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Pre-K-12 Teachers

Last updated 02.20.2024

UTLA member Letecia Miller invited AFT President Randi Weingarten to come out on Feb. 9, 2024, for a tour of the Garden High School CTE facilities where students are engaged in experiential learning.

The Biden Presidency:

Historic investments in public education. A fivefold increase for community schools. The resources our students need to heal and thrive post-pandemic. Advocating for better pay and more respect for educators and school staff. Addressing the teacher shortage. Expanding school meals and preventing gun violence. Making school buildings safer and healthier.

Providing Real Solutions for Better Lives

  • Funded Educators and Staff to Help Kids Thrive: Put more teachers in our classrooms and more counselors, social workers and other staff in our schools, and helped school districts increase the number of school social workers by 54 percent and the number of school counselors by 22 percent.
  • Ensured Students Have Supports to Overcome Learning Loss: Provided support for high-quality tutoring programs and supported a record expansion of summer and after-school programs that have already helped several states return to pre-pandemic levels of achievement on state math and literacy assessments.
  • Expanded Funding for Full-Service Community Schools: Increased funding—from $25 million in 2020 to $150 million in 2023—for community schools, which wrap academics, healthcare, mental health services, food assistance and much more around public schools. These schools serve the whole child, partner with families and become centers of their communities.

Investing in Our Students and Teachers

  • Made Historic Investments in Public Education: Secured over $120 billion—the largest investment in public education in our country’s history—through the American Rescue Plan to help schools safely reopen and to address the academic and mental health needs of students.
  • Supported Solutions to the Teacher Shortage: Called for improvements to teacher preparation, strengthening pipelines for underrepresented teachers and increasing support to current teachers.
  • Repaired the Broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: Provided $56.7 billion in loan forgiveness for more than 793,400 borrowers since October 2021, easing the crushing burden of student debt for frontline workers such as teachers, school, staff and others who have dedicated their lives to public service.
  • Signed the CHIPS and Science Act: Invested in STEM education and experiential learning, including programs expanding access to work-based learning, apprenticeships and career training programs, and announced a Department of Education grant program to allow high schools to build their educational capacity by partnering with business and industry to develop new high-quality career-connected high school programs. 
  • Called for Increased Teacher Pay: Used portions of the annual State of the Union address to talk about pay inequities between educators and workers in other professions and announced support for increasing teachers’ salaries and giving teachers, paraprofessionals and school staff the respect and dignity they deserve.

Promoting Student Well-Being

  • Increased Access to School Meals: Expanded federal eligibility for access to school breakfast and lunch to an estimated 3,000 more school districts in high-need areas, serving 5 million children, minimizing stigma for students, reducing paperwork for school nutrition staff and families, and streamlining meal service operations.
  • Signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act: Supported evidence-based initiatives to tackle the root causes of gun violence and expand access to mental health services to prevent gun violence—including $250 million over five years for community violence intervention programs—and allocated more than $13 billion to provide schools and students the needed staff, programs and resources to address these issues.
  • Increased Mental Health Awareness: Distributed unprecedented amounts of new funding focused on our students’ mental health and learning needs, including hiring more reading coaches, parent liaisons, graduation coaches, counselors and psychologists.

Making Our School Buildings Safer and Healthier

  • Provided Over $120 Billion in COVID-19 Relief: Funded school districts to help schools reopen safely, including allowing funding to be used to improve school ventilation systems.
  • Promoted Energy-Efficient Schools: Made it easier for schools to access federal tax credits, creating billions of dollars for public schools to make green improvements, and devoted $50 million for the Environmental Protection Agency to assist schools in improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Provided Billions for Clean Buses: Created the Clean School Bus Program, with $5 billion to transform the nation’s fleet of school buses to cost-saving, fuel-efficient electric, compressed natural gas and propane buses, instead of diesel—meaning cleaner air for students, bus drivers, school staff and our communities.
  • Funded Efforts to Get the Lead out of Our Children’s Drinking Water: Dedicated $15 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to removing lead from our nation’s water systems, and announced $58 million in grant funding to remove lead from drinking water at schools and child care facilities across the country.

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