NEA Endorses ‘Former School Bus Driver’ Joe Biden for President

Former US Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, known as the Coronavirus, during a press event in Wilmington, Delaware on March 12, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest labor union, has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for president.

In its announcement Saturday of the endorsement, NEA stated:

Joe has a deep connection to the work of educators and uniquely understands and respects how critical our ESPs [education support professionals] are to students’ daily lives. In fact, he was once a school bus driver himself. And with Dr. Jill Biden, an educator and NEA member, as first lady, educators will have not only a friend but also a colleague in the White House.

The three-million-member union said teachers have been faced with “four years of Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos’s anti-public school agenda.”

The union is especially praising Biden’s plan to “triple funding for Title I and IDEA.” Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provides financial assistance to school districts with high numbers of children from low-income families. IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“He believes in boosting educator compensation, including educators in policymaking, and protecting educators’ and students’ rights,” NEA added.

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said the former vice president is “the tireless advocate for public education and is the partner that students and educators need in the White House.”

She observed the #RedforEd movement has shown the NEA is a power with which to contend.

“Now, with so much at stake in this election, educators are determined to use their voice to propel Joe Biden to the White House,” she said.

Eskelsen García pressed the desire for higher salaries for public school teachers and for the end of the tenure of current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a champion of school choice:

Biden is also committed to attracting and retaining the best educators by paying them as professionals they are and increasing funding for support staff and paraprofessionals. And he will fire Betsy DeVos and replace her with an Education Secretary who comes from a public school classroom and believes that educators must have a seat at the table when crafting education policy.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest teachers’ union, endorsed Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) jointly in February, though its president, Randi Weingarten, endorsed Warren in her personal capacity.

Warren has since exited the 2020 race.

“Donald Trump is an existential threat to the values and aspirations of our members and those we serve,” AFT said in endorsing the three Democrat candidates.

Biden and Sanders will debate Sunday evening ahead of the March 17 primaries in Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, and Florida.

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