President Trump tried to bully schools into opening their buildings, a hard-edge pandemic tactic that succeeded in places and backfired elsewhere. President-elect Joe Biden is hoping to pry them open with money for increased coronavirus expenses and clear guidance on how in-person schooling can resume safely, a shift that signals a new era for education policy in the United States.
Under Trump, the Education Department has been led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, who alienated many by casting public schools as failures and promoting alternatives to them. Through executive action and negotiations with Congress, Biden wants to bolster public schools.
He has promised hundreds of billions of dollars in new education spending, for preschool through college. He has proposed college debt forgiveness. And he wants to overturn a controversial regulation on sexual harassment and assault that universities and others strongly opposed.