dept of ed seal

Education policy likely to undergo significant change under a Biden presidency

Nov. 9, 2020
The new administration is expected to pursue greater funding for schools and reverse several policies enacted by Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump is expected to lead to significant changes in the nation's education policy.

The Washington Post reports that Biden has promised hundreds of billions of dollars in new education spending, has proposed college debt forgiveness, and wants to overturn a regulation on sexual harassment and assault that universities and others strongly opposed.

He also has promised to appoint an educator as education secretary

Biden has said he wants a diverse Cabinet, and many of those being touted or considered for education secretary are people of color. People familiar with the planning say those under consideration include two teachers-union leaders: Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Lily Eskelsen García, former president of the National Education Association.

More possibilities include school district administrators such as Sonja Brookins Santelises of Baltimore City Public Schools, Janice K. Jackson of Chicago Public Schools, William Hite of the School District of Philadelphia, and Denise Juneau, superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.

Other potential candidates that have been mentioned: Tony Thurmond, the California state superintendent of public instruction; U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.), a former national teacher of the year; and Betty A. Rosa, interim commissioner of education in New York state.

Biden has promised to triple spending for the $15 billion Title I program, which targets high-poverty schools. He has promised new money for school infrastructure. And he has said he would dramatically increase federal spending for special education.

The president-elect also has endorsed spending at least $88 billion to stabilize state education funding and help pay for protective equipment, ventilation systems, reduced class sizes and other expenses associated with operating school during the pandemic.

The new administration is likely to undo many of the things that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has done and reinstate some of the Obama administration policies that DeVos discarded.

DeVos rescinded Education Department guidance meant to reduce racial disparities in school discipline. The Trump administration also spiked Obama-era guidance that offered protections for transgender students, including the right to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. And it killed guidance on the use of affirmative action in college admissions.

Another likely target: a Title IX regulation giving students accused of sexual assault more due-process rights in investigations. This would require formal regulations or legislative action.

The Biden administration also will need to decide how it will handle student debt forgiveness and collections for millions of borrowers.

Some observers expect the incoming administration to be even tougher on for-profit colleges than Obama was. Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris was instrumental in bringing down Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit giant, when she was California attorney general.

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...