WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden repeatedly told teachers gathered at the White House that school children are “like yours when they’re in the classroom.”
The president spoke at a Teacher of the Year event held Wednesday where he urged teachers to help students “gain confidence enough to know what they can do.”
“They’re not someone else’s children, they’re our children,” he said. “And they are the kite strings that literally lift our national ambitions aloft. … Think about it. If you got to do one thing to make sure the nation succeeded in the next two generations, what would you do? I would say, literally, have the best-educated public in the world.”
Biden emphasized that “we have an obligation to help them … reach their potential.”
“You have heard me say it many times about our children, but it is true, they’re all our children. And the reason you are the teachers of the year is because you recognize that,” he said. “They’re not somebody else’s children. They’re like yours when they’re in the classroom.”
The president’s remarks come after uproar over gender identity and Critical Race Theory concepts being taught to children in both public and private schools. Largely exposed by virtual schooling during the pandemic, these concepts have prompted a parental rebellion against school boards across the nation.
Former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe sparked massive backlash when he said on the campaign trail that he didn’t think “parents should be telling schools what they should teach” — a remark that some have argued cost him the election.
“No, Joe, they are not ‘somebody else’s children,’” the American Principles Project fired back at the president in a Wednesday evening tweet. “They are OUR children.”
Joe Biden says to teachers about their students "they are not somebody else's children. They're yours when you're in the classroom."
No, Joe, they are not "somebody else's children."
They are OUR children. pic.twitter.com/A5wW3ytRQk
— American Principles 🇺🇸 (@approject) April 27, 2022
Biden also honored teacher Kurt Russell, who works at Ohio’s Oberlin High School and was named the teacher of the year by the nonprofit Council of Chief State School Officers, according to CNN.
The publication reported that Russell teaches African American history, race, gender, and oppression courses, coaches varsity basketball, and serves as the faculty adviser for the school’s Black Student Union.
“Teaching is one of the hardest jobs in this country,” Biden said. “Today, there are too many politicians trying to score political points trying to ban books — even math books. I mean, did you ever think … that when you’d be teaching you’d be worrying about book burnings and banning books? All because it doesn’t fit somebody’s political agenda.”
“American teachers have dedicated their lives to teaching our children and lifting them up,” he continued. “We ought to stop making them a target of the culture wars. That’s where this is going.”