Biden Administration's Bold Education Goals Will Require Large Increase in Funding

President-elect Joe Biden's plans include tripling Title I funding, getting mental health professionals into all schools, and helping teachers pay off college loans.

Addressing the impact of the pandemic on students and staff will be the Biden administration’s education priority in January. The plan includes allocating emergency funding, ensuring staff and students have personal protective equipment, and closing the pandemic-widened equity gap in part by creating the COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap Challenge Grant to push for “bold plans” to meet the needs of all students.

But president-elect Joe Biden has big goals beyond the emergent pandemic situation. His education plan, outlined during the campaign, calls for a large increase in funding public schools around the country, as well as helping expand and diversify the teaching pool. Below are some of the education-related goals for the administration, many of which will need support from Congress to achieve:

  • Provide universal pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds.
  • Triple funding for Title I and require districts to use these funds to offer educators competitive salaries and make other critical investments before using the money for other purposes.
  • Help educators pay off their student loans by fixing and simplifying the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • Invest in school mental health professionals, doubling the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in schools, and partner with colleges to expand the pipeline of these professionals.
  • Expand the community schools model, which leverages community resources to meet student and family needs, to add 300,000 more students and families.
  • Include funding specifically for improving public school buildings in federal infrastructure legislation. Funds will be directed to address health risks before being used to build cutting-edge, energy-efficient, innovative schools with technology and labs.
  • Support innovative approaches to recruiting teachers of color, including helping high school students access dual-enrollment classes that give them an edge in teacher preparation programs, helping paraprofessionals work towards their teaching certificates, and working with historically black colleges and universities and other minority-serving institutions to recruit and prepare teachers.
  • Create a competitive program challenging local communities to reinvent high school to meet the changing demands of work. This funding will go first toward building high-quality schools in low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Reinstate the Department of Education guidance that supports schools in legally pursuing desegregation strategies and provide grants to school districts to create plans and implement strategies to diversify their schools.
  • Invest in school vocational training and partnerships between high schools, community colleges, and employers.
  • Invest in and allow Pell grants to be used for dual enrollment programs, so high school students can take classes at a community college and earn credits or a credential before graduating from high school.
  • Reverse the Trump Administration's Title IX regulations that changed the way schools handle sexual assault allegations.
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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (kyorio@mediasourceinc.com, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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