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Biden understands the importance of investing in education

 Biden understands the importance of investing in education
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America is a world leader and the promise of pursuing the American dream is what fuels our thirst for innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. In countless polls and statistical analyses, you will find the United States at or near the top of every category except one: education. 

As an educator who is fortunate to be a product of the school system that I now lead, I have first-hand knowledge of how devastating a lack of resources can be on the futures of our children. I also know the blessing that a properly funded educational system can have on the lives of untold young people. Thankfully, help is on the way for students attending schools in Prince George’s County, Md., and across the nation, who have endured the brunt of these last 14 months.

Four days into our school reopening last month, Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaWarren stalls confirmation of Biden pick in push for student loan reforms House lawmakers roll out legislation to protect schools against hackers Education Department says anti-trans discrimination prohibited by Title IX MORE spoke to our students as part of the department’s national school reopening tour. His appearance in Prince George’s County, home to the second-largest school system in Maryland, was an opportunity for us to talk about ways the Biden administration plans to improve our nation’s educational system. 

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Shortly after this meeting, and just ahead of the president's first joint address to Congress, the Biden administration released the American Families Plan, which included a down payment on a brighter future for America in the form of a much-needed education plan. 

Having spent my entire career serving students, I know that propelling our youth to their highest level of excellence can only be accomplished through a strong and supportive foundation. From investments in early childhood education to a focus on two- and four-year institutions of higher learning, the American Family Plan will help usher in the workforce of tomorrow that will reflect our nation’s diverse population, propel the economy and enhance our competitiveness on a global scale. Biden’s plan also invests in our teachers by improving support and training opportunities.

Access to high-quality early education and higher education is the root of inequalities found at the intersection of income and race in America. 

That is why part of the $1.8 trillion plan would offer four more years of free schooling — two years of preschool for all 3 and 4-year-olds and two years of community college for all seeking to obtain a degree or certification. This is in addition to increasing the maximum federal Pell Grant amount and devoting more resources to schools that have a high percentage of minority, low-income students. 

Another key section of this plan hones in on education and preparation for teachers, which in turn, strengthens the pipeline for teachers of color.

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Before the pandemic, there was a growing teacher shortage in the United States, which disproportionately impacted schools with higher percentages of minority, low-income students. Since then, many certified teacher positions have continued to be unfilled, exacerbating education disparities across all education levels. Biden now proposes to invest $9 billion in teachers, addressing these issues and boosting teacher diversity, to improve training and provide our educators with the support they need.

These critical, billion-dollar investments will leverage teachers as leaders, address other priorities within schools, compensate educators for their expertise and hard work, set the groundwork for innovation and inclusive economic growth — while acknowledging their value in supporting the next generation of great teachers, students and professionals.

It’s inevitable that teachers, among other frontline workers, have faced daunting hurdles while trying to combat the global health pandemic and perform their job. 

We have all been patiently awaiting an administration that acknowledges those challenges and immediately jumps into creating feasible solutions. The new administration has hit that refresh button. 

Congress, now it’s your time to act and support the youth and educational productivity. 

Dr. Monica Goldson is the chief executive officer of Prince George’s County Public Schools.