My first grade school picture. I was evidently a serious, determined lad.
by Dan Burns
Dec 3, 2020, 7:30 AM

Biden and education – who knows, yet?

I’m somewhere between progressives who are in “give the guy a chance” mode, and those who are already openly cynical about there being realistic possibilities of Pres.-elect Biden bringing about much, if any, lasting, positive change during his term(s). Nothing wrong with pushing for positives, whether you privately have any optimism that way or not. My own agenda is that this country’s #1 priority should be creating and maintaining the best possible system of public education, from early childhood through college and beyond, and that all necessary national resources should be dedicated to that end. Especially at the “expense” of further aggrandizement of the thieving, parasitic plutocrats.

As the education policy goals of the incoming Biden administration begin to crystallize, some overtures to public school advocates have appeared in Joe Biden’s platform and transition team roster. However, given his history of deference to private interests and the looming possibility of a Republican-controlled Senate, it’s far from apparent to what extent he may be willing or able to realize meaningful educational policy interventions.

The prevailing political climate has made it possible for Biden to form an alliance with teachers’ unions and profess a renewed commitment to public education. The reforms he proposes are far from a true social-democratic revitalization (like, say, Bernie Sanders’s proposals to make public universities free to all and cancel student debt by taxing Wall Street). Yet they’re still a marked improvement over the technocratic free-market tinkering usually on offer from Democrats — most notably that of Obama, who proved to be a literal standard-bearer for punitive testing and accountability measures, and, damningly, a charter school partisan. That said, any newfound civic-mindedness on Biden’s part may very well have been limited to the campaign trail, and progressive educators seeking to reverse neoliberal privatization cannot be certain that they’ll have this administration’s backing.

That article is well worth reading in full. The author provides good stuff about, for example, “progressive educators seeking to reverse neoliberal privatization cannot be certain that they’ll have this administration’s backing.”

It’s impossible to precisely separate how much damage has been done to education at all levels, and therefore to society as a whole, by poor responses to the COVD-19 pandemic, and how much by the hideous antics of Trump, DeVos, and their contemptible allies (including in Minnesota’s state legislature). In any case, it all has to be fixed and, better yet, markedly improved upon.

I don’t know, whether the Walz administration and/or legislative DFLers were contemplating cuts to state aid for schools, before the improved budget news came down. I most certainly hope not.

I do think that the Biden administration recognizes the severity of the current situation, and intends to do what it can to respond effectively. What it considers to qualify as responding effectively, and how much it will be able to do in any case, very much remains to be seen.

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