Remarks by the First Lady at the White House Domestic Policy Council Meeting to Strengthen the Teaching Profession

August 31, 2022

[As prepared for delivery.]

Thank you, Ambassador Rice. And Secretary Walsh, Secretary Cardona—thank you all for being with us today.

When I was on the campaign trail a few years ago, I met a man in New Hampshire who told me that both he and his wife were educators. When he talked about his class, I could just tell that he was the kind of teacher who students remember forever. But even as he told me how much he loves his career, he confessed that he had doubts about his future. Both he and his wife were still paying off significant student debt.

He said: "We want to start a family—to have kids. But we just can't afford it on two teacher salaries."

There are so many other future educators out there who want to teach, but decide against it—or leave—because so many obstacles stand in their way.

If we want to draw more bright, talented people into this field—if we want educators to be able to do what they do best—we have to give them the pay and support they deserve.

You know, we've heard so much about teacher shortages after COVID-19. But Becky, Randi—we know that this has been a problem for a long time. That's why Joe had the foresight to anticipate the challenges we are facing right now—and why he's put schools and families at the heart of his work.

Today, we're proud to announce new commitments to strengthen the educator profession and support school districts in need of teachers.

Our unions—the AFT and NEA—along with the National Governors Association, state school chiefs, and other education leaders have come together to support better, smarter educator career paths. And I want to thank the business partners here today who have responded to the President's call to action, and are making it easier to connect educators with the schools that need them.

This is just the start. This is a powerful coalition, and we are all ready to get to work to make sure that our students have the teachers they need and deserve.

And let me say to teachers right now: Today is our Public Service Loan Forgiveness Day of Action. You have until the end of October to apply with the waiver that allows more people to qualify. Don't be like our students and put it off until the last minute!

The President will never stop working to ensure that everyone who wants to teach can—and that we have the support we need to do what we do best for years and years to come.

Thank you. And now, I'm going to hand it off to Secretary Cardona.

Jill Biden, Remarks by the First Lady at the White House Domestic Policy Council Meeting to Strengthen the Teaching Profession Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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