The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Jill Biden Returns to the Classroom

By Philip Rucker
After being wooed by many Washington area community colleges, Jill Biden began teaching today at Northern Virginia Community College.

Vice President Biden's wife, a 28-year veteran educator, has been hired as an adjunct professor and is teaching two classes this semester at the Alexandria campus: an English as a second language course and a developmental English course. Each class has roughly two dozen students and will meet twice a week, for a total of about 10 teaching hours a week, Biden spokeswoman Courtney O'Donnell said.

Vice President Biden and his wife Jill during the inaugural parade in Washington. (Mitch Dumke/Reuters)

"I am thrilled to return to the classroom to continue working with community college students, whom I greatly admire and enjoy teaching," Biden said in a statement. "I have always believed in the power of community colleges to endow students with critical life skills, and I am pleased that I can make a difference by doing what I love to do, teaching people who are excited to learn."

Biden spent the past 15 years teaching English composition courses at Delaware Technical & Community College, and prior to that worked as a reading specialist and English teacher at public schools in Delaware. She has two master's degrees and earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007. Her dissertation focused on retaining students in community colleges.

As second lady, Biden plans to assume a role as a public advocate for community colleges and may advise the Obama administration on related education policies.

"She feels passionately about community colleges," O'Donnell said. "For her, being in the classroom is extremely natural. She is a born teacher."

Posted at 4:31 PM ET on Jan 27, 2009
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Dr. Biden, Your husband is a very lucky man and this is just one more reason our country is lucky to have such a wonderful Pres/VP team!!!

Posted by: DWinFC | January 27, 2009 10:35 PM

I'm so impressed with Dr. Biden. Teaching English as a Second Language at NOVA in Alexandria -- not a lot of pay there, but she gets a lot of my respect. I completely agree with her statement about community college. Way to go!

Posted by: zenetanar | January 27, 2009 10:35 PM

Jill Biden, a class act. Good for her continuing her teaching in a community college. She is a true role model for working women and mothers. It's refreshing to have such a lovely and warm lady as the wife of the Vice President of the United States.

Posted by: sharronkm | January 27, 2009 9:59 PM

I don't believe the term "Second Lady" is ever used, at least not to her face. There is a FLOTUS, but what VP's wife would countenance being called a SLOTUS? I would expect that the common usage is to simply call her "Dr. Biden."

Posted by: DupontJay | January 27, 2009 8:40 PM

Dr. Biden - intellegent,accomplished educator, terrific stepmother, loving wife and a lovely woman. Now HERE'S a role model for working women to relate to.

Posted by: ConcernedVoter2008 | January 27, 2009 8:24 PM

how awesome for those students to get the wife of the vice president as their instructor. it's a great boost for community colleges, too.

what a classy woman.

Posted by: mycomment | January 27, 2009 8:22 PM

novaescapee: I understand your point and it is a valid one. Children of politicians should be off limit from media discussions, however, Palin keeps attempting to extend her 15 minutes of fame using illogical and desperate measures giving main-stream media fuel to feed the fire. If you already know that your daughter and future son-in-law are HS dropouts, why would you start up a PAC touting education? That's just silly. I agree with you novaescapee, because the ones who have to pay for Palin's stupidity are her children.

Posted by: hinomura | January 27, 2009 7:51 PM

So why didn't she go to Prince Georges Community College?

Posted by: jethro1 | January 27, 2009 7:22 PM

Okay as clarification, I don't think Sarah Palin is particularly well-suited to the national stage. And no I'm not a Republican. HOWEVER, I consider this continued obsession with the Palins' pregnant teenager to be just plain out-of-bounds. This can happen to any American family. Targeting the Palin daughter in this manner just comes across as elitism at its very worst.The family is entitled to deal with this in the manner they think best.

Folks, as Americans we are better than this.

Posted by: novaescapee | January 27, 2009 7:17 PM

I believe Dungarees was just musing on the contrast between the Bidens and the Palins, no connection other than the job each was hoping to get. Whether they value learning or flee it, both are equally "real American" families. Still, I can't help but be overjoyed that the Bidens had to move to Washington and the Palins are free to stay out of the public eye.

Posted by: RaymondTAnderson | January 27, 2009 6:55 PM

Is there a connection between Gov. Palin and Dr. Biden that I'm missing (aside from gender)? What in the world does Dr. Biden's new job have to do with Gov. Palin?

I suggest you find another forum for expressing your disdain toward the governor of Alaska (and apparently rural Alaskan life).

On topic, yes Dr. Biden will be a great asset to what is already a world-class faculty at NVCC.

Posted by: novaescapee | January 27, 2009 6:31 PM

Right on Dr. Biden! The fact that she's continuing to pursue her career, and in such essential subjects to say the least, says a great deal about her character in my opinion. I know love is blind but perhaps Joe has built some clout in my book. If Jill can deal with him, then maybe I can too.

Posted by: bmarcus220 | January 27, 2009 6:28 PM

Perhaps the difference is attributable to the critical life skills deemed necessary for success in (rural) Alaska. One only needs to look as far as the career paths modeled by the Palens to understand that the apples don't fall far from the tree...moose hunting, snowmobiling, salmon fishing, mushing sled dogs, working the oil and gas fields, beauty pagentry, sports reporting...and last, but not least, unbridled procreation and (maybe) marriage.

Kudos to Joe and Jill Biden, who clearly appreciate the true value and impact of a solid liberal arts education buttressed by a parallel emphasis on development of the requisite skills of self-discipline, personal sacrifice, goal setting, and the willingness to defer short-term gratification to successfully achieve long-term benefit.

Posted by: girlsnpearls53 | January 27, 2009 6:08 PM

At least Mrs. Biden's role is not unclear ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 27, 2009 5:40 PM

for sure. don't you just love Dr. Biden.
I wonder how she feels about
No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
Nothing much for colleges in it (10 titles/680 pages), but all in all, NCLB is much better than what we had---IASA.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | January 27, 2009 5:38 PM

Isn't it fascinating that the wife of a U.S. Senator not only earns two master's degrees and earned a doctorate in education, but her dissertation focused on retaining students in community colleges, whereas Governor Palin has started a Political Action Committe (SarahPAC) which notes that education is a key goal, even though the Governor apparently could not convince her daughter (a high school senior) to remain in school to obtain her diploma, nor could she or others convince her daughter's boyfriend (also a high school senior) to remain in school to obtain his diploma. Mrs. Biden is to be commended for continuing her education, focusing on the education of her children, and focusing on the education of others.

Posted by: Dungarees | January 27, 2009 5:34 PM

A class act. Bravo for Dr. Biden.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 27, 2009 4:39 PM

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