Among the many firsts for the next administration, is a little history regarding the first lady.

Doctor Jill Biden will be the first first lady to maintain a full-time job outside of her duties inside the administration.

“For American educators, it is a great day for y’all. You’re going to have one of your own in the White House,” said president-elect Joe Biden.

Jill will continue teaching English at Northern Virginia Community College, a job she also juggled while she was Second Lady.   

“I think we’ve felt neglected and underappreciated,” said Dr. Eric Engdahl, who is in charge of teaching the next generation of teachers at Cal State East Bay. 

He says current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is to blame for some of that low morale.  Critics note the billionaire philanthropist prioritized school choice over public schools. DeVos also axed Obama-era guidelines that protected transgender students and strengthened the rights of students accused of sexual misconduct. 

“With Jill Biden in the White House, and continuing to work, it sends a really great message to everybody,” said Engdahl.

This summer, President Donald Trump pressured schools to reopen their doors, despite concerns raised by teachers unions that it was still too soon. Chaz Garcia is the bargaining chair for the Oakland teachers union. The district and the union still have to work out an agreement on how to reopen schools to students, especially those struggling to keep up with distance learning. 

“To have professor Biden in a position where she has gone through that experience and lived that, I think it will be a tremendous asset,” said Garcia.

It looks like Jill’s teaching experience is already making an impact.

Under their list of priorities on the Biden/Harris transition website, which went live on Sunday, the team promises to advance racial equity by providing higher education opportunities connected to the jobs of the future. 


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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