President Joe Biden told the nation’s largest teachers union on Friday that the epidemic has provided America’s parents with the “ultimate education” on the rigours of teaching. But, he added, the last year has demonstrated that teachers across the country need better compensation.
In remarks at the National Education Association’s annual convention in Washington, Biden stated, “You deserve a raise, not just accolades.” “Every parent in this country who has spent the last year homeschooling their children knows you deserve a raise.”
Biden made the point while promoting his proposed legislative goals and budget for the coming fiscal year, which includes $20 billion in additional funds to encourage states to raise teacher compensation. The president, a staunch supporter of teachers unions, went on to call educators “the single most essential component of America’s future.”
Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, delivered remarks in front of a nearly empty Washington Convention Center, with union members watching from afar. Biden is the only president in recent history to speak to the labour organisation, which has 3 million members and includes his wife, a veteran community college professor.
The president and his wife had nothing but admiration for teachers unions after a year in which they were blamed for delaying the return to the classroom. Jill Biden praised teachers for adapting quickly to help children and families.
She stated, “You spoke up for the safe reopening of schools and greater student assistance.” “With patience, compassion, and care, you guided families through the worst year in modern history. And you did it all while worrying about the health, education, and safety of your own family.”
The president mostly utilised his address to promote his policies. He spoke in favour of the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, which includes a plan to enhance broadband access. Last year, he added, the issue was brought to light when many pupils were unable to attend remote lessons given by their schools.
He advocated his American Families Plan, which would provide all Americans with two years of free community college and two years of preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds. He also proposed further teacher investments, such as doubling the amount of a federal grant for prospective teachers and increasing professional training for current teachers.
Biden was backed as a presidential candidate by both of the country’s largest teachers unions, and he has maintained tight relations with them after his victory. NEA President Becky Pringle praised Biden for selecting Miguel Cardona, a former teacher and principal, to run the Education Department when presenting him.
Some Republicans have criticised Biden for being too close to powerful labour unions, claiming that he should have pressed teachers to return to in-person education more forcefully. Some criticised him for not being aggressive enough in his aim of reopening most primary and intermediate schools within 100 days, which he achieved in May.
As the country heals from the coronavirus, Biden spoke to the nation only days before the Fourth of July holiday, which he said should be commemorated as a “summer of freedom.” He cited a recent study by the teachers union, which found that 84 % of its members had received vaccinations. However, he anticipated problems as schools worked to recover from the epidemic.
He stated, “On Sunday, we’ll celebrate our nation’s freedom as well as our progress against the virus.” “In the next days, we have the opportunity to establish a new beginning, the beginning of a better, more equitable educational system. But it won’t be possible without your help.”