By Amanda Menas
“Educators deserve a partner in the White House,” says former Vice President Joe Biden. As president, he promises that he and his wife Dr. Jill Biden, an NEA member who worked as an educator for more than 30 years, will be just that.
After four years battling against harmful policies proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, students and educators across the country want the respect they deserve from the government. For Biden, this will come in the form of funding for new school infrastructure, investments in technology, and more. He says that prioritizing education policy in his administration is personal. As a child with a stutter, he recalls, “I had teachers who first and foremost worked on my confidence, told me I was smart, told me I could do what I needed to do, sat with me and gave me the confidence to stand up and try to speak.”
As president, here are five ways Biden will support our nation’s schools:
He will increase teacher pay
The former vice president proposes “tripling federal funding for Title I” to help school districts “offer educators competitive salaries.” He believes that “We have to reward teachers. They are the single most important ingredient we have… because the teachers hold the kite strings of the children who will send our national ambitions aloft.”
Additionally, in order to support both teachers and students, Biden plans to invest significant funding “to double the number of psychologists, guidance counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals employed in our schools.”
He prioritizes school safety
The former vice president believes that to reduce gun violence, the federal government should close gun show loopholes and “ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” If elected, he pledges that “I will defeat the NRA again…I’ve done it before — twice.” He previously led Congress to pass background checks “and bans on assault weapons.” Biden has said, “I’m so tired about people talking about your prayers. Damn it, we have to protect these kids. We have to do it now.”
He opposes federal funding of for-profit charter schools
The former vice president supports public schools and does not agree with “any federal funding going to for-profit charter schools. For existing charters, he believes that potential students should not be subject to admissions tests. When approached about his position on charter schools, he reiterated his support for banning for-profits and increasing accountability.
He will ensure the government does its part
Commending “educators around the country” for taking action in the Red for Ed movement “for the resources they need to serve their students.” The former vice president proposes investing more than $800 billion to triple Title I, fully fund IDEA, and update school infrastructure. He believes “educators shouldn’t have to fight so hard for resources and respect.”
He plans to reinvest in federal loan forgiveness
The former vice president sees no reason for educators “to worry about how they are going to make their student loan payments while they are busy educating the next generation.” Opposing cuts proposed by Betsy DeVos in the FY2021 budget, Biden proposes expanding access to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, with special provisions for educators.