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Jill Biden says ‘big changes’ needed for struggling public schools

It’s the second Florida tour stop for the Democratic presidential nominee’s wife.

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, talked school reopenings in a virtual Jacksonville event Tuesday, with language familiar to those who caught the tour stop in New Port Richey last week.

The prospective First Lady did as much listening as talking at the town hall, offering few statements that would qualify as live quotes.

“Going forward, we will need big changes to the status quo because this crisis has shined a light on inequities in our education system,” Biden said.

To redress those gaps, access to technology, food security, and mental health support are among the campaign’s big picture priorities, Biden said.

“Our kids are dealing with so much anxiety and uncertainty,” she said, vowing her husband would double the allocation for school psychologists if elected.

They will be needed, she noted, given that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on children, with child abuse, food insecurity, and anxiety all spiking in the COVID-19 era.

“This time of the pandemic has been so tough on our kids,” Biden said. “It’s tough because they’re missing everything that’s familiar to them.”

She said Duval’s school district was “doing its best” to make sure kids are safe, but “challenges” exist when it comes to reopening.

If Joe Biden is elected, she said emergency funds, including for ventilation systems, are part of “Joe Biden’s plan for our schools.”

The Jacksonville “back to school” event was the second Sunshine State stop for her on the tour, which includes iterations in battleground states like Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

While Jill Biden didn’t take media questions at this appearance, word is she did a local television interview that will air at some point in the future.

At the stop last week in New Port Richey, the prospective First Lady lamented the “chaos of Donald Trump’s America.”

While the electioneering component was downplayed, Biden did say America needs a “President with steady leadership who’s going to offer us a plan.”

The event showcased prominent Duval Democrats, including Duval County School Board member Darryl Willie, who hosted the event, and 2019 Jacksonville City Council candidate Sunny Gettinger.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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