Dr. Jill Biden appears to oppose a major tenet held by education reform advocates, suggesting at a “Teacher of the Year” event that the problem with U.S. schools is not the teachers.
“Like you I don’t know any bad teachers. Teachers are wonderful,” Biden said during a reception for the teacher of the year at the vice president’s mansion in Washington. She said she wants to “lift up the profession” so that others will be inspired to teach.
The teacher of the year, Jeff Charbonneau, is in Washington this week and was honored by President Obama at the White House Tuesday.
Education reformers, particularly conservatives, believe that in fact there are lots of bad teachers. The leading solutions they suggest focus on improving teacher performance and weeding out the bad ones – including establishing performance based pay and allowing parents to choose schools based on quality.
A central battlefield is against teachers’ unions, which many education reformers believe protect bad teachers.
Dr. Biden, who herself has been a teacher, certainly doesn’t believe there are no bad teachers. But her comment suggests a mindset – probably shared by others in the White House – that opposes making significant changes that will improve teacher quality.