It may feel like ages ago, but it was actually just last year that former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to us on Teacher Union Day and shared with us his vision of what this country could be if he were elected president.
Biden laid out a clear and specific agenda that places the needs of public school students first: An increase in federal funding for low-income Title I schools from $15 billion to $45 billion a year; a national universal pre-K program; and double the number of school psychologists, counselors and social workers in our nation’s schools.
As the husband of an educator, Joe Biden also understands the enormity of educators’ responsibilities and how hard we work. He has promised to increase educator salaries and offer relief from student debt, as well as appoint a secretary of education who is a teacher.
In his own words, Biden has vowed to “provide the support you need and the respect you deserve.”
When it comes to making political endorsements, we look at where the candidates stand on education policy and labor issues. Through the lens of education and labor, the best candidate for president is Joe Biden.
If he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, are elected on Nov. 3, we will have powerful allies in the White House.
Imagine having a president who once drove a school bus and worked as a substitute teacher during law school. Joe Biden gets us. He understands the struggles of public school educators and working people.
His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, is a big reason for that. As he said after Dr. Biden introduced him on Teacher Union Day, “When you’re married to an educator, you understand that teaching is not what you do, it’s who you are.”
Jill Biden is the real deal — a lifelong educator (and member of the National Education Association) who earned her doctorate in teacher education. She taught high school English in Delaware, but also has experience teaching at a community college and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. Even when her husband was vice president, Jill Biden continued to teach full time as an associate professor of English as a second language at Northern Virginia Community College.
Jill Biden will no doubt shape a role for herself as first lady that is true to her values. “If we get to the White House, I’m going to continue to teach,” she told CBS News correspondent Rita Braver. “It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession.”
His selection of Harris of California as his running mate also sent a clear signal about Joe Biden’s vision for the future of education in our country. Harris has been a powerful advocate for public schools and for all students, especially students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income children who face higher barriers to education. As a Black woman, and a child of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris reminds us of the enduring power of the American Dream.
Let us not forget that Joe Biden has been unequivocal in his support of labor unions. He has spoken repeatedly of how unions built the middle class in this country. He would encourage and incentivize unionization and collective bargaining and strengthen the rights of working people.
This is the type of leader we need — someone focused on our dignity, pay, benefits and the workplace protections we deserve.
Vote for your future. Vote for Joe Biden on Nov. 3.