Educators for Excellence, a teacher-led organization, would like to congratulate Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States. We would also like to recognize Kamala Harris for making history as the first woman and first woman of color to be elected vice president. Their leadership comes at a pivotal time for our country and gives us hope for the future.
While we celebrate this important moment, we would also like to recognize the challenges they are facing. First and foremost the deadly virus that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, devastated the economy and challenged educators and students, as well as the racial reckoning that has reached a new inflection because of police brutality, institutional racism and incitement of racially-motivated violence from the Oval Office. In addition to these major challenges, students and teachers are facing extreme obstacles and significant opportunity gaps that have been highlighted and intensified by the pandemic.
In that vein, we urge President Biden and Congress to prioritize the confirmation of Dr. Miguel Cardona as the next Secretary of Education so that he can begin the urgent work of helping students recover from this pandemic. Then, working in partnership with Dr. Cardona, we urge Congress and the executive branch to act on the following urgent priorities from educators:
- Quickly passing additional federal stimulus funds for education to ensure local education budgets are not cut;
- Ensuring equitable access to learning during the pandemic;
- Charting a safe return to in-person learning and helping students recover from learning loss;
- Building and retaining a diverse educator workforce, and;
- Incentivizing resource and budget equity.
As a teacher-led organization, we acknowledge that teachers have been treated as subjects of change rather than as agents of change and therefore we ask that leaders across the federal government continue to prioritize the perspectives of classroom teachers whose experience and insights are instrumental to effective policy.
We are confident that the Biden-Harris administration will rise to the occasion to lead progress for our country, but especially for our students and educators. In partnership with our members, we are committed to holding this administration accountable to the leadership of equity-minded educators across this country.