Jill Biden to visit Connecticut and Pennsylvania to tout Joe’s plan to reopen schools


Jill Biden will visit Connecticut and Pennsylvania on Wednesday to tout the president’s plan to reopen schools as the first lady is making her influence felt in her husband’s administration.

She will visit Meriden, Connecticut, the hometown of newly-confirmed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who will travel with her. The two will visit Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

Cardona served as a fourth-grade teacher, principal and an assistant superintendent for Meriden Public Schools before joining the Biden administration.

The duo also will visit Fort LeBoeuf Middle School in Waterford, Pennsylvania. 

‘They will be having a conversation at the schools that they’re visiting that have reopened – about what has been effective, what has worked, what are the lessons learned, what do they need more assistance with, and certainly that is information that they will take back with them,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her briefing on Tuesday.

President Joe Biden has pushed to reopen schools for in-person education. Cardona will play a central role in making that happen. And Biden’s COVID relief plan includes $130 billion for the nation’s schools to help them with costs associated with reopening, such as extra cleaning, more classrooms needed for social distancing and mental health services. 

Jill Biden will visit Connecticut and Pennsylvania on Wednesday to tout the president’s plan to reopen schools

Jill Biden is making her influence felt in President Joe Biden's administration

Jill Biden is making her influence felt in President Joe Biden’s administration

Jill Biden, a teacher, has made clear she will be a voice in education issues during her husband’s tenure.

During the presidential race she repeatedly talked education on the campaign trail and frequently criticized Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s controversial pick to run the Education Department.

The Biden teamed vowed to put a teacher in charge of education, which they did with Cardona. He was confirmed by the Senate as education secretary Monday evening and will take the oath of office from Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday. 

Unlike her predecessors in the unpaid, symbolic role of first lady, Jill Biden has hit the ground running. 

In contrast, Melania Trump waited until her son Barron finished the school year to move the White House after Donald Trump was elected and didn’t role out her be Best initiative until more than a year after her husband took the oath office.

And Michelle Obama waited a year before she started work on any signature initiatives.

But both women had young children living in the White House and their early focus was on making sure the kids adjusted to their new lives in Washington D.C.

Jill Biden, in comparison, has raised her children and she has her experience as second lady to fall back on. 

First lady Melania Trump

First lady Michelle Obama

Both Melania Trump (left) and Michelle Obama (right) waited at least a year before launching any initiatives as both had young children they were helping to adjust to life in the White House

Jill Biden made her first solo trip outside of Washington D.C. last week when she visited the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia

Jill Biden made her first solo trip outside of Washington D.C. last week when she visited the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia

Jill Biden joined President Biden touring a food bank in Houston, Texas, last Friday

Jill Biden joined President Biden touring a food bank in Houston, Texas, last Friday

Within her first month in the White House, she’s made her first solo trip outside of Washington D.C., restarted her Joining Forces initiative and continued to teach at a Northern Virginia community college.

She’s also made her voice heard on issues in the Biden’s administration that are close to her heart – particularly those involving children.

She’s urged the administration to work quickly to unit migrant children with their families after separations occurred in the Trump administration. 

‘The first lady has driven us to action to act through her personal commitment to this moral imperative. And that moral imperative is to reunite the families and restore them to the fullest capacity,’ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said at the White House press briefing on Monday.

Biden’s chief of staff, Julissa Reynoso, is monitoring the effort. Reynoso moved to the United States with her family as a child from the Dominican Republic.

The first lady is also racking up the mileage. 

Last week, she went to Richmond, Va., to visit the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

And she accompanied President Biden to Houston, Texas, on Friday where she toured a food bank as part of their look at how the state was recovering from a devastating winter storm. 

Jill Biden has held several events involving children whose parents serve in the military – a combination of her two issues of education and military families. 

In late January, she spoke to military children who are a part of the Military Children Education Coalition’s (MCEC) Student 2 Student peer mentoring program. The zoom call was part of the first lady’s Joining Forces program, an initiative she originally stared with Michelle Obama and brought back with her to the White House.

She spoke with five teens who are part of the program.  

‘The Biden’s are a military family,’ she told the kids.

Jill Biden has hit the ground running as first lady

Jill Biden has hit the ground running as first lady 

Jill Biden sent President Joe Biden off to a visit to Walter Reed with a kiss in late January

Jill Biden sent President Joe Biden off to a visit to Walter Reed with a kiss in late January 

Jill Biden has held many virtual events with school children - including the one above in late January

Jill Biden has held many virtual events with school children – including the one above in late January

She told them she admired their resilience as they dealt with the challenges of being in school during the pandemic.  

‘I do see your resilience and your flexibility and your strength. But I also see your vulnerability, I mean you kids are going through a lot. Don’t underestimate. You know how hard it is how difficult it is to, sort of, dig deep within,’ she said.

She told the kids she and the president see them.

‘Please, please know that the president, my husband Joe, you know, we see you every single day, and certainly appreciate all the sacrifice that you that you all are making for this country,’ she told them. 

‘It is the families who serve alongside you know the the military person. And so I don’t want you to feel like we don’t see you. We see you, and we appreciate every single day, all that you’re doing,’ she said. 



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