-quality early education, including by expanding preschool for 3-4 year olds for eligible families across the country and expanding access to full-day kindergarten,” Inslee's campaign website said. Inslee supports the Child Care for Working Families Act, which aims to provide “universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds,” according to the bill’s supporters.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton is a co-sponsor of the Child Care for Working Families Act, which supports “universal access to high-quality preschool programs for all 3- and 4-year olds,” according to the bill’s supporters.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang’s website said he will “[d]irect the Department of Education to work with states to create a plan for universal pre-kindergarten education.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

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Background High-quality early childhood education can help set students up for success in kindergarten, so there has been a surge of interest in new programs, including subsidies based on income, and across-the-board free pre-K as part of the public schools.

Question 7 of 10

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“Yes, our teachers need to be paid like the professionals that they are, especially in schools with high rates of poverty, students with disabilities, and other community needs,” Bennet told The Post. “Though the primary responsibility for funding education will remain at the state and local level, the federal government has a role in supporting these schools and the teachers in them.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

“Teachers and school personnel do some of the most important and hardest work, but too often they aren’t rewarded. As President, Biden will correct this wrong,” his education plan said. “Biden will triple funding for Title I, the federal program funding schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families, and require districts to use these funds to offer educators competitive salaries and make other critical investments prior to directing the funds to other purposes.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“Yes, we must do more to support the people doing some of the most important jobs in our country – our teachers. We need to consider a massive federal investment to boost teacher pay and eliminate those pay disparities,” Booker told The Post. “ In the Senate, I am working to address those disparities by writing the STRIVE Act, which would eliminate student debt for teachers who commit to the profession for at least seven years, and reduce it for others. The STRIVE Act also expands the teacher tax credit to put more money in the pockets of teachers, who too often go into their own pockets to pay for things for their students that they shouldn’t have to pay for, like food and school supplies.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Teacher pay should be increased both to fairly compensate the people we trust with our kids, and to attract more talent to the profession,” Bullock told The Post. “But we shouldn’t use federal money to subsidize local salaries across the board. Federal support for teacher pay subsidies should go to the school districts that need them the most, in order to attract talent they couldn’t otherwise.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

“We need to respect and value our teachers as the essential public servants that they are, and we need to compensate them accordingly. We need federal support for boosting teacher pay, and we need to begin by directing it to Title I schools — the schools with the most economic and racial inequity, and with the most students on free and reduced price lunch,” Buttigieg's campaign site said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“We also have to make a new commitment to the thousands of teachers and support staff that guide and teach our children,” Castro's education plan said. “We need to pay our teachers more, cut down on class sizes to foster individualized learning, and equip our educators and schools with the resources they need to be successful.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. “A child’s opportunity and success shouldn’t depend on which block they grew up on,” Gillibrand's campaign website said. “To strengthen our communities, combat systemic inequality and ensure all of our kids have the chance to reach their potential, we have to invest in our public schools. This means paying teachers a living wage, maintaining small class sizes, and ensuring teachers have the resources and support they need.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“America’s teachers are drastically underpaid and they deserve a raise. That’s exactly what Kamala Harris intends to give them as President. We’ll make the largest investment in teachers in American history and provide the average teacher a $13,500 raise, entirely closing the teacher pay gap,” Harris's teacher pay proposal said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Yes, I believe the federal government can play a role in increasing teacher pay,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. “Washington state saw the highest average increase in public school teacher pay of any state in the union in 2018-2019 — 31% — and increased the average teacher salary from $56,000 to $73,000,” Inslee's campaign website said. “As president, Jay Inslee will once again make the federal government a partner for states and communities, and the guarantor of justice and equity in our schools. He will meet the challenge of investing in education in the same way that he has in Washington state: by supporting local educators and communities with the resources they need to best educate all of the children they’re responsible for, investing in lifelong learning, prioritizing climate change throughout the education system, and making higher education affordable for everyone so that people can obtain the skills they need to pursue their dreams and work in the country’s fastest-growing fields.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar supports subsidizing teacher pay, she told The Post. “We also need to make sure all our children can get a great education,” Klobuchar's campaign website said. “That means increasing teacher pay and funding for our public schools, with a focus on investment in areas that need it the most.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

“Teachers deserve a raise,” Messam's campaign website said. “We must make smart investments in education, including teacher salaries that align with the importance of their work; the resources, supplies and training our educators need; and expanded opportunities for students pursuing career and technical training.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“Beto’s administration will dedicate $500 billion toward the creation of a Permanent Fund committed to closing funding gaps, creating incentives for states and districts to guarantee fair funding for public schools and pay teachers professional wages,” O'Rourke's campaign website said. “The use of funds will be determined by each school based on engagement with educators, students, parents, civil rights groups, education stakeholders, and community leaders. ... Priorities for the fund could include increasing educator pay for all teachers and other specialized staff through a process that assures educators and their union a strong, meaningful decision-making role — with additional pay for educators in high poverty schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“Yes. As the husband of an elementary school teacher, I know the difference a teacher can make and understand the challenges modern teachers face,” Ryan told The Post. “A comprehensive education policy must start with recognizing the value of our country’s educators. This means ensuring teachers are paid a living wage. Teachers should not be forced to get a second job to make ends meet.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“Yes,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post. “Today, teachers now make 21 percent less – and they now, on average, make less than the typical worker in every state. In America today, a third of all teachers are working a second job and running up debt just to make ends meet. [Sanders] will significantly increase teacher pay by working with states to set a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000 tied to cost of living, years of service, and other qualifications; and allowing states to go beyond that floor based on geographic cost of living.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Yes, especially for teachers in high-poverty schools and rural areas needing to attract teachers,” Sestak told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Strengthening education in America also means supporting public school teachers by raising their pay,” Warren told The Post. “There are a few different approaches to accomplishing that, including direct federal subsidies to states. My universal child care will also raise wages for child care workers and early education teachers.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Yes. We need to attract and retain high quality teachers,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

“As President, I will work with states to fund their educational systems to improve teacher salaries and reduce layers of administration, leading to better educational outcomes,“ Yang's campaign site said.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

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Background Teacher salaries are typically funded with local and state money, with some federal subsidies for teachers in schools with a significant number of poor students. This year, several candidates have suggested subsidizing teacher pay with federal tax money.

Question 8 of 10

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

“Yes, more aggressive. Only when there is active resistance to integration measures and as part of a much broader solution to segregated, and unequal, schools,” Bennet told The Post. “Busing can help ensure that kids in every community and every neighborhood can benefit from a great education, but it isn’t sufficient by itself. From instituting universal preschool, to raising teacher pay, to building more affordable housing in neighborhoods with great schools, to addressing funding inequities across schools, we need to do much more to prepare every child in the next generation for success.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden’s education plan said he “will reinstate Department of Education guidance that supported schools in legally pursuing desegregation strategies and recognized institutions of higher education’s interests in creating diverse student bodies. And, he will provide grants to school districts to create plans and implement strategies to diversify their schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“Our schools remain far too racially segregated today, resulting in wide disparities in children's educational and economic opportunities. We need to do much more, including busing where necessary, to desegregate our schools, address systemic racism, and close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps that exist in our country,” Booker told The Post. “But busing is just one tool. We need to be thinking more broadly about our education, health and housing policies as means to help desegregate our schools. In particular, we know that restrictive local zoning rules exacerbate segregation. Earlier in this campaign I rolled out a comprehensive housing plan that tackles this issue head-on, calling for the federal government to incentivize localities to eliminate restrictive zoning rules in order to qualify for billions of dollars of designated federal loan and grant programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Even today, 150-200 school districts are busing under desegregation orders,” Bullock told The Post. “The U.S. Department of Justice must work with these districts to ensure compliance, recognizing one size won’t fit all. From redlining and gerrymandering, to institutional discrimination in bank lending and access to the ballot box, we must address structural racism head on. Federal Courts and agencies alike should be aggressive in every effort to end policies that hold communities back.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

“Combat racial segregation in schools and reduce educational disparities by working to integrate communities,” Castro's education plan said. “Fulfill the promise of Brown v. Board of Education through a progressive housing policy that includes affirmatively furthering fair housing, implementing zoning reform, and expanding affordable housing in high opportunity areas. These efforts will reduce racial segregation in classrooms.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand believes federal courts and agencies should be more aggressive in encouraging or pressuring school districts to desegregate their schools, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

“You also worked ... to oppose busing,” Harris said to former vice president Joe Biden in the first Democratic debate. “And, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.” Following the debate, Harris gave varying answers on her own busing position, but ultimately said she would support federally mandated busing if a particular school district was resisting integration — but that, “thankfully,” the forces opposing desegregation in the 1960s are not at work today.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “Governor Hickenlooper is committed to decreasing racial and class segregation in our schools as one essential strategy to address systemic and historic inequities in our education system. The Governor recognizes that reducing inequality in our schools and our communities will take a holistic effort involving all levels of government and public-private partnerships to address barriers to housing, increase economic empowerment and boost education funding. Governor Hickenlooper supports eliminating Section 426 of the General Education Provisions Act, which is the last remaining ban on the use of federal funds for busing,” his campaign told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar believes federal courts and agencies should be more aggressive in encouraging or pressuring school districts to desegregate their schools, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam believes federal courts and agencies should be more aggressive in encouraging or pressuring school districts to desegregate their schools, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“As president, Beto would support efforts to promote diversity in our schools,” an O'Rourke spokesperson told The Post. “He supports the Strength in Diversity Act and repealing the prohibition on the use of federal funds for transportation connected to efforts designed to promote diversity in our schools. Beto believes the federal government plays a crucial role in enforcing constitutionally protected civil rights.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“No matter where someone grew up, working families in every zip code deserve the same opportunities for their children. But that is not the case today,” Ryan told The Post. “Right now students in schools that primarily serve students of color and students from low-income families receive $23 billion less than students lucky enough to be born in the right zip code. This is a broken system. We must close this funding gap so that hard work and determination — not neighborhood — are the primary determinant of student success. So, yes, I do support efforts to desegregate our schools, busing included.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

“65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, many U.S. schools remain unacceptably segregated. Some 300 school districts are currently under desegregation orders and the Supreme Court has curtailed the government’s power to address them. Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has outrageously “scaled back” civil rights investigations and dismissed hundreds of them in short order,” a campaign spokesman told The Post. “When [Sanders] is in the White House, he will execute and enforce desegregation orders and appoint federal judges who will enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act in school systems. He will build on the Strength in Diversity Act to increase, not cut, federal funding for community-driven strategies to desegregate schools. And he will triple Title I funding to ensure at-risk schools get the funding they need and end funding penalties for schools that attempt to desegregate.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

“Yes. I believe integrated schools are best for all students, so whenever districts contain racially segregated schools, I believe active measures to integrate are worthwhile — including busing,” Sestak told The Post. “When the local response is inadequate, especially if in violation of a court decision, federal courts and agencies should step in.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“We also have to close the achievement gap in K-12 education and make sure we are creating opportunity for students of color, students with disabilities, students whose first language isn’t English, and other students who have been historically underserved,” Warren told The Post. “I support legislation to dedicate tens of millions of federal dollars to provide competitive grants to local educational agencies to improve diversity or eliminate socioeconomic or racial isolation in public schools. That would include federal dollars for agencies that wished to use busing to achieve these goals. In addition, if localities are not taking action to desegregate schools, I believe the federal government has a constitutional obligation to step in to deliver on the promise of Brown v. Board, including, if necessary, busing.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“Yes. We need to provide quality education in all schools, so no matter which school a child attends they will get a good education,” Williamson told The Post. “Federal courts or agencies should encourage desegregation in schools. For communities that want help diversifying, busing can be an important way to meet that goal.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background The clash over 1970s-era school busing during the first Democratic debate focused attention on former vice president Joe Biden’s position at the time. But many schools are still segregated by race, as well as by income, and the situation has grown worse in some communities in the years since federal courts lifted most desegregation orders. Today, some school districts are working to desegregate their schools. The Obama administration put forth some modest efforts to encourage this, but they have been rolled back under President Trump.

Question 9 of 10

No

No

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

“No — the evidence has become clear that vouchers do not help — and in fact, hurt — the cause of educational equity,” Booker told The Post. “We must do everything we can, including pursuing smart reforms, to ensure that every kid, no matter their zip code, has access to an outstanding public school education.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“Public money should be used to improve public schools, not diverted to private or religious institutions,” Bullock told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand does not support using public money for private or religious education, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. “No. I support parents in their commitment to select the best school for their student but would not support the use of publicly-funded vouchers for private or religious school education,” Hickenlooper told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar does not support using public money for private or religious education, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

“No. Beto opposes private school vouchers. His priority will be to increase support for our public school system,” a campaign spokesperson told The Post.

Jul. 5: “We will not allow a single public tax dollar to be taken out of our public school classrooms, turned into vouchers, and sent to private schools. #NEARA19”

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

Ryan does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak does not support using public money for private or religious education, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“I believe tax dollars should stay in our public schools, period,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

Marianne Williamson

Author

“No. Parents who want to send their children to private or religious schools are free to do so, but the government should not pay for it,” Williamson told The Post. “The government provides free education for all through public schools.”

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background School vouchers have always been more popular among Republicans than Democrats, but some Democrats have supported them as a way to give poor children in unappealing schools more options.

Question 10 of 10

Yes

Yes

Michael Bennet

U.S. senator, Colorado

Bennet’s children attended K-12 public schools for a majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Michael Bennet
Bennet

Steve Bullock

Governor, Montana

“I’m pleased that my children have been able to go to the same public schools in Helena that my wife and I attended growing up,” Bullock told The Post

Candidate positions highlighted
Steve Bullock
Bullock

Julian Castro

Former mayor, San Antonio

Castro’s children attended K-12 public schools for a majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Julian Castro
Castro

John Hickenlooper (Dropped out)

Former governor, Colorado

Hickenlooper is no longer running for president. Hickenlooper's children attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator, Minnesota

Klobuchar‘s children attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years, she told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Amy Klobuchar
Klobuchar

Wayne Messam

Mayor, Miramar, Fla.

Messam's children attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Wayne Messam
Messam

Beto O'Rourke

Former U.S. representative, Texas

O’Rourke’s “children attend public schools in El Paso,” a campaign spokesman told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Beto O'Rourke
O'Rourke

Tim Ryan

U.S. representative, Ohio

“I am the father of three kids who are currently enrolled in K-12 public school education,” Ryan told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tim Ryan
Ryan

Bernie Sanders

U.S. senator, Vermont

Sanders's children attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bernie Sanders
Sanders

Joe Sestak

Former U.S. representative, Pennsylvania

Sestak's children attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years, he told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Sestak
Sestak

Elizabeth Warren

U.S. senator, Massachusetts

“Both of my kids attended K-12 public schools for the majority of their school years,” Warren told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Elizabeth Warren
Warren

No

No

Joe Biden

Former vice president

Biden’s children attended private schools.

Candidate positions highlighted
Joe Biden
Biden

Marianne Williamson

Author

“My daughter had a mix of public and private, with the majority private,” Williamson told The Post.

Candidate positions highlighted
Marianne Williamson
Williamson

Does not have children

Does not have children

Cory Booker

U.S. senator, New Jersey

Booker does not have children.

Candidate positions highlighted
Cory Booker
Booker

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor, South Bend, Ind.

Buttigieg does not have children.

Candidate positions highlighted
Pete Buttigieg
Buttigieg

Unclear/no response

Unclear/no response

Bill de Blasio

Mayor, New York City

De Blasio did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Bill de Blasio
de Blasio

John Delaney

Former U.S. representative, Maryland

Delaney did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
John Delaney
Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. representative, Hawaii

Gabbard did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard

Kirsten Gillibrand (Dropped out)

U.S. senator, New York

Gillibrand is no longer running for president. Gillibrand did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kirsten Gillibrand
Gillibrand

Kamala D. Harris

U.S. senator, California

Harris did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Kamala Harris
Harris

Jay Inslee (Dropped out)

Governor, Washington state

Inslee is no longer running for president. Inslee did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Jay Inslee
Inslee

Seth Moulton (Dropped out)

U.S. representative, Massachusetts

Moulton is no longer running for president. Moulton did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Seth Moulton
Moulton

Tom Steyer

Billionaire activist

Steyer did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Tom Steyer
Steyer

Andrew Yang

Tech entrepreneur

Yang did not provide an answer to this question.

Candidate positions highlighted
Andrew Yang
Yang

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Background Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has come under criticism because neither she nor her children attended public schools. That said, some Democratic leaders have also sent their kids to private schools, such as former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, whose daughters attended the elite Sidwell Friends School in the District.

Jeff Stein contributed to this report.

How candidate positions were compiled

The Washington Post sent a detailed questionnaire to every Democratic presidential campaign asking whether it supports various changes to U.S. education policy. Candidates with similar stances were organized into groups using a combination of those answers, legislative records, action taken in an executive role and other public comments, such as policy discussion on campaign websites, social media posts, interviews, town hall meetings and other news reports. See something we missed? Let us know.

We expect candidates to develop more detailed policy positions throughout the campaign, and this page will update as we learn more about their plans. We also will note if candidates change their positions on an issue. At initial publication, this page included major candidates who had announced a run for president or an exploratory committee. The Post will contact additional candidates as they enter the race and include them here.

Curious about where candidates stand on another policy? Fill out this suggestion form.

Recent changes on this page

Sept. 16 Added quotes from the third Democratic debate.

Aug. 28 Gillibrand dropped out of presidential race.

Aug. 23 Moulton dropped out of presidential race.

Aug. 22 Inslee dropped out of presidential race.

Aug. 19 Updated several positions for Castro based on a response from his campaign.

Aug. 15 Hickenlooper dropped out of presidential race.

Aug. 7 Separate higher education question into four-year and two-year questions.

July 31 Changed Messam stance on Title IX investigations, following clarification from his campaign.

July 31 Adjusted Klobuchar stance on universal pre-K and Bennet stances on universal pre-K, charter schools and student debt, following clarifications from their campaigns.

July 31 Added quotes from the first night of the second Democratic debate.

July 30 Clarified Booker stance on some questions following feedback from his campaign.

July 30 Page published.

Kevin Uhrmacher

Kevin Uhrmacher is a graphics editor for politics at The Washington Post. His work includes mapping trends in election results, analyzing data about President Trump’s political appointees and explaining the impact of congressional policies. He joined The Post in 2014 as a news designer.

Laura Meckler

Laura Meckler is a national education writer covering national trends, federal policy and the Education Department. She came to The Washington Post from the Wall Street Journal, where her beats included presidential politics, the White House, health care, immigration and demographics.

Kevin Schaul

Kevin Schaul is a senior graphics editor for The Washington Post. He covers national politics and public policy using data and visuals.

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