Remarks by Vice President Harris on General public Faculty Infrastructure

Thomas Elementary University
Washington, D.C.

5:18 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you all.  Thank you.  Please, have a seat.  Thank you. 

Thank you, Ms. Trina.  (Laughter.)

I am so joyful to be surrounded by our younger leaders.  I am telling you, this is — a emphasize of being Vice President is to be around all of our young leaders.  I’m so joyful to be with you all right now, and I’m so proud of you.

Fantastic afternoon, every person.   Great afternoon.

It is great to be in this article at Thomas Elementary and to be launched, of class, by a graduate of Thomas Elementary.

And right now we are joined, as you know, by extraordinary leaders: our Secretary of Power, Jennifer Granholm our Administration’s Nationwide Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy and our Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, who began his career as an elementary university teacher.

And we are also joined, of course, by the Chancellor of
D.C. General public Faculties, Lewis Ferebee, and by a range of labor leaders and advocates for the foreseeable future of our nation: “they” being the kids of our country.

All — all of you are definitely indispensable as associates to our administration.  And I convey you greetings on behalf of the President, Joe Biden.

So, it is an honor to share the stage with so several of you and with so several incredible young leaders. 

You know, I will inform you that when I appear out at who’s here and I spent some time swiftly with the principals who are listed here, the lecturers who are in this article, I just enjoy our lecturers.  I enjoy our educators.  I really like our principals.  (Applause.)  I really do.  I really do.

And I will convey to you: My initially-quality instructor — my to start with-grade teacher attended my law university graduation.  Mrs. Frances Wilson — God relaxation her soul — attended my law university graduation.  There are quite a few items that have contributed to me staying below at this really moment as Vice President, and that is one of them. 

So, I thank you all — the educators — for what you do each day, due to the fact I know this get the job done is own to you.  And you are boosting and encouraging to elevate, alongside with the parents and the local community, the future of our nation.

And more than the past two years, you have confronted remarkable issues, in specific.  You have responded with unbelievable resilience and strength.  I was speaking with Madam Principal earlier, and we toured by way of the university.  What commitment this has required, in specific these last two several years, doing anything that you can in your electrical power to assure that your learners have been finding out and growing.  And you have continued to combat to make sure all educational institutions receive the methods they will need — in the midst of all of that and before. 

And we might not be in this article nowadays creating these exciting announcements ended up it not for your longstanding advocacy. 

And the President and I are deeply grateful for all you have completed and all you proceed to do.

So, about a 12 months ago — I was talking to the Secretary of Education and learning — about a calendar year back, we took a vacation to Connecticut, and I satisfied a youthful college student by the title of Galya, and she was 5 yrs aged.  

And from the second I walked into her classroom,
she was glued by my facet.  And she was a thing.  She was unquestionably anything.  Charming, energetic, smart.

At a single issue, I bent down and I reported to her, “Galya, you can be just about anything you want to be.”

And she seemed me in my eyes, and she claimed, “Well, I want to be almost everything.”  (Laughter.)  Of course, she did.  She — and she — and she will be.  And she will be. 

And that ambition, that aspiration is amazing.  And it is not unusual.

In just about every classroom, in every single school, in each individual group
of our nation, there are young folks like Galya, like these younger leaders powering me who see so substantially, who are so intelligent, who have this kind of vibrant and imaginative thoughts, and who will be the foreseeable future of our country and are at this time leaders in their personal right.

These younger folks who aspiration of becoming scientists and health professionals and engineers and lecturers.  Youthful folks crammed with so a lot enthusiasm and goal.

And our potential will be determined, I know that, by these young leaders.

And our nation, therefore, has an obligation to make sure almost nothing limitations their potential to discover, to expand, and to prosper.

     So, currently, our administration is releasing the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Creating Improved Faculty Infrastructure.  This Plan incorporates a selection of initiatives that will improve the studying environment for general public university small children throughout our country.  And now, I’ll offer a several examples. 

For many years, our region has chronically underinvested in our community educational facilities.  (Applause.)  And considerably far too lots of of our faculty districts have long gone without essential repairs and upgrades to properties and to school rooms.  For case in point, updates to heating, to ventilation, and air conditioning devices, recognised as HVAC units, which was highlighted, as we know, for the duration of the class of the peak of the pandemic. 

In schools with outdated HVAC programs, classrooms are frequently
too cold in the wintertime and far too sizzling in the spring and approaching the summer time.  And, of system, that harms our pupils and their capability to focus and accomplish all year round.  And it threatens the well being and wellbeing of learners, of academics, of workers, and directors.

A single college, for illustration, in St. Paul, Minnesota, that I have been told about had to pass out damp towels and water bottles in the days in advance of summer season break because classroom temperatures had been pushing 100 levels.  A dozen students experienced to be despatched to the nurse’s office.

Educational institutions with insufficient HVAC devices are also far more probably to have poor indoor air quality.  Reports have proven that respiratory such air, working day in and working day out, can of program set off allergy symptoms and bronchial asthma attacks.

And we know that universities in low-revenue and minority districts are extra possible to have harmful indoor air excellent. This is just basically unacceptable.  Unacceptable.

Right now, the Department of Energy, for that reason, is launching a $500 million grant system, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, to permit general public educational facilities to commit in energy upgrades.  (Applause.)  And these grants will be — can be and will be applied on a selection of the problems that we have just talked about, these as enhancing school HVAC systems, comparable to what took place appropriate here at Thomas Elementary with the help of Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Agent who is listed here — Eleanor Holmes Norton, who’s listed here and has been a leader for so prolonged. 

I — I can’t thank you more than enough for all that you do.  I just — want to just acquire a point of private privilege, if I may possibly.  And if we can just — (applause) — Eleanor Holmes Norton has been fighting for the youngsters of D.C. for as prolonged as I can bear in mind.  I looked up to you in your position of leadership when I was a student below at Howard University.  And so many of us glimpse to you normally as a voice of conscience for what our country deserves and what the little ones and the individuals of Washington, D.C., are entitled to.  Thank you so really considerably.  I’m so glad to see you.  (Applause.)

And these Department of Electricity grants can also be utilised to set up electrical power-effective windows, photo voltaic panels, and much better insulation.  And they will, of system, prioritize undeserved [sic] — underserved, excuse me, districts. 

These grants will also help you save colleges revenue.  In most college districts, the second-largest yearly cost after salaries is the electricity bill.  These grants will help educational institutions lessen their energy costs noticeably — price savings that can be reinvested in the university to use more lecturers, to make extended-needed repairs, or to invest in new technologies to help learning. 

And at the identical time, these jobs will create superior-paying out union careers for electricians and carpenters and painters and extra. 

Each individual community school in the region is qualified to utilize for these grants, and I stimulate them to do so. 

Now, we know that the university working day does not get started when pupils established foot on school grounds.  It starts when they get on the university bus or on their bicycle or when they lace up their footwear and wander out the door.  And that is why our administration is doing the job to make sure college students are safe and wholesome when they are on their way to and from college.

For example, as a result of the Department of Transportation’s Safe and sound Routes to Educational institutions, we are delivering funding for schools to devote in safer going for walks and biking routes.  And — (applause) –and, yet again, since our idea of the scenario — and I do not have to tell any individual right here: Their college day commences from the time they wake up, which — never have me started out about what that usually means in phrases of all of the responsibilities that we have as a society to understand that if we want to treatment for, safeguard, and support the children of our nation, we need to do that in the context in the families in which they are becoming lifted and deal with the requirements of that family members as very well to be equipped to provide the very best that we can for those younger people.  (Applause.)

And for people students who choose the school bus, we are investing in a plan that is specifically shut to my heart.  Yellow school buses are our nation’s premier type of mass transit.  Yellow college buses.  Every single day, thousands and thousands of youngsters trip on diesel university buses, respiration poisonous fumes that can damage their wellness. 

When I was senator, I launched the to start with invoice to electrify our nation’s school buses.  And I’m very pleased that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $5 billion bucks in the EPA’s Clear School Bus plan to assist school districts electrify their fleet of buses. 

To all college students — (applause) — to all the learners who are watching currently: You are the leaders of these days and tomorrow. 

And as we just take on the troubles of the upcoming — and I’m hunting at our pupils — we will need your enable.  All right?  (Laughter.)  We need to have your concepts.  We want your intelligence.  We will need your ambition.  And I want you to generally have ambition.  And we require your aspiration.  All correct?  Thank you.  (Laughter and applause.)

And in that way, our entire world — our country and our globe will be all that it can be.  And I will make this promise to our younger leaders: that we will continue on to battle to make sure that you have each and every chance to not only succeed, but to thrive. 

We are counting on you.  And when I glance at you, every single 1 of you, I know our long run is bright.  Thank you pretty a lot.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

Stop                      5:31 P.M. EDT