Teachers’ unions and others on the left are “giddy” anticipating a Biden/Harris administration they expect will greatly increase spending on government schools and tighten regulations on local school districts.
According to a report last week at Capital & Main, a news outlet that is financially supported by the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign policy director Stef Feldman told education reporters Biden would “get some big, bold education legislation passed and certainly immediate relief for our schools and our educators.”
“In a Biden administration, Congress will likely be asked to approve increased education spending,” the report noted, adding Biden has already vowed to raise teacher salaries and provide more medical professionals, psychologists, and other counselors so that health care can be delivered within government schools.
Among the sweeping changes the left is hoping to see is the reversal of the Trump administration’s campus sexual misconduct rule that specifies how schools that receive federal financial aid are required to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.
The final rule required schools to respond promptly to allegations of sexual misconduct, to provide support to those making a claim of having been sexually harassed or assaulted, and to provide a fair grievance process that delivers due process protections to the accused as well as alleged victims.
According to the Capital & Main report, student groups say giving the accused the right to cross-examine accusers in a live hearing will prevent what they call “survivors” from reporting their alleged sexual assaults.
Meanwhile, LGBTQ and civil rights groups also expect Biden to restore “guidance” from the Obama era that allowed transgender students to choose their own bathrooms and provided leniency in disciplinary matters to black and other minority students.
While the Trump administration saw a cry from his supporters for a return to local control of education, the left looks forward to more regulations on local school districts coming from the federal education department during a Biden administration.
Becky Pringle, NEA president, said she wants more input from the U.S. Education Department on how schools should implement the massive education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed in bipartisan fashion in December 2015. Upon signing the bill into law, former President Barack Obama referred to it as a “Christmas miracle.”
ESSA, Pringle said, transformed the older No Child Left Behind law “to focus on equity and access to education and parent voices to help all students have access to quality counselors and teachers and digital tools.”
Pringle added federal regulations or “leadership” are needed so that states focus “on the whole student,” and “develop different assessment systems.”
The teachers’ union leader added Biden is a Democrat who will easily be able to influence Republicans to vote for his agenda.
“Biden knows how the Senate works,” she said, “and he lives up to his word and has demonstrated willingness and temperament and determination to help us move forward.”