President Joe Biden’s administration says he wants to make a $1.8 trillion down payment on the future of children, families and higher
education, saying it would produce lasting benefits for the economy. Paying for it would be $1.5 trillion of tax hikes over the next decade on the wealthiest households. In March, the president signed into law the American Rescue Plan, which continues to provide immediate relief
to American families and communities. The Rescue Plan is projected to lift more than 5 million children out of poverty this year, cutting child poverty by more than half. But the president wants to do more. It is not enough to restore where we were prior to the pandemic. Biden wants to build a stronger economy that does not leave anyone behind. “It should be easier for American families to break into the middle class, and easier to stay in the middle class,” said Biden. And unlike the past decades, policies to make life easier for American families must focus on bringing everyone along: inclusive of gender, race, or place of residence – urban, suburban, or rural. Here’s a closer look at where the money is going and where it’s coming from for Biden’s American Family
• $200 billion to provide free preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds. The administration estimates that 5 million children would benefit and an average family would save $13,000.
Preschool is critical to ensuring that children start kindergarten with the skills and supports that set them up for success in school. Unfortunately,
many children, but especially children of color and low-income children, do not have access to the full range of high-quality pre-school programs available to their more affluent peers. The president’s plan will also ensure that all publicly-funded preschool is high-quality, with low student-to-teacher ratios, high-quality and developmentally appropriate curriculum, and supportive classroom environments that are inclusive for all students.
• $109 billion to offer two years of free community college to all Americans. Eligible for the program would also be young immigrants living in the
U.S. illegally who were brought to the country as children to remain here. For much of the 20th century, graduating from high school was a gateway to a stable job and a living wage. But over the last 40 years, we have seen the most growth in jobs requiring higher levels of job preparation, including
education and training. Today, 70% of jobs are held by people with more than a high school degree.
President Biden’s plan will: •Offer two years of free community college to all Americans, including DREAMers.
•Ensure that first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free.
• Increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $1,400 per eligible student. Pell Grants are financial aid for low-income students, and the increase would help to reduce the dependence on education loans. While nearly 7 million students depend on Pell Grants, the grant has not kept up with the rising cost of college. The maximum grant went from covering nearly 80% of the cost of a four-year college degree to under 30% building a pipeline of skilled health care workers with graduate degrees.
• $9 billion for teachers: addressing shortages, improving training and supports for teachers, and boosting teacher diversity. Unfortunately, the U.S. faces a large and growing teacher shortage. Before the pandemic, schools across the nation needed an estimated additional 100,000 certified teachers. Shortages of certified teachers disproportionately impact schools with higher percentages students of color.
At the same time, while teachers of color can have a particularly strong impact on students of color, around one in five teachers are people of color, compared to more than half of K-12 public school students. President Biden is calling on Congress to double scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year while earning their degree. His plan targets $400 million for teacher preparation at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and $900 million for the
development of special education teachers. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $1.6 billion to provide educators with opportunities to obtain additional certifications in highdemand areas like special education, bilingual education, and certifications that improve teacher performance.
• $225 billion to subsidize child care for families and support child care workers. Families earning 1.5 times their state median income would pay a maximum of 7% of their income for all children under age 5. For child care, families will pay only a portion of their income based on a sliding scale. For the most hard pressed working families, child care costs for their young children would be fully covered and families earning 1.5 times their state median income will pay no more than 7%percent of their income.
• $225 billion to create a national family and medical leave program. The program would provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80% for the lowest-wage workers. Create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. It will guarantee twelve weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness safe leave by year 10 of the program,
and also ensure workers get three days of bereavement leave per year starting in year one. The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80% for the lowest wage workers. • $45 billion to improve school meals and offer food benefits to children during the summer. • Peg the length and amount of unemployment benefits to underlying economic conditions, creating an automated response to a downturn. Biden wants $2 billion in the American Rescue Plan put toward Unemployment Information system modernization, equitable access, and fraud prevention. He wants to work