Joe Biden proposes big expansion of federal money for K-12 schools

Joe Biden stopped talking entirely in generalities and plowed into the policy debate of the 2020 Democratic primary on Tuesday with an ambitious plan to triple the amount of federal spending on low-income schools.

The proposal to infuse some $30 billion of additional Title I spending into struggling K-12 schools is sure to please teachers unions, which play a crucial role in the Democratic primary, while also highlighting the tried-and-true path Biden is taking in his bid for the nomination. His first major policy unveiling is not focused on winning a new constituency or distinguishing himself as an outside-the-box reformer but on reestablishing his bona fides as a steady hand who will shore up — not blow up — the existing system.

“As my wife Jill says, an educator’s profession isn’t just what they do, it is who they are,” Biden said in a statement released by his campaign. “It’s past time we treat and compensate our educators as the professionals they are, and that we make a commitment that no child’s future will be determined by ZIP Code, parents’ income, race or disability.”

So far, Biden, the Democrats’ front-runner, has largely stuck to broad, general themes, promising to unify the country. Until now, he had not offered a specific, new policy idea.