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Teacher’s union boss courts GOP, key Hispanic groups in bid for Biden’s education secretary pick

The former president of the nation’s largest teachers union is working to lock up support from Republican senators and Hispanic leaders in her bid to be picked as Education secretary, according to officials familiar with the talks.



a close up of Lily Eskelsen García who is smiling at the camera: Lily Eskelsen García speaks at a news conference.


© Andrew Harnik/AP Photo
Lily Eskelsen García speaks at a news conference.

Lily Eskelsen García is expected to score the backing of more than 40 Hispanic groups finalizing a letter endorsing her for the position this week. She has also strategized in recent weeks with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the retiring chair of the Senate committee that oversees education and himself a former Education secretary.

“We’ve talked with her and gave her advice on how to get bipartisan support,” said David Cleary, Alexander’s chief of staff and veteran of education policy on Capitol Hill. “There’s a good argument to be made for Lily.”

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a collection of more

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NJEA’s Sean Spiller making the rounds for a job as Biden’s education secretary


Portrait of Sean Spiller

Portrait of Sean Spiller | Photo courtesy of Montclair Township

Sean Spiller, vice president of the New Jersey Education Association has given the state’s congressional delegation a heads up that he’s interested in the position of U.S. Secretary of Education under a Joe Biden administration according to six sources.

It was not immediately clear if Spiller has been in touch with the Biden transition team, but those with knowledge of the process told POLITICO Spiller has already notified the New Jersey federal delegation and Gov. Phil Murphy that his name may be floated.

Spiller did not respond to calls or emails but NJEA spokesperson Steve Baker said in a text message that, while he hasn’t seen any shortlist, if Spiller is being considered, “he would make a terrific Secretary of Education.”

“Sean was a huge supporter of Biden and Harris during the election and I’m confident he’s willing to do

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Veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield returns as Biden’s pick for UN envoy

Linda Thomas-Greenfield had a busy holiday week.

The first media reports emerged a week ago Sunday that the retired U.S. ambassador was most likely President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for envoy to the United Nations in New York. On Monday, the Biden transition confirmed the news and on Tuesday she joined Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their new national security team on stage for a rollout.

But perhaps more telling of who this career diplomat is, is what Thomas-Greenfield did Wednesday and Thursday — making and dropping off dinner for over a half dozen colleagues and friends who were alone for Thanksgiving, according to Jendayi Frazer.

“She has the X factor,” said Frazer, who served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to South Africa and assistant secretary of state for African affairs. “She’s thinking about other people. She cares about them and she just has a warmness about her and a

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Career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield returns as Biden’s pick for UN envoy

Linda Thomas-Greenfield had a busy holiday week.



Linda Thomas-Greenfield wearing a suit and tie: President-elect Joe Biden's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at The Queen theater,in Wilmington, Del. , Nov. 24, 2020.


© Carolyn Kaster/AP
President-elect Joe Biden’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations nominee Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks at The Queen theater,in Wilmington, Del. , Nov. 24, 2020.

The first media reports emerged a week ago Sunday that the retired U.S. ambassador was most likely President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for envoy to the United Nations in New York. On Monday, the Biden transition confirmed the news and on Tuesday she joined Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their new national security team on stage for a rollout.

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But perhaps more telling of who this career diplomat is, is what Thomas-Greenfield did Wednesday and Thursday — making and dropping off dinner for over a half dozen colleagues and friends who were alone for Thanksgiving, according to Jendayi Frazer.

“She has the X factor,” said Frazer, who served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to

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The Test That Matters for Biden’s Education Policy

(Bloomberg Opinion) — By the looks of it, President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will be among the most teacher-friendly in history — and not just because incoming First Lady Jill Biden, who plans to continue teaching, will arguably be the most important voice in the president’s ear. Beyond that, Biden has called for a teacher-oriented Department of Education and is reportedly considering the former head of the biggest teachers’ union, and the current head of the second-biggest, for his cabinet.



A teacher wearing a protective mask assists a student in a fifth grade classroom at Logan Jr. High School in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. The Illinois State Board of Education has "strongly encouraged" a return to full, in-person instruction in the fall, as long as the regions are in Phase 4 of reopening.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
A teacher wearing a protective mask assists a student in a fifth grade classroom at Logan Jr. High School in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. The Illinois State Board of Education has “strongly encouraged” a return to full, in-person instruction in the fall, as long as the regions are in Phase 4 of reopening.



a man standing in a room: A Covid-19 prevention sign is displayed as students work in a fifth grade classroom at Logan Jr. High School in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. The Illinois State Board of Education has "strongly encouraged" a return to full, in-person instruction in the fall, as long as the regions are in Phase 4 of reopening.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
A Covid-19 prevention sign is displayed as students

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Biden’s pick for Education secretary will be tested on assessments

With help from Andrew Atterbury

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Weekly Education: Coronavirus special edition. Each week, we will explore how the pandemic is reshaping and upending education as we know it across the country, from pre-K through grad school. We will explore the debates of the day, new challenges and talk to movers and shakers about whether changes ushered in now are here to stay.

This newsletter is a weekly version of POLITICO Pro’s daily Education policy newsletter, Morning Education. POLITICO Pro is a policy intelligence platform that combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the day’s biggest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.

TESTING TIME — A major test awaits President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for Education secretary. The question is whether to waive federal standardized testing requirements this spring for K-12 schools for a second year or to carry on,

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Biden’s Education Secretary? The Case for Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania

We need to fund neighborhood schools and pay their teachers more! We need more charter schools and higher academic standards! That’s been the debate inside the Democratic Party since the days of Barack Obama, who stood squarely in the charters-and-standards camp. Joe Biden is reportedly considering the appointment of former National Education Association President Lily Eskelen Garcia or American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten as his Secretary of Education, which would signal a move away from Obama and the traditional-schools model.

But I’ve got a better idea: how about choosing someone who isn’t identified with one team or the other but instead specializes in forging discussion and compromise between them?

I’m talking about University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, who is rumored to be under consideration for the secretary post as well. Gutmann is America’s leading scholar of democratic dialogue, the skills and habits

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Biden’s plan for teachers, schools hits snag amid pandemic

President-elect Joe Biden promised to give teachers a pay raise and direct more money to schools that serve low-income children, but those education reforms will have to take a back seat to emergency needs as schools fight to save teacher jobs and close funding gaps during the pandemic.

Education groups say that more than half a million teachers and school personnel have been laid off and more turmoil is on the horizon unless the federal government steps in with emergency funding. Those critical needs must be addressed first, they said, over the more aspirational parts of Biden’s education agenda.

Biden’s education plan to “give teachers a raise” and “eliminate the funding gap between white and non-white districts,” relies on expanding the federal education aid provision known as Title I, which he cannot do without Congress.

Additional funding for low-income schools and an increase in teacher compensation will be difficult

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GSA official blocking Biden’s transition appears to privately plan post-Trump career

The top General Services Administration official who’s blocking President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team from accessing government resources ahead of his inauguration appears to be looking for a new job, according to a message obtained by ABC News.



a person wearing glasses: GSA Administrator Emily Murphy arrives to testify at a hearing on "General Services Administration Oversight" on March 13, 2019 in Washington.


© Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy arrives to testify at a hearing on “General Services Administration Oversight” on March 13, 2019 in Washington.

Emily Murphy, head of the GSA, recently sent that message to an associate inquiring about employment opportunities in 2021, a move that some in Washington interpreted as at least tacitly acknowledging that the current administration soon will be gone.

Murphy has the power to decide — or “ascertain” — when election results are evident enough to trigger a transition of power, allowing the winning team access to career staff at federal agencies and internal government information including national security matters and plans for administering

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Biden’s Education secretary must expel the harmful policies of the last four years



a person sitting at a desk: Biden's Education secretary must expel the harmful policies of the last four years


© The Hill
Biden’s Education secretary must expel the harmful policies of the last four years

A spirit of hard-hearted antagonism toward the missions of many federal agencies and the government workers serving them haunts the halls of the buildings along Independence Avenue, perhaps none more so than the Department of Education.

That’s why President-elect Joe Biden has his work cut out as he restores the effectiveness of executive agencies built to serve the interests of the American people.

The next Education secretary who strides into that building undoubtedly will have an ambitious agenda, one with almost transcendent importance given the deeply held beliefs Americans hold about education.

Increasing teacher pay, school safety, and racial equity, as well as exploring “free college” options are likely to be topline goals. The next secretary also will have to be a policy expert, surely. Someone who understands the role of teacher. Certainly,

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