Biden Administration Plans for Education

Published: January 25, 2021

Administration TransitionEducation (Higher)Education (Primary/Secondary)

President-elect Joe Biden has reflected on the future of Education that may impact state and local Education agencies. Analysis also includes coverage of the Secretary of Education nominee.

Market Analysis Update: week of 01/25/2021

Biden's Secretary of Education nominee, Miguel Cardona, if confirmed will take on the task of reopening schools in the presidency's first 100 days. In an interview with NPR, Cardona discussed the need for focused communication and coordination with local health officials. Cardona also reinforced that the power structure of the education department is not intended to be a top-down approach but rather one of guidance for best practices.

Cardona has also weighed in on student loan forgiveness and identifying student achievement gaps, especially the learning loss incited by the pandemic. There's seems to be constant talk of reopening schools and finding ways to adjust to the economic hardship faced by students but not a lot of direction on higher education initiatives. As enrollment declines spread across most institutions, higher education is faced with the important need to engage with students in unique ways and focus on career development.

Market Analysis Update: week of 12/21/2020 

Biden has announced the planned nomination for Secretary of the US Department of Education as Miguel Cardona, Connecticut’s current education commissioner. Biden delivered on his promise of nominating an individual with public teaching experience and more information will unfold in the coming weeks. As the Federal Government approved its latest stimulus that lacks funding at the state and local level it will be more important rolling into 2021 for states and local districts to have efficient spending. 

Biden cited addressing inequities in funding and the growing learning gaps as major focus points for the Secretary position. As the Education community of states, local education agencies, charter schools, higher ed institutions, and community college navigate a pandemic and remote learning, the initiatives will need to unite education under an environment associating collaboration with virus transmission. Cardona has cited his 'bilingual and bicultural' background as a unique experience to understand the needs in education and way to address the inequalities. Cardona has also pushed schools to reopen in Connecticut, which indicates that reopening schools will be at the forefront of policies and initiatives in the Biden Administration. This also aligns with Biden's goal of reopening schools in the first 100 days of his presidency. 

Biden's proposals so far:

  • increased funding for Title I
  • reversal of current Secretary Betsey DeVos' initiatives and restoring Obama-era rules
  • free preschool
  • policies aimed at teacher diversification

More information will be available as Biden's inauguration approaches and the transition begins to take its course.

Market Analysis Update: 12/28/2020 

It is difficult to reflect on education initiatives without looking at the current state of education agencies in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic. President-elect Joe Biden has promised to appoint an education secretary with public teaching experience, however this market may need more than experience. Biden is currently listening to calls for greater federal spending on education but elements of uncertainty hang in the balance.

Education will need to respond to increased COVID testing sites, demand for greater remote learning tools, and the heavily debated administration of statewide assessments. Appointing an education secretary with a public teaching background may lead to endeavors surrounding curriculum and accessibility; however, it leaves factors of technology implementation and COVID support logistics as lingering questions.

Educators are learning that administering laptops and hot spots will hopefully get students connected to learning environments, but the collaboration and administration of learning is suffering. Some areas of conversation on the future of education are:

  • Policy issues
  • Student supports
  • Statewide assessment delivery
  • Community involvement of K-12 schools

Overall, the next education secretary will need to be able to address all levels of students and educators, from K-12 to Community Colleges, to Higher Education, and beyond. One element that has not seen much traction in Biden’s initiatives, but will play a key role in the progress of education, is innovation from the business world. In order to combat the pandemic and address the growing achievement gaps, innovation is necessary in teaching, communication, and technology. The education world will need to continue to adapt to a changing environment but must be better equipped with the right tools to be successful.