Remarks by Vice President Harris at the National Education

McCormick Place Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois

5:12 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Great afternoon, NEA!  Fantastic afternoon!  (Applause.) 
Oh, what a sight my eyes behold.  I am so content to be with you all this afternoon.  I am so happy to be with you.  And thank you for everything you do and anything you are.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 
And, Becky, thank you for remaining these kinds of an remarkable leader in amazing situations. (Applause.)  Genuinely.  I have run into her in unique spots all over the region, and she is constantly speaking about you and the importance of this business and the value of this organization to the upcoming of our country.  Thank you, Becky, for that introduction.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
So, in advance of I commence with my tackle to you, I want to just briefly but importantly tackle the tragedy just miles away in Highland Park.
As we all know, yesterday really should have been a working day to appear jointly with spouse and children and mates to rejoice our nation’s independence.  And in its place, that neighborhood experienced a violent tragedy.  Young children, parents, grandparents — victims to a senseless act of gun violence. 
And Doug, who is here with me, he and I — of class, we mourn, as you do, for these who had been killed.  And we pray for all those who were being wounded.  And we all grieve, I know, for the lives that are endlessly changed in that group, which include, of system, the pupils and the lecturers of that neighborhood who have suffered excellent loss. 
And I really do not need to have to convey to NEA: We will need to conclusion this horror.  We need to cease this violence.  (Applause.) 
And we must protect our communities from the terror of gun violence.  You know, I have explained it before: Enough is enough.  (Applause.) 
I imply, in this article we are, and our nation is nonetheless mourning the decline of individuals 19 infants and their two academics in Uvalde.  This massacre was the most the latest reminder — in Uvalde — of the risks that our small children and our educators encounter each day.
Instructors should really not have to apply barricading a classroom.  (Applause.)  Lecturers should really not have to know how to deal with a gunshot wound.  (Applause.)  And teachers must not be told that “Lives would have been saved if only you had a gun.”  (Applause.) 
Now, we have designed some progress.  For the initially time in 30 a long time, our President, Joe Biden, signed a federal gun protection monthly bill.  (Applause.)  And it strengthens history checks, and it closes what we call the “boyfriend loophole,” and it involves funding for psychological well being expert services and school security. 
But we have a lot more to do.  We have additional to do.  (Applause.) 
And Congress desires to have the bravery to act and renew the assault weapons ban.  (Applause.) 
You know, I’ll converse in a moment about how you as educators instruct the young children so significantly.  And you instruct the young children, between quite a few points, motive.
So, let’s speak about what an assault weapon is designed to do.  An assault weapon is made to kill a great deal of human beings swiftly.  There is no purpose that we have weapons of war on the streets of The usa.  We want fair gun security guidelines!  (Applause.) 
And we have to have to have Congress end guarding people gun brands with the liability protect.  Repeal it!  Repeal it! (Applause.) 
So we cannot be deterred.  We know we have troubles.  We simply cannot be deterred.
And, NEA, we will not give up this fight.  We will not tire since I know who you are that is just not in our nature.  (Applause.)
And that, NEA, is why I am so honored to be below with you — because I do know this room.  This is a place of fighters.  And I know — (applause) — how deeply own this do the job is to each a single of you. 
As an educator, your work does not stop at the end of the day when you stroll out of your college.  Your work is complete-time.  (Applause.)  I know that. 
Students arrive to your classroom before the working day starts off — for assistance with research in some cases with an vacant abdomen that you feed — (applause) or just to have someone they rely on to converse with.  (Applause.)  Your learners glimpse to you to tell them all the things is heading to be okay, even sometimes when you might not be confident. 
But you continue to demonstrate up.  And that is why the President and I are honored to associate with the NEA to develop our nation’s leaders.  (Applause.)
And as a own stage of delight for all of us to have an educator and a single of your lively associates in the White Residence as 1st Lady — (laughs) — (applause) — Dr. Jill Biden.  Yes.  (Applause.) 
And I can notify you — so I in some cases see her in a unique problem than you might, and enable me just tell you one thing.  I have watched her go from the classroom directly to activities at the White House or throughout the place and all-around the world, grading papers in amongst.  (Applause.)  So, like you, she is a exceptional educator who conjures up us all.
NEA, who you are and what you do is also individual to me.  I’ve shared with some of you: My to start with-grade teacher, Mrs. Frances Wilson — God rest her soul — attended my regulation college graduation.  (Applause.)  And there are many men and women who have contributed to me to be capable to provide as the 1st woman Vice President of the United States — (applause) — but I’m likely to inform you, Mrs. Wilson was one of the earliest.  (Applause.)
So, you all, you not only condition life, but you also form procedures. 
And we read you when we took office when you told us about the troubles that make any difference most to you and your college students. 
We listened to you when you advised us about the panic and the uncertainty that you confronted throughout the pandemic and about the excess assistance young children desired once they returned to the classroom. So, with your assistance, we directed above $120 billion to our nation’s colleges by means of the American Rescue Approach — with your assist.  (Applause.)
And this funding also led to a new initiative, introduced just currently, to support students who fell driving in the course of the pandemic, which means 250,000 tutors and mentors throughout the state will be in schools to give learners the help they have to have and to help your work every single working day.  (Applause.)
We also read you when you mentioned your properties are slipping aside — that the school structures are falling apart.  (Applause.)  We read you that air conditioners were damaged in the summer months heat.  We read you when you reported way too numerous of our kids drink drinking water poisoned with direct and breathe hazardous fumes from their bus ride to university.  (Applause.)
We read you when you claimed your students cannot do their research since they simply cannot afford nor do they have entry to be able to get on-line.  (Applause.)
So we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, and it will restore ageing school infrastructure to preserve educational facilities funds.  It will change lead pipes in 400,000 faculties and childcare facilities throughout the place — (applause) — so that our children can consume clean drinking water.  It will electrify our nation’s university buses so children can have clear air to breathe.  (Applause.)  It will make large-pace Internet available and affordable to just about every American household. 
And this will occur mainly because of your assistance and your leadership.  Thank you, NEA.  (Applause.)
And we continue to have much more to do, and we have so much to do alongside one another.
NEA, you are extraordinarily successful as a team advocate for change, which is why we know that you have been ready to see the success you have achieved.  And it is no shock why, mainly because we know unions know how to manage.  (Applause.)
I say all more than the region: You may well not be a member of a union, but you improved thank the union for the five-day do the job 7 days and weekends, paid depart.  (Applause.)
And I usually meet up with — and it is — I know you do, and lots of are right here — I frequently meet up with with young organizers from all around the place.  And what’s exciting is that we are viewing in a new, more youthful era that they want the gains and the protections that come from joining a union.  (Applause.)  They want it.  They want it.  Mainly because they know what we all know: Unions give employees a voice.  (Applause.)
And so, this is an historic second, I assume, for the labor motion.  Nowadays, unions have their highest approval score due to the fact 1965.  (Applause.)  About 50 percent of all non-union workers say they would sign up for a union if given the opportunity.  That is nearly 60 million men and women.  (Applause.)  Feel about that.
But we also know there are hurdles for them to meet up with that wish.  And we know what it is.  Just one is that lots of folks continue to don’t know how to sign up for a union, and so that’s section of the perform we have forward is to continue to remind them about how.  But even if they do know how, we also know, throughout our country, folks facial area barriers that have been built up in excess of the a long time by company interests and anti-union politicians and regressive court docket cases.  (Applause.)
I have fought many of people circumstances when I was Lawyer Standard of California, so we know the obstructions are there.  (Applause.)
California is in the dwelling.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)
And so, our administration, collectively with you, we are all doing a great deal to tear down all those barriers. 
And I’ll convey to you, I’m extremely proud to guide the White Home Task Power on Worker Arranging and Empowerment, alongside with my fantastic pal — our great good friend — Secretary Marty Walsh.  And — (applause) — from Massachusetts. 
And our President, Joe Biden, approved all of our 70 proposals to make it simpler for staff to arrange.  And here’s the importance of that: It relates to federal workers, but the federal workforce is really — the federal govt is major employer in the place.  And so, when you feel about it, as we undertake the recommendations to make it less complicated for federal personnel to organize, you will issue to all of that to say, “If it can occur there, it can take place here.”  (Applause.)
And there is far more to do.
So, we are on the lookout at the fact that the President and I are decided to lead not only the most pro-union administration in American record but to move our place ahead. 
We are decided to combat for a long term exactly where a teacher’s wage can deliver for a family.  (Applause.)  Due to the fact I know it is even now the circumstance that some of you are operating two jobs.  (Applause.)  Some probably even three.  I know that. 
We are identified to battle for a long term exactly where you never ever all over again have to spend your very own funds on school materials to meet your students’ requires.  (Applause.)
We will struggle for a future where lecturers can teach our young children with the assets, with the basic safety, and the regard that you are worthy of.  (Applause.)
For the reason that we are distinct: When we do that, we can be certain that each individual baby can get to their God-provided opportunity.  (Applause.)
So, these are the values that our administration stands for.  And I think, when it arrives down to it, it’s fundamentally this: When you know what you stand for, you know what to combat for.  (Applause.)
And so substantially of what we just bought via talking about is what extremist so-called “leaders” stand versus. 
Given that our administration has commenced, not one particular Republican chief in Washington voted to rescue our nation in the center of a pandemic, like when we proposed sources for our children and our educators. 
Not one particular Republican leader in Washington, D.C., voted to prolong the Boy or girl Tax Credit history, which allows the poorest learners and their families.
Alternatively, these extremist so-known as “leaders” fought versus increasing your pay back. 
Instead, these extremist so-named “leaders” refuse to continue to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of our school rooms and tried using to silence your voice via your union.
And as a substitute, these so-termed “leaders” have tried out to make you pawns of their political agenda. 
For the reason that even though you do the job challenging to encourage the desires and ambitions of our following era, they dare concern your devotion, your determination, and your worth. 
Though you perform tough — (applause) — whilst you work difficult to train the principles of liberty and freedom in your classroom, these so-termed “leaders” are taking freedoms away — (applause): independence away from women of all ages and the freedom to make selections in excess of their own bodies — (applause) liberty absent from a kindergarten-to-third-grade instructor in Florida to love openly and with delight — (applause) and absent from every single American as they intentionally try out to make it much more complicated for people to vote.  (Applause.)
We are 126 times away from an election, and we all know what we need to have to do.  (Applause.)  And, you know, I also imagine — I’m talking to a group of educators — I also believe that these extremist so-known as “leaders” want to show up at a civics lesson.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.) 
I think — I essentially assume it would reward us all if they sat in your classroom for a couple of days to recall how a democracy functions — (applause) to recall what freedoms stands for and to try to remember what work they were being elected to do.  (Applause.)
All that to say that, as educators, you know, we all know that background has in no way been an unbroken line towards development that even when we have advancements, there will be setbacks.  In sure occasions, those people setbacks getting extra drastic than in others. This is 1 of those moments, but we will not be deterred. 
The President and I are counting on you to enable us go ahead as a nation, just as NEA has completed all through its record.  Due to the fact I keep in mind that this firm fought to decreased the voting age to 18.  (Applause.)  I recall that this group fought to safeguard Black lecturers from college districts that defied desegregation orders.  (Applause.)  I remember that this was the organization that stood with other individuals to fight to move DACA and guarantee undocumented persons can study in our communities.  (Applause.)
Again and once more, you have been champions of social justice.  And it is clear: Educators are a central element, then, of relocating our country forward.  You are not only crucial to our children’s future.  I’m listed here to share with you: You, I imagine, are necessary to the potential of our democracy.  (Applause.)
So, we will do this work jointly because, NEA, when we glance at where we are, we know that NEA has normally been a highly effective pressure — a potent power whose members fully grasp the electricity of unity. 
So, these may well be difficult situations.  And I know that at the stop of this convening, you will every single go again to your dwelling district you will go back and you will spend very long evenings and evenings getting ready for the upcoming working day you will go back again and generally be in a situation in which it feels kind of like you may be the only a person who sees what you are observing and understands what is at stake.  (Applause.)
But let’s bear in mind times like this.  And let us bear in mind that the combat toward progress by its incredibly nature is not linear. We’re heading to have our ups we’re heading to have our downs.
Let’s try to remember — I like to paraphrase all the time what Coretta Scott King reported.  She explained: The battle for justice, the battle for civil legal rights, the fight for freedom, the fight for equality ought to be fought and won with every single technology.  And I believe when she stated that, she experienced two details in thoughts.  One particular is that it is the very character of what we stand for and, consequently, fight for that what ever gains we make will not be long lasting.
There is so substantially energy in what we achieve, but there is also fragility.  So, we must be vigilant.  And the next level then currently being: If we have an understanding of which is the nature of it — it’s not going to be everlasting it is fragile, unless of course we are vigilant — it is the nature of it, so do not despair.  Do not be overwhelmed.  Do not toss up our arms when it is a time to roll up our sleeves.  (Applause.)
Thank you, NEA.  God bless you.  God bless our schooling.  And God bless the United States of The usa.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)
                         End                 5:38 P.M. CDT