Press Release

Public Education Groups to Host Top Democratic Presidential Candidates at 2020 Public Education Forum

MSNBC to Moderate and Exclusively Livestream Pittsburgh Forum on Dec. 14

For Release:


Oriana Korin
Eric Jotkoff

PITTSBURGH—A group of 11 public education groups, including education unions, civil rights organizations and community groups, today announced they will host top Democratic presidential candidates at the “Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All” on Saturday, Dec. 14, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. MSNBC will moderate and exclusively livestream the forum focused on public education issues. 

Ali Velshi, host of “MSNBC Live,” and Rehema Ellis, NBC News education correspondent, will serve as the forum’s moderators, together interviewing candidates on priority issues facing students, educators and parents in public education today. The event will be streamed live on NBC News Now, and NBC News Learn, and will be featured across MSNBC programming.

Currently, eight major Democratic candidates who qualified for the October debate or who are currently elected to statewide office have confirmed participation: Sen. Michael Bennet, Vice President Joe BidenSen. Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie SandersTom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Topics to be discussed will include school investment, student services, special education, student debt and teaching conditions, as well as key education equity and justice issues facing America’s students and public schools.

The forum will welcome more than 1,000 educators, students, parents and community members to a discussion with the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates about their plans for K-12 and higher education. Each candidate will provide opening remarks and then answer questions from Velshi and Ellis, forum attendees and others from across the country who submitted questions.

This event is open to organizational sponsors by invitation only. Press must RSVP hereplease see below for additional information on press coverage.  

WHO:  Alliance for Educational Justice

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

American Federation of Teachers

Center for Popular Democracy Action

Journey for Justice Alliance


National Education Association

Network for Public Education Action

Schott Foundation for Public Education—Opportunity to Learn Action Fund

Service Employees International Union

Voto Latino

WHAT:   Public Education Forum 2020: Equity and Justice for All

WHEN:  Dec. 14, 10 a.m.

WHERE:   David L. Lawrence Convention Center

                 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd.

                  Pittsburgh, PA 15222


  • No filming inside the Main Room-Hall B (2nd floor) will be allowed by anyone other than MSNBC/NBC News. 
  • According to the embargo, video material cannot be used until three hours after each candidate session ends, after which, non-MSNBC/NBC News media and individuals, including digital media, may use unlimited excerpts (up to three minutes at a time) with appropriate credit as outlined below. Media outlets may not rebroadcast the forum in its entirety unless granted permission.
    • Mandatory onscreen and verbal credit to MSNBC on first reference.
    • The onscreen MSNBC credit must be clearly visible and unobstructed at all times in any image, video clip or other form of media.
    • Embedded web video must stream from the media player with the unobstructed credit as described above.
    • Excerpts may only be used for the purpose of analyzing, reporting on or commenting on the forum.
  • Filming is allowed on premises outside of the candidate session room in PFC-Hall C (2nd floor), and all press will be assigned to a dedicated filing room with workspace, WiFi and power.
  • Audio recording and print coverage is allowed inside the forum; there will be an assigned media section for press inside.
  • A detailed time schedule including press load-in times will be provided upon RSVP.
  • Questions regarding candidate interviews should be directed to campaign press staff.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.