President Biden Honors Nation’s Top Teachers in White House Ceremony

President Biden Honors Nation's Top Teachers in White House Ceremony President Joe Biden recently hosted an event at the White House to honor the nation’s top teachers for their hard work and dedication to the profession. During the event, the President acknowledged the challenges faced by educators, including gun violence and efforts to ban books in classrooms.

“…bringing extra snacks for your students, because they can’t learn when they’re hungry. And spending your own money, your own money, on school supplies. You’re explaining the unexplainable from banned books to ducking cover drills. How do you explain that to a child in the year 2023?,” Biden said.

The President acknowledged the threat of gun violence that plagues schools in the United States and spoke of the growing movement from the right to ban books in classrooms, particularly those that reference gender and sexual identity. “Teaching should not be a life-threatening profession, and educators should not need to be armed to feel safe in the classroom,” President Biden said.

“I never thought, as a student of history, I’d be a president that’s fighting against elected officials banning books,” he said. “Empty shelves don’t help kids learn very much.” He encouraged parents and teachers to stand up against “politicians who try to score political points by banning books.”

Dr. Jill Biden, a longtime educator and the First Lady, also addressed the crowd, thanking the teachers for their dedication to their profession. ” It meant so much to me getting some time with all of you today, and I loved hearing about the moments that bring you joy and laughter and about your challenges as well because, hey, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?”

Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, spoke about the need to support teachers with better working conditions and competitive salaries. “Teachers deserve what I like to call the ABCs of teaching. Agency, better working conditions, and competitive salaries. We need more acronyms in education. Under this administration, not just in words, but by how this administration pushes for funding and policy changes, that’s what we’re fighting for.”

Rebecka Peterson, a math teacher from Oklahoma, was named the 2023 National Teacher of the Year. Peterson teaches at Union High School in Tulsa and runs the blog “One Good Thing,” where she posts something good from her classroom every day. In her acceptance speech, she spoke of her hope that the profession can bring people together.

“In the end, maybe we’re all, all of us, just walking each other home,” Peterson said, referencing her Swedish and Iranian heritage. She became a U.S. citizen when she was 20 and said her immigrant view helps her see the beauty in the nation. ” I’ve been lucky to witness the beauty of our nation from a, perhaps, different lens… A lens that pays special attention to those people who wrap their arms around those of us who may be a little bit different. Often, those people who held me literally and figuratively were my teachers.,” she said.

The event honored the top educators from each state and territory, recognizing their ability to excel in the classroom. President Biden praised them for their work during a difficult time and promised to support them in the years to come. “As you get to school each day, often, many of you before dawn, as you head home each night, weighed down with papers to grade, please know that we see you.,” he said. “We see you educating our students, your students. We also see you confronting them and comforting them when they’re in trouble, caring for them and inspiring them. Our children are our nation’s future.”

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