Biden Prioritizes School Funding, Early Education And Classroom Equity In Appearance At AFT Convention; Decries GOP’s ‘Out Of Touch’ Recovery Plan

Biden Prioritizes School Funding, Early Education and Classroom Equity in Appearance at AFT Convention; Decries GOP’s ‘Out of Touch’ Recovery Plan

Joe Biden emphasized his plans for education and economic recovery while criticizing President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic on the last day of the American Federation of Teachers’ virtual convention. Biden, wearing a mask hanging from one ear, joined the Zoom session after receiving the union’s endorsement for president, with nearly 90 percent of delegates favoring him as the nominee. AFT President Randi Weingarten jokingly suggested getting Biden an AFT mask. During the session, Biden addressed questions from a nurse in Ohio, a special education teacher in Brooklyn, and a special education classroom assistant in Philadelphia, discussing his Build Back Better agenda to tackle the intersecting crises of the pandemic, racial inequality, and the recession.

Before Biden’s talk, Diane Ravitch, a former assistant education secretary and vocal critic of education reform efforts, outlined her expectations for Biden’s speech.

Here’s an overview of what Biden covered:

1. Relief funds: Biden highlighted his role in providing federal recovery funds to states and school districts during the Great Recession and criticized the Republicans’ current relief plan as disconnected from reality. He emphasized the importance of ensuring adequate funding for states and local governments to prevent teacher layoffs.

2. School reopening: Biden accused Trump and the Republicans of using funding as leverage to force schools to reopen, suggesting that the decision should be made by local communities based on safety considerations rather than political motives.

3. K-12 plan: Biden pledged to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and outlined other components of his K-12 plan, including tripling Title I funding, offering student loan relief for educators, and increasing the presence of counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals in schools.

4. Early childhood: Biden briefly discussed his child care and early education plan, which encompasses universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, child development experts based in pediatricians’ offices, expansion of home visiting models, and funding for child care facilities. He stressed the exorbitant cost of child care and the need to improve the compensation of child care workers while boosting economic growth.

5. Racial inequities: Biden responded to Marguerite Ruff’s concerns about racial injustice, mentioning her son’s murder and expressing his commitment to addressing racism, particularly in education. He revealed his plan to support small minority businesses and increase diversity within the teaching profession, emphasizing the importance of having educators of color to inspire and support students.

6. A COVID-19 vaccine: Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the virus and the logistics of distributing supplies to hospitals and schools. He expressed concern about the lack of a clear plan for the vaccine, suggesting that millions of lives would be at stake. He called for regular reports to Congress from independent scientists to build public trust in the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Biden’s Zoom appearance followed a conversation between Weingarten, Ravitch, and two AFT affiliate leaders. Ravitch expressed her hope that public education would not be transformed into a tech-centered enterprise, but if virtual learning continued due to the pandemic, she wished for it to be a meaningful educational experience rather than a superficial one.

She expressed, "This is our fresh perspective, and I have high hopes that the union will take the lead in promoting this vision to the Biden administration."

Join our mailing list to receive insightful articles like these directly to your email. Subscribe to Newsletter.


  • cameronmarshall

    I'm an educational bloger and teacher. I've been writing for about a year, and I'm currently working on my first book. I'm a self-taught teacher and blogger, and I love helping others learn how to be successful in life.

cameronmarshall Written by:

I'm an educational bloger and teacher. I've been writing for about a year, and I'm currently working on my first book. I'm a self-taught teacher and blogger, and I love helping others learn how to be successful in life.

Comments are closed.