WASHINGTON — Eight Democratic presidential contenders seeking support from the 1.9-million-member National Education Assn. agreed with the teachers group on most educational issues--ranging from increasing federal aid to schools to opposing tuition tax credits--in questionnaires released here Tuesday.
The questionnaires and 15-minute taped interviews will be made available to NEA members in state affiliates as the first step in a process by which the organization will decide in December whether it will endorse a presidential candidate, as it backed Walter F. Mondale in 1984.
NEA officials said they also sought to get GOP candidates involved in the process. But only Kansas Sen. Bob Dole among the active Republican candidates responded to the questionnaire and he did not complete all of it. Another Republican, New York Rep. Jack Kemp, has agreed to the videotape interview, said Ken Melley, NEA political director.
20 Specific Issues
Candidates were asked to explain how they would use the presidency to "achieve educational excellence" and to improve educators' salaries. Another part of the questionnaire, which Dole did not answer, asked whether they agreed with the NEA position on 20 specific legislative issues.