Teacher pay tops Biden’s 5 priorities for K-12 education
Teacher pay, social-emotional learning, equitable funding and career pathways are the lynchpins of President-elect Joe Biden’s platform for K-12 education.
The Biden-Harris K-12 platform begins with a proposal to triple Title I funding for low-income schools, with a requirement to use the money to offer educators competitive salaries.
The new administration also intends to invest in mentoring, leadership opportunities and professional development for teachers.
This part of the plan would also encourage teachers earn additional certifications—particularly in high-demand fields such as special education or bilingual education—and provide assistance in paying off student loans.
Here are the other focal points of the Biden-Harris K-12 plan:
Biden wants to double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in schools. The administration says the current school psychologist to student ratio in this country is roughly 1,400 to 1, about double what is recommended by experts.
Who will be secretary of education?
No announcements have been made, but the speculation is well underway.
President-elect Joe Biden apparently intends to appoint someone with classroom experience to lead the Department of Education, Politico has reported.
Politico and other sites have focused on two main contenders, both of whom lead (or have lead) teachers unions: Lily Eskelsen Garcia, an elementary school teacher and the former president of the NEA, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Politico also noted as a candidate Linda Darling Hammond, education professor emeritus at Stanford University and president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute.
Community schools would also get more support to better provide family health care and meet other news.
Biden also plans to include funding for school technology and energy efficiency in federal infrastructure legislation and propose stricter gun laws to prevent school shootings.
President Biden will ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.
The incoming administration says the annual funding gap between white and non-white school districts is around $23 billion.
The goals behind tripling Title I funding are to improve teacher diversity, expand access to preschool and support schools in provide more rigorous instruction.
Teacher diversity initiatives include expanded dual-enrollment programs for high school who want to study education in college and bolstering education programs at historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions.
Biden also plans to provide grants to school districts that develop diversity strategies and work towards fully funding the government’s special education obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Cradle to career paths
Universal pre-kindergarten for all three- and four -year-olds would be a Biden Administration priority.
This would begin with the placement of childhood development experts at pediatrician’s offices throughout the country. These experts would track whether all children are meeting developmental milestones.
Another initiative would expand home visits by health and child development specialists to coaches parents on preventive health and child development practices.
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Career and technical education programs would see increased investment to encourage more collaboration between high schools, community colleges, and employers.
The ultimate goal would be to increase the number of students who earn industry credentials when they graduate high school, particularly in computer science, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
Biden wants to let students use Pell grants for dual enrollment programs.