Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Biden Revokes Trump’s ‘Patriotic Education’ Order, Will Shield DACA

By Andrew Ujifusa — January 20, 2021 3 min read
 Joe Biden departs a news conference after introducing his nominees and appointees to economic policy posts at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President Joe Biden moved to “preserve and fortify” executive action that shields certain undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as young children, said in an executive order that laws that prohibit sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination against gender identity, and in another executive order initiated a government-wide push to emphasize racial equity on his first day as president.

Biden also revoked an executive order from outgoing President Donald Trump that created a commission to promote “patriotic education” in schools and elsewhere. That group, the 1776 Commission released a report Monday that lamented what it called the role of identity politics and the progressive movement in historical studies; it was criticized by many historians for how it treated slavery and other elements of American history.

Biden took these and several other executive actions Wednesday, when he was inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president. For months, Biden has pledged to reverse Trump administration actions on a variety of fronts, including on hot-button education issues. Wednesday’s raft of executive orders accomplished that goal, and also demonstrated his administration’s early priorities.

“These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president,” Biden’s transition team said in a statement Wednesday.

Racial Equity and DACA

Biden issued a memorandum “preserving and fortifying” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides certain legal protections to people who came to the country as undocumented immigrants while still young children, and he assigned this task to the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General.

He also said he would push Congress to create a path to citizenship for those protected by DACA. President Barack Obama instituted DACA in 2012, and Trump unsuccessfully tried to eliminate it. It’s worth remembering that Congress has tried but failed to address DACA in recent years as part of broader immigration legislation. As of roughly three years ago, an estimated 9,000 educators were protected by DACA. Preserving the program has been a priority for many education groups.

“Many are serving our country in the armed services or as essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic,” Biden’s announcement of these and other executive actions, released Wednesday before his inauguration, said of those helped by DACA.

These actions are bold, begin the work of following through on President-elect Biden’s promises to the American people, and, importantly, fall within the constitutional role for the president.

Elsewhere, the executive order Biden signed on Wednesday for “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government” will mean lead to “an equity assessment in federal agencies,” designating federal resources “to advance fairness and opportunity,” and the establishment of a new “equitable data working group,” among other things.

In the same order, Biden revoked Trump’s executive order that promoted “patriotic education” and established the 1776 Commission.

In addition, the order revoked a Trump executive order that cracked down on diversity and inclusion training in the federal government.

Transgender Rights and Student Loans

Separately, Biden signed an executive order interpreting the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in the Bostock v. Clayton County case to mean that “laws that prohibit sex discrimination ... prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, so long as the laws do not contain sufficient indications to the contrary.” The executive order says this applies to the federal Title IX laws for education that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.

It’s a signal that the new administration, as Biden promised to do during his campaign, plans to reinstate Obama administration guidance about transgender student rights. (The Trump administration rescinded that guidance in 2017.) “Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” Biden’s new executive order states.

The executive order told agency leaders to review guidance documents, regulations, policies, and other “agency actions” to see if they complied with the executive order’s interpretation of federal law.

See some helpful background on the Bostock ruling here.

On the higher education front, Biden’s Education Department extended a pause on collecting interest and principal payments on direct federal loans until at least Sept. 30 of this year.

Biden also revoked a Trump directive that resulted in “harsh and extreme immigration enforcement,” and he called for an immediate halt to the construction of the border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Education Department Opens Civil Rights Probes in 5 States That Ban School Mask Mandates
The move on behalf of students with disabilities deepens the fight over masks between the Biden administration and GOP governors.
4 min read
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles in April 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP