Education is my life's work.
When the President and Vice President were first elected to the White House in 2008, I told my husband Joe that I wanted to continue teaching. Nearly eight years later, here I am - still teaching English full-time at a community college in northern Virginia.
As a lifelong educator, I am proud to be part of an administration that is committed to investing in our students and restoring the promise of the American education system.
From day one, we have made education a priority - from investing in early childhood education to ensuring that more students graduate high school, and from making college more affordable to strengthening partnerships between community colleges and employers to create the next generation of skilled workers.
But we're not stopping there. In the coming weeks, we're going to be highlighting our nation's students, educators -- and the progress we've made over the past seven years.
Today, Joe and I are visiting the Community College of Philadelphia as part of the #HeadsUpAmerica day of action to highlight the progress we've made on free community college programs nationwide and to announce new grants to create and expand tuition-free training at community colleges.
At least 27 new free community college programs have launched in states, communities, and individual community colleges since the President's 2015 State of the Union address. And 17 other states have introduced legislation to make community college free statewide. These programs will help to provide millions of responsible students with access to higher education and the opportunity for a more prosperous life.
We'll also celebrate the strides we've made together to increase the number of college graduates, make college more affordable, and expand college opportunities for all students. Tomorrow, as part of her Reach Higher initiative, the First Lady will be celebrating College Signing Day in New York City, joining in the 1,000 College Signing Day events happening around the country.
To talk about the progress we've made together to make student loans more affordable, like helping more Americans cap monthly loan payments through plans like the President's Pay As You Earn plan, we'll host student reporters from around the nation for our first-ever White House College Reporter Day.
On Friday, as part of my Joining Forces initiative, I'll visit a high school in Florida to announce the completion of a commitment to support military-connected children and improve STEM education in military-connected schools.
And next week, the President will host the National Teacher of the Year and great educators from classrooms across the country to thank them for their hard work and dedication and celebrate their contributions to the progress we've made in improving education over the last seven years. I've also invited the 2016 State Teachers of the Year to the Vice President's Residence at the Naval Observatory for a reception in honor of this accomplished group of teachers.
As a teacher, I believe education is the foundation for building a better life. While our administration has made strides to make education a reality for more Americans, we're going to keep working (and teaching) to make sure all Americans have the opportunity to learn the skills they need to succeed, grow into careers they love, and provide a brighter future for their families.
Dr. Jill Biden