Leading Voices in Education

“We’re realizing as a country it shouldn’t be talked about in the shadows anymore. Mental health support and access should be something that we talk about regularly.”

“The conveyor belt is back on, but at about the same old speed. Somehow, we’ve got to figure out how to help students learn even more per year in the next few years, or these losses will become permanent. And that will be a tragedy.”

“Every year, millions of students wind up in what I call ‘postsecondary purgatory.’ They earn some credits, but no degree. Then they have student debt they cannot afford and a limited path to higher-paying jobs.”

“I’ve kept the most interesting company imaginable with people long gone.”

“My prediction is that we will see, over the course of the next three years, districts and states find and utilize more innovative ways with their state and local resources to try to mitigate some of those challenges as we’re winding down the pandemic funding.”

“One of the absolutely critical things we can do to keep schools open and safe this fall and winter is to improve the quality of indoor air.”

“Colleges should be prepared for a larger population of students who are pregnant and parenting. But we don’t even have a system in place to support the ones that we currently have.”

“If we’re successful, future kids will look at guns the way we look at cigarettes—not as something cool and sexy, but as something that’s dangerous and gross.”

“Over the past two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.”

“If schools do not have an uncompromising focus on academics, the lasting consequences will be catastrophic — and Black and brown children, and those who live in poverty, will hurt the most.”

“So many teachers are doubling as school counselors. We need to give our teachers support and bring in more mental health professionals to serve our students.”

“Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, books that teach children to recognize and respect humanity in one another.”

“Children should be able to learn and grow in environments that are not plagued with poor insulation and ventilation, leaky roofs, or poor heating and cooling.”

“I think this is going to be an experiment in public education resources and spending that I think will be studied for decades, really. And the results are going to be continuing to come in years and years and years to come.”

“The American Rescue Plan gave schools money to hire teachers and help students make up for lost learning. I urge every parent to make sure your school does just that. They have the money.”

“Across the country, we must continue the necessary work of developing a strong, diverse educator workforce for today and tomorrow.”

“We can’t wait until kids are in 8th grade. We have to start investing in children – the minute they are born – to make sure they have every single opportunity and are prepared to be successful in life.”

“The role of a teacher is irreplaceable in a child’s life and as the past two years have hammered home, they’re irreplaceable in a parent’s life, too.”

“We need a system designed for kids in local areas and not for adults in Washington, D.C.”

“School districts should act with urgency to keep schools open for in-person learning and ensure they do not waste this opportunity to make critical investments.”

“You can have access to the best teachers around the world, it shouldn’t be limited to just the teacher that’s in their classroom.”

“The challenges to [boosting teacher diversity] are deeply embedded and calcified in our public schools. Undoing them will require intentional and comprehensive effort by teachers, principals, district and state leaders.”

“We’re going to need to exponentially increase the number of pre-K teachers in our country if Build Back Better becomes reality.”

“Underperforming schools generally suffer from two problems: very high-needs kids and low-capacity staff. We know that money alone doesn’t solve it. You have to use the money in ways that are most effective.”

“We have often heard, and maybe even affirmed ourselves, that education is the great equalizer. Well, now is our chance to prove it.”

“Admissions officers fly around the country in search of the most talented athletes that exist, targeting many of our most underserved communities. We want them to now be finding and identifying the best scholars in those very same communities.”

“Free community college is an investment in our workforce. Not preparing students for the jobs being created today means leaving folks behind. This isn’t the time to leave folks behind.”

“Schooling in a democracy is not just schooling, It’s also citizen-making.”

“The best part of fall is welcoming students back for a new school year, and I’m thrilled to be traveling across the Midwest to celebrate the return to safe in-person learning.”

“There’s some generational shifts happening in terms of how people see education, which is one of the things that the survey results are getting at.”

“Even without Covid, a disaster like Hurricane Ida would have a severe impact.”

“It’s simply unacceptable that state leaders are putting politics over the health and education of the students they took an oath to serve.”

“The Department stands with these dedicated educators who are working to safely reopen schools and maintain safe in-person instruction.”

“Almost 90% of educators & school staff are vaccinated. I know we can get to 100%. Get vaccinated today.”

“We can and we must address the climate crisis while rebuilding our school infrastructure to meet every child’s needs.”

“Nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces the interaction and the learning that happens between a student and teacher in our classrooms.”

“It’s more important than ever for families, educators and leaders to understand what children have and have not learned, so we can figure out the best ways to help kids catch up and then move ahead.”

“Students cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”

“Those who went into the pandemic with the fewest opportunities are at risk of leaving with even less.”

“Eliminating remote learning, which many of these families support, exacerbates already-existing educational and health care inequities.”

“The stakes have always been high. This is a question of whether or not students will have access to an education free from discrimination.”

“President Biden’s budget commits much-needed resources to rebuild and reinvest in American public schools and students.”

“Let’s finish the school year strong by getting as many students 12+ vaccinated while keeping vigilant with masks & distancing in schools.”

“Our school guidance to complete the school year will not change.”

“Students should always see themselves in curriculum.”

“We have a tremendous opportunity to push the reset button on things that we know needed fixing long before the pandemic.”

“He’s ready for big ideas and bold action so that all Americans can go to community college, have the support they need to finish and get good jobs.”

“We shouldn’t go back to the schools of March 2020—that’s a low bar.”

We can no longer have any invisible students in our buildings. Every student should have an adult they have a connection to in that in those schools and that’s not going to happen by accident.

“As much as we desperately need that funding, we also want to be able to spend it well, and spend it in mind with the equity levers that we know are going to drive impact for the communities who have deeply felt both the health pandemic and the anti-racism.”

“This is a necessary step to restoring the intent of the Title IX and fulfilling the promise of equal access to education for all students.”

“Without vaccination, if some children get COVID through community spread and then they bring it to school, then it’s a ripple effect. If we can include kids [in vaccination programs], it’s going to make it so much easier for schools to operate.”

“These updated recommendations provide the evidence-based roadmap to help schools reopen safely, and remain open, for in-person instruction.”

“This legislation provides resources needed to open our schools.”

“Statewide assessments are important to identify what extra support schools need to help their students get back on track and to ensure every student has an equitable opportunity to succeed.”

“This year’s Black History Month is about dismantling systemic racism in every form, and that must start with education.”

“If confirmed, it is my responsibility and privilege to make sure we’re following the civil rights of all students.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

“Everybody knows that students are better off when schools are open. Their achievement is significantly better. You don’t learn how to get along with people if you’re sitting at home.”

“And I, being bilingual and bicultural, am as American as apple pie and rice and beans.”

“It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to realize how important teachers are for this country.”

“Dr. Biden earned her degrees through hard work and pure grit. She is an inspiration to me, to her students, and to Americans across this country.”

“No matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make, every single child in this country deserves a high-quality, public education from pre-K through 12th grade—and passing ESSA was an important step in making that a reality.”

“I think my biggest challenges are not losing faith number one and making sure that my kids are okay. I worry all the time that they are not adequately prepared to do this work remotely.”

“The current administration walked away from educational civil rights.”

“You have Joe Biden, who is a student of American history and has the courage to speak the phrase Black Lives Matter.”

“Between now and the time a vaccine is administered and treatments are widely available, the surest path back to school… is an oversupply of diagnostic testing so you can take a test whenever you need one.”

“Title IX is a necessary tool for protecting students’ rights at a time when one in five women experience sexual assault during college.”

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

“My teacher friends are scared. They’re scared they’re going to have to stand in front of kids and make promises they cannot keep.”

“You know what creates more safety? Funding public schools, affordable housing, increased homeownership, job skill development, jobs, access to capital for those who want to start small businesses, or who are running small businesses in communities.”

“Schools and areas with high rates of COVID-19 spread may need to consider delaying a return to full-time, in-person instruction. These schools will need the same or greater federal investments, not less.”

“If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

“This is going to be a teacher-oriented Department of Education, and it’s not going to come from the top down—it’s going to come from the teachers up.”

“The basic fundamental goal would be as you possibly can to get the children back to school and use the public health efforts as a tool to help the children get back to school.”

“It’s tough with schools because if you close down schools, that means the parents who rely on the schools to take care of children during the day have a difficulty.”

“I mean, it’s like it’s a lose-lose situation. You have parents that are demanding the schools to open. And then you have parents that are saying, we’re not going to send our kids to school.”

“The single best thing that we could do to help minority children and minority families is to help them go back to school safely in August and September.”

“Generally the right test is better than no test. But a flawed test should not continue to be required.

“The districts and schools most likely to succeed in remote education will be those that provide a substantial amount of synchronous instruction and live student–teacher interaction.”

“Many students and low-income families are facing financial hardships due to the pandemic need assistance from small broadband providers — many of which have already committed to sustain critical internet services and provide upgrades to ensure that the most vulnerable among us stay connected.”

“If you’re a nursing school student or medical school student, we need you.”

“Homeless youth talk about school as home, they talk about school as an escape, they talk about school as family—and that’s now gone.”

“This is a point where I can say to all our educators: We need you. We need you. These children need you. These families need you.”

“We cannot send our children into schools with broken heating, contaminated water, toxic mold, poor technology, and expect them to thrive.”

“We believe by eliminating these barriers, we are empowering our students to become lifelong voters and to believe in their power to make a difference.”

“Even the NCAA acknowledges now that federal legislation is necessary.”

“When girls are educated and empowered, we uplift communities and families, reduce poverty, and create a safer and more prosperous world.”

“There are 37 states that have what’s called a Blaine Amendment, which essentially was a bigoted action against Catholic schools in the 1800s.”

“For many children, the food they eat at school is their only access to healthy, nutritious meals.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“Our country’s experiment with debt-financed education went terribly wrong.”

“I don’t think subsidizing the children of millionaires and billionaires to pay absolutely zero in tuition at public college is the best use of those scarce taxpayer dollars.”

“We have come to take democracy for granted, and civic education has fallen by the wayside.”

“I have a plan, as a Special Ed teacher, to fully fund IDEA.”

“We have to massively increase what we pay teachers in this country.”

“I think most of us here want justice for these taxpayers that happen to be borrowers, for them to receive the relief that they need to receive.”

“We cannot tolerate fraud in higher education, nor can we tolerate furiously giving away taxpayer money to those who have submitted a false claim or aren’t eligible for relief.”

“Students must be responsible consumers of education, seriously committed to their own success.”

“We must give America’s students the freedom to learn and grow in the ways and places that work best for them.”

“We want to ensure federal dollars have the maximum positive impact on the students and communities that need it most.”

“The conservative case that I’m building, or hope to be building here, is that we must stop making unlimited amounts of money available through loans.”

“For many of us who have DACA, it’s been two years of waiting this out.”

“I didn’t want to have another fire throw a wrench in my academic work.”

“To our educators, this is your victory.”

“Obviously, we shouldn’t be telling [students] how to vote or who to vote for. We just want them to vote, period—to take that first step toward making voting a lifelong habit.”

“We rejected the idea that one-size-fits-all solutions make sense in a world where education needs continue to evolve in our dynamic economy.”

“This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students.”

“The same tired idea of throwing more money into the existing system and hoping that this time things will be different is the very definition of insanity.”

“It’s simple, we need more people of color in these rooms making decisions.”

“Who do they think is actually going to pay for these? It’s going to be two of the three Americans that aren’t going to college paying for the one out of three that do.”

“People who are getting crushed by student loans are in a fight today.”

“We do not believe the U.S. has the high-skill talent it needs, nor does it have the capacity to train enough people with those skills.”

“School is where students are first learning how to do the work of citizenship.”

“That’s why now is the time to do something different. Something better. Embrace the thing that makes America great: Freedom.”

“This PSA is a gut punch, it’s uncomfortable, it’s hard to watch, but you can’t sanitize a school shooting.”

America is on the ‘verge of making education great again.’

“Strategies like investing in our children work. I’m tired of us thinking about these problems isolated from these other issues.”

“The Trump administration is sending an alarming message: Schools can cheat [their] student borrowers and still reap the rewards of federal student aid.”

“I tell parents you are my partner in your child’s education. You pass the baton to me in morning, and I pass the baton back to you in the afternoon.”

“A $30,000 debt for a graduate degree in education is a much weightier debt than probably a $50,000 debt for law school.”

“This legislation ensures that teachers will never have the burden of choosing between protecting their students or themselves from a violent shooter.”

“Equal is not equal.”

“Right now, families are worried to the point that some people are questioning whether or not they should fill out basic school district forms.”

“Our system of education today is reinforcing that income inequality, not liberating people from it. Because the best predictor of the quality of the education you get is your parent’s income.”

“No student in this country should have to sacrifice their own health to get an education.”

“The schoolroom is the first opportunity most citizens have to experience the power of government.”

“We need to start dealing with the trauma that our kids have. We need trauma-based care in every school. We need social-emotional learning in every school.”

“Our teachers, not unlike teachers elsewhere, feel as though we don’t value their profession. There’s a message there I think we need to think about.”

“I like ‘education freedom’ because it opens up our thinking about what education can be.”

“Teaching is really hard, It’s about as close to rocket science as I think you can get.”

“If you’re a jazz musician, you need to know your scales. If you’re an artist, you need to draw a still life. It’s the same with teachers.”

“We decided and recognized that trying to swim under that tsunami of choice would only bring about our own demise. If we decided to outrun it, we would lose.”

Educators shouldn’t have to fight so hard for resources and respect.

“People are actually asking a question I never thought I’d hear, ‘Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?'”

“We can’t sit on our hands and ignore the disparities of wealth reflected in the SAT.”

“Let’s get a person with real teaching experience. A person who understands how low pay, tattered textbooks, and crumbling classrooms hurt students and educators.”

“Teachers don’t need guns. They need a raise.”

“I don’t enjoy the publicity that comes with my position. I don’t love being up on stage or on any kind of platform. I’m an introvert.”

“We are advocating for more freedom in education — for parents and students to be able to take much more control of their education.”

“Our children and grandchildren are not merely statistics toward which we can be indifferent.”

“We are significantly concerned that big-city students would face horrific consequences from adding a citizenship question to the Census. “

“The enormous student debt burden weighing down our economy isn’t the result of laziness or irresponsibility.”

“I remain concerned that many state [ESSA] plans fall short and risk continuing or even exacerbating inequalities for disadvantaged students.”

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”

“We spend an awful lot of time, energy and money being reactive to school safety. The pivot that needs to take place is how to be proactive.”

“We are not doing our children any favors when we borrow from their future in order to invest in systems and policies that are not yielding better results.”

“Conservatives don’t like it when judges try to write laws, and conservatives should not like it when legislators and agencies try to rewrite the Constitution.”

“This is an extreme illustration of a reality in our higher education system: Students from wealthy families and students from poor families are not treated equally.”

“We educate women because it is smart. We educate women because it changes the world.”

“Let’s speak truth: We’re a society that pretends to care about education, but not so much the education of other people’s children.”

“Without a strong educational system democracy is crippled.”

“Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.”

“Knowledge—that is, education in its true sense—is our best protection against unreasoning prejudice and panic-making fear, whether engendered by special interest, illiberal minorities, or panic-stricken leaders.”

“I cannot ever stand up and stand against a parent having options, because I’ve benefited from my parents having options.”

“The single, quickest, best way to make college more affordable to poor students is to simplify the FAFSA.”

“Low standards and low expectations tell students that we don’t have hope for them. That we don’t believe in them. But we do.”

“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

“There have never been bridges for our low-income and black students to good jobs.”

“We’re in a battle for the soul of public education.”

“A good curriculum doesn’t micromanage the minute-to-minute actions of teachers; it challenges them to think.”

“The question of whether money matters is separate from whether money can matter more if we spend it better.”

“Studies have consistently found harsh exclusionary discipline and physical punishments are associated with negative long-term outcomes.”

“Do we really need more white bread in our schools?”

“Think about every problem, every challenge, we face. The solution to each starts with education.”

“The first responders to poverty are our teachers.”

“Nothing is free. Someone, somewhere ultimately pays the bills.”

“I don’t think what teachers want is to put their feet up while kids are each on a private learning journey.”

Equality in America won’t come until we have equality of educational opportunity.”

“My most difficult meetings are not with unions and school boards, they’re with publishers.”

“Abandoning truth creates confusion. Confusion leads to censorship. And censorship inevitably invites chaos on campuses, and elsewhere.”

“There is a disconnect between what teachers aspire to, what they say is good professional practice, and what is actually happening in the classroom.”

“When you put the responsibility on parents to make good choices, it rarely works.”

“What is the advantage in a low-income area of sending a child to a failed school and that being your only choice?”

“We are in the business of educating children, no matter where they came from or how they got here.”

“When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury—and so does society.”

“Research shows the benefits of diversity for all students.”

“Across the country, the relationships of public employees and employers will alter in both predictable and wholly unexpected ways.”

“College wasn’t meant to do alone.”

“We will continue to stress the importance of attendance because every day counts.”

“School is a sacrosanct place for students to be able to learn, and they should be protected.”

“If we’re going to get serious about closing the achievement gap, we have to start at the beginning.”

“I would say we are a nation of laws, and we are a compassionate people.”

“For years now, our schools have been suffering death by a thousand paper cuts, and it’s long past time we right this wrong.”

“Students are suffering because of an absence of vision, a failure of will and politics that values opposition over progress.”

“Even the best teacher can’t succeed with students who are not in class.”

“This raise is earned, and it is deserved. Everyone can name the teachers who made a positive impact on their lives.”

“No one indicator is the silver bullet in education.”

“Conjunction Junction, what’s your function? Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.”

“If you can’t read, you can’t do anything.”

“Education cuts do not heal.”

“More glue guns, fewer handguns.”

“It strains credibility to suggest that schools cannot be made safer unless states and districts can employ racially discriminatory discipline policies and practices.”

“Lyndon Johnson understood that you can’t deal with education without dealing with poverty, and you can’t deal with poverty without dealing with race.”

“We have many qualified, capable individuals waiting to come and contribute here, and they’re just messing around up at that building on the Hill.”

“A lot of where kids end up is already kind of baked in by the 3rd grade.”

“Higher education must provide a return on investment for students and taxpayers. Right now, both are getting a raw deal.”

“Maybe what students need is someone who doesn’t yet know all the things you ‘can’t do.’”

“To be ready for school and learning, you have to be healthy first.”

“When public officials resist public disclosure of what they do, people should be skeptical of what they’re trying to hide.”

“The easiest fix is to eliminate the 529 expansion…. Not doing so will affirm the worst caricature of Republicans and education — taking money from the poor to give to the rich.”

“I think that we can all do well to reflect on the things we say before we say them.”

“We need to stop forcing kids into believing a traditional four-year degree is the only pathway to success.”

“An A in Louisiana should be an A in any state in this country.”

“Getting anything done is a process, not an event. When you are oriented to getting things done, it can be frustrating.”

“I got the impression that her learning curve where higher ed is concerned is quite vertical.”

It’s a mundane malaise that dampens dreams, dims horizons and denies futures.”

“Condemning the KKK and Nazis is a really low bar.”

“For all of the beauty of technology and all the things we’ve helped facilitate over the years, nothing yet replaces human interactions.”

“Out of Michigan, without her checkbook, DeVos is like a mermaid with legs: clumsy, conspicuous, and unable to move forward.”

“Ms. Jackson’s callous, insensitive, and egregious comments regarding sexual assault on college campuses crossed a serious line and highlighted her clear biases.”

“We urge your administration to not just commit to protecting the civil rights of all students in this country, but to also do so proactively and with the utmost urgency.”

“Any elected official who asks to visit my schools is welcome to do so; there is no political litmus test.”

“This is a difficult budget request to defend. I think it’s likely that the kinds of cuts that are proposed in this budget will not occur.”

“This budget reflects the views of an administration filled with people who frankly never had to worry about their children going to college.”

“The opponents of modernizing our education system will pull out all the stops. They will not go quietly into the night.”

“This is what winning for young children and kids from all over the country looks like.”

“My mission is to unleash a new era of innovation in education to drive unprecedented achievement.”

“Schools are still a national issue, but there is a consensus that the issues not to be resolved from Washington.”

“It will give Secretary DeVos a blank check to promote her anti-public-school agenda.”

“Do you agree…that all schools that receive taxpayer funding should be equally accountable?” “Well no….”

DeVos and Kaine on School Accountability