tv Education Secretary Outlines Department Priorities CSPAN January 28, 2022 3:55am-4:23am EST
i'm a student in washington d.c. and excited to be here is great to see everyone on my have students and families, teachers and principals here today at the u.s. department of education and many others running virtually. thank you for joining us for this important suite on the future of education in america experience honest to start things off today. i'm currently a senior at heisel and i've been fortunate to be able to learn in person here. i am incredibly grateful for the hard work of the sludge administration and teachers especially during the pandemic. this year i've enjoyed meeting crops from being actually in class with my friends and part of a strong learning community. after i graduate i look forward to study mathematics in college. now i'm honored to introduce u.s. secretary of education, secretary altona has dedicated his career to serving, and family strengths as an elementary school teacher, district administrator and most
recently, education for the state of education in connecticut. he has great passion over the past ten months. understanding the challenges students, teachers and parents are going through. in addition to being secretary of education, secretary is the proud father of high schoolers and the husband of another educator. join me in giving a round of applause. mark. [applause] [applause] [applause] >> thank you, adam. and rebecca, adam's mother, thank you for being here. i remember being five years old walking into my first day of kindergarten at john barry elementary school.
i was so nervous. at that time i was just learning english. i felt like i didn't belong. turned out to be a horrible day because my mom had to pick me up early from the nurses office that day, i'm not sure if it was the feeling of being overwhelmed, being around bigger kids spoke english a lot better than me or maybe a feeling that the challenge it had was just too great but i recall being overcome with an overwhelming fear, my young mother walked from home a few blocks away to come get me from school and on the way home, she told me it will be okay. she told me that school would open doors for me to be able to be anything i wanted to be. anita, i know you are watching from you were right. i also remember a year end a half ago, it seems like forever
ago i was serving as commissioner of education in connecticut sitting in my basement and my makeshift office. at that time we were deciding how to reopen schools for in person learning knowing excessive school closures would worsen opportunity gaps and marginalized students but also knowing haphazard sloppy reopening would increase a health risk to those i serve. during those moments, there were concerns the challenge was too great. like my first day of school, it also seemed impossible. an overwhelming fear made many people nervous about reopening. yet remarkably, we did. today just over one year into president biden's term, we know what to do. while i recognize the daily challenges our students, our parents and educators still
face, we have better tools now schools safe and missed the pandemic. while we must stay positive and supportive of the challenges our heroic educators face daily to keep schools open today, we must also simultaneously meet this moment in our country's history. a moment to reimagine education and shared ideals, one where all children, all children can succeed. my first day of school are working to reopen schools over the last two years, we have a daunting and important task ahead of us. one we are prepared to tackle head-on at the department of education. we must develop our entire system of education from prekindergarten adult education in this country. this is our moment, our moment not only to keep close open but also to address inequities that
have existed in our school systems for far too long. it's our moment to finally make education a great equalizer, the force that can help every student drive matter their background, no matter their zip code and circumstance for the language they speak at home. but i'm here today to say reopening schools and keeping them open while it's critical, is insufficient. our hardest and most important work lies ahead. it will be for we are on. i want to be very clear, as educators and leaders, we are either closing educational opportunity gaps were making them worse with the decisions we will make in the next coming months and years. our students success, not just the students we serve today but
also those yet to be born. our countries strength is at stake. our status in the world is at stake. our task is not only to improve our education system from where it was before the pandemic but also to take other action and elevated to lead the world. how we do this together is what i want to focus on today i would like to take time to outline my vision as a secretary of education for moving forward together. we must push with the same urgency as our president did in getting this country back open. there are few actions i believe amongst the most important. first, we must make sure our students drive during and as we recover from the pandemic. as i noted earlier, safely reopen schools is just the baseline. we must make up for lost time.
schools must offer increased access to mental health report for students, wraparound programs, meaningful and authentic parents and family engagement and intervention for the students about the impact of the pandemic much more bluntly than others. misconstruction has affected millions of students. we must ensure these students have the most resources and support. let's come together to ensure all children's in all schools feel connected and supported. i'd like to see every high school student in america participate in at least one co- curricular activity in their school whether that's being part of an arch program or theater program, athletics or an afterschool club, all kids must be seen. all kids must feel connected at all kids must hear their names in school every day.
thanks to president biden and vice president harris leadership, the american rescue plan and providing 130 billing dollars, schools have the resources to not only stay open but invest in recovery. we moved with urgency and i'm proud to say that one 100% of the funds are now in the state hands or used to support our students, our families and our educators. across the country, cities and rural communities alike can use these unprecedented resources to invest today strategies we know works to help our kids catch up and succeed. strategies like targeting intensive tutoring, afterschool programming, summer programs to meet the needs of our students and demands of our economies. across our country, entire communities including parents, educators and students themselves, they should be brainstorming together about how
these resources can be employed job schools do this important work. i'd like to challenge all of our district leaders set up goals of giving every child fell behind during the pandemic at least 30 minutes a day three times a week with a well-trained tutor providing the child consistent, intensive support. we cannot expect classroom teachers to do it all. districts have the american rescue plan funds available to them today to invest in these efforts. our schools must invent mental health support in their day-to-day operations, new innovative innovative ways. every child must have access to a mental health professional whether through their school or community based organization, districts and search use megan rescue plan funds now to hire critical staff and create more partners. visiting eyes for laster where every student had a learning.
dedicated to social emotional well being or mental health support in their daily schedule, their daily schedule. let's see more of that. let's work to meet the president will up doubling the number of school counselors, social workers and mental health professionals in our schools. and partly, we cannot let lack of mental health or other support lead to exclusionary school discipline practices for students suffering from trauma, we cannot let that happen. it time to reimagine holistic support for every student every day in reimagine schools and school systems designed to meet the needs of our learners today. to improve and elevate our education system we must unapologetically address opportunity at achievement gaps pervasive in our country. this means acknowledging many of the students underserved during the pandemic are the same
students who have had to deal with barriers and high quality education since well before covid. we can't lose this moment, this chance for a reset and education by going back to the same pre-pandemic strategies that didn't address inequities for latinos or black or native students, students from low income backgrounds or students from rural communities or students with disabilities or students experiencing missus or english learners. but do what america's best, turn crisis into opportunity. increasing funding for title i schools, those serving communities most in need and many cases, those hardest hit by the pandemic. it means increasing funding for the individuals with disabilities education act so every eligible child with a
disability can access a free, appropriate public education. it means not allowing cultural low expectations or standards for some students and some families over others. it means providing every family and every child opportunity to start out on an equal playing field by providing free universal preschool and affordable high quality childcare. it means utilizing rescue plan funds to ensure in the coming years every child can read by third grade. hold ourselves accountable to this. it means more meaningful authentic parent to family dictation has a formal school principal, i knew partnering with parents was critical to support growth. especially now during the pandemic, engaging parents voices in this process of recovery and addressing
disparities are important, it's necessary. all parents voices must be heard. it means honoring native language is an culture as well as gifts and talents our students bring, it means funding pushing for additional special education teachers and investing in educators and paraprofessionals in their well-being and recruiting and obtaining because when we invest in our teachers, we invest in our students. for the past two years, educators, school personnel school district leaders have worked courageously to ensure we went from 46% of our schools in person one year ago to over 96% of our schools open full-time in person today. that's despite delta and omicron surges.
it's not just talk about honoring educators, let's make sure they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. this means a livable wage, it means ongoing professional learning and development, supportive working conditions and a work environment where there voices are welcome as critical partners and work to improve education. moving forward, it's on us to make sure education jobs are the ones educators don't want to leave. people from all backgrounds want to pursue. all of these goals are within our reach and we keep talking about it but do we have the will to make it happen? this cannot be done with federal resources alone. we need our state and our district to take a hard look at their own ways of funding schools and for those leaders to make difficult decisions to fix broken systems that perpetuate inequities in our schools across
the country. finally, elevate education system to lead the world we must transform education beyond high school so it works for everybody in it to well-paying rewarding careers, it's unacceptable in the united states to have postsecondary education system that further separates the haves and have-nots. it's also unacceptable to be burdened with unmanageable site for several think it's just because you chose to go to college. today too many talented americans are choosing a dent in higher education due to the fear of debt and the feeling that college is out of reach. we maintain a posture of neglect postsecondary education for students and their families. this is un-american. that's why our administration has already canceled $15 billion
in student loan debt among more than any other administration and that's only in our first year in office. we are committed to supporting every student loan borrower. no one should be forced to make a payment they cannot afford. to fix the system from we also overhaul the public service loan forgiveness program the public servant who have paid for ten years to finally get the loan relief they deserve, i am proud as of last week our changes have made 70000 doctors, nurses, veterans, service members, teachers and others in public service are eligible for $5 billion in loan forgiveness. but we are not done yet. we will work with congress to make long-term improvements in the public service loan forgiveness program. we are also committed to holding programs, colleges and
universities. we brought back enforcement unit at federal student aid to crackdown on institutions for our students. because we need to make sure that schools that focus on career programs aren't leaving students with mountains of debt and without good job opportunity, we become the process to create a strong gainful employment. students will not be taken advantage of for financial gain. all we do here at the department of education, we will be student led. as we work to make colleges more affordable and accountable we must also make them more accessible. that means creating stronger college and career pathways between our pre-k through 12th systems to inform here colleges and workforce partners so our systems believe in the world. our high schools must evolve more quickly. each high school in the country
should have at least one career counselor so every highschooler has great options when they graduate. today is a new day and it requires new thinking. at the department of education, who will work for our partners in the department of commerce, department of labor and develop career preparations that will run for our community colleges. we will continue to invest in colleges that serve underrepresented groups and we will prioritize and increase rents by the department of education that allows any american at any age for any time in their career to pursue higher education. like ruth, i met ruth this summer in michigan. ruth is a middle-aged woman working hard just to make ends meet. she had health issues that forced her to go to the hospital during the pandemic. that experience of being in the hospital opened her eyes to a future in healthcare as she told
me, after seeing what our country is going through, i want to live the rest of my life helping others going through health issues. that was ruth. using a pell grant, she's returning to school to be a nurse practitioner. never too late for any american to go back to school and i challenge states and districts rethink the link across education sums for pre-k to 12th so more people like ruth and reignite their passion discover new ones. at the department of education, we will do better the agency, this is happening as we continue to get out in the field, i visited over 90 stops in 25 states in the last 12 months and i recognized that our field is in great need.
we need support, the department of education that values, leads with students at the center. with me as secretary of education, that's what you are going to get. we will continue to listen and engage partners in our work through intentional collaboration, intentional collaboration. this collaboration includes students, parents, families, educators and leaders across sectors, who won't be able to accomplish any of us if we try to do it alone. proactive webinars and meetings since march we've listened to nearly 8000 parents thousands of educators, leaders and students and michael and my actions today are driven by what we are hearing, it's time to level up education in this country. we will also remove silos between systems designed to work together to serve families across america. that means partnerships with the
department of labor, housing and urban development, health and human services, environmental protection to support children and their families and entire communities. ... >> their bandwidth for learning will be widened. it's all hands on deck in the biden harris administration. my colleagues in the field, i know you're tired. i know you are stretched. you probably feel how i felt during the first part of the
pandemic . when it felt impossible. i see you and i understand what you're going through. it will get better. and it will soon translate to our best opportunity for much needed transformational shifts in education and while we didn't sign up to serve during a pandemic, we did sign up to serve students. your work today will have a greater impact on our country because of thetime in which you are serving. to the educators across the country, thank you . we stand together at a moment when our actions as educators will determine our countries standing in the world. when our students look up to us for more than just academics and when we can collectively lead our nations healing. let's move america forward with a greater sense of urgency, a greater sense of passion and purpose .
i chose to speak today because despite our country being in the midst of the surge , i know our children cannot wait any longer. they suffered enough and this is our moment. this is our moment to truly reimagine education. this is our moment to lift our students. to lift our education system and lift our country to a level never before seen. as a great congressman lewis said, if not us than who? and if not now then when? for the students that are in this room today it's important for me to have students in the room. forthe students in the room, cooper, riley, madalyn , nora . christian. to the middle schoolers in the room, high schoolers in the room. our college students in the room and to my own and selena at home and to the millions
of students to help benefit from our collective work, this is our moments. we are doing this for you. we got into this discussion to give you opportunity. we serve you can have a brighter future so students today with a greater sense of urgency we reconnect to fulfill the promise to support you as you see the education and it will give you the tools to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. let's get to work. thank you. [applause]