President-elect Joe Biden is planning to overhaul education with a series of reversals once President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos leave office.
Under Trump, Education Secretary DeVos rolled back guidance on how colleges handle sexual assault allegations, rescinded guidelines that allowed transgender students to use the bathrooms aligned with their gender identity, and blocked the Obama administration’s protections for students attending for-profit colleges, which includes debt forgiveness.
Biden came into last week’s presidential election planning to make changes if he got elected, including who will replace DeVos. According to the Seattle Times, Biden has promised to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into education from preschool to college, student debt forgiveness for college students, and to overturn DeVos’ changes on sexual harassment.
Biden also promised to appoint a former teacher as the secretary of education, a job DeVos has never had. In his victory speech, Biden brought up his wife’s career as an educator and how she plans to continue teaching as the first lady.
“Teaching isn’t just what she does – it’s who she is,” Biden said Saturday in a victory speech after being declared the winner of the presidential race. “For America’s educators, this is a great day: You’re going to have one of your own in the White House.”
Those in the running to replace DeVos include Tony Thurmond, superintendent of public instruction in California. Rep. Jahana Hayes, who won the John F. Kennedy Teacher of the Year and the Waterbury School District Educator of the Year in 2015. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Lily Eskelsen García, former president of the National Education Association.
Linda Darling-Hammond, who is handling the education transition from Trump to Biden, was a candidate, but took herself out of the running Sunday.
Biden has also promised to double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers in public schools, triple spending for the Title 1 program targeting high-poverty schools and increase federal spending for special education.