Jill Biden to headline teachers union convention

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

First lady Jill Biden will headline the American Federation of Teachers Convention in Boston on Friday, marking the convention’s first in-person gathering since 2018.

The Hill was the first outlet to report on the news of Biden’s address.

Biden, who holds a teaching position at Northern Virginia Community College, will join a number of other well-known speakers at the convention, including AFT President Randi Weingarten; Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.); House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); Senate candidate and Florida Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.); Labor Secretary Marty Walsh; March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg; and AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler.

Weingarten praised Biden’s upcoming appearance at the convention, telling The Hill in a statement that she was “honored and grateful to welcome one of our own – a teacher – to AFT Convention.”

“She knows what it’s like to grade papers over dinner; to call a student at home to check on them, or their family; to see someone’s eyes light up when they recognize a concept in a book or articulate an idea to the rest of their classmates,” Weingarten said.

The Biden administration has closely aligned itself with teachers unions. Last week, Vice President Harris addressed the National Education Association at the union’s 2022 annual meeting and representative assembly.

Teachers unions and Democrats, including the first lady, have been particularly vocal lately about the issue of school shootings, the latest killing 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Biden revealed last month that she has imagined a school shooting in her own classroom.

“At the start of each semester, I’m sure all of you in here who are teachers do this, you explain to your students on the first day a path, a pathway, to get out if a shooter comes into the school so that they’re prepared,” Biden said, speaking at the National Parent Teachers Association’s 125th anniversary convention.

More than 3,000 delegates are expected to attend the convention, which starts on Thursday. The gathering comes on the heels of an AFT survey, which showed a 34-point rise in job dissatisfaction among pre-K through 12th-grade teachers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gathering also comes as teachers unions have come under increased criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail for their handling of school closures during the height of the pandemic.

In May, Republican Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Burgess Owens (R-Utah) penned a joint letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, voicing their concerns over what they said were “significant concerns” about the “outsized influence” teachers unions like AFT and NEA have on guidance for school reopenings.

Weingarten responded, accusing Republicans of “pit teachers against parents to score cheap political points.”

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.