Teachers across the country walked out of classrooms this year to demand better funding for schools and better pay for educators.
Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says he hopes the strikes will inspire more people to consider education when casting their votes in the November midterm elections.
"We say we value education, but none of us vote on education," Duncan said. "That’s one of my biggest concerns. I always say education should be the ultimate bipartisan issue, there’s nothing left or right about giving a kid a good chance in life. But, when we go to the voting booth for local elections, mayors, governors, Congress, Senate, the president, no one ever votes on education, and for me that would change everything."
According to a September tally from the National Education Association, more than 550 current and former educators -- most of them Democrats -- are on ballots across the country in November.
And many of those teachers who are running and winning. Out of 158 current classroom teachers running for state legislature, 101 have made it past the primary elections, according to a recent analysis by Education Week.
Many of those candidates are running in Oklahoma, where teachers went on strike for ten days in April. 15 teachers won their primaries there, and 12 ran unopposed.
When asked why so many teachers are feeling compelled to run this year, Duncan said it's because "they're fed up."
"They’re frustrated. And again, teachers are the most altruistic people you’re going to meet. They’re not running for their ego or for their whatever, they’re running to make the system better…. What you’re seeing is educators who understand that public policy matters, that we need to have people at local level offices, mayors, potentially a governor of Wisconsin, national level. We need educators who value these things, who value giving kids a good chance in life stepping up," he said.