Education News

Biden unveils American Families Plan in historic address to Congress

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.

15 responses to “Biden unveils American Families Plan in historic address to Congress

  1. I think that all colleges, public and private, should be free. Everybody is just so uptight about this country going to socialism. You should all know what socialism means. It is just as it sounds. It is government for the people, social programs that benefit the poor and middle class. Everything; healthcare, education, housing, college, paid health leave as long as is needed, food, all free through the government. How can that be? Well first of all, no capitalism, the rich are heavily taxed. In Scandinavian countries, Finland, Iceland, other European countries, the UK, Canada, etc. The people get whatever they need to survive all through the government-socialism. They do not have to worry about where the next meal is coming from or if they can pay their bills or not. Happy citizens benefit the government. The economy is stronger for it. Everybody thinks socialism is a bad word but it is not. It is not communism or fascism- nothing like that. That is what Bernie Sanders is about, programs for the people. So that the people can go about their lives not stressed or anxiety ridden because of not being able to pay their bills, or being in debt, or having such high student loan debt, or health concerns because healthcare and prescription drugs are too expensive to live a quality life. If America does not go to socialism then this country is doomed to still be controlled by the wealthy 1% who right now control every aspect of the other 99%. It is not a fair system. Something has to change in America. A happier population, one that will not be so stressed and uptight because they have nothing compared to the wealthy will make racism, bigotry, discrimination, and violence a thing of the past. We need to close the gap between the highest wage earner and the lowest wage earner. Right now the wealthiest wage earners
    make 2000 times that of the lowest wage earners.

    We also need to hire teachers that can teach and disseminate the course material effectively to students so that they are assured of being prepared for college and beyond. We have to stop teaching to the “test”. All that is done in this country is teaching students to do well on standardized tests. By doing that they are not learning everything they need to go out into the world and be marketable. Students today do not have the skills to survive in the job market and that is the fault of this government. My son is a math teacher and if he teaches the actual course material instead of teaching his students to ace the standardized then his job is threatened. Standard tests do not matter. What matters is that students have the proper tools to start their lives in the real world or they will become jobless, homeless, have severe mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems.

    1. I thought you said your son was a math teacher. If so, then you realize it is not teachers that are teaching to the test on their own. The government beauracracy forces them to teach to the test. Teachers are in place who are more than qualified to teach the curriculum and have students ready to hit the world running after graduation. Your statement of hiring teachers that can teach and dissiminate course material effectively is rather is a slap in the face to teachers. You obviously have not spoken to your son about what teachers are faced with on a daily basis. Those that have never been in the classroom should not be advising those who are in the classroom. Trust me, teachers know how to get it done and do so even with all the red tape that has to be jumped through. If you want to help, contact your representatives in Congress at both the federal and state level and let them know you want teachers to get back to teaching and not preparing students to pass tests. We fight the fight every day.

  2. I applaud those who devised these plans for free community-college tuition, and bigger available Pell Grants, but enforce a standard to go by. Maintain certain grades; offer to students with a financial need. Encourage the growth of trade schools. Offer a tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness for teachers & nurses & medical students when they commit to working in their field for a number of years. And finally, give teachers & paras a chance to earn a fair salary and remuneration for working in, for lack of a better description, depressed communities.

  3. What ever happened to the student forgiveness loan program.”that president Biden promised??Im a special education teacher in Jersey City NJ and I owe 38,000 in student loans. Thats half my salary!

  4. Lower tuition for ALL students would be nice since most take on the student loans to get through college. Just because Caucasian are not the minority doesn’t mean we have the money to send our children through college. Everyone deserves a break with college tuition

  5. This is wonderful. I think it is missing some key factors that would make it even more successful:
    The Biden does not know about is we need to fund more instructional paraeducators (different from supervisory educators and often retired teachers), to offer more support for students who struggle the most. This can now be offered online as extra, after hours help also. Right now districts are actually cutting these positions in order to cover more supervisory needs due to safety precautions, and the kids who need it the most are getting less help, not more.
    If Biden allocated higher pay and more positions for retired teachers to return as just instructional paraeducators, we would see real gains for the kids in poverty and trauma. We know it works, but Biden does not know that schools are diminishing the quality of instructional (reading and math) support for the above reasons. We have a legion of incredible retired teachers out there–let’s use them for direct instruction help!

    1. This so called “Americans Families Plan” is a scam on the American people. Ninety percent of this money will not be used in the education field. What money that will be used, will be given to the NEA and other educational labor unions, only to fill their coffers. Stop borrowing all this money and raising our taxes. The money people will save can be better put to use by giving to their own local communities and school systems. The Government needs to get out of the way and let local communities decide the wants and needs of it’s local populations. Just throwing money around will not change what is going on in our country. There are hundreds of billions of dollars from prior stimulus packages that haven’t been spent yet, so let’s stop this insanity.

      1. AGREED. I have been a teacher for 25 years. I have seen the highs and lows and we are at an all time low. STOP this insanity of throwing money at the problem.

      2. I don’t know who you are but unless you are a multi millionaire your taxes will not be raised. No one is going to give their savings to education and local control has been a failure in so many ways, it only works in wealthy areas where people value public education. In my state the republican legislator will not release stimulus money because they want to ‘punish the governor’ for leadership during the pandemic. Now that’s insanity.

      3. Jim, dear, before you shoot off your mouth, you might want to do a little research about how “NEA and other educational labor unions…fill their coffers.” Ignorance such as this has no place in this discussion.

    2. I am a retired teacher and I agree with you totally. I think the NEA needs to have a meeting with VP Harris about the needs for para-educators to work with students who are struggling in class. Many students do not have the support they need from parents. One-on-one support can make the difference between failure and promotion. In addition it can build children’s self-esteem when they can participate successfully in class. Supervisory Teachers can only do so much and having enough para-professionals as well as Special Educators and social workers in all grades can support the work of the teachers. I also believe schools need art, music, and physical education in every school and especially in under-served communities.

      1. Totally agree. I’m a retired teacher who came back to my district as an “elite” sub and was only going to be here fir the first nine weeks. Once the district and my campus in particulate saw the tremendous need especially with what’s been happening over the last year and a half they asked me to continue to help until the end of this school year, my concern is if/when things get back to semi normal settings will districts even recognize the consistency students need with our expertise and support for teachers??

    3. Absolutely teacher aids, paras etc are paid low low incomes. It’s about time more money is put towards their salaries. I am just finishing my 23rd year as an associate teacher and my salary is 25,000.00 sad huhn

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