Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s first presidential campaign event in Pennsylvania was spent in a Northeast Philadelphia union hall, taking questions from teachers and students and rousing the crowd with the prospect of putting a former public schoolteacher in the White House.
The senator from Massachusetts spoke to about 200 educators and 100 students from Abraham Lincoln High School in Holmesburg.
The afternoon conversation, hosted by the American Federation of Teachers as part of its vetting of candidates for endorsement, was closed to the public but available on the AFT’s Facebook page.
Warren said she knew in second grade that she wanted to be a public-school teacher. “I practiced, I used to line my dollies up and teach school,” she said. “I was tough but fair.”
She said she wants to be president to give people more opportunity: “Teachers understand this: We invest in the future.”
Warren, a law professor who worked as a New Jersey special education teacher earlier in her career, has stumped on the need for more federal funding of public schools, universal child care, and pay standards for early-childhood teachers. She has also unveiled a plan for student-debt forgiveness and free tuition to two- and four-year public colleges — all topics she touched on Monday.
Hours before her appearance, Warren promised in a tweet that her secretary of education would have experience teaching in a public school.
“I want someone who has seen tattered textbooks or who has tried to manage when there are too many kids in a classroom … someone who has actually been there and taught a child to read,” Warren told the crowd, drawing cheers.
The event came five days before Joe Biden holds his first public event in Philadelphia — at Eakins Oval on Saturday — and a week ahead of a rally for President Donald Trump near Williamsport.