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Bruce Bialosky

Biden Plan for Education

The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force provides recommendations in six areas of domestic policy which are a roadmap for what Biden and his team want to accomplish if he is elected president. Despite little discussion about public policy at their convention, this is a detailed plan for domestic policy. Today we will take a look at their plans for the education called Providing a World-Class Education in Every Zip Code.

There are two parts of the plan a 5-page narrative of what they want to do and then a 10-page description of their policy recommendations. This proposal contains very few new proposals. The task force that drafted this plan has the heads of the largest national teachers’ unions on it. A note: there is no statement of how much any of these proposals would cost or how they would be funded.

Here are some points of what they describe:

1. They want to ban both for-profit charter schools and for-profit colleges from receiving federal funding. The people who drafted this obviously need to understand that we operate in a capitalist system where profits are looked at as a positive. They don’t mention any problem with university presidents receiving $2 million salaries.

2. They write about the stakeholders being young people, educators, parents and community leaders. That is nice, but in the critically problematic school districts the students and parents are left out.

3. They state, “Democrats fundamentally believe our education system prepares all our students for college, careers.” There is only passing mention of vocational training in this document that does not recognize 70% of Americans do not attend college. They do call for those 70% to pay a lot of money for those 30% who go to college. Talk about a regressive funding program.

4. They talk about the fact that we have “underinvested” in our schools for too long. There is never enough funding for the interests represented here. Norway spends the most on education at 6.4% of GDP. But the U.S. which is has 61 times more people spends 6.1% of its GDP on education. Education spending in the U.S. has soared in real dollars since the 1970’s.

5. They propose a $10,000 college debt relief per person because of COVID. They also propose $50,000 in college debt relief for anyone who becomes a teacher. That proposal does not define how long someone must remain a teacher, but it is giving an advantage to one favored profession. That would cause beginning teachers to have a higher compensation level than their more experienced colleagues in a profession that requires mostly uniform pay for all public-school teachers.

6. Their plan has them taking care of your kid from birth providing child care because as they say “learning starts at birth” through additional standards for early childhood education, all the way through college. They want control of your kid’s mind for the first 22 years.

7. They state, “Democrats are committed to guaranteeing schools are spaces of physical and psychological safety.” They have a long way to go since two years ago there were 962,300 violent incidents in the public schools they operate. Their solution so far has been to cut back on police at these dangerous schools.

8. They want college free at public universities for anyone whose family makes less than $125,000. If enacted, watch the push for families to get under that figure when their kid becomes a high school senior.

Then there are two proposals that stand out for special discussion:

The Democrats hate charter schools. They first attack for-profit charter schools. “Democrats believe education should not be saddled with a private profit motive.” What they don’t say is for-profit charter schools perform better than public schools and cost less. A better product for less money – that is what Americans prefer. They want to saddle charter schools with a laundry list of requirements with which they have crushed public schools that have created the failure in public school education. They don’t want private school vouchers or anything that causes funds diverted from public schools and their union supporters. As you will see in next week’s column, they do not want the competition because the competition significantly outperforms them for less money.

They then want to kill off the major vehicle to show their failure – standardized testing. “The evidence from nearly two decades of education reforms that hinge on standardized test
scores show clearly that high-stakes annual testing has not led to enough improvement in outcomes for students or for schools, and can lead to discrimination against students, particularly students with disabilities, students of color, low-income students, and English language learners.” Because their public schools perform so poorly in comparison to charter schools as you will see in next week’s column, they must invoke racism to make their argument float.

Cradle to grave control of education with no one other than teachers’ unions dictating everything our children learn with no competition to stop them and the government paying for everything. That summarizes their plan.

We will be back to let you know what else the Biden team wants to do so you can make an educated decision for whom to vote on November 3rd.