The 2020 primary is around the corner: absentee ballot by mail voting has already started (request deadline is Feb 25), early voting is Feb 13-29,  and election day is March 3. Voter ID is NOT NEEDED for the March 3  primary as long as you're already registered to vote.

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I promise this post will be about thinking about educational issues when choosing which candidates to vote for, but I need to rant for a minute. (I promise to explain the connection.) I couldn't be a true public education advocate in NC without mentioning Mark Johnson's latest shenanigans. I couldn't agree more with fellow advocate, Justin Parmenter's tweet:

Read more from WRAL here.

So the connection is that we have to remember the past and vote to help make change in the future. To recap, Mark Johnson Must Go! He has been bad for public education. He has not acted as NC public schools lead advocate in his job as NC Superintendent of Public Instruction. He certainly will not be the advocate we need as Lt. Governor.

I think we often do not associate the role of Lt. Governor with education, but as we read from You Can Vote, the Lt. Governor can assume Governor's duties if the Governor is unable to serve and he or she serves as President of the NC Senate and can cast tie breaking votes. We know the Governor plays a critical role in education as he has the power to veto bills passed by the legislature. Governor Cooper stood up for education in June 2019 when he vetoed the NCGA budget that did not offer fair pay raises for educators nor did it expand Medicaid. We need more pro-public education candidates to step up, Mark Johnson is not one of them. Read more about other candidates for Lt. Governor here.

Other duties of the Lt. Governor in relation to the connection to education is that the Lt. Governor serves as a member of the State Board of Education. So he or she is someone who contributes to 'supervising and administering the free public school  system and the educational funds provided for its support.' Read more here.

Speaking of the State Board of Education, did you know the State Treasurer is a member? So here's just one more reason to pay attention to this race. I was already certain that we needed a new State Treasurer after watching the issues with Dale Folwell's Clear Pricing Project, so let's add to the list. Read about the candidates for State Treasurer here.

We know who we elect to the NCGA matters for education. There are countless news articles and SNCB posts that show why that matters. Read some of those here and here.

So who else should we keep a close eye on when looking for pro-public education candidates? Per You Can Vote, County Commissioners play a critical role in education by passing the county budget, setting the property tax rate and deciding how county money is spent. A large portion of county budgets go to education.

It seems that most (if not all) offices touch public education in some way. Let's take a minute to focus on President. The policies of the President, make a huge impact on education. Take a look at the National Association of Educator's page which compares presidential candidates on education issues. Furthermore, who can forget the train wreck that occurred when President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos to Secretary of Education. (By the way, you can take the pledge to fire Betsy DeVos here.)

Read more about issues and actions in education from NEA and make sure you are reading each candidate's stance on education prior to voting. Read more from Patti's post about how to find your candidates and learn about them.

Tags: (education, 2020 elections, primary, NCPol)

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