In a partisan speech on the eve of announcing his reelection bid, President Joe Biden, joined by First Lady Jill Biden, sided with the teachers’ union and their progressive allies against parents.
The remarks were made at the 2023 state and national Teacher of the Year celebrations.
Biden’s framing of the debate on public schools and teachers’ unions against parents will likely be a major theme of the 2024 presidential campaign, predicted former House Speaker Newt Gingrich last week.
The First Lady started her introduction by stressing the partnership she believes that public schools, public school teachers and parents have in raising children jointly.
This, even as the record shows teachers’ unions and education bureaucrats are fighting against parental interests in education and avoiding the consequences of a public education system that’s failing under their leadership.
“Parents and educators are partners. And we, together — we know what our students need,” said Jill Biden, who received a doctorate in education administration in 2007 from the University of Delaware. “And parents can’t always do that alone. Parents don’t want to do that alone.”
But, the First Lady’s remarks were tame compared to what the President said next.
Biden immediately paid homage to one of the Democrats’ main financiers, the public employee unions, calling his wife “a proud member of her [teachers’] union.”
He went on to sketch the heroic lengths to which teachers must go to get paid, for example, grading papers after class, and attending parent and student teacher conferences.
Notably, Biden ignored the role public school teachers and their unions played in the long-term shutdowns of the public schools during COVID-19, while congratulating them for “teaching over Zoom during the pandemic.”
Data show that as a result of the lockdowns supported by the unions, student achievement levels plunged to 30-year lows.
Biden then highlighted what is likely to be one of the themes of the 2024 presidential race when he referred to the attempt by parents to get rid of age-inappropriate material from classrooms and public school libraries as book banning.
“You’re explaining the unexplainable, from banned books to duck-and-cover drills. How do you explain that to a child in the year 2023?” Biden asked the assembled teachers.
Duck-and-cover hasn’t been taught in the United States since the 1950s.
Then, Biden reiterated a persistent theme that has been pushed unsuccessfully by progressives, who believe the parental role in education should be limited to paying taxes to support union teachers.
“There’s no such thing as someone else’s child. No such thing as someone else’s child. Our nation’s children are all our children,” said the President.
Biden said that public school teachers held the “kite strings” for the future of children’s “national ambitions aloft.”
It’s an ironic allusion given that the same group of people have been often accused of holding puppet strings, not kite strings.
After taking credit for the increase in the number of mental health workers in public schools – as a result of the pandemic-enforced shutdowns of public schools by unions – Biden went ultra-partisan.
He accused conservative leaders of attacking the core of the Democrat party today: LGBTQ students and their teacher-allies.
“But across the country of late from our – some of our friends on the extreme right, LBG [LGBTQ] students and teachers are under attack from hateful laws,” said Biden about the attempt to remove LGBT propaganda from schools.
Biden wrapped up his speech making a pitch for parents to turn their kids over even earlier to public schools, which are already failing their older brothers and sisters.
“And let’s provide access to preschool for three- and four-years-old,” said Biden.