Friday, September 17, 2021

Biden officially begins transition


It took a few weeks longer than usual, but the federal government officially recognized President-elect Joe Biden as the “apparent winner” of the November 3 election Monday and formally began the transition of power, as President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results fade, The Associated Press reports.

Celebrating the election in Washington, DC (Elvert Barnes / Flickr Creative Commons)

At Lawrence High School in Kansas, reporter Iris Sherron noted that several people in the downtown Lawrence area celebrated last week by honking horns and waving signs for Mr Biden and for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

“I feel happy to know that we are welcoming our first woman vice president who is also a person of color into office,” she quoted one sophomore as saying in The Budget student newspaper. “I think this is a big step for our country.”

The atmosphere among Biden-Harris supporters, she wrote, was filled with elation, in the downtown area and in the school.

“I felt amazing about the election results,” she quoted a junior as saying. “I’m proud to be American again. When I found out the result, I jumped and cheered and called a lot of friends and family.”

But in a state where all but four counties voted for Mr Trump and Mr Biden received only about 41 percent of the votes statewide, several students expressed disappointment but ultimate acceptance of the results.

“My hopes are that Republicans like me and others around the country understand that fighting everything [Mr Trump] does is not going to solve anything,” one junior who initially was hoping for a different outcome said.

And although I have read hundreds of stories about the election in student newspapers in every state in this extended post-election period, I congratulate Ms Sherron and her fellow reporters—Kenna McNally, Tessa Collar, and Arien Roman Roja—at Lawrence High School for a finely balanced report.

We’ll be watching, as will members of both political parties and those Americans who claim loyalty to no particular party but consider themselves patriotic Americans.

If students still find the election and the aftermath of it traumatic in some way, a political science professor and a trauma therapist teamed up offer tips from a trauma-informed curriculum they developed to help students cope.

“I hope that the next four years there is more unity,” another junior was quoted as saying. “I really admire how in [Mr Biden’s] speech he talked about how even if you didn’t vote for him, he still wants to work for you. I hope that there isn’t so much hate in America.”

Cabinet and education

Since the transition is now kicking into gear, Mr Biden has had the opportunity to name several picks for top roles in his administration. All will require confirmation by the Senate after his inauguration, and the pick for education secretary, while being debated in the ranks of educators, probably isn’t high on his list, despite the fact that his wife, Jill, was once a high school teacher.

That hasn’t stopped people from speculating, and it hasn’t stopped people from expressing strong opinions for or against certain prospective contenders.

Among those whose names have been thrown into the hat is Baltimore City Public Schools CEO Sonja Santelises.

Although her Teach For America background and support from the pro-charter school organization Democrats For Education Reform have led advocates to oppose her selection, she has also received praise for the work she has done in Baltimore.

On the other hand, there is every chance that Mr Biden will pick someone from the higher education field to fill the top spot at the US Education Department. The nation’s higher education act is about a decade overdue for reauthorization, and college debt hangs over us as a crisis in the economy, preventing many young graduates from getting a foothold on life after graduation.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.


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