Former Vice President Joe Biden advised parents during the Democratic debate to turn on the “record player” night to help children increase their vocabulary.

Biden was teased on Twitter for his confusing remark, which was delivered in response to moderator Linsey Davis asking about racial inequality and slavery reparations.

“In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975, you told a reporter, ‘I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather, I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago,” said Graham. “You said that some 40 years ago. But as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”

Biden did not address his previous statement that he does not feel responsible for paying reparations, but instead talked about the need to reform and finance the education system. He suggested giving salary raises to teachers tripling the Title I budget, which funds low-income schools, from $15 to $45 billion per year.


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The current budget of $15 billion under President Donald Trump is actually higher than any other previous presidents’ budgets.

He then went on to say that education problems stem from a child’s home.

“Social workers help parents deal with how to raise their children,” said Biden. “It’s not like they don’t want to help, they don’t know what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television—excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the—make sure that kids hear words, a kid coming from a very poor school, a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there.”

The four million words he referred to is in regards to studies which found that children who were not read to before entering school were at a disadvantage.

“Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school,” said Jessica Logan, the lead author of a similar study. “They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) mocked Biden’s comment saying, “At one point, he’s talking about people in communities like mine listening to record players. I don’t remember the last time I saw a record player in my community.”

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