You might think that between the raging war in Ukraine and raging inflation in the country, the Biden administration would have had their hands full over the past month.
Even so, he still found time to attack public charter schools, denounce state exams as an attack on public schools, and hand out massive new taxpayer contributions to those who borrowed federal funding to attend college.
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Vice President Kamala Harris laughs at, from left, the principal of Thomas Jaimee Trahan Elementary School, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, during a school visit to Washington on April 4, 2022 (AP Photo / Susan Walsh)
When Candidate Biden presented his education program (at Teachers’ Union City Hall) in 2020, he committed to tripling his Title I school spending, introducing universal pre-school education, and promoting college admissions based on race. But, as Peter Beinart in the Atlantic raved this summer, while Biden’s program was “more to the left than any Democrat nominee in decades,” the public saw him as “more centrist than he really is.”
Biden initially tried to maintain this pretend by appointing an undercover employee, Miguel Cardon, as head of the Department of Education. Cardona, a career manager for a small school district, had no papers and was best known for running the Connecticut state education bureaucracy for a year.
Well, the gloves are off now. Biden’s educational program has turned out to be an inexorable experiment with great government, great spending, and culture warfare.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks with Beverly Hills Middle School student Michahem Clark-Kahler on April 12, 6, 20201, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. (Pete Bannan / MediaNews Group / Daily Times)
In mid-March, the administration issued new regulations aimed at gutting a federal charter school program worth $ 440 million, calling for huge new paperwork burdens for public charter schools. New applicants would have to show that they will not have an “adverse” impact on the district’s schools – no matter how terrible the district’s schools may be or what parental demand for alternatives. Biden did this of course, as did families recover from a pandemic in which public charter schools once again proved their outstanding dexterity and value.
Cardona doubled this defense of traditional district schools just a week later when he tried to challenge state exams. Rather than underlining the urgent need to establish how well students and schools are doing, Cardona chose a conspiracy – a warning to a dark cabal supposedly “waiting for test data” to “create an image because their plan is to privatize.” Apparently, the bad news about public school performance is now to be regarded as suspect.
In early April, Biden announced another “pause” in student loan payments, allowing borrowers to skip payments even if their interest did not accrue. While Biden has so far rejected calls from the far left to cancel student debt, the multiple extensions of the “sudden” freeze on student loans have cost the federal government $ 4.3 billion a month – and nearly 100 billion since the start of the freeze.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona gives thumbs up to virtual students in seventh grade math Danielle Shalon at Beverly Hills Middle School in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday April 6, 2021 (Pete Bannan / MediaNews Group / Daily Times via Getty Images)
This is perverse given the already existing series of programs to help borrowers in need, the low unemployment rate among college graduates aged 25 and over, and especially the fact that the freeze mainly benefits large borrowers who have benefited from federal loans to go to court school, medical school or expensive private colleges.
This is all a piece with the Biden administration file. In their failed Rebuild Better plan and continuing efforts ever since, Biden’s team pushed through a universal pre-K proposal to squeeze out faith-based and mummy suppliers, impose new federal standards and credential requirements, drive cost increases, and punish parents who remain in home and give Washington a tremendous new say about early childhood conditions.
Last fall, Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland teamed up to intimidate parents who were angry with the school’s policy of masking or a critical racial theory. The Biden administration requested a letter from the National School Boards Association suggesting that “acts of malice, violence and threats against public school officials” were equivalent to “domestic terrorism,” prompting Garland to refer the FBI to monitor and investigate complaints.
Attorney General Merrick Garland speaking to the Department of Justice on January 5, 2022 in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster-Pool / Getty Images)
Last year, long after it became clear that school closings were unnecessary and harmful, Biden and Cardona remained silent as navy blue strongholds such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles closed school doors. They haven’t said a word this spring as teachers strike in cities like Minneapolis and Sacramento to close schools back. But there was a time for Biden to attack the state’s efforts to make masking the school optional as “Neanderthal thinking” and threatened a lawsuit to stop these states from doing so.
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There was a backdoor channel to the CDC that Biden’s team donated to teachers’ unions, allowing them to secretly assist with school closings and cloaking scenarios. There has been a move by the Department of Education to include New York Times Project 1619 and Ibram X. Kendi’s “How to Be an Anti-Racist” in the federal citizen grant program.
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And there is now an emphasis on redefining Title IX in line with an awakened ideology, so that any educational institution that makes a distinction on the basis of biology (such as dormitories, locker rooms or sports teams) violates civil rights.
Biden quietly promised the nation a costly, far-reaching and ideological educational program. This is one promise he has kept.
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