WATCH — Biden Recalibrates Education Goals at Town Hall: Aims to Return K-8 Students to Classrooms in 100 Days, Supports Expanded Summer School, Wary of ‘Cancelling’ Too Much Student Debt
President Biden had the opportunity at Tuesday’s town hall in Wisconsin to bring clarity to his previous statements regarding his 100-day pledge to reopen schools and provide insight into his views on relief spending, teacher vaccinations, and student debt.
During the town hall, Biden addressed several key education issues and provided clarification and expansion on his stance. Here are five noteworthy answers that shed light on his views:
1. Defining "Reopening" Schools: Biden acknowledged that there was a communication mistake when his press secretary suggested that schools would be considered reopened if they offered in-classroom instruction for at least one day a week. Biden clarified that his goal is for schools to reopen for five days a week.
2. Prioritizing K-8 Students: Emphasizing the importance of K-8 education, Biden expressed his intention to prioritize the reopening of schools for this age group. He highlighted the impact on children and families who rely on these schools and stated that they should be among the first to reopen.
3. Teacher Vaccinations: Biden stressed the importance of prioritizing teachers and educators in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. He stated that states should give educators higher priority in the hierarchy of vaccine recipients to ensure the safe reopening of schools.
4. Summer School: Biden anticipated that many schools would continue providing instruction throughout the summer to address learning losses caused by the pandemic. While the conversation has not focused extensively on summer school, some federal relief proposals have included provisions for additional summer instruction, particularly for vulnerable students.
5. Student Debt: Recognizing the burden of student debt, Biden expressed empathy for those affected but rejected the idea of cancelling $50,000 in student debt, a proposal advocated by some Democratic allies in Congress. Instead, he showed support for reducing $10,000 in student debt and eliminating interest.
For those interested, the full town hall can be watched on CNN.com.
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