Following pushback to rumors late last week that Michelle Rhee is at the top of President-elect Joe Biden‘s shortlist to lead the Department of Education, the transition team is now quietly floating the idea of nominating the First-Lady-in-Waiting, Dr. Jill Biden to the cabinet post.
If she is nominated and confirmed, it would be the first time in American history that a First Lady serves in a President’s cabinet administration. (Then-former First Lady Eleanore Roosevelt served as UN Ambassador from 1947 to 1953, but that ambassadorship was not included as a Cabinet position at the time).
Dr. Biden is a longtime college professor. If she were to lead the Department, it’s widely thought that her policy agenda would emphasize investment in local community colleges and trade schools, while vastly expanding the vocational training programs that are offered at the nation’s public schools.
Rhee is still thought to be in contention for the post, and some Republicans believe Dr. Biden’s nomination is being floated merely to gauge the reaction of the progressive wing of the party.
Rhee’s support of charter schools, expanding standardized testing, and performance incentives for teachers, has angered many teachers’ unions but she retains strong support from moderates and centrists in both parties.