OPINION: President Biden must uphold election promises and fix ‘gaping holes’ in America’s educational system

Amid the theatrics of 2020’s presidential election, both candidates proposed plans to better America’s educational system. Joe Biden promised a free public college education for families earning up to $125,000 yearly, broad student loan forgiveness and an increase in educator salaries. He now holds office in the White House with the pinnacle of political power at his fingertips, yet his four months in office have resulted in minimal progress toward upholding his promises. Rather than downplaying the gaping holes within America’s educational system, President Biden must use his power to fix them. 

The growing need for a college degree is simultaneous with the growth of its price tag.  According to Forbes, Biden plans to create a no-cost public college addendum for families earning $125,000 or less. This threshold is unreasonable for Bay Area residents, where the cost of living is exorbitant even though a combined salary of $125,000 a year is easily surpassable. For the general public, Biden promised two years of free community college. This tuition is already free for many students in certain states, and in others, the costs are covered by scholarships or financial aid. Both promises seem achievable, but he has yet to take action.

In other situations, however, President Biden has not shied away from his authority. On his first day in office, he acted to extend the pause on federal student loan payments and interest. Until Sept. 30, 2021, student loan debtors are exempt from making deposits – a time period that will hopefully foster the arrival of more student debt relief opportunities. With the economic impacts of the pandemic, Biden is adamant about offering $10,000 of forgiveness towards federal loan borrowers. Some members of Congress suggested he could relive up to $50,000 of debt. Biden, however, is hesitant to do so. 

Despite his reluctance towards other prepositions, Biden has been a long-time supporter of sufficient educator salaries. He strives to increase the salaries of teachers working in public institutions. Enlarging Title 1, or the federal aid provision is required to give teachers a raise, thus necessitating Congress’s approval. With the Democratic party’s current control over the Senate, educators may finally receive the pay they deserve. 

At first glance, Biden has made minimal efforts to improve America’s educational system, but he has only been president for four months. Many of his plans are long-term and require funding that has been directed towards another important educational matter: the reopening of schools. 

President Biden has made no action towards creating free higher education opportunities, he’s made little progress towards broad student loan forgiveness, and his plans for providing better salaries for educators have been placed on hold. Although he has only been president for a short period, these promises helped him win the election, therefore he needs to uphold them.