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Legislative Update

What would a Biden win mean for federal education policy?

by | Nov 9, 2020 | Federal Issue, Legislative Update Blog | 0 comments

Assuming all recounts and lawsuits confirm his win, what might a Biden administration mean for K-12 education policy at the federal level? 

As a candidate, President-elect Biden called for big increases for federal education programs like Title I and special education (IDEA), in contrast to the cuts proposed by his predecessor. Ultimately, President Trump’s cuts were rejected by Congress. The Biden proposals also likely face Congressional resistance, especially if the GOP holds the U.S. Senate. 

There would also be a new Secretary of Education. A Biden-designee-led U.S. Department of Education (USED) would also almost certainly look to reverse initiatives and guidance advanced by current USED Sec. Betsy DeVos, while also reinstating Obama-era policies (e.g., Title IX, racial disparities in school discipline). President-elect Biden’s appointee would also oppose expansion of vouchers and other privatization efforts backed by DeVos.

The President-elect has also voiced support for additional COVID-related relief aid to school districts, something the Trump administration and House Democrats were unable to agree to before the election. As a candidate, Biden endorsed a plan to provide at least $88 billion in additional federal funding to help stabilize state education funding and pay a share of the costs for protective equipment, ventilation systems, reduced class sizes and other expenses needed to safely operate schools during the pandemic. Extending broadband access to all areas and students across the nation would also take a higher priority.

The Washington Post looked at possible candidates to be the next USED Secretary, including the president of the California State Board of Education and current and former leaders of national teacher unions.

Read More:

  • AP: Biden looks to restore, expand Obama administration policies
  • Ed Week: Joe Biden’s Election as President Tees Up Massive Shifts for K-12 Policy
  • Chalkbeat: On COVID and schools, President-elect Biden has promised a different approach
  • Washington Post: President Elect Biden Plans a Series of Reversals on Education
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WI School Boards

In her State Education Convention address, State Supt. Carolyn Stanford Taylor praised school leaders while highlighting ways to make them more effective. “We need to continue the journey, but in a new and different way.”