Education News

Who is Dr. Jill Biden? 7 things you need to know

By Amanda Menas / Photo credit: Hannah Leone / Chicago Tribune

Educators across the country deserve strong partners in the White House–something sorely lacking at the present time with Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump. No one is better prepared to fill that role than presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, a veteran educator and long-time NEA member. 

Jill Biden has worked as an educator for more than 30 years. She and Joe understand that, for educators, their profession isn’t just what they do; it is who they are.

After marrying Joe in 1977, Jill left her job as a public high school English teacher to become a full-time mom. Later, she went back to school to earn her doctorate in education and return to teaching as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College, where she continued to teach while also serving as Second Lady.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed for many just how critical a role educators play in students’ lives. Jill Biden believes that supporting those educators and students with the resources they need will be even more important after schools re-open.

In an article co-written with NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, Biden said that when schools return to in-person teaching, “they must have the tools and resources they need to support students — many of whom will be more vulnerable than ever as aftershocks ripple through our economy.” The Bidens would support efforts to invest in public schools from the White House. 

Here are seven other things you should know about Dr. Jill Biden:

She is a devoted community college educator

Dr. Jill Biden refers to community colleges as “America’s best kept secret.” They are a proven, high-quality tool for providing hard-working Americans access to education and skills and a pathway to the middle class. As a professor, she sees how community colleges have changed the lives of so many of her students for the better. As Second Lady, she traveled across the country as part of the “Community College to Career” tour to highlight successful industry partnerships between community colleges and employers. In the fall of 2010, she hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges with President Obama.

She supports replacing DeVos

In July 2019, Joe Biden told NEA members that his first act as president will be to get rid of Betsy DeVos. He has vowed to replace her with an educator. Jill Biden has proudly echoed that sentiment, saying, “We’re going to have a Secretary of Education who has been in the classroom,” Dr. Biden said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “When he’s elected president, when you look right next to him, there will be standing a teacher,” Jill added.

She supports LGBT+ Students and Families

As private citizens, Joe and Jill Biden continued this work through the Biden Foundation’s “As You Are” campaign, which promoted understanding and acceptance among young LGBTQ+ individuals and their families.

She is a military mom

Jill Biden and former First Lady Michelle Obama created and led the Joining Forces initiative to build support for our veterans and military families, including a focus on increasing employment opportunities. Between April 2011 and the end of the Obama administration, Joining Forces supported programs and secured commitments from employers that led to the hiring or training of more than 1.5 million veterans and military spouses. 

As the parents of a service member who deployed to Iraq, Joe Biden and Jill Biden understand that it’s not just military members who make sacrifices to serve our nation, their families do too. The Bidens understand that there are sleepless nights wondering if your deployed loved one is safe; the difficulties children experience while their parent is serving far away; and all the added sacrifices and challenges, big and small, military families face because they choose selfless service. 

She is passionate in her support of mental health services

Dr. Biden has advocated for more funding to be invested in services that help students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and allow educators to focus on teaching. Joe Biden’s education plan would double the number of nurses, counselors, and other mental health professionals in our schools, and triple Title I funding that helps low-income and struggling schools.

She supports unions

Dr. Biden is a longstanding member of the NEA. During a visit to NEA for an interview between NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and candidate Joe Biden, Dr. Biden declared, “These are my people!” For the past 30 years of her teaching experience, she has stood up for unions, union members, and collective bargaining. Sharing her thoughts on a Biden Administration’s education plan, Dr. Biden said, “Joe’s plan invests in educators–by paying them competitive salaries, increasing career opportunities, and helping them pay off their student loan debt. He is going to protect and expand their rights to organize and bargain collectively.” She also supported educators in Iowa as they voted to re-certify their ability to unionize this spring.

She advocates for breast cancer prevention

Jill Biden has been a long-time advocate for breast cancer awareness and education since a number of her close friends were diagnosed and one passed away. “As an educator, my first thought was what I could do. I mean, I’m not a medical person, but what could I do as an educator. So I developed the Biden Health Initiative,” said the then-Second Lady. The not-for-profit organization is one of the country’s first formal breast health education programs aimed at high school age women. It is free of charge for all schools and other groups in Delaware where the Bidens live.

17 responses to “Who is Dr. Jill Biden? 7 things you need to know

  1. I believe Jill Biden is a role model that we can look up to and follow. She has been a forthright advocate for teachers as second Lady. She will be a dynamic First Lady! We’ve lost that in the last four years!

  2. Dr. Biden,
    I believe that it is vital, that VP Biden be our next President. As a teacher and professor, much in the mold of one, such as yourself, I have experienced the intellectual laziness of far too many of our citizens; the Trump years adequately exemplify such behavior. I am concerned with the totally un-necesary potential debates between the VP and Trump. Nothing can be gained from such an enterprise; in fact, none have formally existed before the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates and with our current abundance of media exposure, I would guess that 95% of Americans have already made-up their minds, and the lies and disrespect that Trump would show the VP could not possibly benefit the VP and instead, through those lies, exaggeration and bluster, may actually do harm through what will surley appear to be a sporting event, serving no useful purpose. If you agree, please counsel your husband re; the same, Thank you,

    Dr. Alan S. Altman, Ed.D.
    Professor
    Fischler Graduate School of Education
    Nova Southeaster University
    Davie, Florida
    33314

  3. Dr Biden. I wanted to send you an email so this would not be a public post but I could find no way to do that. I am appealing to you as a wife and mother to protect your husband from the humiliation of displaying publicly his personal changes in cognitive function. I think his dignity is being sacrificed for the political aspirations of others.

  4. I am not a formal teacher but I’ve tutored children, taught English as a second language to spouses of the military, and taught adults seeking their high school diplomas. I am a great-grand mother with 2 classes left before completing my masters. I have 3 grandsons who graduated this semester, 2 with their BAS and 1 with an Associates degrees. I come from a family that believes in quality education. I attended the phone conference on April 23, 2020 and listened to to Lilly, Deborah, Tina, Barbara, and Jeffery. It was a good exchange of information and I’d like to answer the question Jill Biden asked “What can we do to improve our educational system?” We need to teach the TRUTH. Our educational system is broken and our American history text books do not include the TRUTH about Black and Brown people’s contribution to our country. Most of us did not learn about Black women’s contribution to the space race until we saw the movie Hidden Figures. Being excluded from American History (with the exception of slavery and civil rights) is demeaning. Additionally, personal finances classes has been proven to be more beneficial to most graduates but we are required to take mandatory classes in algebra and other math related courses in an antiquated curriculum in order to complete the course of study. My suggestions are to include American History text books and teachings that include who built the white house, our early infrastructure, Black Wall Street in Tulsa and Durham, etc. People have pride in their ancestors contributions. Economics should be included on every level of education because understanding ones relationship with money or person finance is key to growth.

  5. Dr. Jill Biden recently expressed concern about the stress teachers and students are experiencing during this terrible pandemic. Dr. Biden’s concerns for the emotional welfare of educators and children clearly demonstrates her sense of what our priorities in education should be.
    If you are a teacher or parent of a student experiencing stress, the free ebook Disastershock: How to Cope with the Emotional Stress of a Major Disaster, available on Amazon and at disastershock.com may be helpful.

  6. Dr Jill Biden will be a a great influence for education in the White House. She will offer great HOPE and direction!!!. America has a Secretary of Education, D. DeBoss who not only is not an educator, not a professor with a PHD, she is one who doesn’t even value or understand Public Education!!!!! Education is the backbone of our wonderful country. How can that be? We need Dr. Jill Biden and a strong Secretary of Education to lead us into a period that moves educational opportunities and realities forward. We need an Department of Education that has a person as Secretary of Education that is is highly-qualified and also one who will dedicate their knowledge, experience, wisdom to make EDUCATION to be one of the pillars that will build America to greatest again.
    NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES!!! America need families, students, educators, leaders, resources to be strong!! America’s schools need Joe Biden as President and Dr. Jill Biden as First Lady!!!!!!

    1. I hope she will be our next First Lady.
      Dr. Jill Biden is a lovely, well educated, and strong lady!

      As I read about Joe’s VP pick —-
      I would like to suggest picking a man, as great as Joe and a known commodity such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It’s not too late for Joe to change his mind.
      We are afraid if Joe picks a woman as his VP, the Democratic ticket may well lose to Trump again. I hope Jill will discuss this with her husband.

  7. I look forward to Jill Biden as our First Lady. It is high time for the return of civility, competence, intellect, and genuine caring. As a retired educator, I have been appalled at the absolute incompetence of Betsy DeVos. Buying a seat in an administration knowing NOTHING about educating has been a disaster. I will be filled with love and happiness at the inauguration of Joe Biden. He will have a competent administration of qualified members. VOTE BLUE👥💙👥💙👥💙👥💙👥💙

  8. that was most helpful. I had no idea she had such a competent educator’s background, but it was obvious she did a pretty good job I feel with their children, proving most working Moms with demanding jobs can usually be excellent ones.

  9. She and her husband have been through the proverbial ringer and both rise above it to be good, decent, caring people who go way out of their way to help others – the antithesis of our current situation in the WH. God Bless them and help them become our true leaders in November!

  10. Dr. Biden walks the walk and talks the talk. Knowledgeable and experienced in the teaching profession.
    The US Secretary of Education should be a person who cares about education for all children.
    Betsy DeVos has not shown an interest in educating all of America’s students.
    Her interest is in privatizing education in America. This GOP initiative and Betsy DeVos are in lock step.
    America can be as great as the education available to every American.
    Betsy DeVos attended private schools.
    Public education in America is critical to America and to a democratic society.

  11. Thank you great to know about Dr. Bidden. Will pass the word on to as many as possible. This is absolutely awesome information and it sounds like her professionalism is much more than a 2nd lady, but definitely a plus as a first lady. She is already for the people of America.

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