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20 — will want to take up the health-care changes he espouses. When Obama assumed office in 2009, with Biden as his vice president, he announced before a joint session of Congress in February that he would start collaborating with Capitol Hill on major health-care changes. Congressional Democrats began working within a few months on bills that evolved into the ACA. During Biden’s campaign, his plan to enlarge upon the ACA was a major theme, and it placed him in contrast with primary opponents to his left, such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who favor sharper changes such as a single-payer health-care system. Improving the nation’s health care ranked as the top priority among voters in polling for much of the long campaign, until the issue was eclipsed by the novel coronavirus and the economic damage the pandemic has wrought. Biden does not include health-care coverage among his four main priorities on his new transition website. In addition to covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, those priorities are economic recovery, racial equity and climate change. The president-elect has made it clear that he regards efforts to control the pandemic as his first priority. On Monday, he named a coronavirus advisory board.

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If you ask parents who have spent the last nine months helping their children do school many will likely tell you that COVID-19 see has increased their respect and admiration for teachers. Parents have come to better appreciate how challenging it is to help children and teenagers really learn, especially online. It’s hard, and certainly at times, frustrating work. It’s also rewarding work. Have you heard a friend or a family member in recent months say something like “I didn’t know my daughter was so good in math,” or “I didn’t know my son was so interested in graphic design?” One of the few bright spots of the pandemic for many of us is that we have gotten to know our children, or grandchildren, better! Some believe that when we get a vaccine into enough people’s arms and students can go back to school like it was 2019 that things will return to normal. Education will again become something schools do and parents kind of participate in from the sidelines. Republican pollster and pundit Frank Luntz sees it very differently. Based on his conversations with parents across the country he reasons, “Parents don’t want a ‘return to normal.’ On the contrary, they want to ‘rethink’ education and explore new ways of teaching. They’re asking…to reimagine everything.” Luntz goes on, “It’s not about ‘education’ or even ‘schools.’ It’s about trusting ‘parents’ to decide ‘the right’ school/program for their children.” We have evidence in Idaho that parents are engaged and invested in the process of their childrens’ education. The state’s Strong Families, Strong Students program to distribute $50 million in microgrants and reimbursements of $1500 a child was oversubscribed in days.