A “sacred obligation”: Jill Biden pledges to support military families as first lady

In her first widely-publicized appearance since her husband won the presidential election, Jill Biden pledged continued support for military families – an extension of the work undertaken when she was second lady.

Speaking to attendees of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) virtual summit on Tuesday, Biden described the stressors military children face at home and in the classroom as they move from school to school. other and deal with their parents. deployments.

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Referring to an MCEC survey that found that only 41% of military families believe schools meet the needs of their students, Biden, a community college teacher who said she plans to continue teaching everything while living in the White House, said she was “ready to go to work with you.”

“Joe and I have always believed that as a nation we have many obligations. But we have only one truly sacred obligation: to properly prepare and equip our troops when we send them into danger. And take care of them and their families, both during their deployment and after they return home, ”she said.

Biden and former First Lady Michelle Obama created Joining Forces in 2011, a national initiative to support military families and veterans, focusing on employment, wellness and mental health, education and transitions.

In 2012, Biden launched “Operation Educate the Educators” as part of Joining Forces – an effort to educate teachers about the challenges military children face in their classrooms.

According to Biden, there are more than two million children linked to the military and veterans in American classrooms.

“Educators can do a lot to empower students, to help them find the confidence they didn’t really know they had and become the people they want to be,” she said. “This is especially true for children linked to the military who look to the adults in their lives for stability and support.”

Children of military personnel can expect to relocate six to nine times before graduating from high school, according to the MCEC. These frequent transfers can mean missed educational opportunities, gaps in courses, and varying test requirements.

More than two-thirds of school professionals surveyed said they lacked confidence in assessing transcripts from other schools for military children or in granting graduation waivers to children who move during their last year.

And 45% of educators said they didn’t feel confident about helping military children prepare for college or careers.

“The results underscore that we must do more to ensure that children linked to the military receive the education they need to be ready for work, college and life,” said Becky Porter, president and chief. of the direction of the MCEC.

The survey, conducted earlier this year, drew more than 5,000 responses from teachers and administrators, military children and parents of the five armed forces in all 50 states and 21 countries.

Biden said the survey provides a framework to “chart a better course for students, parents and the school.”

“Your sacrifice deserves nothing less,” she said.

– Patricia Kime can be contacted at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

Related: Biden family military ties may influence approach to White House politics

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