Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says he’d spend billions more on the nation’s education system to establish a "16-year mindset" and establish a $45,000 minimum wage for teachers.
"We can’t steal ’em anymore," Biden says of teachers. "We gotta pay. We gotta pay and I promise you — guarantee you — if we do what I am talking about or some version of it, we will revolutionize in the 21st century America’s place in the world from a competitive standpoint."
As for that "16-year mindset," Biden would triple the number of three-year-olds who’re enrolled in government-financed "Head Start" and double the number of four- and five-year-olds who are in the preschool program. And Biden would provide more government funding to encourage high school graduates to go onto college.
"This is not rocket science," Biden says. "This is pretty straight-forward stuff."
Biden spoke this morning in the library of a Des Moines high school and told a gathering of students, teachers and supporters that he wants to use the "overwhelming power" of the presidency to change the way Americans look at education.
"The power of a president is ideas. That is the overwhelming power," Biden said. "Great presidents have been men — and in the future women as well — who change the attitude of a nation."
Biden pegged the cost of his education initiatives at $30 billion, which he described as equal to about one-third of the Bush-era federal tax break for Americans who make above $1.4 million a year.
"They don’t need it. They didn’t ask for it," Biden said. "It will not affect the economy at all if we take it away."
Biden’s wife and sister are school teachers, and Biden told the crowd he’d be an "evangelist" for education if elected president so the nation doesn’t fall behind competitors like India and China.
"So the battle is on…not through the might of our military, which is incredible, but through the might of our minds and the education system," Biden said.
Biden is scheduled to campaign in Sigourney, Ottumwa and Burlington today, with stops Friday in Fort Madison, Keosauqua and Mount Pleasant.