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Jill Biden Calls Book Bans Un-American, Talks Possible 2024 Reelection Campaign on 'Today' Show

People 9/13/2022 Kyler Alvord

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Dr. Jill Biden, one of the world's most prominent educators, is sharing her perspective on the challenges schools are facing nationwide.

Speaking with NBC News correspondent Sheinelle Jones on the Today show Tuesday, Biden addressed widespread teacher shortages, saying that as the education workforce is skewing older, it's vital to inspire future educators.

"What we need to do now is encourage younger people to come into the profession," the first lady, 71, said, "and also teachers of color. We need a lot more teachers of color."

Jones noted a federal study revealing that math and reading scores have dipped dramatically since the onset of COVID-19, disproportionately harming Black students. Biden hopes that money provided by the American Rescue Plan to bolster learning programs can help close the gap.

RELATED: Dr. Jill Biden Opens Up About Managing Her Duties, Suffering from Mom Guilt — and Her Post-It Habit

The first lady visited an elementary school in Knoxville, Tennessee, with Jones, 44, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, 47, on Monday to spread a little bit of that encouragement and remind teachers of the important work they're doing. To give the educators a treat for sticking with it, she also worked with Pinterest to remodel their teacher's lounge and give them a space more conducive to recharging.

Back in her sit-down interview, she shared a message with teachers at large who are experiencing burnout to "stay with us."

"We need you," Biden said. "You know, some days are good, some days are bad, but overall it's a profession like no other."

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In addition to burnout, teachers have begun facing pressure from political groups to change their curriculum, in some areas being forced to erase conversations about racism and LGBTQ+ — and only use textbooks and assign readings that fit the bill. In a similar vein, books are increasingly being removed from libraries to restrict the access young people have to topics deemed "inappropriate."

"All books should be in the library. All books," Biden said in a firm tone. "This is America, we don't ban books."

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Biden's Today interview comes days before she attends the Queen's funeral in the United Kingdom, and amid ongoing conversations about her husband's political future.

Asked if she's spoken to President Joe Biden about a reelection campaign in 2024, she said, "Not yet, we've been a little too busy," adding that she's "sure it will be a discussion" at some point soon.

Though she admits that hitting the campaign trail is "taxing," she seems supportive of President Biden seeking another term in office.

"Look at all Joe has done," she said. "He has kept true to what he said he would do, so I think he just needs to keep going."

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