tv Education Secretary Discusses Educational Equity CSPAN July 21, 2021 6:59pm-7:29pm EDT
>> education secretary discussed educational equity issues with the "washington post". he also talked about broadband access pre-k education for all and reopening schools in the fall with cases of the covid-19 delta variant on the rise. >> welcome to "washington post" alive and another installment in her opportunity in crisis series this time investing in educational equity. president biden has made equity a central goal of hisha administration and a central figure in that effort is our guest today. he is the secretaryry of education, mr. secretary welcome. >> happy to be your jonathan thank you for having me. >> thank you for having me again. great to see. this being confirmed i understand you traveled to 16 states plus puerto rico and another territory that does does not come to mind often and, visiting schools and students paid what have you learned during those trips?
>> i learned number one that our students are resilient spread our educators are rock stars. and we want tot come back to school party want to come back to school safely. though he missed peer-to-peer interaction. we miss the engagement with teachers. we want to come back to a system that's veritable meat left in march of 2020 per that's what her throughout the country. i'm excited to be in a position now where i can help support that and influence that with the build back better agenda i'm confident going to get it done. >> there are a lot of buzzwords there peer-to-peer bunch of other things were going to get too. [laughter] and our conversations let's talk about budget.ge you proposed nearly it would've been a $102.8 billionll budget you said makes it good on president biden's campaign commitment to reverse years of underinvestment in federal education programs it wouldth begin to address the
significant inequities that millions of students primarily students of color and teachers confront every day it underserved schools across america. let's talk more specifically about those inequities, it's going to take a lot more than money to close the gap. what do you do? what you're going to do to close those gaps? >> it's really important to can sexual contextualize it. i've been in education for over 23 years. the idea of doing more with less is commonplace now educators. we have a president now understands that education is a combination, but only to be what to address inequities we want to with more opportunities britt that is why the community college access is their prey that is why the programming for three -- four -year-olds as they are. you are absently right, jonathan, resources alone are not going to cut it. you need to be bold and innovative as we reopen schools too give students the opportunities and ways they
did not haveys before. this is the closest to a reset button and education we've ever had put behalf to take advantage of it.me >> you mentioned community colleges in your proposed budget provide two years of free community college to students.. how does help level the playing field for tickly for students living in poor or disadvantaged communities? >> that is one of the strategies that can have a profound impact across the country. we know graduates of community college can earn up to 21% more than high school graduates. not only does it help them and their families helps the community. but we need to do is couple that strategy with the evolution of our middle and high school to provide career pathways and connections to this two-year colleges so our students as early as middle school see themselves as college students. this two-year program's
connects were four-year programs, connect to our workforce partners so that it can go s full-circle to help develop and build a community. >> minute push you on something here because, while you are pushing for free community college, you have democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia wants too make student loans forgivable for the first two years of community college, why is his proposal not good enough in your eyes? >> i let the details of the plans be worked out with their colleagues with senator manchin and others have been extremely supportive of making sure we get it right. i know the details will be worked out part i will say one thing in my experience in the last three months visiting the different states and talking to college students and talking to high school students who are now dealing with parents that are maybe not employed like they were before the pandemic. or dealing with other issues we want too remove every
barrier to accessing higher education as possible. for me, increasing public education to 14 years gives them a leg up. we have to keep moving. we know other countries are there watching and they want too pass us out. the president made it very clear we need too raise the bar a little bit. any country that out educates us, outperforms us the first lady said that and i believe it. we have to raise the bar, removing barriers to all isn't port never going to be successful. >> i am still sticking to your proposed budget. it would also help support community based programs. why did these programs need a boost in funding and support? >> i'll start with the future training. to support educator programs too make sure our students the
beautiful diverse students we have in her classroom have access too teaching profession. it also shows her teachers are continuing get the support they need for the job they have. we have students coming back from a pandemic haven't experienced so much trauma. it's important we have professional for the students. students with greatest needs are often and does programs students with disabilities or shortage of education teachers we need more primitive growing number of bilingual classrooms are difficult to find teachers for. there is a lot of work to do there. the teacher developed program is important. a students with disability insurance we have enough funds there is another really important step. we recognize the importance of
increasing the funds towards ida and we cannot say how many stories we heard in the last year from families, educators and students themselves,rn students with disabilities have the remote learning is not enough of them. we have to make sure we give our students an opportunity to be successful. i make sure the schools continue to thrive. >> a couple of times you have used the phrase raise the bar perk which is a different way of things that he said last month, you said last month going back to normal is a low bar. that's with early childhood education, how does public education need to adjust with our changing times? not miss her changing times, our post pandemic changing times? >> you mentioned earlier we have disparities in education gaps. opportunity gaps, achievement
gaps, outcome gaps, they become normalized. i also use the words he wrote about the normalization of failure. when he sat out to try too address the gaps that exist in outcomes for students when i was the commission in connecticut that was a focus of my impaired we have to make sure that will be billed back better were not going back to the system of march 2020 where it was almost predictable. you could predict a student's ability to succeed based on race or place. that is unacceptable. we should have aha high level of outrage going on that long. what translates to us when weight reopen our schools are giving an opportunity to have highly qualified teachers given rigorous curriculum having opportunities at the
highest level courses lead to college access or career options. we should make sure students those are things that level the playing field. it's insufficient to redo have to build back better. we have to do it with strategies that we know will work. early childhood education, community college, higher level courses for students those are the ingredients for raising the bar. >> i keep scribbling notesg you're talking a keep catching me looking down at my paper feeling i'm back in school. on universal pre-k which ion know a lot of education experts and i professionals say is an vitally important to not only closing those gaps but also to getting kids -- three -year-olds and four -year-olds on that trajectory of upward mobility and trajectory.
howeverr there are people, notably republicans who look at universal pre-k, why are we paying for this? talking in more concrete terms about why investing in universal pre-k is important not just for the education ofhi those children, but for the future prosperity of the country? >> too that i say pay now or pay later. i was in elementary school principal and i worked in a school with dedicated educators. we served three and four -year-olds. we had students who weread learning foundational skills. i'm not even going to get into the brain science when that learning executive functioning that can lead to greater success in elementary school. but the data also suggest students that have a good a foundation in early childhood igeducation are more likely to
seek high level courses. are more likely to be prepared for college. it pays dividends later. how's the science on this and it shows quality programming does lead to success later in life but i can say from extremes, jonathan, i can say which student did not have a good quality early childhood experience when they were getting support and interventions later in their elementary years. just four or five years later. those are students who often become disillusioned in school are disengaged. it's like a build a house too build a nice and strong. n like without a strong foundation skyscrapers will not be skyscrapers they will fall for the same is true with our children. >> last month the department submitted plans on how they plan too use funds of the american rescue plan can you talk about some of those plans, how states are planning
to use that money to support their schools? >> sure. the title of this is opportunity in crisis. i will tell you so inspired by the educators and the leaders across the country who have looked at this as an opportunity to invest in our children, and our schools, and her educators. i have seen summer school programs that bring in community partners. i was in los angeles last week and i saw how they had a robust summer school program with community partners that not only supported support students academically but provided them with mentors. in portland, oregon, the resources there that gave resourcesag to engage with one another. the school was full ofif students is a beautiful sight the teachers were excited to be there. i'm hearing about programs across the country were students are not giving access
too courses they might not have had previously. because now they can take advantage of online as well. smaller class sizes, better technology and of course the mental health access studentst will have now for the social and emotional well-being of our students is critically important. to make sure students not hungry when they go to school in ways they had not before. we are finding opportunities and we will be better will be returned for it's not easy work, it's not one-size-fits-all either. with innovative and caring educators across the country. our job as a department of education is not only to help support with funds but to learn from one another. >> sapa schools and public education i wonder sometimes people think we are just
talking about public schools in cities. there are public schools in rural communities. i am just wondering when it comes to schools in how do you ensure students and educators have the same resources on par with those in wealthier may be suburban communities. >> we talked about disparities we talk about underserved groups, we forget to mention the rural students throughout our country. i was in arizona recently and was able to visit a school where there is not another school for miles, and miles, andan miles. it just seems like we needed to make sure they had everything they needed to be successful there. a lot of that is really broadband and making sure the devices are working, are making sure they have access to the same learning opportunities that students
and more dense areas of our country. those conversations with those educators, those mayors, and federal leaders involve trying to build an infrastructure that can withstand what we experienced before. and make sure we are looking at the digital divide in the rearview mirror soon. we have the rescue plan and infrastructure plan that can provide 100 early in dollars and infrastructure students need. the internet is not a lofty thing anymore. it's the device and the internet is needed. it is a required tool for learning. we have to get past that idea that you don't need it. you do need it. in order for our students to have a chance at success and to level the playing field, this is tools they need for learning. it is on us to make sure they get it. the funding is there, the
president's urgency as they just have to deliver. >> i actually intrigued by this analogy that you have here. broadband access, access to the internet is the new pencil. one of the things the pandemic has shown us or exposed are the inequities, the gaps that are there. i am just wondering when it comes to that kind of access was the access even lack ofou access? even more severe than you thought it was before the pandemic? >> it was about april of 2020 we are about a month into the shutdown. i had a conversation with the superintendent from a very wealthy district. really strong superintendent
comic great district. i said basically it's like turning on a light switch. all the students had a device the great broadband access. many were fortunate to have a parent work from home. the curriculum you had we invested in it years ago for it all we had just flip a switch and her student got high-quality education. that same day i spoke to superintendent and another community those under resourced with students that were well below the poverty line. i asked how it was goingng ther. and she shared me it took four weeks to communicate with her that was through snail mail the other commutes four weeks ahead already. guests were exacerbated. to keep that in mind is a
welcome her students back for it is on us now make sure we compensate mess not only our academic a lot of the students suffered more trauma. software death summer job loss. it's really important we give five days a week and provide the mental health support we know they need too address those gaps. >> mr. secretary what role do>> public/private partnerships play in any of your plans? specifically increasing broadband access, your plans for america's public schools? >> public/private partnerships are critical. i went to see them expand through something best of the american people and less year end a half. bussell people came together to support our most vulnerable. i just hope that partnership and innovative spirit continues. a couple of examples
possessing committee partners like the ymca, the boys and girls club stepped up to help summer programming and give students experiences engaging with one another. i'm hearing about a workforce of partners engaging with two-year colleges and high schools too give the opportunities at internships, get out this if the job market is like. to help them make life decisions. i saw private donors step up tremendously to provide laptops for students in a time of need lastfo year. they stepped up with their own dollarsen and different foundations came in and said where do you need us? and together due to that partnership as well. the invitation is always going to be there, it takes a village to raise a child. and in a country we saw the best of folks of the last year end a half i hope we can continue that the same level of urgency we had last year to give her students the best opportunities tort succeed. >> it is july, late july.
school is due to start again for the cdc is recommending students go back to the classroom this fall. but every day we are talking about the delta variant. and how people are being infected by the delta variance. people fully vaccinated having breakthrough infections with covid. some parts of the country but spreading quickly. what does the department of education doing to monitor whether any adjustments may be need to be made if the delta variant does not slow down? >> first and foremost, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. that is the best way we can ensure not only that we can get b back to regular experiences like going to school full-time, also in a way we do not have to wear masks all the time.st
so first and foremost my messages if you are eligible to get vaccinated, get vaccinated. it is safe. it is our best ticket to a sense of normalcy.ho however, when ac worked throughout the country's winter educators work closely with her health experts to ensure the mitigation strategies that are needed are being used, not only do we reduce transmission which is the most important thing. but it is to build confidence and make sure parents are sending their kids too school. i can tell youdr now, the impact on students when they are t not in school is great. we need too really recognize that. if students are not in school the experiences of the same. and afterft a year end a half, the way we have had it, they deserve to be in school everyday all day utilizing the mitigation strategies we know that work. yes, we are taking and i on the delta variant. no different but we were off when i was commissioner were watching the spread of covid
in connecticut that was hit pretty hard. we were able to reopen schools safely in august of 2020. i'm fortunate my own children went to school from day one. and that was critically important for not only their academic success but more portly for their happiness. so all children across the country deserve that opportunity. we need to do everything we can to ensure we are promoting safe return too school but we are also promoting a full return too school. >> how you deal with this? i'm writing that another word you said their happiness of students of those students. i'm going to admit right now, i do not have kids. let's just put that out there. i do not have young students. part of meat wonders, how do you as an educator, talents the happiness of those children with their health and with their physical well-being. the physical well-built being
of thosese children? t >> appreciative that question right now. they are now would never cover my safety of my children or wife who works in a school. i would never compromise their health and safety. not to get them into school prematurely. m you can ask my 15-year-old daughter their decisions i made about hanging out with friends that did not make her happy. her health and safety is more important to me i also recognize me follow-up mitigation strategies will be ensure our buildings are clean, safe comment we are communicating with families that is not mutually exclusive. in fact happiness and emotional well-being depend a lot on being around their peers and around their teachers and engaging in activities they typically do with that age playing, soccer, playing volleyball, being part of the volleyball club. these are things to do it
should be experiencing. think about the risk to their health appear clear emotional health if we are taking that away from them because we are not following the mitigation strategies as adults. >> a lot of people wonder when they hear kids want to get together, they want too play, they want to be in sports whether they understand getting together, playing and being a part of sports is also part of learning. it is part of the educational process. in the time we have left i want to get you on a couple of other things.es you were in the headlines last month because of the spirited exchange you had with errepublican congressman during the house educationed and labor committee hearing. the educational confronting anti- lgbt cupola's harassment school this read congresswoman
miller to ask how many thought they were? you not giving her a definitive number or answer. what did that exchange signal for you? why are we arguing over this arparticular question. >> first and foremost with the backs of her lgbtq students, or transgender students, no one should be made to feel less than by a person in your playground during recess or by an elected official. we are going to protect students all day. ifbl someone was does not feel comfortable around those students, i am not going to entertain and exchange where our students who are watching are made to feel uncomfortable. i'm just not going to t feed into that. we are t going to suited into her student right to participate in school pairnt going to support our
students -- mcdade need more support not less. for me it's more important to understand the end of the day i'm serving as a child advocate, as a secretary of education putting students first. that includes and conversations i have with elected officials. >> as you know number statesff including florida had taken legislative steps too band transgender students from participating in sports. i'm wondering if you think there used to be a federal mandate to protect the rights of transgender students? more specifically do you think the equality act which is sitting in the united states senate, with that piece of legislation passed by the senate and signed by the president, you said he will sign it, will that protect transgender students from these pernicious laws and proposals that are out there? >> you know, we really need too work together to make sure we are protecting students at a level that the rights of her students are protected.
support from the hill be critically important as well. we would support that. at all levels.ve not only at the federal level but at the state level and local level. our students needel us now. we need too make sure we are supporting them. and making sure that when we are tongue that reopening schools we are not just talk about good ventilation systems are having ppp on hand. were also somewhat nurturing environments were students feel welcome. for they feel accepted. and they can be there selves in our schools. those are what her school should students. it second is a sense of community. i have confidence in our educators. i have complete confidence and educators. oftentimes things become politicized but at the end of the day the doors close and there's a teacher there. i know our teachers chirp care about her kids are going to put their needs first. >> that's a perfect segue to my last question, when it comes to the issue of race you told lawmakers you trust
educators to do their jobs.ou how do you think teaching about racism and its impact on our history should be incorporated into classroomom instruction? >> the beautiful thing about a country is the diversity that this country is unique in that sense. we all come from different places. we all add to this beautiful country and our growth. it'sib important for students to see contributions of folks that look like them intercountry development. equally important for studentsri to see the contributions of others that don't look like them. they can get a a better sense of what the world is really like printing could be shortchanging your students if we did not do that but that is another issue that is become very politicized. it's very unfortunate because our educators know they are doing. now it's delicately come out of a pandemic you have a divided country but again education can unify both hundred beautiful flag here and making sure that we have
pride in our country while also recognizing the differences and also the mistakes that we have made as a country. i think students are capable of handling that and i think they wantin too. >> well secretary miguel the secretary -- the 12th secretary of education, thank you very, very much for coming to washington post live. >> got to be the jonathan thank you. >> and always thank you for tuning in pre-go to "washington post" live.com to register and find out more information about our programs, past and those that are upcoming in the future. in the meantime part of the opinion writer for the "washington post" for thank you very much for watching "washington post" live. c-span's washington journal everyday would take your call live on the air on the news of the day and we discussed policy issues that impact
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