WASHINGTON/SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris on Tuesday released a plan that would use federal money to raise teachers’ salaries, in a nod to several constituencies whose help she will need to win next year’s Democratic presidential nomination – teachers unions, women and black voters.
The proposal – Harris’ first major policy rollout as a 2020 White House candidate – would invest $315 billion over 10 years to give the average teacher a $13,500 raise, or about a 23 percent salary increase, according to a Harris campaign aide. It would be financed by expanding an estate tax on the wealthy but the aide did not provide details.
National - Education - Association - NEA - Members
The National Education Association (NEA), which has 3 million members, and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which has 1.7 million members, are likely months away from endorsing in the 2020 Democratic primary, if they do so at all.
AFT President Randi Weingarten described Harris’ plan as “bold” and called on other candidates to offer their own detailed proposals. Harris’ campaign shared the proposal with labor leaders over the weekend, as she announced her intention to raise teacher pay at a campaign rally in Houston.
Problem - Weingarten - Reuters - Interview - Parents
“She actually understands that we have a real problem here,” Weingarten told Reuters in an interview. “Parents are saying they don’t want their kids to become teachers and teachers are selling their blood plasma to make ends meet.”
Harris’ rollout comes after a wave of high-profile teachers strikes across the country that drew attention to stagnant teachers’ salaries – including in Los Angeles and Oakland in Harris’ home state of California, where her campaign aims for a strong showing.
Endorsement - Teachers - Union - California - Allies
“Having the endorsement of a teachers’ union is huge in California. They’re trusted allies and trusted validators as far as voters are concerned,” said Roger Salazar, a Democratic strategist in Sacramento, California, who...
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