- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday announced an education plan that promised higher wages for teachers and the defeat of the National Rifle Association to make schools safer.

Mr. Biden announced the plan at a forum hosted by the American Federation of Teachers in Houston, as he continued to court union support for his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He vowed to be a strong ally of teachers if he returns to the White House.

“As my wife Jill says, an educator’s profession isn’t just what they do, it is who they are,” said Mr. Biden, describing teaching as a “call to service.”

His wife, Jill Biden, teaches at a community college.

“For so many young people, knowing they have a teacher believing in and fighting for them can make all the difference,” he said. “It’s past time we treat and compensate our educators as the professionals they are, and that we make a commitment that no child’s future will be determined by zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.”

He promised to help pay off teachers’ student loans, pay teachers for taking on additional work as mentors and coaches, and help pay for advanced certifications in areas such as special education and bilingual education.

In order to improve safety on school campuses, Mr. Biden proposed the “defeat” of the NRA, which included realizing Democrats’ longtime goal of banning military-style rifles and high-capacity magazines.

The campaign said Mr. Biden knows that arming teachers is not the solution to school shootings, an idea endorsed by President Trump.

Mr. Biden called for increased federal spending on teachers, school counselors, school services and programs to provide outreach to families in poor communities.

He wants to triple annual spending on Title 1, the largest federal aid program for public schools, from $15 billion to $45 billion.

He would spend another $1 billion a year to pay teachers for mentoring or coaching outside the classroom and another $2.5 billion a year to hire more school nurses, psychologists and counselors.

“Everybody is going to tell you about how much they value education,” he said. “I’ve got an expression: Don’t tell me about your values, show me your budget and show me how you are going to acquire that budget.”

The plan outlined by the Biden campaign did not include details on how to pay for it.

But Mr. Biden told the teachers that he could pay for all of it by rolling back some of Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and eliminating tax deductions for wealthy families.

He said that he would only need a “significant minority of Republicans” in a divided Congress to reverse some of the Trump tax cuts.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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