As President Joe Biden delivered his first address to Congress, two women—Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—sat on the dais behind the presidential podium for the first time in U.S. history. In another first, Biden unveiled a $1.8 trillion American Families Plan to fund critical programs and services for students, families, and communities—part of a series of what he calls “once in a generation” investments in our nation’s infrastructure, human as well as physical.
“We applaud President Joe Biden and his administration for prioritizing students and public education by proposing timely and necessary once-in-a-generation funding for services that help families and communities,” said NEA President Becky Pringle.
The American Families Plan includes universal prekindergarten for three- and four- year-olds; two years of tuition-free community college for all students, including Dreamers; bigger Pell Grants; and lower tuition at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). It would also address teacher shortages and the need to diversify the teacher pipeline—for example, by recruiting educators of color and supporting grow-your-own, teacher leadership, and residency programs.
The plan also aims to make health care and child care more affordable, capping the cost of child care at seven percent of income for low- and middle-income families. In addition, it would create a national program to provide paid sick leave and paid time off to care for family members.
To pay for these historic investments in America’s human infrastructure, Biden would reverse the biggest giveaways in the GOP’s 2017 tax bill, increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service, and eliminate long-standing loopholes that include taxing capital gains and stock dividends at much lower rates than the wages of working families.