Joe Biden’s administration has ramped up its push to defend its education policies against the Republican onslaught, but has been cautious to keep from alienating moderate voters.
Biden has publicly called out Republicans for their legislation that threatens to restrict access to education for vulnerable and minority students. He has also backed educators and infrastructure investments to support teacher pay and enhance learning environments.
The administration worked directly with Congress last month to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, which provides $123 billion in additional funding to K-12 schools struggling due to the pandemic. It also officially signed into law last week the American Jobs Plan, which additionally includes billions of dollars of investments into essential educational opportunities.
Biden has also utilized executive action to impose a temporary moratorium on federal student loan payments and Interest through September. He has also proposed a plan to cancel a majority of student loan debt as part of his economic relief package, and plans to make tuition free at community colleges and increase other forms of inequitable assistance.
The White House also recently announced a “Made in America” educational initiative to emphasize the importance of career and technical education and create a comprehensive training initiative for high-demand jobs.
Despite these moves, the administration is being cautious by avoiding legislation that is perceived as too progressive or aggressive to appeal to moderate voters. The Biden team has faced criticism from progressives for sidestepping some of the more contentious elements in the fight for education equality.
The White House has maintained a delicate balancing act between progressivism and bipartisanship to ensure that its policies are effective and supported by a wider swath of the population. Ultimately, Biden is looking to ensure successful education outcomes for future generations while navigating a politically-tense environment.