Biden vows to appoint a teacher as Education chief, but not wife Jill

Biden vows to appoint a teacher as Education chief, but not wife Jill
© Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Moulton says Biden would make 'fantastic president' MORE vowed to nominate a teacher to be his education secretary should he win the presidency in 2020, but declared he would not tap his wife, Jill Biden.

“First thing as president of the United States, not a joke, first thing I will do is make sure that the secretary of education, not Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosCollege should profit students and taxpayers — even at for-profit schools On The Money: Trump, in reversal, says he's not looking at tax cuts | Trump calls himself 'chosen one' to fight China on trade | CBO finds spending deal to add .7T to deficit Trump orders elimination of student loan debt for thousands of disabled veterans MORE, is a teacher,” Biden said at a National Education Association forum in Houston for 2020 candidates, referring to the current Education secretary.

ADVERTISEMENT

“So the press doesn’t get confused, I promise I’m not going to appoint my wife,” Biden added. "She'd be a good one."

Jill Biden, who wed the former vice president in 1977, is a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Keystone XL Pipeline gets nod from Nebraska Supreme Court MORE (D-Mass.) said she would also tap a teacher to lead the Education Department, adding that “Betsy DeVos need not apply.”

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate MORE (D-Calif.) said she wants “someone from public schools,” assuring the event attendees that “you will be at the table to help me make that decision.”

DeVos has emerged as a top target for public education advocates who say that her support for private charter schools divert funds away from public schools.

On Friday, Biden was not asked about his position on school busing, which was thrust into the spotlight after last week’s primary debate. Harris hammered him for his past support for measures to limit federal power to use busing to help school integration in the 1970s when he was a senator representing Delaware.

“On this subject, it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats, we have to take it seriously, we have to act swiftly,” she said. 

Biden has defended himself over the attacks, saying Thursday, “My record stands for itself. I’ve never been accused of anybody by my state or when I’ve been running as not being an overwhelming supporter of civil rights and civil liberties.”