Joe Biden has tapped C Kirabo Jackson, a labor economist whose research advocates strong public spending on schools, to fill the president’s three-member Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), according to a White House official.
The choice suggests that public education will be a key focus area for Biden’s brain trust ahead of a 2024 re-election bid that is expected to mobilize economic power. The position does not require Senate confirmation.
Jackson, who is on leave from Northwestern University, where the professor focuses on economics, education and public policy, is best known for researching what attracts good teachers to certain schools as well as other data showing that increasing school spending will improve the future of students. wages
The unemployment rate in the US is at 3.5%, and the economy grew at a 2.4% rate last quarter. Meanwhile, consumer prices rose at a 3.2% annual clip.
While the Biden administration saw the numbers as a positive sign of a step toward continued momentum with slower growth and inflation, most voters were dissatisfied with Biden’s handling of the economy, creating a challenge for his economic policy makers.
Biden argued that more U.S. government investment in early childhood education programs like preschool for three- and four-year-olds would raise wages and reduce poverty, views that echoed some of his own Jackson’s research.
But the president’s efforts to significantly increase such funding have often failed to garner enough support in Congress.
Jackson’s selection also comes as the Biden administration considers how to improve sluggish performance in education since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Long public school closures, staff shortages and other issues during the pandemic are believed to have contributed to the sharp decline registered in US children’s reading and math test scores since 2020.
Cecilia Rouse, the Princeton University economist who was previously Biden’s CEA chair, said Jackson’s job will be critical because of the nation’s biggest economic challenges, including an aging workforce, declining unemployment rates fertility, lack of childcare and learning loss.
“Coming out of this pandemic, one of the many consequences we’re going to be dealing with for some time is learning loss,” he said. Jackson’s selection “may be a sign that the administration is looking for creative ways to address what could be a significant loss of human capital for this country in the long term”.