“I’m a public-school educator, and I think we can do better in public schools by getting government out,” Tate said.
In several deep-red states, educators who protested budget cuts, low teacher pay and pension changes are challenging lawmakers at the ballot box, following through on vows to oust them from office.
Teachers on both sides of the aisle are taking up the mantle, with some Republican educators campaigning on pledges to increase education spending and to slow the expansion of charter schools.
“Her appointment really did something to me,” Youngblood said.
“I’m concerned about what we’re leaving to the future of this country, to my grandkids.” The teachers running for office represent the political spectrum.
Shell co-sponsored a pension overhaul that was rushed through the state House with little input from educators, a move that touched off teacher protests. Five will advance to the general election, including a social studies teacher who edged out the incumbent for the Democratic nomination in a House of Delegates race.
Stephanie Winkler, a former teacher who is president of the Kentucky Education Association teachers union, called it “a kind of educator spring,” comparing it to the Arab Spring of 2011.
One recent afternoon, reading teacher Karen Mallard settled into a kindergarten classroom at Greenbrier Primary School in Chesapeake, Va., as young readers worked through a book about pets.
Then, she headed home to brush up on Iran nuclear policy.
The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University said at least 20 retired and working female teachers are running for Congress this year. The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, trained 70 teachers last year in its “See Educators Run” seminar, giving teachers mentoring and support to run a campaign.
About 200 teachers applied in 2017; halfway through 2018, about 170 have applied.
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