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Education Leaders Optimistic About Biden Policy Approach

The American Association of School Administrators and National School Boards Association anticipate the Biden administration will tackle digital education equity and the 'homework gap.'

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
Shutterstock/lev radin
Education leaders are hopeful that the newly minted Biden's administration will help close the digital divide in public education as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on.

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) lauded Biden’s COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness and Executive Orders released Thursday. The plan calls for the Federal Communications Commission to expand Internet connectivity for remote students.

Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, said the plans, which emphasize increased K-12 funding, could alleviate pressure on local leaders struggling to navigate the public health crisis.

“Specific to the plan and executive order’s education-related elements, we are pleased to see many of the items AASA had recommended and mentioned in our communications with the transition team, including a focus on K-12 education funding, FEMA reimbursement for schools, a directive for updated U.S. Education Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Health and Human Services guidance, expanded screening and testing in schools, and pushing the FCC to support student connectivity in their homes,” he said in a Thursday statement. 

The AASA also welcomed the confirmation of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who served as Connecticut’s education commissioner. Under Cardona’s tenure in that role, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to provide a learning device to every student without one.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) voiced its support for Biden’s choice of Jessica Rosenworcel as acting chair of the FCC, citing her emphasis on digital equity.

“In her current role at the FCC, Rosenworcel has led the charge for expanding the E-Rate program, a federal technology service bringing Internet access to schools and libraries at a discounted rate. But most importantly, she has initiated a national conversation around the ‘homework gap,’ a term she coined to shine light on how the digital divide spawns further inequity in education,” Executive Director and CEO Anna Maria Chávez said in a Thursday news release.

“Closing the homework gap is a priority we share. Like Rosenworcel, we have seen how the homework gap has grown during the pandemic as many schools moved online and demands on broadband grew exponentially. That’s why NSBA has been advocating for $12 billion to help schools and school districts through the pandemic. Additionally, we believe any infrastructure package should include a long-term and permanent investment to boost the nation’s broadband.”