Category Archives: Education

White House: Reopening Schools, Rebuilding With Equity

The Biden Administration is placing a priority on reopening schools safely in face of a new COVID-19 wave that is striking younger people, while advancing educational equity © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the Delta variant of COVID-19 impacting younger people, including children too young to be vaccinated at this stage, the Biden Administration has taken decisive action to support the safe reopening of schools for in-person instruction and to address the pandemic’s disparate impact on students of color and other underserved students.

This is in stark contrast to some Republican Governors – Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas stand out– who are actively sabotaging efforts for public schools to keep their students, faculty and community safe. DeSantis has actually threatened public school districts – including Broward, Florida’s second largest – with withholding funding if they dare impose a mask mandate (the school district rescinded its order).

In remarks about the latest efforts by the administration to get COVID-19 under control and prevent needless sickness and death (some 75,000 may die by November, according to some projections), President Biden said, “I say to these governors, ‘Please, help.’  But if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing.  Use your power to save lives.” (It’s as if these governors want to sabotage the Biden administration’s efforts to end the pandemic and so people suffer and then punish Democrats in the 2022 midterms and 2024 election.)

“As families across the country eagerly anticipate a return to school, the Administration is determined to ensure that our schools and students not only recover from the pandemic, but that we Build Back Better for the future.”

This fact sheet is from the White House:
 
Prioritizing safe reopening
 
The President made clear on Day One of this Administration that safely reopening schools was a national priority, signing the Executive Order on Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers, which launched a comprehensive effort across the White House, Department of Education, and Department of Health and Human Services to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction. The Department released two volumes of its COVID-19 Handbook focused on safely reopening schools and meeting the needs of students, and launched a clearinghouse of best practices for safely operating in-person and addressing the needs of students and staff. Secretary Cardona’s National Safe School Reopening Summit highlighted best practices from districts across the country to support safe in-person learning.
 
Vaccination is our leading strategy to end the pandemic, and—combined with the layered mitigation strategies recommended by the CDC—has the greatest potential to allow schools to reopen fully this fall and stay open for in-person learning. That’s why, in March the President prioritized teachers and school staff for access to the COVID vaccine. As a result, almost 90 percent of educators and school staff are now vaccinated. To get more of our students ages 12 and older vaccinated, the President is now calling on school districts nationwide to host at least one pop-up vaccination clinic over the coming weeks and directing pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program to prioritize this and to work with school districts across the country to host vaccination clinics at schools and colleges.
 
Heroic efforts from teachers, parents, and school staff, combined with the Administration’s aggressive vaccination push, has demonstrated that safe in-person learning is possible. Since January, the percentage of K-8 schools offering remote-only instruction decreased from 23 percent in January to only 2 percent in May.
 
However, there is still work to be done. During the pandemic, students of color have been less likely to be enrolled in in-person instruction. Data shows that on average students in remote learning report poorer well-being than those in in-person instruction. A continued reliance on remote learning threatens to further widen disparities. The Administration will continue to address the concerns of families, and provide support to states in creating safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments.
 
Investing historic resources in equitable reopening
 
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris Administration has invested a historic $130 billion to support schools safely reopening and addressing the needs of students, including $122 billion through the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER). ARP ESSER funding supports efforts to get students back in the classroom safely for in-person learning, to safely keep schools open once students are back, and to address the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of all students. This funding is being used to help schools safely operate, implement high-quality summer learning and enrichment programs, hire nurses and counselors, support the vaccination of students and staff, and invest in other measures to take care of students.
 
Ensuring funds address the needs of students. Districts and states must spend a combined minimum of 25 percent of the state’s total ARP ESSER funds, totaling nearly $30.5 billion, to address the impact of lost instructional time through summer learning or enrichment, extended day instruction, comprehensive afterschool programs, or other evidence-based practices. Funded strategies must also respond to students’ social and emotional needs and account for the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on underserved students. The Administration recognizes that the communities that support our students have a critical understanding of what their students need and are key to ensuring funds have the greatest impact on students. As they put together their plans for the use of funds, states and school districts are required to engage a wide range of stakeholders during the planning process, including educators, school leaders and staff, students, families, civil rights organizations, and stakeholders representing the interests of students with disabilities, English learners, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, migratory students, students who are incarcerated and other underserved students.
 
Protecting high-poverty districts from funding cuts. The American Rescue Plan’s ARP ESSER program includes a first-of-its-kind maintenance of equity requirement to ensure that high-poverty school districts and schools are protected in the event of funding cuts. These requirements will ensure that school districts and schools serving a large share of students from low-income backgrounds will not experience disproportionate budget cuts—and that the school districts with the highest poverty levels do not experience any decrease in state per-pupil funding below their pre-pandemic level.
 
Ensuring states continue to fund education. The Department has emphasized the importance of the American Rescue Plan’s maintenance of effort requirement, which ensures that states continue to fulfill their commitments to fund their education systems, and has worked with states to ensure that they meet these requirements. The maintenance of effort requirement helps protect students by making sure that federal pandemic relief funds are used to meet the immediate needs and impacts of the pandemic on students and schools to the greatest extent possible, rather than to supplant general state funding for K-12 education.

Supporting effective implementation. The Department of Education has worked aggressively to support states and school districts in implementing education relief funding. This includes providing resources on how ARP ESSER funds can be used, including to support effective ventilation in schoolsvaccination efforts, creating and expand full-service community schools , hiring nurses and counselors, and providing high-quality summer programs and high-dosage tutoring to students. With critical partners like the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, the Department launched the Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative to support states providing high-quality summer learning and enrichment. 
 
Stabilizing and ensuring access to child care. High-quality early care and education helps ensure that children can take full advantage of education and training opportunities later in life. The pandemic significantly disrupted the child care sector, threatening access to this critical support and threatening economic security for childcare workers, who are disproportionately women of color. The American Rescue Plan invested $24 billion in stabilizing the child care sector, and is helping to provide this essential industry—which provides vital opportunities for children—with more flexible funding to help more low-income working families access high-quality care, increase compensation for early childhood workers, and help parents to work.   
 
Addressing the needs of students experiencing homelessness. The pandemic increased housing insecurity, and disproportionately impacted the education of students experiencing homelessness, who were less likely to be able to successfully engage in remote learning due to lack of reliable access to the internet. The Department of Education has released all $800 million in American Rescue Plan funds for identifying and addressing the needs of students experiencing homelessness, including by providing wraparound services and support ranging from afterschool to mental health services.
 
Supporting students with disabilities. The pandemic created serious challenges for many students with disabilities, who struggled to access special education and related services according to their individualized services plan. The American Rescue Plan provides support to students with disabilities and infants and toddlers with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. To ensure states can deliver the necessary services and supports to young children and youth with disabilities, the American Rescue Plan devotes nearly $2.6 billion in grants to states to support elementary and secondary education students with disabilities, $200 million for preschool children with disabilities, and $250 million for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
 
Bolstering Tribal education. The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is using $535 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support 183 BIE-funded K-12 schools, providing much-needed financial support to help Tribal communities recover more quickly from the pandemic’s wide-ranging impact.
 
Funding COVID testing. The American Rescue Plan includes $10 billion to support COVID-19 testing in schools. This funding will help to reopen schools, including in communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 
 
Protecting the rights of students. Protecting the rights of students to equal opportunity is an essential part of ensuring educational equity. The Department of Education has provided resources to school leaders, students, families and other stakeholders to ensure students’ rights are protected, including information about civil rights and school reopening and confronting COVID-19-related harassment against AAPI students. The Department of Education has moved swiftly to implement the President’s Executive Order on Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity; implement a comprehensive plan to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence, in schools; and make clear that it will enforce Title IX to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including for LGBTQ+ students. The Department has also worked to address the disproportionately high rates of school discipline for students of color and students with disabilities that removes them from the classroom. The Department held a public convening on school discipline in May and launched a major, ongoing effort to address racial, disability-based and other disparities in the administration of school discipline.
 
Closing the digital divide. The American Rescue Plan included $7.2 billion for the E-Rate program, which helps support American schools by funding programs to help ensure K-12 students and teachers have the appropriate internet connections and devices for distance learning, a particular challenge in low-income and rural communities.
 
Supporting nutrition security. It is hard for students to learn successfully when they are experiencing hunger. Black and Latino households face food insecurity at twice the rate of white households. The American Rescue Plan guards against food hardship among students this summer by allowing states to continue the Pandemic-EBT program, which provides grocery benefits to replace meals for students who are eligible for free and reduced priced meals when schools are closed. It also increases SNAP benefits by 15 percent through September 2021, maintaining the increase through the summer, when childhood hunger spikes due to a lack of school meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture likewise acted to offer flexibility for the 2021-2022 school year by providing waivers that allow schools to serve free meals to all students.  
 
For more information on how President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda builds on this work by investing historic and vitally-needed resources that unlock opportunity for millions of Americans, please see the White House Fact Sheet on How the Biden-Harris Administration is Advancing Educational Equity.
 

White House: American Families Plan Advances Equity and Racial Justice

President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan will support children, teachers and working families and advance equity and racial justice © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House issued a fact sheet explaining how President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan will support children, teachers and working families and advances equity and racial justice:

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing the whole of the federal government to advance equity and racial justice. Today, the President announced a historic new set of investments to deliver on his vision of a more equitable America through the American Families Plan. The American Families Plan will help restore the promise of America for communities who have been left behind and locked out of opportunity—investing in teachers and students, empowering workers and their families, and reimagining a tax code that rewards work over wealth. By extending and building upon the provisions of the American Rescue Plan, the American Families Plan would lift more than 10 million people out of poverty in 2022. This means a 29 percent reduction in Black poverty, a 31 percent reduction in Latino poverty, and a 15 percent reduction in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander poverty, relative to the projected poverty rate for 2022. Among children, it would reduce poverty by more than 47 percent.
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will deliver a fairer and more equitable America by:

  • Closing opportunity gaps for low-income children and children of color by providing universal access to preschool, and making quality, affordable child care more accessible across the nation.
  • Investing in educational opportunity for underserved communities by providing two years of free community college for Americans, including DREAMers; making Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISIs), and other Minority-serving Institutions (MSIs) more affordable; increasing the value of Pell Grants to help more low-income students attend college; and ensuring more students are supported through completion.
  • Empowering teachers by investing in the training and support they need and ensuring more teachers of color can reach the classroom.
  • Creating a right to paid family and medical leave to ensure working parents and caregivers, including workers of color and low-wage workers, can equitably access the time off they need to support their families.
  • Closing gaps in our social safety net to ensure that kids have the nutritious food they need to be healthy and succeed in school.
  • Extending the American Rescue Plan’s historic expansions of the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to provide income support and cut poverty among families and workers.

Together, these investments will give millions of children across the country a fair shot at the American dream.

UNIVERSAL PRE-SCHOOL FOR ALL 3- AND 4-YEAR-OLDS
 
Preschool is critical to ensuring that children start kindergarten with the skills and supports that set them up for success in school. In fact, research shows that kids who attend universal Pre-K are more likely to take honors classes and less likely to repeat a grade, and another study finds low-income children who attend universal programs do better in math and reading as late as eighth grade. Unfortunately, most children, and 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 peers. In addition, children with disabilities benefit from inclusive, accessible pre-school programs with their peers, and all children benefit when we create socio-economically diverse Pre-K classrooms where all students thrive. 
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Close opportunity gaps by providing universal pre-school to all 3- and 4-year-olds. President Biden is calling for a national partnership with states to offer free, high-quality, accessible, and inclusive preschool to all 3-and 4-year-olds—benefitting 5 million children. This historic investment in America’s future will first prioritize high-need areas and enable communities and families to choose the setting that works best for them, whether that’s a preschool classroom in a public school, a center, or a Head Start program. The President’s plan will also ensure that all publicly-funded preschool is high-quality with low student-to-teacher ratios, a high-quality and developmentally appropriate curriculum, and supportive classroom environments that are inclusive for all students. The President’s plan will leverage investments in tuition-free community college and teacher scholarships to support those who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree or other credential that supports their work as an educator or their work to become an early childhood educator. And, educators will receive job-embedded coaching, professional development, and wages that reflect the importance of their work. All employees in participating Pre-K programs and Head Start will earn at least $15 per hour, and those with comparable qualifications will receive compensation commensurate with that of kindergarten teachers. These investments will give American children a head start and pave the way for the best-educated generation in U.S. history

 
FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND OTHER POSTSECONDARY INVESTMENTS
 
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 percent of jobs are held by people with more than a high school degree. American workers, and especially workers of color, need support to build their skills, increase their earnings, remain competitive, and share in the benefits of the new economy. President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Offer two years of free community college to all Americans, including DREAMers. Community colleges provide educational opportunities for students who are often underserved by four-year universities, including first-generation students, students of color, low-income students, and adult learners. President Biden’s proposal creates a federal-state, -territory, and -tribal partnership that allows first-time college students and workers wanting to reskill to enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free. Students can use the benefit for up to three years and, if circumstances warrant, up to four years, recognizing that many students’ lives and other responsibilities can make full-time enrollment difficult. If all states, territories, and tribes participate, about 5.5 million students would pay $0 in tuition and fees.
  • Provide up to approximately $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award. Nearly 60 percent of Black, almost half of Latino, half of American Indian or Alaska Native, and more than one-third of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students depend on Pell Grants to help pay for college. But the grant has not kept up with the rising cost of postsecondary education; over the last 50 years, the maximum Pell Grant value has plummeted from nearly 80 percent of the cost of a four-year college degree to just 30 percent — leading millions of low-income students to take out debt to finance their education. The American Families Plan would increase the maximum Pell Grant award by approximately $1,400 and allow DREAMers to access the funding.
  • Increase college retention and completion rates. Just 40 percent and 54 percent of first-time Black and Latino students at four-year colleges and universities, respectively, go on to earn their degree, compared to 64 percent of white students. And overall, just 40 percent of community college students, who are disproportionately low-income and people of color, graduate within 6 years. The President is proposing a $62 billion formula grant program that will provide funding to states, territories, and Tribes to support retention and completion activities at colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students, including wraparound services ranging from child care and mental health services to faculty and peer mentoring; emergency basic needs grants; practices that recruit and retain faculty; transfer agreements between colleges; and evidence-based remediation programs.
  • Provide two years of subsidized tuition and expand programs in high-demand fields at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Research has found that HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are vital to helping underrepresented students move to the top of the income ladder. But despite their record of success, these institutions have significantly fewer resources than other top colleges and universities, undermining their ability to grow and support more students. The President is calling for $39 billion to provide tuition subsidies to low- and middle-income students attending HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. The President is also calling for $5 billion to expand existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, which can be used by these institutions to strengthen their academic, administrative, and fiscal capabilities, including by creating or expanding educational programs in high-demand fields (e.g., STEM, computer sciences, nursing, and allied health), with an additional $2 billion funding directed towards building a pipeline of skilled health care workers with graduate degrees. These proposed investments, combined with the $45 billion proposed in the American Jobs Plan targeted to these institutions, will enable America’s HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to help advance underrepresented students and make the U.S. more competitive on the global stage.

 
EDUCATION AND PREPARATION FOR TEACHERS
 
Few people have a bigger impact on a child’s life than a great teacher. 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, resulting in key positions going unfilled, granting of emergency certifications, or teachers teaching out of their certification area. Shortages of certified teachers disproportionately impact schools with higher percentages of students of color, which  have a higher proportion of teachers that are uncertified and higher shares of inexperienced teachers, exacerbating educational disparities. President Biden is calling for investments to improve the impact of new teachers entering the profession, increase retention rates, and increase the number of teachers of color, all of which will improve student outcomes.
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Address teacher shortages, improve teacher preparation, and strengthen pipelines for underrepresented teachers, including teachers of color. Our country faces a serious teacher shortage problem, which disproportionately impacts students of color. The percentage of teachers in their first or second year of teaching in schools with the highest percentage of students of color is 7 percentage points higher than schools with the lowest percentage of students of color (17 percent vs. 10 percent). The percentage of teachers who are uncertified is more than three times as large (4.8 percent  vs. 1.3 percent). 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. These disparities help drive gaps in student outcomes. Strengthening the teacher pipeline and improving teacher preparation, supporting teachers so they stay in the classroom, and investing in the recruitment and preparation of underrepresented teachers will help narrow persistent educational disparities.   President Biden is calling on Congress to invest in America’s teachers, including by doubling scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year, which would help underrepresented teachers, including teachers of color, access high-quality teacher preparation programs that best prepare them for the work ahead. The plan also will invest $2.8 billion in Grow Your Own programs and year-long, paid teacher residency programs, which have a greater impact on student outcomes, teacher retention, and are more likely to enroll underrepresented teacher candidates, including candidates of color; and invest $400 million in teacher preparation programs at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.
  • Support the development of special education teachers. There has been a 17 percent  decline in the number of special educators over the last decade. Additionally, while only about half of the students receiving special education services are white, approximately 82 percent of special education teachers are white. The American Families Plan will invest $900 million in personnel preparation funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), funding pathways to additional certifications, and strengthening existing teacher preparation programs for special educators.
  • Help current teachers earn in-demand credentials. Many teachers are eager to answer the call to get certified in areas their schools need, like bilingual education, but are deterred due to the high cost of getting an additional certification. President Biden is calling on Congress to create a new fund to provide more than 100,000 educators with the opportunity to obtain additional certifications in high-demand areas like special education, bilingual education, and certifications that improve teacher performance. This will particularly benefit students with disabilities and English learners.
  • Invest in educator leadership. Millions of teachers – and the students they educate – would stand to benefit from greater mentorship and leadership opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $2 billion to support programs that leverage teachers as leaders, such as high-quality mentorship programs for new teachers and underrepresented teachers, including teachers of color.

 
CHILD CARE
 
High-quality early care and education helps ensure that children can take full advantage of education and training opportunities later in life, especially for children from low-income families, who face learning disparities before they even can go to preschool. One study by Nobel Laureate James Heckman found that every dollar invested in a high-quality, comprehensive birth to five program for the most economically disadvantaged children resulted in $7.30 in benefits as children grew up healthier, were more likely to graduate high school and college, and earned more as adults. But we have grave disparities when it comes to child care in our country. One analysis finds that more than half of Latino and Native American families live in child care deserts. Difficulty finding high-quality, affordable child care leads some parents, especially mothers, to drop out of the labor force entirely, some to reduce their work hours, and others to turn down a promotion – leading to lifetime consequences in terms of earnings, savings, and retirement. Lack of affordable child care can be especially challenging for the families of the nearly 7 in 10 Black women who are their families’ primary or sole breadwinners.
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Ensure low- and middle-income families can access affordable child care for children under the age of five. Under the President’s plan, 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 spend no more than 7 percent of their income on child care for their young children. The plan will also provide families with a range of inclusive and accessible options to choose from for their child, from child care centers to family child care providers to Early Head Start programs.
  • Invest in high-quality care. The last time the U.S. prioritized major, long-term investments in child care was when President Roosevelt signed the Lanham Act to provide free, high-quality child care in an effort to support women going to work during World War II. Not only did it enable women to work, but children who participated experienced long-lasting economic benefits, proving most beneficial for the most disadvantaged children.  Under the President’s plan, child care providers will receive funding to support the true cost of quality early childhood education–including a developmentally appropriate curriculum, small class sizes, and culturally and linguistically responsive environments that are accessible and inclusive of children with disabilities. These investments support positive interactions between educators and children that promote children’s social-emotional and cognitive development.
  • Invest in the care workforce, including the women of color who make up a substantial percentage of the field. More investment is needed to support early childhood providers and educators, more than nine in ten of whom are women and more than four and ten of whom are women of color. They are among the most underpaid workers in the country. The typical child care worker earned $12.24 per hour in 2020, and one report found nearly half rely on public income support programs. The American Families Plan includes a $15 minimum wage for early childhood educators and ensures that those with similar qualifications as kindergarten teachers receive comparable compensation and benefits.

When fully implemented, the President’s plan will provide 3 million children from low- and middle-income families with high quality care, saving the average family $14,800 a year on child care expenses.
 
PAID LEAVE
 
Paid family and medical leave supports workers and families and is a critical investment in the strength and equity of our economy. Paid leave has been found to reduce racial disparities in wage loss between workers of color and white workers, improve child health and well-being, support employers by improving employee retention and reducing turnover costs, and increase women’s labor force participation. However, currently, 95 percent of the lowest wage workers, mostly women and workers of color, lack access to any paid family leave. Sixty-two percent of Black adults and 73 percent of Latino adults are either ineligible for or cannot afford to take unpaid leave, compared to 60 percent of white adults. Additionally, Black and Latina mothers are more likely than white women to report being let go by an employer or quitting their jobs after giving birth in order to have some leave. 
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. Paid family and medical leave can help reduce racial disparities in wage loss between workers of color and white workers. People with disabilities may also have less access to paid leave due to higher rates of part time and low wage employment. The program will ensure workers receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. 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 percent for the lowest wage workers. The plan has an inclusive definition of family, ensuring workers can care for and be cared by a loved one who is not related by blood, which will greatly impact LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities. We estimate this program will cost $225 billion over a decade.

NUTRITION
 
The pandemic has added urgency to the moral travesty of nutrition insecurity among children, which disproportionately affects low-income families and children of color. No one should have to worry about whether they can provide nutritious food for themselves or their children. A poor diet jeopardizes a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. Nutrition insecurity can also have long-lasting negative impact on overall health and put children at higher risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Expand summer EBT to all eligible children nationwide. The Summer EBT Demonstrations help low-income families with children eligible for free- and reduced-price meals during the school year purchase food during the summer. The American Families Plan builds on the American Rescue Plan’s support for Summer Pandemic-EBT by making the successful program permanent and available to all 29 million children receiving free- and reduced-price meals. Research shows that this program decreases food insecurity among children and led to positive changes in nutritional outcomes.
  • Expand school meal programs. Currently, just 70 percent of eligible schools have adopted Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which allows high-poverty schools to provide meals free of charge to all of their students—breaking down barriers for students who may be eligible for school meals but may not apply for them due to stigma or not fully understanding the application process. The President’s plan will allow more schools in high poverty districts to offer meals free of charge to all of their students by reimbursing a higher percentage of meals at the free reimbursement rate through CEP. Additionally, the plan will target elementary schools by reimbursing an even higher percentage of meals at the free reimbursement through CEP and lowering the threshold for CEP eligibility for elementary schools. The plan will also expand direct certification to automatically enroll more students for school meals based on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income data.
  • Facilitate re-entry for formerly incarcerated individuals through SNAP eligibility. Individuals convicted of a drug-related felony are currently ineligible to receive SNAP benefits unless a state has taken the option to eliminate or modify this restriction. Denying these individuals—many of whom are parents of young children—SNAP benefits jeopardizes nutrition security and poses a barrier to re-entry into the community in a population that already faces significant hurdles to obtaining employment and stability. SNAP is a critical safety net for many individuals as they search for employment to support themselves and their families. This restriction disproportionately impacts African Americans, who are convicted of drug offenses at much higher rates than white Americans. 

TAX CUTS FOR AMERICAN FAMILIES AND WORKERS
 
While the American Rescue Plan provided meaningful relief for hundreds of millions of Americans, that is just a first step. Now is the time to build back better, to help families and workers who for too long have felt the squeeze of stagnating wages and an ever-increasing cost-of-living.  Direct assistance to families in the form of tax credits paid on a regular basis lifts children and families out of poverty, makes it easier for families to make ends meet, and boosts the academic and economic performance of children over time.
 
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Extend expanded ACA premiums tax credits in the American Rescue Plan. Health care should be a right, not a privilege, and Americans facing illness should never have to worry about how they are going to pay for their treatment. No one should face a choice between buying life-saving medications or putting food on the table.  President Biden has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act and lower prescription drug costs for everyone by letting Medicare negotiate prices, reducing health insurance premiums and deductibles for those who buy coverage on their own, creating a public option and the option for people to enroll in Medicare at age 60, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans gain health insurance. The American Families Plan will build on the American Rescue Plan and continue our work to make health care more affordable.  The biggest improvement in health care affordability since the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan provided two years of lower health insurance premiums for those who buy coverage on their own. With these changes, about three in four uninsured Black adults and nearly four in five uninsured Hispanic or Latino adults are now eligible for low-cost health care. The American Families Plan will make those premium reductions permanent, a $200 billion investment.  As a result, nine million people will save hundreds of dollars per year on their premiums, and four million uninsured people will gain coverage.  The Families Plan will also invest in maternal health and support the families of veterans receiving health care services.
  • Extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) increases in the American Rescue Plan through 2025 and make the CTC permanently fully refundable. The President is calling for the Child Tax Credit expansion, first enacted in the American Rescue Plan, to be extended.  This legislation expands the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child six-years old and above, and $3,600 per child for children under six. It also makes 17-year-olds eligible for the first time and makes the credit fully refundable on a permanent basis, so that low-income families—the families that need the credit the most—can benefit from the full tax credit. The expanded Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan will benefit nearly 66 million children, and is the single largest contributor to the plan’s historic reductions in child poverty, including by 52 percent for Black children, 45 percent for Latino children, 37 percent for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander children, and 61 percent for Native American children.
  • Permanently increase tax credits to support families with child care needs. To help even more low- and middle-income families, President Biden is calling on Congress to make permanent the temporary Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) expansion enacted in the American Rescue Plan. Families will get back as a tax credit as much as half of their spending on child care for children under age 13, so that they can receive a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. The CDCTC will be fully refundable, making the credit more equitable by allowing low-income working families to receive the full value of the credit towards their eligible child care expenses regardless of how much they owe in taxes. This is a dramatic expansion of support to low- and middle-income families. In 2019, a family claiming a CDCTC for the previous year got less than $600 on average towards the cost of care, and many low-income families got nothing.
  • Make the Earned Income Tax Credit expansion for childless workers permanent. President Biden believes our tax code should reward work and not wealth. And that means rewarding workers who work hard every day at modest wages to provide their communities with essential services. Before this year, the federal tax code taxed low-wage childless workers into poverty or deeper into poverty — the only group of workers it treated this way. The American Rescue Plan addressed this problem by roughly tripling the EITC for childless workers, benefitting 17 million low-wage workers, many of whom are essential workers including cashiers, cooks, delivery drivers, food preparation workers, and childcare providers. For example, a childless worker who works 30 hours per week at $9 per hour earns income that, after taxes, leaves them below the federal poverty line. By increasing her EITC to more than $1,100, this EITC expansion helps pull such workers out of poverty. The President is calling on Congress to make this expansion permanent. Extending these changes will give a critical boost in earnings of an estimated 2.8 billion Black, 2.8 million Latino, and 678,000 Asian American workers.


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Biden to Pitch $1 Trillion American Families Plan in Joint Speech to Congress

It’s about the children: President Joe Biden is expected to lay out his American Families Plan – a $1 trillion investment over 10 years “in our kids, our families and our economic future” including universal pre-K, paid parental leave, child care, free community college – in his first speech to the joint session of Congress on the eve of his 100th day in office. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden is expected to lay out his American Families Plan – a $1 trillion investment “in our kids, our families and our economic future” over 10 years, including universal pre-K, paid parental leave, child care, free community college and how he proposes to pay for it ($800 billion in tax enforcement, higher rates for the wealthiest payers and corporations) – in his first speech to the joint session of Congress on the eve of his 100th day in office.

The White House provided a fact sheet:

Today, President Biden announced the American Families Plan, an investment in our kids, our families, and our economic future.
 
In March, the President signed into law the American Rescue Plan, which continues to provide immediate relief to American families and communities. Approximately 161 million payments of up to $1,400 per person have gone out to households, schools are reopening, and 100 percent of Americans ages 16 and older are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Rescue Plan is projected to lift more than five million children out of poverty this year, cutting child poverty by more than half. While too many Americans are still out of work, we are seeing encouraging signs in the labor market, as businesses begin to rehire and some of the hardest hit sectors begin to reopen.
 
But the President knows that we need to do more. It is not enough to restore where we were prior to the pandemic. We need to build a stronger economy that does not leave anyone behind – we need to build back better. President Biden knows a strong middle class is the backbone of America. He knows it should be easier for American families to break into the middle class, and easier to stay in the middle class. He knows that we need to continue to enable those who dropped out of the workforce – particularly the approximately two million women who left due to COVID – to rejoin and stay in the workforce. And, he knows that, unlike in 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.
 
The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan are once-in-a-generation investments in our nation’s future.  The American Jobs Plan will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s physical infrastructure and workforce, and spark innovation and manufacturing here at home. The American Families Plan is an investment in our children and our families—helping families cover the basic expenses that so many struggle with now, lowering health insurance premiums, and continuing the American Rescue Plan’s historic reductions in child poverty. Together, these plans reinvest in the future of the American economy and American workers, and will help us out-compete China and other countries around the world.
 
To grow the middle class, expand the benefits of economic growth to all Americans, and leave the United States more competitive, President Biden’s American Families Plan will:

  • Add at least four years of free education. Investing in education is a down payment on the future of America. As access to high school became more widely available at the turn of the 20th Century, it made us the best-educated and best-prepared nation in the world. But everyone knows that 12 years is not enough today. The American Families Plan will make transformational investments from early childhood to postsecondary education so that all children and young people are able to grow, learn, and gain the skills they need to succeed. It will provide universal, quality-preschool to all three- and four- year-olds. It will provide Americans two years of free community college. It will invest in making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students, including students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs). And, it will invest in our teachers as well as our students, improving teacher training and support so that our schools become engines of growth at every level.
     
  • Provide direct support to children and families. Our nation is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to join the workforce and contribute to the economy. But many workers struggle to both hold a full-time job and care for themselves and their families. The American Families Plan will provide direct support to families to ensure that low- and middle-income families spend no more than seven percent of their income on child care, and that the child care they access is of high-quality. It will also provide direct support to workers and families by creating a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that will bring the American system in line with competitor nations that offer paid leave programs. The system will also allow people to manage their health and the health of their families. And, it will provide critical nutrition assistance to families who need it most and expand access to healthy meals to our nation’s students – dramatically reducing childhood hunger.
     
  • Extend tax cuts for families with children and American workersWhile the American Rescue Plan provided meaningful relief for hundreds of millions of Americans, too many families and workers feel the squeeze of too-low wages and the high costs of meeting their basic needs and their aspirations. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans continue to get further and further ahead. The American Families Plan will extend key tax cuts in the American Rescue Plan that benefit lower- and middle-income workers and families, including the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. In addition to making it easier for families to make ends meet, tax credits for working families have been shown to boost child academic and economic performance over time. The American Families Plan will also extend the expanded health insurance tax credits in the American Rescue Plan. These credits are providing premium relief that is lowering health insurance costs by an average of $50 per person per month for nine million people, and will enable four million uninsured people to gain coverage. 

Leading economic research has shown that the investments proposed in the American Families Plan will yield significant economic returns – boosting productivity and economic growth, producing a larger, more productive, and healthier workforce on a sustained basis, and generating savings to states and the federal government. Evidence shows that a dollar invested in high-quality early childhood programs for low-income children will result in up to $7.30 in benefits, including increased wages, improved health, and reduced crime. Parental paid leave has been shown to keep mothers in the workforce, increasing labor force participation and boosting economic growth. And, sustained tax credits for families with children have been found to yield a lifetime of benefits, ranging from higher educational attainment to higher lifetime earnings
 
In all, the American Families Plan includes $1.8 trillion in investments and tax credits for American families and children over ten years. It consists of about $1 trillion in investments and $800 billion in tax cuts for American families and workers. Alongside the American Families Plan, the President will be proposing a set of measures to make sure that the wealthiest Americans pay their share in taxes, while ensuring that no one making $400,000 per year or less will see their taxes go up. When combined with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, this legislation will be fully paid for over 15 years, and will reduce deficits over the long term.  
 
ADD AT LEAST FOUR YEARS OF FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION, CLOSE EQUITY GAPS, AND MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE

Early in the 20th century, the United States set a new global standard by expanding access to free public education through high school. Direct public investment in our children’s future propelled U.S. economic growth and enhanced our global competitiveness. Now, mounting evidence suggests that 12 years of school is no longer sufficient to prepare our students for success in today’s economy. Research tells us that we must invest early to support our children’s development and readiness for academic success; our transforming economy requires that we provide every student the opportunity to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate. 
 
That is why the American Families Plan calls for an additional four years of free, public education for our nation’s children. Specifically, President Biden is calling for $200 billion for free universal pre-school for all three- and four-year-olds and $109 billion for two years of free community college so that every student has the ability to obtain a degree or certificate. In addition, he is calling for an over $80 billion investment in Pell Grants, which would help students seeking a certificate or a two- or four-year degree. Recognizing that access to postsecondary education is not enough, the American Families Plan includes $62 billion to invest in evidence-based strategies to strengthen completion and retention rates at community colleges and institutions that serve students from our most disadvantaged communities. This is alongside a $46 billion investment in HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. President Biden is also calling for $9 billion to train, equip and diversify American teachers in order to ensure that our high school graduates are ready for success. These investments, combined with those laid out in the President’s American Jobs Plan, will boost earnings, expand employment opportunities, and enable the U.S. to win the 21st century.
 
UNIVERSAL PRE-SCHOOL FOR ALL THREE- AND FOUR-YEAR-OLDS
 
Preschool is critical to ensuring that children start kindergarten with the skills and supports that set them up for success in school. In fact, research shows that kids who attend universal pre-K are more likely to take honors classes and less likely to repeat a grade, and another study finds low-income children who attend universal programs do better in math and reading as late as eighth grade. 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. In addition to providing critical benefits for children, preschool has also been shown to increase labor force participation among parents – especially women — boosting family earnings and driving economic growth.  By some estimates, the benefits of a universal pre-K system to U.S. GDP are more than three times greater than the investment needed to provide this service.

  • President Biden is calling for a national partnership with states to offer free, high-quality, accessible, and inclusive preschool to all three-and four-year-olds, benefitting five million children and saving the average family $13,000, when fully implementedThis historic $200 billion investment in America’s future will prioritize high-need areas and enable communities and families to choose the settings that work best for them. 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. The President’s plan will leverage investments in tuition-free community college and teacher scholarships to support those who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree or another credential that supports their work as an educator, or to become an early childhood educator. And, educators will receive job-embedded coaching, professional development, and wages that reflect the importance of their work. All employees in participating pre-K programs and Head Start will earn at least $15 per hour, and those with comparable qualifications will receive compensation commensurate with that of kindergarten teachers. These investments will give American children a head start and pave the way for the best-educated generation in U.S. history.

 FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND OTHER POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION INVESTMENTS
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 percent of jobs are held by people with more than a high school degree. American workers need and deserve additional support to build their skills, increase their earnings, remain competitive, and share in the benefits of the new economy. President Biden’s plan will expand access to affordable postsecondary education, laying the groundwork for innovation and inclusive economic growth for all Americans. Specifically, President Biden’s plan will:
 

  • Offer two years of free community college to all Americans, including DREAMers. The current crisis has led to a steep college enrollment decline, particularly for low-income students and students of color. As of Fall 2020, high-minority and high-poverty high schools saw a 9.4 percent and 11.4 percent decline in college enrollment, respectively. But even before the pandemic, cost remained a barrier to attending and graduating from community college for many Americans. President Biden’s $109 billion plan will ensure that first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college to earn a degree or credential for free. Students can use the benefit over three years and, if circumstances warrant, up to four years, recognizing that many students’ lives and other responsibilities can make full-time enrollment difficult. If all states, territories, and Tribes participate, about 5.5 million students would pay $0 in tuition and fees.
  • Provide up to approximately $1,400 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award. While nearly 7 million students depend on Pell Grants, the grant has not kept up with the rising cost of college. Over the last 50 years, the value of Pell Grants has plummeted. The maximum grant went from covering nearly 80 percent of the cost of a four-year college degree to under 30 percent — leading millions of low-income students to take out debt to finance their education. One in three community college students receive Pell Grants to pay for their education. Among students of color, nearly 60 percent of Black, half of American Indian or Alaska Native, almost half of Latino, and over one-third of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students rely on Pell Grants to pay for college. The American Families Plan will increase the maximum Pell Grant award by approximately $1,400, a down payment on President Biden’s commitment to double the maximum award. The plan also allows DREAMers to access Pell Grants.
     
  • Increase college retention and completion rates. An education beyond high school can lead to higher pay, financial stability, social mobility, and better health outcomes. It also has public benefits such as a reduction in crime rates and higher civic engagement. However, far too many students enter college but do not graduate. Research shows that only approximately three out of five students finish any type of degree or certificate program within six years. To complete, students need additional support. The President is proposing a bold $62 billion grant program to invest in completion and retention activities at colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students, particularly community colleges. States, territories, and Tribes will receive grants to provide funding to colleges that adopt innovative, proven solutions for student success, including wraparound services ranging from child care and mental health services to faculty and peer mentoring; emergency basic needs grants; practices that recruit and retain diverse faculty; transfer agreements between colleges; and evidence-based remediation programs.
     
  • Provide two years of subsidized tuition and expand programs in high-demand fields at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Research has found that HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are vital to helping underrepresented students move to the top of the income ladder. For example, while HBCUs are only three percent of four-year universities, their graduates make up approximately 80 percent of Black judges, half of Black lawyers and doctors, and 25 percent of Black undergraduates earning STEM degrees. Yet, these institutions have significantly less resources than other top colleges and universities, undermining their ability to grow and support more students. President Biden is calling on Congress to make a historic investment in HBCU, TCU, and MSI affordability. Specifically, he is calling for a new $39 billion program that provides two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000 enrolled in a four-year HBCU, TCU, or MSI. The President is also calling for $5 billion to expand existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, which can be used by these institutions to strengthen their academic, administrative, and fiscal capabilities, including by creating or expanding educational programs in high-demand fields (e.g., STEM, computer sciences, nursing, and allied health), with an additional $2 billion directed towards building a pipeline of skilled health care workers with graduate degrees. These investments, combined with the $45 billion proposed in the American Jobs Plan targeted to these institutions, will enable America’s HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to tackle longstanding inequities in postsecondary education and make the U.S. more competitive on the global stage.

EDUCATION AND PREPARATION FOR TEACHERS
 
Few people can have a bigger impact on a child’s life than a great teacher. 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, resulting in key positions going unfilled. Shortages of certified teachers disproportionately impact schools with higher percentages of students of color, which  have a higher proportion of teachers that are uncertified and in their first or second year, exacerbating educational disparities. 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 invest $9 billion in American teachers, addressing shortages, improving training and supports for teachers, and boosting teacher diversity.
 
These investments will improve the quality of new teachers entering the profession, increase retention rates and increase the number of teachers of color, all of which will improve student outcomes like academic achievement and high school graduation ratesresulting in higher long-term earnings, job creation and a boost to the economy. In addition, as more teachers stay in the profession, a virtuous cycle is created, wherein districts save money on recruiting and training new teachers and can invest those funds back into programs that directly impact students.
 
Specifically, President Biden’s plan will: 

  • Address teacher shortages, improve teacher preparation, and strengthen pipelines for teachers of color. President Biden is calling on Congress to double scholarships for future teachers from $4,000 to $8,000 per year while earning their degree, strengthening the program, and expanding it to early childhood educators. The President’s plan also invests $2.8 billion in Grow Your Own programs and year-long, paid teacher residency programs, which have a greater impact on student outcomes, teacher retention, and are more likely to enroll teacher candidates of color. His plan targets $400 million for teacher preparation at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and $900 million for the development of special education teachers.
  • Help current teachers earn in-demand credentials. Many teachers are eager to answer the call to get certified in areas their schools need, like special education, but are deterred due to the high cost of professional programs. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $1.6 billion to provide educators with opportunities to obtain additional certifications in high-demand areas like special education, bilingual education, and certifications that improve teacher performance. This funding will support over 100,000 educators, with priority for public school teachers with at least two years of experience at schools with a significant portion of low-income students or significant teacher shortages. All funds will be available immediately, flowing through the states, and available until expended.
     
  • Invest in educator leadership. Millions of teachers – and the students they educate – would stand to benefit from greater mentorship and leadership opportunities. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $2 billion to support programs that leverage teachers as leaders, such as high-quality mentorship programs for new teachers and teachers of color. These programs are proven tools to improve both student outcomes and teacher retention by providing new teachers with the support they need. The President’s plan will also leverage teachers as leaders of other key priorities within their school buildings, and compensate teachers for this work, recognizing the incredible expertise of our veteran educators, and their value in supporting the next generation of great teachers.
     

PROVIDE DIRECT SUPPORT TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
 
The hope of a middle-class life has gotten further and further out of reach for too many American families, as the costs of raising children – from child care to taking paid leave time to care for a new child or when a child is ill – have grown. Middle-class families and those trying to break into the middle class increasingly feel the strain of these rising costs, while wage growth has failed to keep up. These rising costs impact our economy as a whole as well. In part due to the lack of family friendly policies, the United States has fallen behind its competitors in female labor force participation. One study found that a lack of child care options costs the United States economy $57 billion per year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue. Another study found that lack of paid leave options cost workers $22.5 billion each year in lost wages.
 
CHILD CARE
 
The high cost of child care continues to make it hard for parents – especially women — to work outside the home and provide for their families. Difficulty in finding high-quality, affordable child care leads some parents to drop out of the labor force entirely, some to reduce their work hours, and others to turn down a promotion. When a parent drops out of the workforce, reduces hours, or takes a lower-paying job early in their careers—even temporarily—there are lifetime consequences on earnings, savings, and retirement. These costs are especially significant for mothers and people of color, exacerbating inequality and harming the economic security of their families, as 91 percent of the income gains experienced by middle-class families over the last forty years were driven by women’s earnings.
 
High-quality early care and education lay a strong foundation so that children can take full advantage of education and training opportunities later in life. The evidence is clear: for early years, quality care is education. This especially important for children from low-income families, who too often start school without access to high-quality educational opportunities. A study by Nobel Laureate James Heckman found that every dollar invested in a  high-quality, birth to five program for the most economically disadvantaged children resulted in $7.30 in benefits as children grew up healthier, were more likely to graduate high school and college, were less likely to be involved in crime, and earned more as adults.
 
Building on the American Jobs Plan’s investments in school and child care infrastructure and workforce training, President Biden’s American Families Plan will ensure low and middle-income families pay no more than 7 percent of their income on high-quality child care, saving the average family $14,800 per year on child care expenses, while also generating lifetime benefits for three million children, supporting hundreds of thousands of child care providers and workers, allowing roughly one million parents, primarily mothers, to enter the labor force, and significantly bolstering inclusive and equitable economic growth. Specifically, President Biden’s plan will invest $225 billion to: 

  • Make care affordable. 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. The plan will also provide families with a range of options to choose from for their child, from child care centers to family child care providers, Early Head Start, and public schools that are inclusive and accessible to all children.  
     
  • Invest in high-quality care. Child care providers will receive funding to cover the true cost of quality early childhood care and education–including a developmentally appropriate curriculum, small class sizes, and culturally and linguistically responsive environments that are inclusive of children with disabilities. These investments support positive interactions that promote children’s social-emotional and cognitive development.
     
  • Invest in the care workforce. More investment is needed to support early childhood care providers and educators, more than nine in ten of whom are women and more than four and ten of whom are women of color. They are  among the most underpaid workers in the country and nearly half receive public income support programs. The typical child care worker earned $12.24 per hour in 2020—while receiving few, if any, benefits, leading to high turnover and lower quality of care. This investment will mean a $15 minimum wage for early childhood staff and ensure that those with similar qualifications as kindergarten teachers receive comparable compensation and benefits. And, it will ensure child care workers receive job-embedded coaching and professional development, along with additional training opportunities funded by the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. These investments will lead to better quality care, while also enabling these workers to care for their own families, reducing government spending on income support programs and increasing tax revenues.  The Families Plan will also invest in maternal health and support the families of veterans receiving health care services.

 PAID LEAVE
 
The United States has fallen behind our economic competitors in the number of women participating in the labor force. The pandemic has exacerbated this problem, pushing millions of people—especially women—out  of the workforce, eroding more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation and resulting in a $64 billion loss in wages and economic activity per year. A lack of family-friendly policies, such as paid family and medical leave for when a worker need time to care for a new child, a seriously ill family member, or recover from their own serious illness, has been identified as a key reason for the U.S. decline in competitiveness. The United States is one of the only countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid leave. Nearly one in four mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth and one in five retirees left or were forced to leave the workforce earlier than planned to care for an ill family member. Further, today nearly four of five private sector workers have no access to paid leave. 95 percent of the lowest wage workers, mostly women and workers of color, lack any access to paid family leave.
 
Paid family and medical leave supports workers and families and is a critical investment in the strength and equity of our economy. President Biden’s American Families Plan will: 

  • Create a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. The program will ensure workers receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. 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 percent for the lowest wage workers. We estimate this program will cost $225 billion over a decade.

 President Biden’s paid leave plan has broad benefits for working families and the economy as a whole. Studies have shown that, under state paid leave laws, new mothers are 18 percentage points more likely to be working a year after the birth of their child.  In addition, paid leave can reduce racial disparities in wage loss between workers of color and white workers, improve child health and well-being, support employers by improving employee retention and reducing turnover costs, and increase women’s labor force participation. Over 30 million workers, including 67 percent of low-wage workers, do not have access to a single paid sick day. Low-wage and part-time workers, a majority of whom are women, are less likely to have access to paid sick days. 
 
The COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for a national paid sick leave policy, to help workers and their loved ones quickly recover from short-term illness and prevent the spread of disease. Therefore, the President calls upon Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act which will require employers to allow workers to accrue seven days paid sick leave per year to seek preventative care for them or their family– such as getting a flu shot, recovering from short-term illness, or caring for a sick child or family member or a family member with disability-related needs.
 
NUTRITION
 
The pandemic has added urgency to the issue of nutrition insecurity, which disproportionately affects low-income families and families of color. No one should have to worry about whether they can provide nutritious food for themselves or their children. A poor diet jeopardizes a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school. Nutrition insecurity can also have long-lasting negative impact on overall health and put children at higher risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Today, one-fifth of American children are obese, and research shows that childhood obesity increases the likelihood of obesity in adulthood. In addition to the incredible financial burden on the health care system, diet-related diseases carry significant economic and national security implications by decreasing work productivity, increasing job absenteeism, and threatening military readinessrecent study found that U.S. children are getting their healthiest meals at school, demonstrating that school meals are one of the federal government’s most powerful tools for delivering nutrition security to children.  To ensure the nutritional needs of families are met, President Biden’s plan will invest $45 billion to:
 

  • Expand summer EBT to all eligible children nationwide. The Summer EBT Demonstrations helps low-income families with children eligible for free and reduced-price meals during the school year purchase food during the summer. Research shows that this program decreases food insecurity among children and has led to positive changes in nutritional outcomes. The American Families Plan builds on the American Rescue Plan’s support for Summer Pandemic-EBT by investing more than $25 billion to make the successful program permanent and available to all 29 million children receiving free and reduced-price meals.
     
  • Expand school meal programs. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows high-poverty schools to provide meals free of charge to all of their students. It is currently available to individual schools, groups of schools within a district, or an entire district with at least 40 percent of students participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program is particularly important because some families whose children would be eligible for free meals may not apply for them due to stigma or not fully understanding the application process. In addition, other families in high-poverty schools may still be facing food insecurity but make just enough to not qualify for free school meals. However, only 70 percent of eligible schools have adopted CEP, because some schools would receive reimbursement below the free meal rate. The President’s plan will fund $17 billion to expand free meals for children in the highest poverty districts (those with at least 40 percent of students participating in SNAP) by reimbursing a higher percentage of meals at the free reimbursement rate through CEP. Additionally, the plan will expand free meals for children in elementary schools by reimbursing an even higher percentage of meals at the free reimbursement through CEP and lowering the threshold for CEP eligibility for elementary schools to 25 percent of students participating in SNAP. Targeting elementary students will drive better long-term health outcomes by ensuring low-income children are receiving nutritious meals at an early age. The plan will also expand direct certification to automatically enroll more students for school means based on Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income data. This proposal will provide free meals to an additional 9.3 million children, with about 70 percent in elementary schools.
     
  • Launch a healthy foods incentive demonstration. To build on progress made during the Obama Administration to improve the nutrition standards of school meals, this new $1 billion demonstration will support schools that are further expanding healthy food offerings. For example, schools adopting specified measures that exceed current school meal standards will receive an enhanced reimbursement as an incentive.
     
  • Facilitate re-entry for formerly incarcerated individuals through SNAP eligibility. Individuals convicted of a drug-related felony are currently ineligible to receive SNAP benefits unless a state has taken the option to eliminate or modify this restriction. Denying these individuals—many of whom are parents of young children—SNAP benefits jeopardizes nutrition security and poses a barrier to re-entry into the community in a population that already faces significant hurdles to obtaining employment and stability. SNAP is a critical safety net for many individuals as they search for employment to support themselves and their families. This restriction disproportionately impacts African Americans, who are convicted of drug offenses at much higher rates than white Americans. 

 
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE REFORM
 
The unemployment insurance (UI) system is a critical lifeline to workers at the hardest times. During the pandemic, it saved millions from poverty and helped people put food on the table. But, the system is in desperate need of reform and strengthening.  Too often Americans found themselves waiting weeks to get the benefits they deserved.  Too often the benefits Americans would automatically receive would’ve been too low and would not have gone long enough absent Congress stepping in.  Too often the safeguards to prevent fraud in the system have been insufficient. And it has been unemployed people of color who have borne the brunt of the UI system’s weaknesses. President Biden is committed to strengthening and reforming the system for the long term.  That’s why he won $2 billion in the American Rescue Plan to put toward UI system modernization, equitable access, and fraud prevention.  And, that’s why he wants to work with Congress to automatically adjust the length and amount of UI benefits unemployed workers receive depending on economic conditions. This will ensure future legislative delay doesn’t undermine economic recovery and it will enable permanent reform of the system to provide the safety net that workers deserve in the hardest times.

TAX CUTS FOR AMERICA’S FAMILIES AND WORKERS
 
While the American Rescue Plan provided meaningful relief for hundreds of millions of Americans, that is just a first step. Now is the time to build back better, to help families and workers who for too long have felt the squeeze of stagnating wages and an ever-increasing cost-of-living.  Direct assistance to families in the form of tax credits paid on a regular basis lifts children and families out of poverty, makes it easier for families to make ends meet, and boosts the academic and economic performance of children over time. But if Congress does not act, millions of American families and workers will see their taxes go up at the end of the year. 
 
President Biden believes we must extend the American Rescue Plan’s expanded tax credits that lifted millions of children out of poverty, made it easier for families to afford child care, and ensured that low-income workers without children would not continue to be taxed into poverty.
 
Specifically, President Biden’s plan will:
 

  • Extend expanded ACA premiums tax credits in the American Rescue Plan. Health care should be a right, not a privilege, and Americans facing illness should never have to worry about how they are going to pay for their treatment. No one should face a choice between buying life-saving medications or putting food on the table.  President Biden has a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act and lower prescription drug costs for everyone by letting Medicare negotiate prices, reducing health insurance premiums and deductibles for those who buy coverage on their own, creating a public option and the option for people to enroll in Medicare at age 60, and closing the Medicaid coverage gap to help millions of Americans gain health insurance. The American Families Plan will build on the American Rescue Plan and continue our work to make health care more affordable.  The American Rescue Plan included a historic investment in reducing Americans’ health care costs.  The biggest improvement in health care affordability since the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan provided two years of lower health insurance premiums for those who buy coverage on their own, saving families an average of $50 per person per month.  The American Families Plan will make those premium reductions permanent, a $200 billion investment.  As a result, nine million people will save hundreds of dollars per year on their premiums, and four million uninsured people will gain coverage.  The Families Plan will also invest in maternal health and support the families of veterans receiving health care services. 
     
  • Extend the Child Tax Credit increases in the American Rescue Plan through 2025 and make the Child Tax Credit permanently fully refundable. The President is calling for the Child Tax Credit expansion, first enacted in the American Rescue Plan, to be extended.  This legislation expands the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for six-years old and above, and $3,600 per child for children under six. It also makes 17-year-olds eligible for the first time and makes the credit fully refundable on a permanent basis, so that low-income families—the families that need the credit the most—can benefit from the full tax credit. The expanded Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan benefited nearly 66 million children, and it was the single largest contributor to the plan’s historic reductions in child poverty.

    For a family with two parents earning a combined $100,000 per year and two children under six, the Child Tax Credit expansion means an additional $3,200 per year in tax relief. For a family with two parents earning a combined $24,000 per year and two children under six, the expansion means even more, with a credit increase of than $4,400 because the full credit was not previously fully available to them.

    The credit would also be delivered regularly. This means that families will not need to wait until tax season to receive a refund. Instead, they will receive regular payments that allow them to cover household expenses as they arise.

    The American Families Plan will make permanent the full refundability of the Child Tax Credit, while extending the other expansions to the Child Tax Credit through 2025—when the 2017 law’s individual provisions expire. The President is committed to working with Congress to achieve his ultimate goal of making permanent the Child Tax Credit as well as all of the expansions he signed into law in the American Rescue Plan.
     
  • Permanently increase tax credits to support families with child care needs. To help families afford child care, President Biden is calling on Congress to make permanent the temporary Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) expansion enacted in the American Rescue Plan. Families will receive a tax credit for as much as half of their spending on qualified child care for children under age 13, up to a total of $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. A 50 percent reimbursement will be available to families making less than $125,000 a year, while families making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit with benefits at least as generous as those they receive today. The credit can be used for expenses ranging from full-time care to after school care to summer care.

    This is a dramatic expansion of support to low- and middle-income families. In 2019, a family claiming a CDCTC for the previous year got less than $600 on average towards the cost of care, and many low-income families got nothing. If Congress fails extend the CDCTC expansion, more than 6 million families could see their taxes go up at the end of the year – many by thousands of dollars – making obtaining affordable child care more difficult. Importantly, this tax credit works in tandem with the American Families Plan’s direct investments in childcare affordability for families with young children.
     
  • Make the Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion for childless workers permanent. Before this year, the federal tax code taxed low-wage childless workers into poverty or deeper into poverty — the only group of workers it treated this way. The American Rescue Plan addressed this problem by roughly tripling the EITC for childless workers, benefitting 17 million low-wage workers, many of whom are essential workers including cashiers, cooks, delivery drivers, food preparation workers, and childcare providers. For example, a childless worker who works 30 hours per week at $9 per hour earns income that, after taxes, leaves them below the federal poverty line. By increasing her EITC to more than $1,100, this EITC expansion helps pull such workers out of poverty.

    The President is calling on Congress to make this expansion permanent. President Biden believes our tax code should reward work and not wealth. And that means rewarding workers who work hard every day at modest wages to provide their communities with essential services.
     
  • Give IRS the authority to regulate paid tax preparers. Tax returns prepared by certain types of preparers have high error rates. These preparers charge taxpayers large fees while exposing them to costly audits.  As preparers play a crucial role in tax administration, and will be key to helping many taxpayers claim the newly-expanded credits, IRS oversight of tax preparers is needed. The President is calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that will give the IRS that authority.

 
TAX REFORM THAT REWARDS WORK – NOT WEALTH
 
The President’s tax agenda will not only reverse the biggest 2017 tax law giveaways, but reform the tax code so that the wealthy have to play by the same rules as everyone else. It will ensure that high-income Americans pay the tax they owe under the law—ending the unfair system of enforcement that collects almost all taxes due on wages, while regularly collecting a smaller share of business and capital income. The plan will also eliminate long-standing loopholes, including lower taxes on capital gains and dividends for the wealthy, that reward wealth over work. Importantly, these reforms will also rein in the ways that the tax code widens racial disparities in income and wealth. 
 
President Biden’s plan uses the resulting revenue to rebuild the middle class, investing in education and boosting wages. It will also give tax relief to middle-class families, dramatically reducing child poverty and cutting the cost of child care in half for many families. The result of the President’s individual tax reforms will be a tax code with fewer loopholes for the wealthy and more opportunity for low- and middle-income Americans.
 
Altogether, these tax reforms focused on the highest income Americans would raise about $1.5 trillion across the decade. In combination with the American Jobs Plan, which produces long-term deficit reduction through corporate tax reform, all of the investments would be fully paid for over the next 15 years.
 
President Biden’s plan will: 

  • Revitalize enforcement to make the wealthy pay what they owe.  We have a two-tiered system of tax administration in this country: regular workers pay the taxes they owe on wages and salaries while some wealthy taxpayers aggressively plan to avoid the tax laws.  Those with the highest incomes generate income in opaque categories where misreporting rates can reach 55 percent. A recent study found that the top one percent failed to report 20 percent of their income and failed to pay over $175 billion in taxes that they owed. But today, the IRS does not even have the resources to fully investigate this evasion. As a result of budget cuts, audit rates on those making over $1 million per year fell by 80 percent between 2011-2018.

    The President’s proposal would change the game—by making sure the wealthiest Americans play by the same set of rules as all other Americans.It would require financial institutions to report information on account flows so that earnings from investments and business activity are subject to reporting more like wages already are.It would also increase investment in the IRS, while ensuring that the additional resources go toward enforcement against those with the highest incomes, rather than Americans with actual income less than $400,000. Additional resources would focus on large corporations, businesses, and estates, and higher-income individuals. Altogether, this plan would raise $700 billion over 10 years.
     
  • Increase the top tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to 39.6 percent. One of the 2017 tax cut’s clearest giveaways to the wealthy was cutting the top income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 37 percent, exclusively benefitting the wealthiest households—those in the top one percent. This rate cut alone gives a couple with $2 million in taxable an annual tax cut of more than $36,400. The President’s plan restores the top tax bracket to what it was before the 2017 law, returning the rate to 39.6 percent, applying only to those within the top one percent.
     
  • End capital income tax breaks and other loopholes for the very top. The President’s tax reform will end one of the most unfair aspects of our tax system: that the tax rate the wealthy pay on capital gains and dividends is less than the tax rate that many middle-class families pay on their wages. Households making over $1 million—the top 0.3 percent of all households—will pay the same 39.6 percent rate on all their income, equalizing the rate paid on investment returns and wages. Moreover, the President would eliminate the loophole that allows the wealthiest Americans to entirely escape tax on their wealth by passing it down to heirs. Today, our tax laws allow these accumulated gains to be passed down across generations untaxed, exacerbating inequality. The President’s plan will close this loophole, ending the practice of “stepping-up” the basis for gains in excess of $1 million ($2.5 million per couple when combined with existing real estate exemptions) and making sure the gains are taxed if the property is not donated to charity. The reform will be designed with protections so that family-owned businesses and farms will not have to pay taxes when given to heirs who continue to run the business. Without these changes, billions in capital income would continue to escape taxation entirely.

    The President is also calling on Congress to close the carried interest loophole so that hedge fund partners will pay ordinary income rates on their income just like every other worker. While equalizing tax rates on wages and capital gains will address this disparity, permanently eliminating carried interest is an important structural change that is necessary to ensure that we have a tax code that treats all workers fairly.  The President would also end the special real estate tax break—that allows real estate investors to defer taxation when they exchange property—for gains greater than $500,000, and the President would also permanently extend the current limitation in place that restricts large, excess business losses, 80 percent of which benefits those making over $1 million.

    Finallyhigh-income workers and investors generally pay a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on their earnings, but the application is inconsistent across taxpayers due to holes in the law. The President’s tax reform would apply the taxes consistently to those making over $400,000, ensuring that all high-income Americans pay the same Medicare taxes.

To view this fact sheet in your browser, click here

Highlights of NYS $212 Billion Budget

Mario Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the aging Tappan Zee Bridge, demonstrated New York State’s “can-do” infrastructure program. The FY 2022 budget that was just adopted supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $311 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation and the most expansive in state’s history – that will create thousands of jobs across the state. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

$311 Billion Infrastructure Plan – Largest in the Nation & Most Expansive in State’s History – Will Create Thousands of Jobs Across the State

First-in-the-Nation Program to Make Broadband Internet Affordable – $15 Broadband Plans Must Be Offered to Low-Income Families

Enhances Public Safety by Authorizing the Withholding of 50 Percent of State and Federal Funds from Jurisdictions that Fail to Produce a Police Reform Plan; Requires the Attorney General to Appoint a Monitor to Ensure Safe Policing

Directs $2.3 Billion in Federal Child Care Resources to Expand Availability, Quality and Affordability of Child Care Across the State; Enacts Employer Child Care Credits

$29 Billion in Public and Private Green Economy Investments

Establishes Prevailing Wage & Buy American Requirement

Protects Renters by Creating $2.4 Billion Rent Relief Program

Enhances Quality of Care at Nursing Homes with Patient-Centered Reforms

Provides $1 Billion in Small Business and Arts Relief and Recovery Assistance

Enacts Middle Class Property Tax Credit and Continues Middle Class Tax Cut; Expected to Save 4.8 Million New Yorkers Over $2.2 Billion This Year

$29.5 Billion School Aid, 11% Increase, Record Funding

Governor Led National Effort for State and Local Federal Funding with New York State Receiving $12.6 Billion; Budget Closes Remaining Gap; Adds $3.5 Billion in Tax Revenue and Invests in COVID Response and Recovery

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced highlights of the FY 2022 Enacted Budget to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Budget supports the Governor’s $311 billion infrastructure plan – the largest in the nation and the most expansive in State’s history – that will create thousands of jobs across the State.

The Budget establishes a first-in-the-nation program to provide affordable internet by requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan to qualified low-income households.

The Budget enhances public safety by authorizing the withholding of up to 50 percent of State and Federal funds from jurisdictions that fail to produce a police reform plan and comply with the Governor’s Executive order. The Governor may require that the Attorney General appoint a monitor over the police force until the plan is adopted.

The Budget directs $2.3 billion in federal child care resources to expand availability, quality and affordability of child care across the state, and enhances the Employer Provided Child Care Credit to provide meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide child care to their employees.

The Budget supports $29 billion in public and private green economy investments to create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes – helping to fulfill the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and also spur the COVID economic recovery. The investments include the largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric busses.

The Budget ensures that New York uses Buy American principles in manufacturing of renewable components. The Budget also requires prevailing wage for construction labor peace agreements for operations and manufacturing.

The Budget ensures access to fair and safe housing and protects renters by establishing a $2.4 billion rent relief program using Federal and State funds.

The Enacted Budget includes comprehensive nursing home reform legislation to help ensure facilities prioritize patients over profits, establishing minimum thresholds for nursing home spending on direct resident care and staffing, and investing $32 million annually to implement the reforms, while capping profits and performing related party transactions to drive funding to where it matters most, the patients.

The Budget enacts small business and arts relief and recovery assistance, a robust $1 billion relief package for small businesses, arts, entertainment and restaurant relief to help them recover from the impacts of the pandemic. It includes $865 million in grants and $139 million in tax credits.

The Budget also continues the phase-in of the middle class tax cut, which is expected to save 4.8 million New Yorkers over $2.2 billion this year.

From the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Cuomo led the national effort to secure Federal funding for state and local governments, with New York State receiving $12.6 billion in aid to help offset devastating revenue losses caused entirely by the pandemic. With this Federal funding and additional revenues, including $3.5 billion in new tax revenue that rises to $4.3 billion in FY 2023, the Enacted Budget closes the deficit and invests in the ongoing response to the pandemic and recovery efforts.

“New York was ambushed early and hit hardest by COVID, devastating our economy and requiring urgent and unprecedented emergency spending to manage the pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “Thanks to the State’s strong fiscal management and relentless pursuit to secure the federal support that the pandemic demanded, we not only balanced our budget, we are also making historic investments to reimagine, rebuild and renew New York in the aftermath of the worst health and economic crisis in a century. This budget continues funding for the largest-in-the-nation $311 billion infrastructure plan, establishes a groundbreaking program to provide affordable internet for low-income families and enhances public safety through police reforms, all while continuing to provide relief to New Yorkers and small businesses as we recover from the pandemic. I thank the legislative leaders – Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Heastie – for their partnership in helping make this critical budget a reality and delivering results for the people of this state.”

Fiscal Highlights of the FY 2022 Enacted Budget:

  • State Operating Funds spending is $111 billion
  • All Funds spending $212 billion for FY 2022
  • Applies $5.5 billion in federal aid
  • Provides $29.5 billion in School Aid, a $3 billion, 11% increase.
  • Provides $7.7 billion in State support for higher education in New York

2022 REIMAGINE | REBUILD | RENEW ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS 

$311 Billion Infrastructure Plan: New York’s $311 billion infrastructure plan includes the Governor’s $211 billion 2020-24 plan and his $100 billion 2015-2019 plan. The evolving plan increased by $36 billion in the budget with the inclusion of new, key elements of the Midtown West Redevelopment of New York City beginning with Penn Station, Belmont Station Redevelopment, a $3 billion environmental bond act, transportation programs, and additional supportive, affordable, and public housing support, along with incremental adds to existing capital programs.  

First-in-the-Nation Affordable Internet for Low-Income Families: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes first-in-the-nation legislation requiring internet service providers to offer an affordable $15 per month high-speed internet plan to qualifying low-income households. The State will also require providers to advertise this plan to ensure programs reach underserved populations across the State. To further bridge the gap, the State has partnered with Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation to launch ConnectED NY, an emergency fund to provide approximately 50,000 students in economically disadvantaged school districts with free internet access through June 2022. 

Police Reform Plans: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes the withholding of up to 50 percent of state and federal funds from jurisdictions that fail to produce a police reform plan and comply with the Governor’s Executive Order 203, the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. It also requires the Attorney General to install a monitor until the jurisdiction is compliant, if the Governor directs.

Expand Child Care Availability and Affordability: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget directs $2.3 billion in Federal child care resources to expand the availability, quality and affordability of child care. Increases in child care subsidies will expand access, co-pays would be lowered to not more than 10% of family income above the poverty level and essential workers would receive child care tuition support. Child care providers would receive $1.3 billion in stabilization grants to support expenses, as well as additional funds for cleaning and safety. Further investments would be made to increase capacity in child care “deserts” and help parents find the child care provider that’s right for them.

Enact Employer Child Care Credits: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget enhances the Excelsior Jobs Program and Employer Provided Child Care Credit, providing meaningful incentives to employers to help them provide much needed child care to their employees. The Excelsior Jobs Program is enhanced to allow for an expanded up to five percent Investment Tax Credit component and a credit up to six percent of ongoing net child care expenditures provided by the credit recipient. The Employer Provided Child Care Credit is also enhanced by doubling the current credit percentages to 50 percent of qualified child care expenditures and 20 percent of qualified child care resource and referral expenditures while increasing the per taxpayer cap from $150,000 to $500,000.

$29 Billion in Public and Private Green Economy Investments: Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York will embark on an ambitious Green Energy program that will spur more than $29 billion in public and private investment across the state and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy – enough to power 6 million homes. These investments will not only shift the state to a carbon neutral economy, fulfilling the goals of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, but also spur the COVID economic recovery. The investments include the largest offshore wind program in the nation, plans to make New York a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse, constructing a green energy transmission superhighway, a public-private partnership to build nearly 100 renewable energy projects and supporting transit agencies’ transition to electric busses.

Provide $2.4 Billion to Protect Renters: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a $2.4 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) to ensure New Yorkers can make rent and remain stable in their homes. The program will support households in rental arrears that have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability and that earn less than 80 percent of area median income. The program would prioritize those with the lowest incomes, the unemployed and other vulnerable populations. Renters in the program will also be eligible to receive relief for utility arrears. The program is funded by $2.3 billion in Federal resources and $100 million of State resources to supplement the core program and target those facing hardship that may not otherwise be eligible. The program will be structured to enable coordinated efforts between the State and the local governments that opted to receive funds directly – leveraging resources, gaining efficiencies and preventing fraud.

Enhancing Nursing Home Quality of Care: The Enacted Budget includes comprehensive nursing home reform legislation to help ensure facilities are prioritizing patient care over profits.  These reforms establish minimum thresholds for nursing home spending of 70 percent of revenues on direct resident care and 40 percent of revenues on resident-facing staffing, capping profits at five percent, and targeting unscrupulous related party transactions. Excess revenues recouped by the State will be deposited into the existing nursing home quality pool for further investments for nursing homes to meet high quality standards. Now, more than ever, it is important that nursing homes are staffed to provide high quality care and safety for their residents. These initiatives will have a positive impact on nursing home residents and staff, delivering the quality of care needed for the most vulnerable New Yorkers in a safe environment. 

$1 Billion Small Business and Arts Relief and Recovery Assistance: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a robust $1 Billion small business, arts, entertainment and restaurant relief package to help businesses and other organizations recover from the impacts of the pandemic:

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program: Provides $800 million in grant fundingfor small businesses including for-profit arts and cultural institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • New York Restaurant Resiliency Grant Program: $25 million in grant funding to support restaurants that provide meals to distressed and under-represented communities.
  • Arts and Cultural Organization Recovery Grant Program: $40 million to provide grants through the New York State Council on the Arts to eligible arts and cultural nonprofit organizations to assist in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Restaurant Return-To-Work Tax Credit: Provides up to $35 million in tax credits to support restaurants hard hit by the pandemic through 2021.
  • New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit: Provides up to $100 million in tax credits to jump start the industry and support tourism activity in the City.
  • Extend and Enhance the Musical and Theatrical Production Credit for Four Years: In order to support musical and theatrical productions that occur in the State but outside of New York City, the Budget extends this credit for four years through 2025 and increases it by $4 million to $8 million.

Continuing Middle Class Tax Cuts: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues to lower Personal Income Tax rates for middle-class New Yorkers. In 2021, the fourth year of the multi-year tax cuts enacted in 2016, income tax rates have been lowered from 6.09% to 5.97% for taxpayers filing jointly in the $43,000-$161,550 income bracket, and from 6.41% to 6.33% in the $161,550-$323,200 income bracket. These cuts are expected to save 4.8 million New Yorkers over $2.2 billion this year. When the cuts are fully phased in, middle class taxpayers will have received an income tax rate cut up to 20 percent, amounting to a projected $4.2 billion in annual savings for six million filers by 2025. As the new rates phase in, they will be the State’s lowest middle-class tax rates in more than 70 years.

Enact the Real Property Tax Relief Credit: The Budget provides a personal income tax credit for New York resident homeowners with incomes up to $250,000 if their total property tax exceeds a fixed percentage of their income. This framework will target New York families with the highest property tax to income burden. The calculation of this credit is capped at $350 per STAR-eligible household, while also utilizing a $250 credit minimum to further target homeowners impacted the most by high property taxes. It is expected that claims will average about $340. Qualified homeowners will be able to claim this new Property Tax Relief credit for taxable years 2021, 2022, and 2023. 

Striking a Balance on Revenue

The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes new revenue resources that provide the revenues needed to make the investments that will support New York’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and New York’s recovery from it, including:

  • Hard Won Federal Support: The Budget deploys the first $5.5 billion of the $12.6 billion provided for in the federal American Recuse Plan Act 2021. These funds are integrated throughout the budget in accordance with available federal guidelines. Remaining funds will be used in future budgets over the four years that the funding is available.
  • Secured Federal Support for Local Governments: The Budget includes appropriation authority for local governments to receive Federal support that Governor Cuomo fought tirelessly for. The historic package of $10.8 billion in Federal aid for local governments is a lifeline to localities, helping to support essential workers and government employees, assist the vaccination efforts, boost local economies and support the network of local government services that New Yorkers depend on.
  • Personal Income Tax Surcharge: The Enacted Budget implements a surcharge on high earners through Tax Year 2027 that sets a top rate of 10.9% for all filers earning more than $25 million. The surcharge raises $2.8 billion in FY 2022, rising to $3.3 billion in FY 2023.
  • Corporate Franchise Tax Rates: The Enacted Budget implements a surcharge on corporate tax rate that increases the business income tax rate from 6.5% to 7.25% for three years through tax year 2023 for taxpayers with business income greater than $5 million. It also increases the capital base method of liability estimation to 0.1875% from the 0.025% rate in effect last year.   The capital base method increase continue to exempt qualified manufacturers, qualified emerging technology companies, and cooperative housing corporations. These changes raise $750 million in FY 2022 and $1 billion in FY 2023.
  • Mobile Sports Wagering: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes mobile sports wagering. Once fully phased in, legalization will provide more than $500 million in much needed revenue for the State to help rebuild from COVID-19 and grow what could be the largest sports wagering market in the U.S. into a profitable industry long-term. Under the legislation, the state will issue a Request for Applications and must select at least two platform providers who must work with a total of at least four operators or skins. Once fully phased in, the program will provide $5 million annually to youth sports, and $6 million to combat problem gambling, doubling the resources currently available. The remainder of this new revenue will be dedicated to education.

Education

$29.5 Billion in School Aid: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $29.5 billion in State funding to school districts for the 2021-22 school year through School Aid, the highest level of State aid ever, supporting the operational costs of school districts that educate 2.5 million students statewide. This investment represents an increase of $3.0 billion (11.3 percent) compared to the 2020-21 school year, including a $1.4 billion (7.6 percent) Foundation Aid increase. Approximately 75 percent of this increase is targeted to high-need school districts 

$13 Billion in Federal Aid to Public Schools: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget programs $13 billion of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief and Governor’s Emergency Education Relief funds to public schools. This funding, available for use over multiple years, will help schools safely reopen for in-person instruction, address learning loss, and respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget allocates $629 million of these funds to school districts as targeted grants to support efforts to address learning loss through activities such as summer enrichment and comprehensive after-school programs. In addition, the Budget uses $105 million of federal funds to expand access to full-day prekindergarten programs for four-year-old children in school districts statewide in the 2021-22 school year.

$500 Million in Emergency Federal Assistance to Nonpublic Schools: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $500 million of federal funding for emergency assistance to nonpublic schools, prioritizing schools that serve high proportions of low-income children and have been most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will support pandemic-related costs such as personal protective equipment, educational technology, and redeveloping instructional plans for remote or hybrid learning and to address learning loss.

Authorize Aid for Pandemic-Related School District Transportation Costs: Under the FY 2022 Enacted Budget, school districts will be reimbursed for the cost of delivering school meals and instructional materials during pandemic-related school closures in spring 2020 and for the costs of keeping transportation employees and contractors on standby during the initial short-term closures prior to the announcement in May 2020 that school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year

Defeating COVID and Strengthening Health Care Delivery

Telehealth: The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the healthcare delivery system as methods for accessing care have expanded. Accordingly, the State enacted a comprehensive package of telehealth reforms that will increase access to telehealth services. These include:

  • In the Enacted Budget, these include: increasing access to services through comprehensive reform by allowing certain unlicensed staff (e.g. Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselors) to deliver substance use disorder services; expanding covered telehealth providers; eliminating obsolete location requirements..
  • The Reimagine New York Build Back Better initiative will include a $3 million capital grant program matching state and private funding to support telehealth infrastructure needs of rural providers and those serving vulnerable populations

Expanding Nation-Leading COVID-19 Diagnostic Capacity:  The FY 2022 Enacted Budget will continue to support the expansion of the State’s world-leading testing program, performing over 200,000 COVID-19 tests daily, on average, to identify disease and mitigate community spread. This includes leveraging the research expertise of Wadsworth laboratories, which was the first public laboratory in the United States to have a non-Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 test approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The State will also continue to operate a network of 22 regionally located drive-through and walk-in testing locations available to all New Yorkers completely free of charge, and will establish a network of rapid testing locations by partnering with testing companies to allow business and entertainment centers to safely re-open.

Strengthening Public Outreach for Communities Disproportionately Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $15 million to strengthen communication, expand public education and enhance ongoing outreach efforts for communities that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of these funds will be awarded directly to community-based organizations across the state to increase COVID-19 awareness and promote vaccine confidence in the Latino community. Remaining funds will be used for the development of a vaccine awareness media campaign and enhancements to the COVID-19 hotline, which has served as an important source of information to the public with questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launch a New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund: As part of Governor Cuomo’s Life Science Initiative, Empire State Development will create a new $40 million New York State Infectious Diseases Resiliency Commercialization Fund led by Empire State Development and advised by the New York State Department of Health and other private experts to capitalize on New York’s substantial research and development assets and expertise in life sciences, biotechnology and biodefense. The fund will focus on accelerating the growth of companies to fast track the development of innovations that address emerging infectious diseases, public health threats and support economic growth.

Continue COVID Response and Implementation of Vaccine Distribution: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget will support the implementation of a statewide COVID-19 vaccination program that will be available to all New Yorkers within the year, ensuring a fair and equitable distribution to vulnerable and underserved communities within all regions of the state. The vaccine program will cover nearly 20 million residents at no cost, driving New York towards becoming the nation’s first COVID-safe state and accelerating the State’s re-opening effort.

Create the New York Public Health Corps: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget supports the New York Public Health Corps, which will assist in supporting COVID-19 vaccination and pandemic response operations and establishing a best-in-the-nation emergency response public health capacity that lasts beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows selected for the New York Public Health Corps will include students in undergraduate and graduate public health programs, nursing schools and medical and pharmaceutical schools, recent graduates, retired medical professionals, volunteer first responders and other New Yorkers who will receive an intensive public health training curriculum developed by Cornell University. After the COVID vaccination program is completed, New York will leverage this Public Health Corps model workforce by continuing to recruit and train public health professionals to be available and prepared to serve the State in any future public health crisis.

Eliminate Health Care Premiums: The Enacted Budget eliminates premiums for Essential Plan coverage for more than 400,000 New Yorkers earning between $39,300 and $52,400 for a family of four and expands coverage to include dental and vision by eliminating dental and vision premiums and cost-sharing for Essential Plan 1 and Plan 2 members currently paying out-of-pocket.

Enhancing Social Service Crisis Intervention: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $10 million to support of social service crisis intervention programs and providers disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. These funds will provide much needed financial relief to social service crisis intervention providers who have continued to maintain a quality of care despite the financial burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improving Data Collection Efforts for the Public Health Needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides support to organizations with the capability of collecting health care related demographic information, specifically for New York State’s Asian and Pacific Islander American populations. The information collected as part of this Data Disaggregation program will be used to identify the specific health care needs of the Asian and Pacific Islander American populations and address shortfalls in the State’s healthcare system in effectively serving these portions of the population.

Enhancing Access to Health Care Services for Holocaust Survivors: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $1 million in additional support for the Holocaust Survivors Initiative. These funds will be used to increase access to health care related case management services for those who suffered in the Holocaust. Case Management services include, but are not limited to, mental health services, trauma informed care, crisis prevention, legal services and entitlement counseling, emergency financial assistance for food, housing, prescriptions, medical and dental care, socialization programs, training and support for caregivers and home health aides working with survivors and end of life care including hospice and ethical wills.

Establish Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services:  The Budget authorizes the launch of Urgent Care Centers for mental health and addiction services. On average, more than 100,000 individuals per year benefit from crisis intervention services. These centers will be open 24/7/365 and accept all admissions without referral, including direct drop-offs by law enforcement and other first responders. This effort will streamline stabilization and reintegration for individuals in crisis.   

Human Services Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): The FY 2022 Budget includes $46.2 million to provide a 1 percent COLA to not-for-profits licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized by OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS. These additional resources will support the community-based programs that provide essential services and supports to people with developmental disabilities, mental illness and/or substance use disorder. The Budget also provides $5.6 million for a 1 percent COLA increase for other human services agencies, including SOFA, OTDA, and OCFS.

Post-Partum Eligibility: The Enacted Budget extends coverage for pregnant women between 200% and 223% of the Federal Poverty limit from 60 days after pregnancy to one year. Postpartum persons will maintain 60 days of coverage under Medicaid, and on day 61 they will get coverage under a qualified health plan. This will eliminate the benefit cliff for persons with incomes too high to qualify for Essential Plan coverage

Delay Transition of Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit: The FY 2021 Enacted Budget transitioned the Medicaid pharmacy benefit from Managed Care to fee for service to increase transparency, maximize rebates and reduce administrative costs. Savings were reinvested to 340B entities no longer receiving excess reimbursement for 340B drugs under Managed Care. The FY 2022 Enacted Budget delays the transition of the Medicaid pharmacy benefit by two years, until April 1, 2023.

Jumpstarting New York’s Economic Recovery

Educate and Train Workers for In-Demand Jobs: Along with an unprecedented increase in unemployment, the pandemic has caused a massive shift in the type of jobs available and who is looking for work. The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes several initiatives under which New York’s colleges and universities will help rebuild New York’s economy by educating and training workers for in-demand jobs:

  • Pathways Pledge: In partnership with Governor Cuomo’s Reimagine New York Commission, New York is launching a Pathways Pledge among New York’s leading employers, both public and private, to create more inclusive workforces and provide more workforce development opportunities.
  • SUNY’s Free Online Training Center: Governor Cuomo is expanding SUNY’s free Online Training Center so New Yorkers can enroll in additional employment certification programs for quality jobs in high-demand growing industries like health care and advanced manufacturing.  The Training Center will give more New Yorkers in every region of the state — from rural communities to urban centers — another opportunity to receive free job training certifications and then automatically be admitted to any one of SUNY’s 30 community colleges for future career advancements.
  • SUNY Stony Brook Offshore Wind Institute: New York’s accelerated renewable energy development program is creating thousands of well-paying jobs. In order to make sure New Yorkers benefit from these opportunities, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget supports a $20 million investment in a new Offshore Wind Training Institute based at SUNY Stony Brook and Farmingdale State College. In 2021, NYSERDA and SUNY will issue the first solicitations for advanced technology training partners, leveraging our SUNY and CUNY system to train the first phase of an estimated 2,500 workers beginning in summer of 2021.
  • Priority Access for Nurses in SUNY and CUNY Programs: In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law “BSN in 10” to enhance the quality of patient care and elevate the nursing profession. It requires all nurses who complete an Associate Degree in New York State to complete a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing within 10 years to maintain licensure by the State. Beginning in Fall 2021, SUNY and CUNY will implement priority admission to nursing programs so the 40,000 nurses and nursing candidates in need of completing their baccalaureate credentials can receive a quality and affordable education within the state.

Advance the Economic Recovery through Workforce Development: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget enacts a COVID-19 Recovery Workforce Initiative, which invests $50 million for training in high-growth industries, employer-driven training for low-income workers and funding for small businesses to re-train and hire furloughed, laid-off or new employees. The investments will provide durable skills that lead to high-quality jobs and support the growth of small businesses recovering from COVID-19 impacts.

Support the Unemployed and Protect Workers: Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Department of Labor has paid out more than $75 billion in benefits to over 4 million New Yorkers – more than 30 typical years’ worth of benefits. The Budget supports reforms to the unemployment system, including upgrades to modernize technology, allowing work search activities to be performed via video conference and online, and creating a centralized virtual portal for workers to file wage, discrimination, retaliation, and other workplace violation claims.  

Support Excluded Workers: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a $2.1 billion program to provide cash payments to workers who have suffered income loss due to COVID but who are ineligible for Unemployment Insurance or related Federal benefits due to their immigration status or other factors. Such workers must be low-income and provide sufficient documentation to establish work-related eligibility and residency in the state.

Continued Investment in Tourism: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a precipitous drop in travel, hitting New York’s tourism industry particularly hard. As New York State advances its scientific-based reopening efforts, the FY 2022 Budget includes additional funding to attract visitors from around the world and boost the tourism economy. The program includes a ninth round of $15 million in competitive funding through the Market NY initiative to support marketing projects that promote regional attractions.

New Round of Regional Economic Development Councils: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes core capital and tax-credit funding that will be combined with a wide range of existing agency programs for REDC awards totaling $750 million and will target assistance to impacted industries and allow for job creation and retention.

Expand Opportunities for New York’s MWBE Program: Governor Cuomo has been a champion of the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises. In 2014, he set the utilization goal in State contracting at 30 percent to ensure all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part in New York State’s growing economy. New York State now has the highest MWBE contract participation in the nation. In fact, state contract spending with MWBE firms has grown from less than $100 million in 2010 to $3.14 billion as MWBE in FY 2020. To build upon this success, the Empire State Development Corporation, in partnership with the Reimagine New York Commission, is launching the “Entrepreneurship Navigator” to provide customized services and streamlined access to start-up programs to help incubate minority and women entrepreneurs in the technology and innovation sector.

New York Works Economic Development Fund: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a sixth round of investment equaling $220 million for the New York Works Economic Development Fund that will provide additional statewide capital grants to support projects that facilitate the creation of new jobs or retain existing jobs, or fund infrastructure investments necessary to attract new businesses or expand existing businesses in support of economic recovery

Downtown Revitalization: The pandemic has kept New Yorkers at home to save lives, disrupting the flow of commerce in the downtown communities across the State.  These areas need support now more than ever. To that end, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $100 million for another round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which has beentransforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.

Recovery Grants for Nonprofit Arts and Cultural Organizations: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a new $40 million fund that will provide general operating support to assist nonprofit arts and cultural organizations as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget also includes an additional $20 million for new capital grants to help arts and cultural organizations comply with COVID-19 health regulations, including outdoor performance space projects, flexible seating, HVAC and filtration upgrades.  Combining this new funding with the State’s annual $40 million arts grant program, the Enacted Budget will include over $100 million in grants for arts and cultural organizations through the New York State Council on the Arts. 

Ensuring Fair and Safe Housing

Affordable and Homeless Housing Capital Plan: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues the $20 billion, comprehensive five-year investment to create or preserve over 100,000 units of affordable housing and create 6,000 new units of supportive housing. The State is well on track toward meeting affordable housing goals and has already exceeded the supportive housing. To date, New York has financed the new construction and preservation of more than 66,500 affordable housing units and more than 7,000 units of supportive housing units that provide stability for some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, including veterans, victims of domestic violence, frail or disabled senior citizens, young adults aging out of foster care, and New Yorkers identified as homeless with special needs, conditions or other life challenges. With this success, the Governor has continued the State’s commitment to supportive housing. The goal is now to create 20,000 units over 15 years, and the Budget includes $250 million in additional capital funding to continue making progress in FY 2022.

Support New Homeless Housing: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget continues $128 million for the Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, a level achieved when funding for the program was doubled in FY 2021. This investment will create more housing for individuals and families who are homeless and unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.

Create Statewide Transitional Rent Supplement Program:  The FY 2022 Enacted Budget creates a new $100 million rent supplement program for low-income households who are homeless or facing an imminent loss of housing. Participants will have their rent contribution capped at 30 percent of income. The program will be provided at local district option, and funds will be available to households earning at or below 30 percent of area median income with districts given flexibility to extend supplements to households earning up to 50 percent of area median income.

Public Housing Remediation: The budget includes $325 million in capital appropriation for critical maintenance projects including weatherization, heating needs, elevators, and lead remediation for public housing throughout the State.

Adaptive Reuse Affordable Housing Program: The Budget includes a $100 million capital appropriation to finance the adaptive reuse of commercial and hotel properties located in New York City to create permanent affordable housing. 

Transportation and Infrastructure

Transformational Midtown West Macro Development:

  • Empire Station Complex: As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development and with the completion of the Moynihan Train Hall, the State will turn to the existing Penn Station, launching a comprehensive $16 billion project to expand and reconstruct the existing station. The fully renovated Penn Station, including the iconic new Long Island Rail Road entrance on 7th Avenue that opened on December 31, 2020, will comprise a widened and completely reconstructed 33rd Street LIRR concourse and an expanded and completely transformed station. Additionally, at least eight new tracks will be constructed south of the existing Penn Station to add capacity, cut down on delays, and improve operations. This will be a signature transportation project creating nearly 60,000 direct jobs and involving the federal government, Empire State Development, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit and Amtrak.  New York State stands ready to work with New Jersey Transit and the Federal government to share in this historic investment for the future of the region.
  • High Line Extension to Moynihan Station: As part of the Transformational Midtown West Development, the FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes funding to support the Governor’s proposal to extend the High Line in Manhattan to give pedestrians seamless access to the elevated pathway from the recently opened Moynihan Train Hall. As part of a public-private partnership, Brookfield Property Group will partner with Empire State Development, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Friends of the High Line to build an L-shaped connection from the 10th Avenue terminus of the High Line to Brookfield’s Manhattan West public space. 

Record DOT Capital Plan: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides $6.2 billion for the second year of a record $12.3 billion, 2-Year DOT Capital Plan that will facilitate the improvement of highways, bridges, rail, aviation infrastructure, non-MTA transit and DOT facilities.  Compared to the final two years of the last DOT Capital Plan, this is an increase of $3.4 billion, or 38 percent.

$1 Billion for Strengthening Local Highways and Bridges: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget builds upon Governor Cuomo’s record commitment to funding local highway and bridge projects. Funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and the Marchiselli program increases by $100 million to $577.8 million and funding for Extreme Winter Recovery is $100 million.  The Enacted Budget also provides $100 million of new funding to localities responsible for State Touring Routes, increases highway aid through the PAVE NY program by $50 million to $150 million, and maintains funding of local bridge projects through the BRIDGE NY program at $100 million.  This represents an overall year-to-year increase of $285 million and brings funding for local highway and bridge projects to more than $1 billion. These programs will play a vital role in improving conditions on State and local roads and bridges and rebuilding New York.

Supporting Parks and DEC Capital Projects: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget allocates $110 million in New York Works capital funding for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. This funding will aid the ongoing transformation of the State’s flagship parks, and support critical infrastructure projects. The Budget also includes $75 million for the Department of Environmental Conservation to address a variety of capital needs to improve access to State lands, rehabilitate campgrounds.

Clean Water Infrastructure Investment: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds a $500 million appropriation to support clean water, raising the State’s total investment to $4 billion and continuing to fulfill the Governor’s $5 billion clean water commitment. 

Renew Record Funding for the Environmental Protection Fund: TheFY 2022 Enacted Budget continues EPF funding at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. This investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.  

Restore Mother Nature Bond Act: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes the Governor’s $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. If approved by voters in the November 2022 general election, this historic environmental initiative will make significant investments across the state to combat climate change, reduce flood risk, invest in resilient infrastructure and revitalize critical fish and wildlife habitats. It will do this by connecting streams and waterways, right-sizing culverts and dams, restoring freshwater and tidal wetlands, reclaiming natural floodplains, restocking shellfish populations and upgrading fish hatcheries, preserving open space, conserving more forest areas, replanting more trees, reducing contamination from agricultural and storm water runoff and expanding renewable energy.

Olympic Regional Development Authority Capital Improvements: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes $105 million in new capital funding for Olympic Regional Development Authority, including $92.5 million for a strategic upgrade and modernization plan to support improvements to the Olympic facilities and ski resorts with a focus on preparing for the 2023 World University Games, $10 million for critical maintenance and energy efficiency upgrades and $2.5 million appropriated from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget as part of the New York Works initiative.

Making New York a Leader in the Green Energy Economy

Largest Offshore Wind Program in the Nation: The state will contract with Equinor Wind US LLC for the development of two new offshore wind farms more than 20 miles off the shore of Long Island, in what is the largest procurement of renewable energy by a state in U.S. history. Upon completion, the two offshore wind farms will yield a combined 2,490 megawatts of carbon-free energy, spurring another $8.9 billion in investment.  

Global Wind Energy Manufacturing Powerhouse: New York has secured commitments from companies to manufacture wind turbine components within the state and build the nation’s largest offshore wind program. Plans to make New York State a global wind energy manufacturing powerhouse include upgrades to create five dedicated port facilities. These projects include: the nation’s first offshore wind tower-manufacturing facility to be built in the Port of Albany; facilities at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal; greater activity at Port Jefferson and Port of Montauk Harbor in Long Island. Together, the projects will leverage almost $3 of private funding for every $1 of public funding, for a combined $644 million investment in these port facilities.

Construct New York’s Green Energy Transmission Superhighway: New York State will construct a new green energy superhighway of 250 miles. The $2 billion project will create opportunities to maximize the use of renewable energy for the parts of the state that still rely on polluting fossil-fuel plants. Construction has already started on the New York Power Authority’s 86-mile Smart Path project from Massena to Croghan and key projects in Western New York, Mid-Hudson and the Capital Region.  

Public-Private Partnership to Build Nearly 100 Renewable Energy Projects: New York will contract for another 24 large-scale renewable energy generation projects in 2021, to bring the State’s total clean energy build-out to nearly 100 projects. The 23 solar farms and one hydroelectric facility will be the most cost-efficient clean energy construction to date in New York, producing more than 2,200 megawatts of clean power, generating more than $2.9 billion of investment and creating 3,400 jobs in 16 counties Upstate. 

Support Electric Buses: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget provides non-MTA transit systems with another $20 million of capital aid, for the second installment of a $100 million five-year program to support transit agencies’ transition to electric buses. Under this program, five of the largest upstate and suburban transit authorities will electrify 25 percent of their fleets by 2025 and 100 percent by 2035.

Addressing Systemic Injustices

Strengthen Policing Profession: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget strengthens hiring and background investigation standards for police officers through the establishment of a certification process. All police departments will be required to certify their compliance with minimum hiring and background investigation standards. This legislation prevents officers who commit serious or criminal misconduct from serving as officers in another police department.

Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes (SCAHC): The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds $25 million to the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes grant program. This program boosts safety and security at New York’s nonpublic schools, community centers and day care facilities at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. This new funding may also be used to safeguard against cyber related hate crimes or attacks.

Liberty Defense Fund: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget authorizes $10 million for the Liberty Defense Fundto provide free legal consultations and screenings to help undocumented New Yorkers.

Support Raise the Age Implementation: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget includes a $250 million appropriation to support continued implementation of the Raise the Age initiative.

Elections Infrastructure and Voting Reforms: The Enacted Budget includes $25 million in capital funding to modernize and secure State and local voting infrastructure. The Budget also provides $2 million in local funding and $1 million in State Board of Elections funding to support the implementation and oversight of voting reforms, including early voting.

Tackling Food Insecurities: The FY 2022 Enacted Budget adds $50 million to Nourish New York for a total $85 million investment to extend the program through 2021. This critical program helps people who are food insecure access the nourishment that they need, leveraging the vast agricultural industry of New York State to connect food banks and providers to purchase locally grown and produced food.

Higher Education

Over $7.7 Billion for Higher Education: The Enacted Budget provides over $7.7 billion in State support for higher education in New York, an increase of $283 million, or 3.8 percent, from FY 2021. New York has increased funding for higher education by more than $1.7 billion, or 29 percent, since FY 2012. In addition, the Enacted Budget provides over $1 billion in new capital funding to SUNY and CUNY.

Use Federal Stimulus Aid to Support Our Neediest Students: New York’s colleges and universities are expected to receive an estimated $5.4 billion in direct Federal stimulus aid, including over $3.4 billion for public colleges and close to $2 billion for private colleges. SUNY and CUNY have almost $3 billion in remaining stimulus funds to spend over the next 2-3 years. A substantial portion of this funding will be used to provide financial aid grants to students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell grants.

Provide Record Support for Higher Education Opportunity Programs: The Enacted Budget includes a historic $247 million in State funding to provide academic and financial support to economically and educationally disadvantaged students through opportunity programs and training centers. The Budget adds $30 million for a 20 percent increase in funding for higher education opportunity programs and $4 million in additional aid for Education Opportunity Centers. Since 2012, funding for these programs has increased by $112 million or 83 percent.

Increase Maximum TAP Award by $500: The Enacted Budget includes $88 million to raise the maximum TAP award from $5,165 to $5,665, increasing TAP awards for approximately 185,000 New York residents attending public and private colleges in New York.

Enact a TAP Gap Funding Plan: The Enacted Budget includes a four-year plan to fund the gap in financial aid between TAP and tuition that is covered by SUNY and CUNY tuition credits. The plan gradually increases State support to fully cover an estimated $158 million in annual TAP tuition credits by the 2024-25 academic year.

Increase Aid to Community Colleges by $50 Per Student with a Funding Floor: The Enacted Budget increases community college formula aid from $2,947 per student to $3,197 per student and includes a funding floor at 98 percent of prior year formula aid. These changes will provide an additional $25 million in State support to over 200,000 community college students in the 2021-22 academic year.

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Biden, in Stark Contrast to Trump’s Threats, Issues Roadmap to Reopen Public Schools Safely As COVID-19 Rates Surge

Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, in contrast to Trump, has issued a roadmap to reopen public schools safely as COVID-19 cases continue to surge (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Demonstrating yet again the stark contrast between the malevolent ineptitude of Trump and the competence, care and concern of Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president has issued his own plan to reopen schools safely in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. Trump’s only plan: damn the science, bully public schools to reopen or lose federal funding, impede testing and keep COVID-19 cases and fatalities secret from the public. This is from the Biden campaign: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Joe Biden’s Roadmap to Reopening Schools Safely

Educators, students, and families have done an incredible job in difficult circumstances over the last four months. Everyone wants schools to fully reopen for in-person instruction. Creating the conditions to make it happen should be a top national priority. Joe Biden believes that the decision about when to reopen safely should be made by state, tribal, and local officials, based on science and in consultation with communities and tribal governments. It should be made with the safety of students and educators in mind. And, it should be made recognizing that if we do this wrong, we will put lives at risk and set our economy and our country back.

The challenge facing our schools is unprecedented. President Trump has made it much worse. We had a window to get this right. And, Trump blew it. His administration failed to heed the experts and take the steps required to reduce infections in our communities. As a result, cases have exploded. Now our window before the new school year is closing rapidly, and we are forced to grapple with reopening our schools in an environment of much greater risk to educators, students, and their families than there would have been if America had competent leadership. 
 
Over a month ago, Biden identified key steps that Donald Trump needed to take to reopen our schools safely. Trump has taken none of them. In fact, he’s done the opposite. He has threatened to force schools to reopen for in-person instruction without the basic resources they need to keep students, educators, and communities safe. If Trump had actually done his job as President, the decisions facing our schools would look fundamentally different.
 
Joe Biden has a simple five-step roadmap to support local decision-making on reopening schools safely and to help students whose learning was interrupted: 
 
Get the Virus Under Control: Months into this crisis, infection rates are spiking across the country, personal protective equipment (PPE) is still in short supply, and hospitalizations and deaths are unacceptably high. We have only weeks to go before the school year begins, and we have no plan, no leadership, and no additional resources to fight this crisis. We do not have sufficient testing, adequate contact tracing, or reliable supply chains. It is outrageous that Trump forced educators, parents, and caregivers into this situation. If we want to reopen schools safely, we need to get cases down in states and communities across America. Now. That means mask wearing and appropriate social distancing guidelines that match the virus trajectory in a community. In addition, Biden has laid out comprehensive plans on March 12April 27, and June 11, among others, to:

  • Implement nationwide testing-and-tracing, including doubling the number of drive-through testing sites;
  • Establish a sustainable supply chain for PPE, including fully utilizing the Defense Production Act to ensure enough masks for every school in America every day;
  • Protect older Americans and others at high risk;
  • Provide small businesses with the resources they need to reopen safely.

Set National Safety Guidelines, Empower Local Decision-Making: The Trump Administration’s chaotic and politicized response has left school districts to improvise a thousand hard decisions on their own. Schools need clear, consistent, effective national guidelines, not mixed messages and political ultimatums. Biden would task the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other federal agencies with establishing basic, objective criteria to guide state, tribal, and local officials in deciding if and how reopening can be managed safely in their communities, including:

  • Decisions on reopening have been tied to the level of risk and degree of viral spread in the community. Biden agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and AASA, the School Superintendents Association, that “schools in areas with high levels of COVID-19 community spread should not be compelled to reopen against the judgement of local experts.”
  • Emergency funding needs have been met so that schools have the resources to reconfigure classrooms, kitchens, and other spaces, improve ventilation, and take other necessary steps to make it easier to physically distance and minimize risk of spread.
  • Schools have taken necessary precautions to foster a culture of health and safety and protect educators and students, including reducing class size, limiting large gatherings, and providing safe environments for eating.
  • Schools have ready access to enough masks and other PPE for every student and educator every day, if they need it. 
  • Reasonable accommodations have been made for at-risk educators and students, in collaboration with educators, their unions, parents, and caregivers.
  • State and local officials have shared a plan for regularly communicating about school decisions and resources with parents, caregivers, educators, and the community.
  • The federal government has issued reopening guidelines, free from political interference, in greater detail to answer basic questions that schools have, including: How low does the community infection rate need to be to reopen and at what point should schools shut down again if cases rise? What are safe maximum class sizes? If schools cannot accommodate everyone, who should return to the classroom first? The current lack of clarity is paralyzing for schools.

Provide Emergency Funding for Public Schools and Child Care Providers: Schools urgently need emergency financial support, but what they have gotten from Trump is bluster and bullying and, worse, threats to further slash their funding. As a result of Trump’s failure to lead, states could face drastic budget shortfalls totalling $555 billion over state fiscal years of 2020-2022. Left unaddressed, these shortfalls could result in significant layoffs. According to one analysis, just a conservative 5% decrease in state education funding would result in the loss of almost 28,000 school positions, including teachers, counselors, social workers, and school psychologists. 

As President, Biden will always put our children, educators, and families first. He believes public schools, especially Title I schools – should have all the resources they need to safely return to in-person instruction and support all students. Biden is: 

  • Calling on Trump and Senate Republicans to pass the education funding in the HEROES Act, which the House passed months ago. This bill includes roughly $58 billion for local school districts to stabilize public education and save jobs. Over four months ago, Biden called for a renewable fund for state, tribal, and local governments to help prevent budget shortfalls and protect that relief from exactly the kind of political brinkmanship we are seeing from Trump and Republicans leaders today. It is past time to get it done. 
  • Calling on the Congress to pass a separate emergency package to ensure schools have the additional resources they need to adapt effectively to COVID-19. School officials estimate that districts will need about $30 billion to put in place the changes needed to reopen safely. This package should include funding for child care providers and public schools — particularly Title I schools and Indian schools — for personal protective equipment; public health and sanitation products; custodial and health services; and alterations to building ventilation systems, classrooms, schedules, class size, and transportation. And, an additional roughly $4 billion is needed to upgrade technology and broadband. Biden has previously announced that, as President, he will ensure schools have the resources to double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals in schools so our kids get the mental health care they need. That’s more important now than ever before, as kids grapple with the stress and trauma of our economic and public health crisis.

Ensuring High-Quality Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: We are continuing to learn how to best support students, educators, and their families through this challenging time. Biden would mobilize a large-scale U.S. Department of Education effort to work with practitioners to develop, adopt, and share the latest tools and best practices to ensure high-equality learning during this pandemic. This effort would include:

  • Delivering high-quality remote and hybrid learning with a special emphasis on students with disabilities, English-language learners, and students who do not have access to specific technology, such as broadband and devices. This includes dedicated time and resources for our educators to pursue professional development opportunities tailored to the unique circumstances of this crisis.
  • Creating a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse to help schools and child care providers across the country and around the world share approaches, protocols, and tools for reopening safely.
  • Providing tools and resources for parents and other caregivers to help them make informed decisions on sending their children to school, help their children cope with the stress of this pandemic, and assist them with their children’s remote learning.
  • Ensuring tailored remote teaching assignments and educational plans for educators and students who are at greater risk to COVID-19 or live with a family member who is. 
  • Working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to share with educators and families evolving scientific insights into how COVID-19 affects children. Biden has called for scaling up COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships to address glaring gaps in our knowledge.

Closing the COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap: Despite the best efforts of educators, students, and familiesthis crisis, coupled with long-standing racial inequities, has led many students, especially low-income students and students of color, to struggle and fall behind. New research shows that some students could even lose an entire year of academic gains. As President, Biden would:

  • Direct a White House-led initiative to identify evidence-based policy solutions that address gaps in learning, mental health, social and emotional well-being, and systemic racial and socioeconomic disparities in education that the pandemic has exacerbated. Biden would invite participation from a dedicated group of health experts, including mental health professionals and neuroscientists; educators, including early educators, and their unions; school technology practitioners and experts; civil rights advocates; Indian education experts; foundations and the private sector; and families, students, and community advocates. Biden would request its recommendations on an accelerated time frame in order to provide guidance to states, tribal, and local governments as quickly as possible. 
  • Launch a COVID-19 Educational Equity Gap Challenge Grant to encourage states and tribal governments – in partnership with the education and broader community – to develop bold plans that adopt evidence-based policy recommendations and give all of our students the support they need to succeed. 
  • Support community schools. Community schools work with families, students, teachers and community organizations to identify families’ unmet needs and then develop a plan to leverage community resources to address these needs in the school building, turning schools into community hubs. They provide holistic services like health and nutrition, mental health, and adult education– services that are especially critical during and after COVID-19 to address the social, emotional, academic, and health needs of students in a comprehensive way. Biden will provide resources to expand this model.

Democratic Race for 2020: Sanders Releases Plan to Guarantee Child Care and Pre-K for All

Senator Bernie Sanders, running to win the Democratic nomination for President is releasing what he claims is “the most comprehensive and expansive early childhood policy ever proposed by a candidate running for president.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Senator Bernie Sanders is releasing what he says is “the most comprehensive and expansive early childhood policy ever proposed by a candidate running for president,” except that he does not attach a price tag nor say how it will be paid for. Separately, in a “60 Minutes” interview, he said the undetermined amount would be paid for from a wealth tax (Senator Elizabeth Warren has said the same thing, except she attaches dollar figures to her proposal.) This is from the Sanders campaign:

Sen. Bernie Sanders released the most comprehensive and expansive early childhood policy ever proposed by a candidate running for president, including guaranteeing free, high-quality child care for all children from infancy and pre-k starting at age three.

“Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents’ income, just like K-12 education. We know that the first four years of a child’s life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education.” Sanders said. “As president, we will guarantee free, universal childcare and pre-kindergarten to every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents more easily balance the demands of work and home.” 

Today in America, our child care and pre-kindergarten system is failing our children, our parents, and our child care and early education workers. Not only is our child care infrastructure and access to high-quality care and early learning lacking throughout the country, child care is unaffordable in every single state in America.

The average family in America today spends nearly $10,000 a year on child care. For low-income families, the burden is even higher: a full 35 percent of these families’ income goes toward child care. According to a survey conducted last year, over half of mothers worked less hours to save on child care costs, and a quarter of moms left the workforce entirely due to care for their children. 

Our dysfunctional system also punishes the people who take care of, nurture, and educate our youngest children. Child care workers, on average, make just $11 an hour despite the skyrocketing costs of child care and early education. Even though they take on the most important job in America – caring for our children – child care workers, 96 percent of whom are women and are disproportionately women of color, are paid starvation wages.

In the richest country in the history of the world, we have a moral responsibility as a nation to guarantee high-quality care and education for every single child, regardless of background or family income. We owe it to our children, parents, and child care workers to do much better. 

As President, Bernie will:

Guarantee every child in America free full-day, full-week, high-quality child care from infancy through age three, regardless of income.  

Provide child care at least 10 hours a day and ensure programs operate at times to serve parents who work non-traditional hours.  

Guarantee every child access to a full-day, full-week pre-kindergarten education, regardless of income, starting at age 3.  

Ensure students with disabilities receive the support they need and are included with their peers from an early age.  

Double funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which supports home visiting services from  nurses, mental health professionals, social workers, and other support professionals for families with young children who live in low-income and at-risk communities.  

Pass Bernie’s Universal School Meals Act that he introduced with Rep. Ilhan Omar to provide year-round, free universal school meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks — to every child in child care and pre-k.  

Construct, renovate, or rehabilitate the child care facilities and pre-schools we need throughout the country.  

Enact Bernie’s Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education to make transformative investments in our public education system to ensure the developmental gains made by implementing universal child care and pre-k are built upon when children start their K-12 education and:  

More than double the number of early childhood educators in this country from over 1.3 million to more than 2.6 million.    

Guarantee everyone working in the field of early education a living wage, ensure all are compensated commensurate with their experience and training, and ensure all lead teachers are paid no less than similarly qualified kindergarten teachers.    

Require anyone providing direct service to young children have at least child a Child Development Associates (CDA) credential, all assistant teachers have at least an Associate’s Degree in early childhood education or child development, and all lead preschool teachers have a Bachelor’s Degree in early childhood education or child development.   

Guarantee support for existing and new early care and learning professionals to get the education required to care for and teach young children, within a reasonable phase-in period, and ensure that these professionals reflect the cultural, linguistic, racial and ethnic diversity of the communities they serve.   

Ensure that all early childhood educators have access to ongoing high-quality professional development that includes coaching and mentoring.  

Provide early childhood workers with strong protections for unionizing, sector-wide collective bargaining, workers’ rights, workplace safety, and fair scheduling, regardless of immigration status, and that they have the information and tools they need to act on these rights and protections through  the passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act introduced by Rep. Pramilla Jayapal and enacting Bernie’s Workplace Democracy plan.

The full plan can be found here.

Democratic Candidates for 2020: Mayor Pete Buttigieg Releases Plan for Public Education

Mayor Pete Buttigieg, running for President, released his plan for equitable public education, starting with universal child care and pre-K, through K-12. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his plan for equitable public education, starting with universal child care and pre-K, through K-12. This is a summary from the Pete for America campaign:

SOUTH BEND, IN — Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his plan to ensure every child has access to quality, affordable education that will provide them the opportunity to succeed. Pete’s plan will build an equitable K-12 public education system, provide universal child care and pre-K, and make sure America’s teachers not only reflect the diversity of our country, but are paid fairly for the critical work they do.

By tripling funding for Title I schools and teachers, Pete’s plan will narrow opportunity gaps between districts in high-income and low-income areas. It will also double the proportion of new teachers and school leaders who are people of color in the next 10 years. His plan will eliminate the wage gap for Title I teachers and create over 1 million new, good-paying child development jobs. 

“Too often, access to education is predicted by income or zip code. And success can be determined before a child even sets foot in a classroom,” said Buttigieg. “Every child in America should have access to high quality education, and we need to support our nation’s teachers for the work they do within and outside the classroom. If we honored our teachers a little more like soldiers and paid them a little more like doctors, this country would be a better place.”

To ensure that every child has access to a quality education and support our nation’s teaching workforce, Pete’s plan will:

Provide affordable, universal full-day child care and pre-K for all children, from infancy to age 5, serving more than 20 million children, with a landmark $700 billion investment.

Triple funding for Title I schools to invest in a truly equitable public education system, no matter a child’s zip code, race, or background. 

Establish the Education Access Corps to prepare and retain future educators to teach in Title I schools.

Ban for-profit charter schools and ensure equal accountability for public charter schools. 

Support strong unions for educators and staff and raise wages for early childhood educators. 

Reinstate Obama-era guidance to address discipline disparities in early education as well as K-12, and invest in successful district-level solutions that reduce the use of exclusionary discipline that targets Black and Latino students.

Expand mental health services in schools for students and teachers.

Give every child access to after-school programs and summer learning opportunities. 

Read Pete’s full plan to ensure that America upholds its promise to students and teachers HERE.

Democratic Candidates for 2020: Senator Klobuchar Releases ‘Many Paths to Success’ Post-Secondary Education Plan

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democratic candidate for 2020, released her “Many Paths to Success” Post-Secondary Education Plan © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll, Americans have indicated that education is a top issue. Senator Amy Klobuchar released her “Many Paths to Success” Post-Secondary Education PlanThis is from the Klobuchar campaign:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Ahead of her visit to Nashua Community College for an Advanced Manufacturing Facility tour and town hall, Senator Amy Klobuchar released her “Many Paths to Success” Post-Secondary Education Plan

Senator Klobuchar believes there are many paths to success. Her grandpa worked 1,500 feet underground in the mines, never graduated from high school, and saved money in a coffee can in the basement to send her dad to community college. Her sister didn’t graduate from high school, worked in manufacturing in Iowa, got her GED, went to community college and eventually got a four-year degree. 

Today many of the fastest growing occupations require one- and two-year degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be 74,000 job openings for electricians over the next 10 years, 68,200 openings for plumbers, and over 137,000 openings for nurses’ assistants. Senator Klobuchar believes we must do more to connect people to an affordable education for the jobs we have available today and tomorrow. 

That’s why as President, Senator Klobuchar will focus on championing tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications, expanding apprenticeship opportunities, respecting the dignity of work by paying people a decent living wage so they can care for and support their families, as well as making it easier for Americans who need help to afford four year degrees. 

Read the full plan here.

As part of her Post-Secondary Education Plan, Senator Klobuchar will: 

Provide Tuition Free One- and Two-Year Community College Degrees and Technical Certifications, Promote Apprenticeships, and Respect the Dignity of Work 

● Provide tuition-free community college and technical certifications. Today many of the fastest growing occupations require one- and two-year degrees. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a new federal-state partnership to provide tuition-free community college one- and two-year degrees, technical certifications and industry-recognized credentials. The federal government will match $3 for every $1 invested by the state for students who qualify for in-state tuition, are enrolled at least half-time, and maintain satisfactory academic progress. When certain economic indicators show a state has increased financial need, the federal share of the match will increase. To qualify for the federal funding, states will also be required to maintain their spending on higher education, limit the rate of tuition increases and ensure that students can easily transfer their credits to four-year programs. This proposal is based on Senator Baldwin’s America’s College Promise Act and an Obama Administration proposal. 

● Connecting students to jobs and ensuring the dignity of work. It is not enough to provide students and workers with an affordable education, we must also connect students to job openings and ensure the dignity of work for the jobs that are available today. As President, Senator Klobuchar will invest in our workers so that everyone who works hard can earn enough to care for and support their family. That means raising the minimum wage, providing child care, and paid family leave and making sure people have a secure retirement. She will also work with high schools, community colleges, universities, businesses, labor unions, trade associations and job training centers to provide information to students earlier in their education about the availability and outlook for jobs in different careers, their expected earning potential, and the necessary educational credentials. 

● Invest in apprenticeships. Apprenticeships combine academic instruction with on-the-job training to give students the skills they need to succeed while helping employers create a source of qualified workers. Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Labor to analyze the use of apprenticeships for In-Demand occupations, launch a nationwide campaign, and expand apprenticeship opportunities and benefits with the goal of doubling the number of apprenticeships to over a million by the end of her first term. She will also work to pass the American Apprenticeship Act, a bipartisan bill she leads in the Senate that would help states create and expand tuition assistance programs for students in pre-apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship programs. 

 Improve tax incentives for retraining and post-secondary education. Tax credits help make college more affordable for many families, but too often they are not designed to help non-traditional students. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass bills she currently leads in the Senate to allow older students and workers to use tax-advantaged “529” savings accounts for recognized post-secondary credentials and occupational licenses. As President, she will also pass bipartisan legislation she leads in the Senate to remove age-based contribution restrictions for Coverdell education accounts, allowing the accounts to be used for a broader range of career and technical education costs. Both tax incentives would apply to older students and workers pursuing retraining opportunities. 

● Adapt high school curricula to improve workforce readiness and post-secondary success and expand opportunities for dual enrollment. As part of her previously announced Progress Partnerships for K-12 education, Senator Klobuchar will create incentives for state education departments to evaluate and improve student career readiness, including coursework, curriculum and other policies that prepare students for the jobs available in today’s workforce. As President, Senator Klobuchar will also help school districts cover the tuition expenses of high schoolers enrolled in community colleges, apprenticeships, technical certifications, and universities through dual enrollment programs. 


Lower the Cost of College and Reduce the Burden of Student Loans 

● Double the maximum Pell Grant and expand eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year. As President, Senator Klobuchar will double the maximum Pell Grant — which, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid — to $12,000 per year and expand eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year. She will also index Pell Grant levels to inflation. 

● Provide financial support beyond tuition. For many college students, non-tuition expenses can present a significant hurdle to completing their education. In addition to expanding Pell Grants, which can be used for certain non-tuition expenses, Senator Klobuchar will work with states to establish microgrant programs to help students with necessary expenses if they face unexpected financial hardship. In addition, she will expand categorical eligibility for SNAP benefits for low-income students and support pilot projects to increase the availability of federal housing assistance to students. 

 Simplify the financial aid process. The income verification process for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be a significant barrier for low-income students. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to improve coordination between the IRS and Department of Education to streamline income verification. She will also allow previous year tax forms to be used to avoid complications from income estimates. 

● Fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and expand it to cover In-Demand occupations. Loan forgiveness can be a powerful tool to help encourage recent graduates and current students to enter public service, but the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is broken. As President, Senator Klobuchar will completely overhaul the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to require lenders to provide better information to borrowers about their eligibility and progress toward forgiveness, allow borrowers more flexibility to meet the program requirements, and streamline reporting and verification requirements. She will also expand the loan forgiveness program to borrowers who work in In-Demand occupations so we can match students with the job openings of today and tomorrow. Under the In-Demand occupation loan forgiveness program, any remaining balance on undergraduate federal student loans would be forgiven after 10 years of payments through an income-driven repayment plan. 

● Allow borrowers to refinance their student loans to lower rates. Senator Klobuchar believes that if billionaires can refinance their yachts, students should be able to refinance their student loans. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work with Congress to pass legislation that allows students and parents with existing federal and private student loans for undergraduate and graduate programs to refinance their loans at lower rates. 

● Protect student borrowers and increasing financial literacy. Too many students have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous private lenders. As President, Senator Klobuchar will restore and strengthen rules that allow students who believe they were defrauded by their colleges to apply for loan forgiveness, providing relief to thousands of additional students. She will also establish best practices for student financial literacy and require schools to notify student borrowers of their total loan obligations, estimated interest rate, and expected monthly payment. This proposal is modeled after the bipartisan Empowering Student Borrowers Act, which Senator Klobuchar has co-sponsored in the Senate. 


Support Multiple Paths to Success and Invest in Retraining 

 Establish a Worker Training Tax Credit. Today businesses are investing less in workforce training, particularly when it comes to lower wage workers who are most at risk of losing their jobs to automation and other emerging technologies. As President, Senator Klobuchar would create a new tax credit for employers that invest in training for workers at risk of being laid off through on-site training programs or provide paid time off for off-site retraining. To qualify for the tax credit, training would have to lead to an industry-recognized credential, certificate, or degree. 

 Invest in adult basic education. In her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will reverse President Trump’s proposal to cut basic education programs for adults, and launch an initiative focused on increasing opportunities for adults to master literacy and basic math skills. 

 Promote stackable credentials. Stackable credentials are certifications or occupational licenses that can be combined with additional coursework that will then lead to an associates degree. As President, Senator Klobuchar will encourage states to work with employers, unions, trade associations, and community colleges to develop stackable credentials for In-Demand fields that provide meaningful employment skills while building towards a degree. 

● Expand accountable skills-based education. Senator Klobuchar supports finding ways to give students credit for the skills and knowledge they have from previous jobs or military experience. As a Senator, her legislation was signed into law to make it easier for veterans with training to become paramedics and law enforcement officers. As President, Senator Klobuchar will initiate a grant program for skills-based education with strong accountability and transparency standards to make it easier for students to receive credit for skills and knowledge they’ve already acquired. 

● Give students returning to school later in life a fair shot. Students should be able to pursue post-secondary opportunities later in life. Senator Klobuchar will allow students who are returning to post-secondary education to requalify for Pell Grants by resetting their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and to receive additional Pell Grants even if they have reached the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU). She will also restore Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students. 

● Improve GED programs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to improve GED programs by linking them to career skills and community college curricula while increasing students’ chances of success through wraparound support services.

Provide All Students Opportunities for Success 

● Increase STEM education including for women and underrepresented minorities. As co-chair of the Diversify Tech Caucus and Women’s High Tech Coalition, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in expanding STEM education including for women and underrepresented minorities. As Senator, she successfully passed multiple bills to promote STEM-focused programs at schools, improve the representation of underrepresented groups on the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Panel, improve retention of minority STEM teachers, strengthen NASA’s STEM outreach, and help the National Science Foundation assist female entrepreneurs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will continue to promote STEM education including computer science and data literacy. 

● Strengthen and increase affordability for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). As President Senator Klobuchar will invest in HBCUs and MSIs through a new Pathways to Student Success initiative. Participating HBCUs and MSIs will receive federal funding to waive or significantly reduce the first two years of tuition for low-income students at four-year schools. 

● Expand and fully support TRIO and GEAR UP. The TRIO and GEAR UP programs help low-income, first-generation college students, and students with disabilities, veterans, homeless youth, foster youth, and individuals underrepresented in graduate education prepare for and succeed in higher education. The Trump Administration has attempted to cut funding for these programs, but as President, Senator Klobuchar will expand these programs and ensure that they are fully funded. 

● Ensure veterans have access to the educational opportunities they have earned. Senator Klobuchar has been a champion for expanding and modernizing education benefits for our servicemembers. As President, she will push to reduce the burden of student debt on servicemembers by lowering or eliminating the accrual of interest on student loans during their service. She will also ensure that members of the National Guard and Reserve receive the same GI Bill education benefits as their counterparts in active duty and adjust tuition assistance for members of the National Guard and Reserve to keep the tuition assistance competitive. And to support veterans on college campuses and expand career counseling, Senator Klobuchar will launch and implement a grant program to invest in college veteran education centers. 

 Remove barriers to education for homeless and foster youth. During her first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Education to remove barriers to higher education for homeless and foster youth, including by ensuring grant programs identify, recruit and prepare homeless and foster students for post-secondary education. 

● Invest in Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to ensure that Tribal Colleges and Universities are fully funded and that TCUs, Alaska Native-serving institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions and Native American-serving nontribal institutions will be eligible for the Pathways to Student Success initiative. She will also build on her work to provide resources for tribal schools so that they can prepare students to be career and college ready. 

● Support students with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar is committed to accessible education for people of differing abilities. That includes making sure that education facilities accommodate people with disabilities, educators have the training and resources to effectively teach students with learning and other disabilities, and schools provide supportive resources for students with disabilities. 

● Support student parents. Students who have children are more likely to drop out of their educational programs without completing them. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program, which provides on-campus child care services. She will also expand the eligibility for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to cover child care expenses while parents pursue postsecondary education and make financial aid calculations fairer for student parents. 


To pay for these investments, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital gains and dividends rate for people in the top two income tax brackets, limit the amount of capital gain deferral allowable through like-kind exchanges, and implement the Buffet Rule through a 30 percent minimum tax for people with incomes over $1 million. 

Democratic Candidates for 2020: Warren Details Plan to Bolster Public School Education

Senator Elizabeth Warren holds campaign rally in Washington Square Park, NYC © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll, Americans have indicated that education is a top issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren released her plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in public schools, paid for by a 2c wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million. “It’s time to live up to the promise of a high-quality public education for every student. My plan makes big, structural changes that would help give every student the resources they need to thrive.” This is from the Warren campaign:

Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren released her plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in our public schools — paid for by a two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million — and make a series of legislative and administrative changes to ensure a great public school education for every student. 

Her plan has five objectives: 

Fund schools adequately and equitably: Invest hundreds of billions of dollars in pre-K-12 public education, paid for by her wealth tax — including quadrupling Title I funding, fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, investing an additional $50 billion in repairing and upgrading school buildings, and offering schools $100 billion in Excellence Grants to invest in options that schools and districts identify to help their students. A Warren Administration will also set the goal of turning 25,000 public schools into true community schools. She will condition the new Title I money on states chipping in more funding and adopting and implementing more progressive funding formulas, so that more resources go to the schools and students that really need them. She will also improve the way the federal government allocates this new Title I funding.

Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in our schools: She will attack residential segregation in a variety of ways, strengthen Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by expanding the private right of action under Title VI to cover claims of disparate impact against states and school districts, revive the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, apply particular scrutiny to breakway districts, and commit to enforcing the civil rights of all students.

Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for all our kids: She will cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and provide free and nutritious school meals, eliminate high stakes testing, end zero tolerance discipline policies, implement and expand Social Emotional Learning, and address chronic absenteeism.

Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are: She will address not just teacher pay, but other important issues including strengthening bargaining power, cancelling student loan debt, diversifying the teacher pipeline, and funding professional development.

Stop the privatization and corruption of our public education system: She will ensure public dollars are not diverted from traditional public schools, end all federal funding for creating new charter schools, and push to ensure that existing charter schools are subject to at least the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools. She also supports banning for-profit charters, and will direct the IRS to investigate so-called nonprofit schools that are violating the statutory requirements for nonprofits, and will ban the storing and selling of student data. 

Read more about her plan here and below:

I attended public school growing up in Oklahoma. After I graduated from the University of Houston, a public university where tuition cost only $50 a semester, my first job was as a special education teacher at a public school in New Jersey. I later attended a public law school.  

I believe in America’s public schools. And I believe that every kid in America should have the same access to a high-quality public education — no matter where they live, the color of their skin, or how much money their parents make. 

We’re not living up to that promise. Funding for public K-12 education is both inadequate and inequitable. I’ve long been concerned about the way that school systems rely heavily on local property taxes, shortchanging students in low-income areas and condemning communities caught in a spiral of decreasing property values and declining schools. Despite a national expectation of progress, public schools are more segregated today than they were thirty years ago, and the link between school funding and property values perpetuates the effects of ongoing housing discrimination and racist housing policies, like redlining, that restricted homeownership and home values for Black Americans. 

We ask so much of our public school teachers, paraprofessionals, and school staff. But instead of treating them like professionals — paying them well, listening to them, and giving them the support they need — we impose extreme accountability measures that punish them for factors they cannot possibly control. We divert public dollars from traditional public schools that need them, leave our students vulnerable to exploitative companies that prey on schools’ limited resources for profit, and allow corruption to undermine the quality of education that our students receive. 

And each of these trends has gotten worse under Betsy DeVos — a Secretary of Education who thinks traditional public schools are a “dead end.” 

We can do so much better for our students, our teachers, and our communities. I’ll start – as I promised in May – by replacing DeVos with a Secretary of Education who has been a public school teacher, believes in public education, and will listen to our public school teachers, parents, and students. 

But that’s just the beginning. As public school teachers across the country know, our schools do not have the financial resources they need to deliver a quality public education for every child. That’s why my plan invests hundreds of billions of dollars in our public schools — paid for by a two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million — and makes a series of legislative and administrative changes to achieve five objectives: 

Fund schools adequately and equitably so that all students have access to a great public education.

Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in our schools.

Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for all our kids.

Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are.

Stop the privatization and corruption of our public education system.

What would this plan mean for America’s families? Parents wouldn’t have to bust their budgets to live in certain exclusive neighborhoods just to ensure that their children get a good education. Parents of children with disabilities wouldn’t have to fight every day so their children get the services they’re entitled to and that they need. Public school teachers and staff would have more financial security and more freedom to use their expertise to teach their students. And every student would have the chance to go to a safe, enriching public school from pre-K to high school. 

Funding Schools Adequately and Equitably 

All students should have the resources they need to get a great public education. That’s not happening today. The data show that more school funding significantly improves student achievement, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds. Yet our current approach to school funding at the federal, state, and local level underfunds our schools and results in many students from low-income backgrounds receiving less funding than other students on a per-student basis. My plan makes a historic new federal investment in public schools — and pushes both the federal government and state governments to dedicate more resources to the schools and students that need them most.

State and local funds make up about 90% of total K-12 education funding. The federal government provides roughly the remaining 10% of K-12 funding, primarily through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. 

Both sets of investments have serious shortcomings. On the state side, even when states provide substantial supplemental funding for high-need communities, reliance on local property tax revenue means wealthier communities are often still able to spend more money on their public schools than poorer communities. As of 2015, only 11 states used a progressive funding formula — one that dedicates more money per-student to high-poverty school districts. The remaining states use a funding formula that is either basically flat per-student or dedicates less money per-student to high-poverty districts. In a handful of states, students in high-poverty districts get less than 75 cents for every dollar that students in wealthier school districts get.

There are problems with federal funding too. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a civil rights law Congress enacted to provide supplemental support for students from low-income backgrounds or those who need extra support, like English Language Learners and students who are homeless or in foster care. Almost every school district and 70% of schools receive some Title I money, but the current investment in Title I — $15.8 billion — is not nearly enough to make up for state-level funding inequities. And Title I funding itself is distributed based on a formula that isn’t always efficiently targeted to ensure adequate support for the schools and students who need it most. 

Our flawed approach to K-12 funding isn’t just producing disparities in education between poor and rich students. It’s also helping produce disparities in education based on race. Black and Latinx students are disproportionately likely to attend chronically under-resourced schools. Bureau of Indian Education schools are badly underfunded too. 

My plan addresses each and every aspect of this problem. It starts by quadrupling Title I funding — an additional $450 billion over the next 10 years — to help ensure that all children get a high-quality public education. 

But we need to do more than just increase funding. We also need to ensure that federal funds are reaching the students and schools that need it most. That’s why I’m committed to working with public education leaders and school finance experts to improve the way the federal government allocates this new Title I funding. And I would impose transparency requirements on this new funding so that we can understand what investments work best and adapt our approach accordingly.

I’m also committed to using this new federal investment to press states to adopt better funding approaches themselves. I would condition access to this additional Title I funding on states chipping in more funding, adopting more progressive funding formulas, and actually allocating funding consistently with these new formulas. This would ensure that both the federal government and state governments do their part to progressively and equitably fund public schools while still ensuring that no child gets less per-student funding than they do today. 

My plan also lives up to our collective commitments to students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act protects the civil rights of students with disabilities by guaranteeing their right to a free and appropriate public education. When Congress passed the original version of IDEA in 1975, it promised to cover 40% of the additional costs of educating students with disabilities. 

But today, Congress is failing spectacularly in meeting that obligation. Last year, the federal government covered less than 15% of these costs. That failure has shifted the burden to states and school districts that simply can’t find the money to make up the difference. The result? Students with disabilities are denied the resources they need to fulfill their potential.  

This will end under my administration. I’ll make good on the federal government’s original 40% funding promise by committing an additional $20 billion a year to IDEA grants. I will also expand IDEA funding for 3-5 year olds and for early intervention services for toddlers and infants.

In addition to ensuring that all students have the resources they need for a high-quality public education, I’ll give schools the chance to invest in programs and resources that they believe are most important to their students. That’s why my plan will invest an additional $100 billion over ten years in “Excellence Grants” to any public school. That’s the equivalent of $1 million for every public school in the country to invest in options that schools and districts identify to help their students. These funds can be used to develop state-of-the art labs, restore afterschool arts programs, implement school-based student mentoring programs, and more. I’ll work with schools and school leaders to develop the best way to structure these grants to meet their needs.

Those funds can also be invested in developing sustainable community schools — and the Warren Administration will have the goal of helping 25,000 public schools transition to the community school framework by 2030. Community schools are hubs of their community. Through school coordinators, they connect students and families with community partners to provide opportunities, support, and services inside and outside of the school. These schools center around wraparound services, family and community engagement, afterschool programs and expanded learning time, and collaborative leadership structures. Studies show that every dollar invested in community schools generates up to $15 in economic return to the community. 

Finally, my plan will provide a surge of investment in school facilities and infrastructure. About 50 million students and 6 million adults spend their weekdays in public school buildings. Too many of these schools are dealing with leaky roofs, broken heating systems, lead pipes, black mold, and other serious infrastructure issues. According to the most recent data, more than half of our public schools need repairs to be in “good” condition. Our poor school infrastructure has serious effects on the health and academic outcomes of students and on the well-being of teachers and staff.

The vastly unequal state of public school facilities is unacceptable and a threat to public education itself. We cannot legitimately call our schools “public” when some students have state-of-the-art classrooms and others do not even have consistent running water. The federal government must step in. 

That’s why, as President, I’ll invest at least an additional $50 billion in school infrastructure across the country — targeted at the schools that need it most — on top of existing funding for school upgrades and improvements in my other plans. For example, my Clean Energy Plan for America commits billions of dollars to retrofit and upgrade buildings to increase energy efficiency and to invest in zero-emission school buses. My housing plan commits $10 billion in competitive grants that communities can use for school repairs. My Environmental Justice plan establishes a lead abatement grant program focused on schools. My Plan to Invest in Rural America commits to universal broadband so that every student in this country can access the Internet at school. And I will fully fund Bureau of Indian Education schools to support major construction and repair backlogs. 

Renewing the Fight Against Segregation and Discrimination in Public Schools 

While Donald Trump tries to divide us and pit people of different races and backgrounds against each other, Americans know that we are stronger because of our differences. As my dear friend Congressman Elijah Cummings said earlier this year before his passing, “America has always been at its best when we understand that diversity is our promise — not our problem.” Integrated communities and integrated schools help create a society built on mutual respect and understanding. 

But broad public affirmation of the Brown v. Board of Education decisions in the 1950s and recent debates about historical desegregation policies have obscured an uncomfortable truth — our public schools are more segregated today than they were about thirty years ago.  

We made only fitful progress towards integration in the years immediately after the Brown v. Board decisions. But by the mid-1980s, thanks to dedicated advocacy by civil rights leaders and sustained investment and oversight by the federal government, school segregation had declined

Then we reversed course. The Supreme Court scaled back the courts’ remedial tools to address segregation, which — as I called out at the time as a law student — entrenched segregation, particularly in Northern urban schools. To make matters worse, the Nixon and Reagan Administrations slashed investments in integration efforts and loosened federal oversight, setting us on a path towards heightened segregation. Over the same period, segregation of Latinx students entrenched even further. 

Integrated schools improve educational outcomes for students of all races. And integrated schools are demanded by our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection to every person in this country. In a Warren Administration, we will achieve this goal.

The first step toward integrating our schools is integrating our communities. Today in America, residential communities are highly segregated. Some believe that’s purely a result of people choosing to live close to other people who look like them. That’s wrong. Modern residential segregation is driven at least in part by income inequality and parents seeking out the best possible school districts for their children. By investing more money in our public schools — and helping ensure that every public school is a great one — my plan will address one of the key drivers of residential segregation.    

Beyond that, my Housing Plan for America establishes a $10 billion competitive grant program that offers states and cities money to build parks, roads, and schools if they eliminate the kinds of restrictive zoning laws that can further racial segregation. And it includes a historic new down payment assistance program that promotes integration by giving residents of formerly redlined areas help to buy a home in any community they choose.   

My plan would also use federal education funding to encourage states to further integrate their schools. Under current law, states may use a portion of Title I funds to implement evidence-based interventions for low-performing schools. The data show that students at integrated schools perform better, so even in the absence of congressional action, my administration can and will use these provisions to encourage states to use that portion of Title I money on integration efforts of their own design. All told, that will add up to billions of dollars a year that states can use to promote residential and public school integration, including through the use of public magnet schools. And to ensure that school districts won’t have to choose between integration and federal funding, my plan will guarantee that districts will retain access to Title I funds even if their successful integration efforts cause the districts to fall below current Title I funding thresholds.

Incentives to integrate communities and schools will encourage many districts to do the right thing. But they won’t be sufficient everywhere. That’s why I’m committed to strengthening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in any program or activity that receives federal funding — and reviving robust enforcement of its terms. Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration have pulled back on civil rights enforcement, seemingly content to let states and districts use billions of taxpayer dollars to entrench or exacerbate racial segregation in schools. That ends under a Warren Administration. Here’s what we’ll do:

Strengthen Title VI: Under current Supreme Court precedent on Title VI, the government can challenge any policy that disproportionately harms students of color, but students and parents can only bring a claim under Title VI for intentional discrimination. Students and parents should have the right to challenge systemic discrimination that perpetuates school segregation, so I will push to expand the private right of action under Title VI to cover claims of disparate impact against states and school districts. I will also fight to give the Justice Department — in coordination with the relevant funding agency — direct enforcement authority to bring disparate impact claims under Title VI, and to give DOJ the right to issue subpoenas and civil investigative demands under Title VI to strengthen their investigative capacity.

Revive and fund the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR): OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws in our public schools. Betsy DeVos rescinded dozens of guidelines intended to prevent discrimination and limited OCR’s capacity to give complaints the consideration they deserve. My administration will restore and expand OCR’s capacity, reinstate and update the rules and guidance revoked by DeVos, press for new protections for students, and give OCR clear marching orders to root out discrimination wherever it is found.  

Subject attempts to create “breakaway” districts to additional enforcement scrutiny: Since 2000, there have been at least 128 attempts to break off a part of an existing school district into its own separate district. These “breakaway” districts are often wealthier and whiter than the district they leave behind and typically result in massive funding inequities between the new district and the old one. Under my leadership, the Department of Education and the Justice Department will subject any attempt to create a breakaway district to careful scrutiny and bring appropriate Title VI enforcement actions.  

Improve federal data collection to support better outcomes: Activists, academics, and legislators rely on the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection to better monitor and remedy what’s broken in our public education system. But there’s a years-long lag in the data collection process — and the data that are collected glosses over crucial details. I will increase funding for CRDC so that we can expand the types of data collected, provide data collection training on the district and state level, and produce data more quickly.  

I am also committed to ending discrimination against all students. My administration will strictly enforce the right of students with disabilities to a free and appropriate public education. I will push to build on Obama-era policies by writing new rules to help ensure that students of color with disabilities are treated fairly when it comes to identifying disabilities, classroom placement, services and accommodations, and discipline. I am opposed to the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, and I will push for sufficient training to ensure student, teacher, and staff safety. I will protect students’ right to be educated in the least restrictive environment. And in light of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which affirmed the right of every child to have the chance to meet challenging objectives, my Department of Education will help schools and districts develop and implement ambitious individualized education programs for all students with disabilities. This includes upholding the right to a fair and appropriate public education for students in juvenile detention facilities, who are disproportionately students with disabilities. 

I will also fight to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ students. When Gavin Grimm took his school district to court to defend the rights of transgender students, he bravely stood for the many LGBTQ+ students facing harassment and discrimination in our schools. Today, more than half of LGBTQ+ students report feeling unsafe at school, and nearly a fifth have been forced to switch schools. That’s why I will press to enact the Safe Schools Improvement Act, which requires school districts to adopt codes of conduct that specifically prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. I will also direct the Department of Education to reinstate guidance revoked under Trump about transgender students’ rights under Title IX, and make clear that federal civil rights law prohibits anti-LGBTQ+ rules like discriminatory dress codes, prohibiting students from writing or discussing LGBTQ+ topics in class, or punishing students for bringing same-sex partners to school events. And I will affirm and enforce federal protections under Title IX for all students who are survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

I will commit to protecting English Language Learners. Our public schools are home to nearly 5 million English Language Learners — about 10% of the entire student population. In 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that failing to give English Language Learners meaningful instruction was a violation of their civil rights. But, once again, the Department of Education is failing these students under Betsy DeVos. As President, I will affirm and strengthen the Obama Administration’s 2015 guidelines on the civil rights of English Language Learners to include meaningful access to rigorous coursework, teachers, special education services, and integration with the rest of the student body, while fostering their home language.

I will also commit to protecting immigrant students and their families. Immigration makes America stronger — economically, socially, and culturally. But because of the Trump Administration’s inhumane immigration policies, many immigrant students are afraid to go to school, and many families living in the shadows are afraid to access resources like free school lunch. I would end the Trump’s Administration’s monstrous policies and enact immigration reform that is fair, humane, and reflects our values. I will ensure immigrant students don’t get second-class status by being directed into GED programs instead of classrooms. I will protect sensitive locations like schools from immigrant enforcement actions. And I’ll recommit OCR to upholding and enforcing Plyler v. Doe — which the Trump administration has tried to undermine — so that all immigrant children have access to a quality education, no matter their native language, national origin, immigration status, or educational history. 

Finally, I will nominate judges who look like America and are committed to applying our civil rights laws. The courts often have the final say on critical civil rights matters. Donald Trump has appointed judges who are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. During their confirmation processes, dozens of his appointees refused to state publicly that they would uphold Brown v. Board of Education. I’m committed to appointing a diverse slate of judges, including those who have a background in civil rights. And while it is shocking to need to make this commitment, I will only appoint judges who will apply the law as established in Brown v. Board of Education and other landmark civil rights rulings.

Providing a Warm, Safe, and Nurturing School Climate for All Our Kids

Every student deserves the opportunity to learn in a traditional public school that’s welcoming and safe. Research shows that students learn best when they have supportive and nurturing relationships with teachers and administrators, and when learning is not just academic but social and emotional too. With 46 million children experiencing some form of trauma — whether it’s poverty, violence in the community or in the home, homelessness, family separation, or an incarcerated caretaker — we can’t expect schools to bear this burden alone.  

In addition to my goal of turning 25,000 public schools into true community schools, my plan will ensure the federal government plays its part in trying to bring a positive and nurturing climate to every school.  

Here’s what we’ll do:

Expand access to early childhood services and education: My plan for Universal Child Care and Early Learning will provide high-quality child care and early learning to 12 million kids across the country. As part of a comprehensive early childhood education system, I will ensure all children can attend free high-quality universal pre-K. That means pre-K teachers that are prepared, supported, and compensated fairly, and program alignment to K-3, ensuring that every child is ready for day one of kindergarten and beyond.

Eliminate high-stakes testing: The push toward high-stakes standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers. Schools have eliminated critical courses that are not subject to federally mandated testing, like social studies and the arts. They can exclude students who don’t perform well on tests. Teachers feel pressured to teach to the test, rather than ensuring that students have a rich learning experience. 

I oppose high-stakes testing, and I co-sponsored successful legislation in Congress to eliminate unnecessary and low-quality standardized tests. As president, I’ll push to prohibit the use of standardized testing as a primary or significant factor in closing a school, firing a teacher, or making any other high-stakes decisions, and encourage schools to use authentic assessments that allow students to demonstrate learning in multiple ways.

Cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and provide free and nutritious school meals: No one should have to go into debt to get a nutritious meal at school. I’ve already proposed expanding the farm-to-school program one-hundred fold so that schools get access to fresh, local, nutritious meals. I will also push to cancel all existing student meal debt and increase federal funding to school meals programs so that students everywhere get free breakfast and lunch. And to meaningfully address student food insecurity and hunger, I will direct my Department of Education to work with schools to look for ways to provide dinner, and meals over weekends and throughout long holidays, to students who need it.  

Invest in evidenced-based school safety: Despite evidence that the militarization of our schools does not improve school safety, the Trump Administration has doubled down on militarization policies that only make students, teachers, and parents feel less safe. Enacting basic gun safety laws that the overwhelming majority of Americans support is a critical step towards improving school safety. But we need to take a different approach in our schools, too — 14 million students attend schools with police but no counselor, nurse, psychologist, or social worker. 

I will push to close the mental health provider gap in schools so that every school has access to the staff necessary to support students. And if police officers have to be in schools, they should receive training on discrimination, youth development, and de-escalation tactics, and the contracts between districts and law enforcement agencies should clearly define the responsibilities and limitations of the officers and the rights of the students. And no teacher should be armed — period.  

End zero-tolerance discipline policies: Zero-tolerance policies require out-of-school suspensions or expulsions on the first offense for a variety of behaviors. These policies are ineffective, disproportionately hurt BlackLatinxNative American, and Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander students, and can serve as the entry point to the school-to-prison pipeline. My administration will encourage schools to adopt discipline policies that draw students in rather than pushing them out, including restorative justice programs, which have been shown to dramatically reduce suspension rates and the discipline gap between Black and White students. I will also push to issue guidance to limit the use of discriminatory dress codes targeting student dress and hairstyle that lead to students of color losing valuable learning time and Muslim students being denied participation in school activities.

Establish more School-Based Health Centers: Students do better when they have access to good health care on site, but students from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have regular access to providers and preventative care. Students from rural communities and students attending Bureau of Indian Education schools also face significant barriers to health care access. School-Based Health Centers have been shown to improve grade promotion and decrease suspension rates and to increase the rates of vaccination and detection of hearing and vision issues. I’ve committed to establishing a $25 billion capital fund for communities that are health professional shortage areas to improve access to care through projects like constructing a School-Based Health Center or expanding capacity or services at an existing clinic. 

Expand the implementation of comprehensive, culturally relevant curriculum and Social Emotional Learning: Rigorous, culturally relevant, identity-affirming curriculum can increase attendance and academic success of students. And Social Emotional Learning — curriculum that focuses on empathy, responsible decision-making, and positive relationships — has positive effects too. Unfortunately, because of tight budgets, these subjects and programs are often considered expendable. We should invest more in curricula that engage all students across a wide array of subject areas like the arts, STEM, civics, and health, including evidence-based inclusive sex ed. I’ll fight to fully fund and target programs that conduct research in and support well-rounded, culturally relevant education, some of which the Trump administration has proposed eliminating entirely. I’ve already committed to supporting programs to ensure that public school curriculum includes Native American history and culture as a core component of all students’ education. In addition to those programs, we should ensure that all the communities that make up our public schools are reflected in school curricula. And I’ll require states receiving these grants to provide the same well-rounded, culturally relevant curriculum in alternative schools and juvenile detention facilities. 

Provide better access to career and college readiness (CCR): As President, I will enact legislation to make public two-year, four-year, and technical colleges tuition-free for all students. We must also ensure that students are able to take advantage of those opportunities and that high schools are funded and designed to prepare students for careers, college, and life. Students from low-income backgrounds are more likely than their wealthier peers to graduate high school without having taken any CCR coursework. Students with disabilities are also less likely to have the opportunity to enroll in CCR courses. I’ve fought hard in Congress to make sure high school students can access career and technical education without paying out of pocket. I’ve also proposed dramatically scaling up high-quality apprenticeship programs with a $20 billion investment that will support partnerships between high schools, community colleges, unions, and companies. I’ll work with the disability community to encourage schools to begin the development of postsecondary transition plans, as required by IDEA, earlier in a student’s school career. I’ll work with states to align high school graduation requirements with their public college admission requirements. And I’ll also direct the Department of Education to issue guidance on how schools can leverage existing federal programs to facilitate education-to-workforce preparedness.

Address chronic absenteeism without punishing parents or children: About 8 million students missed at least three weeks of school during the 2015-2016 school year, with Black and Latinx students more likely to be chronically absent than their white and Asian peers. In younger grades, students who are chronically absent are less likely to meet state proficiency standards. In middle and high school, chronic absenteeism is a predictor of whether a student drops out of school before completing high school. I’m committed to decriminalizing truancy and to working to decrease the rate of chronic absenteeism through other means. My plan to invest in programs that promote Social Emotional Learning, free school meals, and restorative justice would help reduce chronic absenteeism. I’ll also increase federal funding for pilot programs that implement best practices in truancy reduction, like sending parents easy-to-understand notices on the effects of chronic absenteeism, which has been shown to improve attendance by 40%.  

Treating Public School Teachers and Staff Like the Professionals They Are 

Teachers, paraprofessionals, school staff, and school leaders are the foundation of our public education system. But inadequate pay, shrinking benefits, under-resourced classrooms, and dangerously high levels of student debt are squeezing teachers and staff. We trust them to educate our children, but we fail to treat them like the professionals they are. 

Despite these challenges, our country’s educators have taken matters into their own hands — not only in the classroom, but also in the fight for the future of our country. Teachers have been battling for public investment over privatization, and for shared prosperity over concentrated wealth and power. Educators, particularly women, across the country have carried the #RedforEd movement from the streets to state capitol buildings, striking not just to get the compensation they deserve, but to condemn the diversion of funding from public schools to private ones, to increase funding to reduce class sizes and improve their schools, and to expand services that will make their students’ lives safer and more stable.  

Teachers have shown that they will stand together and fight for what they believe in. They deserve a President who will fight for them too. That’s why, as President, I will:  

Provide funding for schools to increase pay and support for all public school educators: Pay for our public school educators is unacceptably low, and it’s putting incredible strain on them and causing many to burn out and leave the profession. My plan to quadruple Title I funding incentivizes states to shift their funding formulas to better support students in critical ways, such as by increasing teacher pay with the goal of closing the educator pay gap and also paying paraprofessionals and other education support professionals a living wage. It also means additional funds to ensure that classrooms are well-equipped with resources and supports so that teachers aren’t paying out of pocket.  

Strengthen the ability of teachers, paraprofessionals, and staff to organize and bargain for just compensation, for a voice in education policy, and for greater investment in public education: One of the best ways to raise teacher pay permanently and sustainably — and to give teachers more voice in their schools — is to make it easier for teachers to join a union, to bargain collectively, and to strike like educators did across 14 states in 2018-2019. I have led the effort to eliminate the ability of states to pass anti-union “right to work” laws, and I will make enacting that change a top priority. And as part of my plan for empowering American workersI pledged to enact the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, which ensures that public employees like teachers can organize and bargain collectively in each state, and authorizes voluntary deduction of fees to support a union. 

Ensure that anyone can become a teacher without drowning in debt: A generation of educators is retiring, and our country is facing a looming teacher shortage. Our country’s student debt crisis hits teachers hard. Combined with salaries that are far too low, that debt makes it difficult for many educators to make ends meet and to continue teaching. Meanwhile, the debt forgiveness programs that the government promised teachers for their years of service turned out to be empty promises. My college plan will wipe out debt for most teachers and provide tuition-free public college so future teachers never have to take on that debt in the first place. In addition, I will push states to offer a pathway for teachers to become fully certified for free and to invest in their educators and build teacher retention plans. I will increase funding for Grow Your Own Teacher programs that provide opportunities for paraeducators or substitute teachers to become licensed teachers. And I will push to fully fund the Teacher Quality Partnership program to support teacher residency programs in high-need areas, like rural communities, and in areas of expertise like Special Education and Bilingual Education.  

Build a more diverse educator and school leadership pipeline: Representation matters in the classroom, and a diverse workforce helps all students. Teachers of color can boost the academic outcomes of their students and improve graduation rates among students of color. Though the teacher workforce is getting more diverse, it is not keeping pace with changes in student demographics: educators of color comprise only 20% of the teaching workforce, while students of color now represent more than half of public school students. 

My plan to cancel student loan debt, provide tuition-free public college, and invest a minimum of $50 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions will help more Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander students become educators and school and district leaders. Over 38% of Black teachers have degrees from HBCUs or MSIs. And Hispanic Serving Institutions are playing a crucial role in closing the teacher-student population demographic gap. I’ve also committed to significantly increasing BIE funding so these schools can attract and train teachers, particularly those from Native communities. But we must do more. I will target the biases and discrimination that inhibit our ability to build a diverse educator workforce and school leadership pipeline, such as pay discrimination, by expanding OCR’s purview to investigate systemic and individual workplace discrimination in our schools. And I am committed to passing the Equality Act to guarantee workplace protections for LGBTQ+ teachers and staff. 

Provide continuing education and professional development opportunities to all school staff: Ongoing high-quality professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and education support professionals produce better outcomes for students. As President, I will increase funding for critical programs that fund professional development and ongoing education on effective instruction, cultural competency, and child development for school staff, like the Supporting Effective Instruction and Supporting Effective Educator Development grants, that the Trump administration has proposed eliminating. And I will invest in funding of IES research on best practices in professional development that is effective and engages educators in decision-making on their own learning. 

Combating the Privatization and Corruption of Our Public Schools 

To keep our traditional public school systems strong, we must resist efforts to divert public funds out of traditional public schools. Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school districts and leave students behind, primarily students of color. Further, inadequate funding and a growing education technology industry have opened the door to the privatization and corruption of our traditional public schools. More than half of the states allow public schools to be run by for-profit companies, and corporations are leveraging their market power and schools’ desire to keep pace with rapidly changing technology to extract profits at the expense of vulnerable students. 

This is wrong. We have a responsibility to provide great neighborhood schools for every student. We should stop the diversion of public dollars from traditional public schools through vouchers or tuition tax credits — which are vouchers by another name. We should fight back against the privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools. I did that when I opposed a ballot question in Massachusetts to raise the cap on the number of charter schools, even as dark money groups spent millions in support of the measure. And as president, I will go further:  

Ensure existing charter schools are subject to at least the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public schools: Many existing charter schools aren’t subject to the same transparency and accountability requirements as traditional public schools. That’s wrong. That’s why I support the NAACP’s recommendations to only allow school districts to serve as charter authorizers, and to empower school districts to reject applications that do not meet transparency and accountability standards, consider the fiscal impact and strain on district resources, and establish policies for aggressive oversight of charter schools. Certain states are already starting to take action along these lines to address the diversion of public funds from traditional public schools. My administration will oppose the authorization of new charter schools that do not meet these standards. My administration also will crack down on union-busting and discriminatory enrollmentsuspension, and expulsion practices in charter schools, and require boards to be made up of parents and members of the public, not just founders, family members, or profit-seeking service providers.

End federal funding for the expansion of charter schools: The Federal Charter School Program (CSP), a series of federal grants established to promote new charter schools, has been an abject failure. A recent report showed that the federal government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never even opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons. The Department of Education’s own watchdog has even criticized the Department’s oversight of the CSP. As President, I would eliminate this charter school program and end federal funding for the expansion of charter schools. I would also examine whether other federal programs or tax credits subsidize the creation of new charter schools and seek to limit the use of those programs for that purpose. 

Ban for-profit charter schools: Our public schools should benefit students, not the financial or ideological interests of wealthy patrons like the DeVos and Walton families. I will fight to ban for-profit charter schools and charter schools that outsource their operations to for-profit companies. 

Direct the IRS to investigate so-called nonprofit schools that are violating the statutory requirements for nonprofits: Many so-called nonprofit schools – including charter schools – operate alongside closely held, for-profit service providers. Others are run by for-profit companies that siphon off profits from students and taxpayers. The IRS should investigate the nonprofit status of these schools and refer cases to the Tax Fraud Division of the Department of Justice when appropriate. I would also apply my plan’s ban on for-profit charter schools to any of these so-called “nonprofit” schools that actually serve for-profit interests. And my plan would ban self-dealing in nonprofit schools to prevent founders and administrators from funneling resources to service providers owned or managed by their family members.  

Expand enforcement of whistleblower actions against schools that commit fraud against taxpayers: Our federal laws allow whistleblowers to bring actions to expose fraud and retrieve stolen federal money. The Department of Justice should expand its enforcement of these whistleblower actions to address fraud that appears all too common in certain charter schools, including online charter schools that falsify or inflate their enrollment numbers. 

It’s also time to end the corporate capture of our education system and crack down on corruption and anti-competitive practices in the education industry. Here’s how we can start:

Require companies that lobby school systems that receive federal funding to comply with expanded federal lobbying restrictions and disclosure requirements: Corporate lobbyists spend millions of dollars lobbying state officials. If companies are lobbying for contracts from schools receiving federal funding, they should be subject to our federal lobbying rules, even when they are lobbying state officials. That’s why my plan would require all companies that lobby for these contracts to comply with the new federal lobbying proposals in my plan to end Washington corruption. That means that these education conglomerates will have to disclose the details of their meetings with all public officials, their lobbyists will not be able to donate or fundraise for federal candidates, those lobbyists will not be able to cycle through the revolving door into our federal government, and education companies like Pearson that often spend over $500,000 in a single year on lobbying will be subject to my new lobbying tax

Ban the sharing, storing, and sale of student data: Several investigations have revealed that educational technology companies, for-profit schools, and other educational entities are selling student data to corporations. My plan would extend the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to ban the sharing, storing, and sale of student data that includes names or other information that can identify individual students. Violations should be punishable by civil and criminal penalties. 

Direct the FTC to crack down on anti-competitive data mining practices by educational technology companies: Big companies like Facebook and Google, and smaller companies like Class Dojo, have already collected student data to market products or to sell themselves to companies that can do so. As president, I would direct the FTC to crack down on these antic-competitive data mining practices by technology companies engaging in these practices in the education space, including by reviewing and blocking mergers of companies that have taken advantage of data consolidation.Require high-stakes testing companies to make all released prior testing materials publicly available: High-stakes testing companies create their own test prep companies using proprietary materials or sell these materials directly to those who can afford it, giving some children a distinct advantage on those tests. My plan would bar companies with federal government contracts from selling questions to individuals or to companies for commercial purposes.

Read statements of support from National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and others here

Democratic Candidates for 2020: Biden Details Plan for Education Beyond High School

Vice President Joe Biden has announced a detailed plan for education beyond high school in order to build a stronger, more inclusive middle class. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll, Americans have indicated that education is a top issue. Vice President Joe Biden has announced a detailed plan for education beyond high school in order to build a stronger, more inclusive middle class.  This is from the Biden campaign:

For many, earning a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or other credential after high school is unaffordable or saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home, saving for retirement. Or, it puts financial stress on their parents and grandparents. In an increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a good income. While 6 in 10 jobs require some education after high school, not all require a bachelor’s degree. 

Biden is proposing a bold plan for education and training beyond high school that will give hard-working Americans the chance to join or maintain their place in the middle class, regardless of their parents’ income or the color of their skin. Four years of college shouldn’t be the only path to the middle class. Biden’s plan ensures every child in the U.S. can afford the path that makes sense for them – whether its an industry credential, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Coupled with his proposals to make sure there are quality jobs ready for our workers, Biden is putting forward a bold plan to rebuild the backbone of our country – the middle class – and this time make sure everyone has the chance to come along.

As president, Biden will:

  • Invest in community colleges and training to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.
  • Strengthen college education as the reliable pathway to the middle class, not an investment that provides limited returns and leaves graduates with mountains of debt they can’t afford.
  • Support colleges and universities that play unique and vital roles in their communities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.

Earlier this week, the campaign announced Women for Biden, highlighting how Trump’s administration has turned its back on women. The Trump Administration’s failure to deal with the student debt crisis is a perfect example. Women hold two thirds of the nation’s $1.5 trillion student debt. Instead of reducing the debt burden or expanding educational opportunities for women, Trump’s administration – with Secretary Betsy DeVos leading the U.S. Department of Education – has worked to cut access to education and sided with for-profit colleges and loan companies over students and graduates. 
 
Biden’s plan builds on his and Dr. Biden’s work to give hard working Americans access to two years of community college without debt. A majority of community college students are women and face unique barriers to completing their degrees. Biden will expand these students’ access to needed services like child care, and ensure that Pell Grants can be used for other costs like housing and books.   
 
This plan builds on Vice President Biden’s comprehensive plan to invest in our children’s education from birth through 12th grade. And, in the months ahead, Biden will also outline in further detail his proposals to make sure there are quality jobs ready for our workers.

FACT SHEET:
THE BIDEN PLAN FOR EDUCATION BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL 

Joe Biden is running for president to rebuild the backbone of the United States – the middle class – and this time make sure everyone has a chance to come along. In today’s increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and earn a middle class income. Roughly 6 in 10 jobs require some education beyond a high school diploma. And, because technology continues to change, American workers  – whether they have an industry-recognized credential, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a PhD – will need opportunities to continue to learn and grow their skills for career success and increased wages in the 21st century economy.

But for too many, earning a degree or other credential after high school is unaffordable today. For others, their education saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement, or their parents or grandparents take on some of the financial burden.
 
Biden is proposing a bold plan for education and training beyond high school that will give hard-working Americans the chance to join or maintain their place in the middle class, regardless of their parents’ income or the color of their skin. President Biden will:

Invest in community colleges and training to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.

Strengthen college as the reliable pathway to the middle class, not an investment that provides limited returns and leaves graduates with mountains of debt they can’t afford.

Support colleges and universities that play unique and vital roles in their communities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.

All of these proposals will be implemented in partnership with states as well as school faculty and staff. Educators must play a key role in decisions affecting teaching and learning.
 
Of course, increasing the quality and affordability of post-secondary education system alone is not enough to make sure our middle class succeeds. This plan builds on Vice President Biden’s comprehensive plan to invest in our children’s education from birth through 12th grade. And, in the months ahead, Biden will also outline in further detail his proposals to make sure there are quality jobs ready for our workers.
 
INVEST IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND TRAINING TO IMPROVE STUDENT SUCCESS AND GROW A STRONGER, MORE PROSPEROUS, AND MORE INCLUSIVE MIDDLE CLASS
 
Dr. Jill Biden, a current community college professor, refers to community colleges as America’s best kept secret. They are a proven, high-quality tool for providing hard-working Americans access to education and skills and a pathway to the middle class. In fact, today in the United States there are an estimated 30 million quality jobs, with an average salary of $55,000, that don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Every year, millions of Americans attend community colleges to get the credentials they need to obtain these jobs. And, community colleges offer affordable, quality ways for students to complete the first two years of a four-year degree.
 
Part of what makes community colleges so extraordinary is that, working with limited resources, they have figured out how to provide a high-quality, cost-effective education to students often juggling additional responsibilities, such as jobs or child care. But as a country, we haven’t invested enough in making sure community colleges can reach all the Americans who could benefit from their programs, or improve their quality and completion rates.
 
The Biden Administration will build on community colleges’ success and unleash their full potential to grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class by:

Providing two years of community college or other high-quality training program without debt for any hard-working individual looking to learn and improve their skills to keep up with the changing nature of work. In 2015, President Obama and Vice President Biden proposed to make two years of community college tuition-free for hard-working students. Since then, Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden have championed progress toward this goal, and hundreds of state and local College Promise programs have expanded access to free two-year or four-year college educations. As president, Biden will build on this progress by enacting legislation to ensure that every hard-working individual, including those attending school part-time and DREAMers (young adults who came to U.S. as children), can go to community college for up to two years without having to pay tuition. Individuals will also be able to use these funds to pursue training programs that have a track record of participants completing their programs and securing good jobs. Importantly, this initiative will not just be for recent high school graduates; it will also be available to adults who never had the chance to pursue additional education beyond high school or who need to learn new skills. And, students who do want a bachelor’s degree could then transfer to a four-year school, including to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions that play vital roles in their communities. This plan will be a federal-state partnership, with the federal government covering 75% of the cost and states contributing the remaining obligation. The federal government will cover up to 95% of the cost for Indian Tribes operating community colleges serving low-income students. 

Creating a new grant program to assist community colleges in improving their students’ success. The Biden Administration will support community colleges implementing evidence-based practices and innovative solutions to increase their students’ retention and completion of credentials. Reforms could include academic and career advising services; dual enrollment; credit articulation agreements; investing in wages, benefits, and professional development to recruit and retain faculty, including teacher residencies; and improvements to remediation programs. The Biden plan will also help community colleges around the country scale successful programs to help a larger number of students.

Tackling the barriers that prevent students from completing their community college degree or training credential. There are too many Americans who don’t complete their education or training programs not because of a lack of will, but because of other responsibilities they are juggling, such as a job to pay their bills or caring for children. Often these students and their families also face housing and food insecurity. The Biden Administration’s community college initiative will be a first-dollar program, meaning that students will be able to use their Pell grants, state aid, and other aid to help them cover expenses beyond tuition and fees. In addition, the Biden plan will give states financial incentives to foster collaboration between community colleges and community-based organizations to provide wraparound support services for students, especially veterans, single parents, low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities who may face unique challenges. Wraparound support services can range from public benefits and additional financial aid to cover textbook and transportation costs that often keep students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental health services, faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups. And, Biden will establish a federal grant program to help community colleges create emergency grant programs for students who experience an unexpected financial challenge that threatens their ability to stay enrolled.

Make a $50 billion investment in workforce training, including community-college business partnerships and apprenticeships. In 2014, President Obama asked Vice President Biden to develop a national strategy for reforming our nation’s workforce training programs designed to prepare “ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.” Building on the successful models championed through that initiative, President Biden will make an investment of $50 billion in high-quality training programs. These funds will create and support partnerships between community colleges, businesses, unions, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and high schools to identify in-demand knowledge and skills in a community and develop or modernize training programs – which could be as short as a few months or as long as two years – that lead to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential. These funds will also exponentially increase the number of apprenticeships in this country through strengthening the Registered Apprenticeship Program and partnering with unions who oversee some of the best apprenticeship programs throughout our nation, not watering down the quality of the apprenticeship system like President Trump is proposing.

Invest in community college facilities and technology. Biden will invest $8 billion to help community colleges improve the health and safety of their facilities, and equip their schools with new technology that will empower their students to succeed in the 21st century.

STRENGTHEN COLLEGE AS A RELIABLE PATHWAY TO THE MIDDLE CLASS
 
We have a student debt crisis in this country, with roughly more than 44 million American individuals now holding a total of $1.5 trillion in student loans. One in five adults who hold student loans are behind on payments, disproportionate number of whom are black. Thus, student debt both exacerbates and results from racial wealth gap.
 
This challenge is also intergenerational. Almost one in ten Americans in their 40s and 50s still hold student loan debt. But, college debt has especially impacted Millennials who pursued educational opportunities during the height of the Great Recession and now struggle to pay down their student loans instead of buying a house, opening their own business, or setting money aside for retirement.
 
There are several drivers of this problem. The cost of higher education has skyrocketed, roughly doubling since the mid-1990s. States have dramatically decreased investments in higher education, leaving students and their families with the bill. And, too often individuals have been swindled into paying for credentials that don’t provide value to graduates in the job market. As president, Biden will address all of these challenges.
 
Biden’s plan to make two years of community college without debt will immediately offer individuals a way to become work-ready with a two-year degree or an industry certification. It will also halve their tuition costs for obtaining a four-year degree, by earning an associate’s degree and then transferring those credits to a four-year college or university. And, as a federal-state partnership, it will ensure states both invest in community colleges and give states some flexibility to also invest in college readiness or affordability at four-year institutions. In addition, President Biden will:

Target additional financial support to low-income and middle-class individuals by doubling the maximum value of Pell grants, significantly increasing the number of middle-class Americans who can participate in the program. Pell grants help 7 million students a year afford college, but they have not kept up with the rising cost of college. In the 1970s, Pell grants covered roughly 70 to 80 percent of the cost of a four-year degree at a public institution; today, that percentage has been cut in more than half, to roughly 30 percent. Biden will double the maximum value of the Pell grant, a level of investment experts say is necessary to close the gap between the rich and poor so that everyone has the opportunity to receive an education beyond high school, and will automatically increase the value based on inflation. Doubling the maximum value of Pell grants will increase the grant value for individuals already eligible for Pell and, given the program’s formula for determining eligibility, expand the benefits of Pell to more middle class Americans. As president, Biden will also take care of young immigrants by ensuring DREAMers are eligible for financial aid if they meet other requirements for that aid. And, he will restore formerly incarcerated individuals’ eligibility for Pell.

More than halve payments on undergraduate federal student loans by simplifying and increasing the generosity of today’s income-based repayment program. Under the Biden plan, individuals making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate federal student loans and also won’t accrue any interest on those loans. Everyone else will pay 5% of their discretionary income (income minus taxes and essential spending like housing and food) over $25,000 toward their loans. This plan will save millions of Americans thousands of dollars a year. After 20 years, the remainder of the loans for people who have responsibly made payments through the program will be 100% forgiven. Individuals with new and existing loans will all be automatically enrolled in the income-based repayment program, with the opportunity to opt out if they wish. In addition to relieving some of the burden of student debt, this will enable graduates to pursue careers in public service and other fields without high levels of compensation. Biden will also change the tax code so that debt forgiven through the income-based repayment plan won’t be taxed. Americans shouldn’t have to take out a loan to pay their taxes when they finally are free from their student loans.

Make loan forgiveness work for public servants. Public servants do the hard work that is essential to our country’s success – protecting us, teaching our children, keeping our streets clean and our lights on, and so much more. But the program designed to help these individuals serve without having to worry about the burden of their student loans – the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program – is broken. Biden will create a new, simple program which offers $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for every year of national or community service, up to five years. Individuals working in schools, government, and other non-profit settings will be automatically enrolled in this forgiveness program; up to five years of prior national or community service will also qualify. Additionally, Biden will fix the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by securing passage of the What You Can Do For Your Country Act of 2019. Biden will ensure adjunct professors are eligible for this loan forgiveness, depending on the amount of time devoted to teaching.

Create a “Title I for postsecondary education” to help students at under-resourced four-year schools complete their degrees. The Biden Administration will establish a new grant program to support under-resourced four-year schools that serve large numbers of Pell-eligible students. The funds will be used to foster collaboration between colleges and community-based organizations to provide wraparound support services for students, especially veterans, single parents, low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities who may face unique challenges. Wraparound support services can range from public benefits and additional financial aid to cover textbook and transportation costs that often keep students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental health services, faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups. And, Biden will ensure that these funds can be used to help colleges create emergency grant programs for students who experience an unexpected financial challenge that threatens their ability to stay enrolled.

Create seamless pathways between high school, job training, community college, and four-year programs to help students get their degrees and credentials faster. The Biden Administration will provide grants to states that work to accelerate students’ attainment of credentials, including bachelor’s degrees, while still ensuring quality and accountability. For example, some communities have adopted the early college model, allowing students to begin earning credits towards an associate’s degree while still in high school. And, in some areas students can be dual enrolled in the community college and the four-year program they wish to complete. Biden will challenge more communities to expand on these accelerated pathways and create a seamless transition between high school, community college, other job training, and four-year programs, enabling students to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in less time. Approaches to accelerating degree attainment include guided pathways that provide a sequence of classes for a specific area of study; shifting toward a 12-month academic calendar; better aligning high school, community college, and four-year college courses; providing college credits for quality, degree-related on-the-job training; and offering degree-related paid internships for course credit. Read more about Joe Biden’s plan for education from birth through 12th grade here.

Prioritize the use of work-study funds for job-related and public service roles. Biden will work to reform federal work study programs to ensure that more of these funds place students in roles where they are either learning skills valuable for their intended careers, or contributing to their communities by mentoring students in K-12 classrooms and community centers.

Stop for-profit education programs from profiteering off of students. Students who started their education at for-profit colleges default on their student loans at a rate three times higher than those who start at non-profit colleges. These for-profit programs are often predatory – devoted to high-pressure and misleading recruiting practices and charging higher costs for lower quality education that leaves graduates with mountains of debt and without good job opportunities. The Biden Administration will require for-profits to first prove their value to the U.S. Department of Education before gaining eligibility for federal aid. The Biden Administration will also return to the Obama-Biden Borrower’s Defense Rule, forgiving the debt held by individuals who were deceived by the worst for-profit college or career profiteers.  Finally, President Biden will enact legislation eliminating the so-called 90/10 loophole that gives for-profit schools an incentive to enroll veterans and servicemembers in programs that aren’t delivering results.

Crack down on private lenders profiteering off of students and allow individuals holding private loans to discharge them in bankruptcy. In 2015, the Obama-Biden Administration called for Congress to pass a law permitting the discharge of private student loans in bankruptcy. As president, Biden will enact this legislation. In addition, the Biden Administration will empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – established during the Obama-Biden Administration – to take action against private lenders who are misleading students about their options and do not provide an affordable payment plan when individuals are experiencing acute periods of financial hardship.

Support and protect post-9/11 GI benefits for veterans and qualified family members. Veterans and their family members served our country and as a nation, we must maintain our commitment to GI benefits. The Obama-Biden Administration took groundbreaking action to ensure that veterans and their family members were empowered to make informed decisions regarding their education and, in turn, ensure that programs educating them met high quality standards. President Biden will build and convene coalitions of experts and advocates to continue this work. He’ll also strengthen the GI Bill Comparison Tool and School Feedback Tool to put an end to post-secondary institutions’ predatory practices.

SUPPORT COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT PLAY UNIQUE AND VITAL ROLES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
 
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges And Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American And Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), Alaska Native-serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions (ANNHs), Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and Native American-serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTIs) serve a disproportionate number of students of color and low-income students, yet are severely under-resourced, especially when compared to other colleges and universities.
 
This makes HBCUs and MSIs’ contributions even more impressive. HBCUs, for example, disproportionately educate first-generation and low-income students. In Vice President Biden’s home state of Delaware, the HBCU Delaware State University graduates nearly half of the state’s black undergraduate students.
 
As president, Biden will take steps to rectify the funding disparities faced by HBCUs, TCUs, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) so that the United States can benefit from their unique strengths. Students at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs will benefit from Biden’s proposals to double Pell grants, slash the income-based repayment of loans to 5% of income, and provide free tuition for students at all community colleges, including those that are MSIs. In addition, Biden will invest over $70 billion in these colleges and universities to:

Make HBCUs, TCUs, and under-resourced MSIs more affordable for their students. The Biden plan will invest $18 billion in grants to these four-year schools, equivalent to up to two years of tuition per low-income and middle class student, including DREAMers and students who transfer to a four-year HBCU, TCU, or MSI from a tuition-free community college. Schools must invest in lowering costs, improving retention and graduation rates, and closing equity gaps year over year for students of color.

Invest in the diverse talent at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs to solve the country’s most pressing problems. The Biden Administration will invest $10 billion to create at least 200 new centers of excellence that serve as research incubators and connect students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future – including fields tackling climate change, globalization, inequality, health disparities, and cancer – to learning and career opportunities. These funds will provide additional work study opportunities and incentivize state, private, and philanthropic dollars for these centers. Biden will also boost funding for agricultural research at land-grant universities, many of which are HBCUs and TCUs, as outlined in his Plan for Rural America. As president, Biden will also dedicate additional and increased priority funding streams at federal agencies for grants and contracts for HBCUs and MSIs. And, he will require any federal research grants to universities with an endowment of over $1 billion to form a meaningful partnership and enter into a 10% minimum subcontract with an HBCU, TCU, or MSI.

Build the high tech labs and facilities and digital infrastructure needed for learning, research, and innovation at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Biden will invest $20 billion in infrastructure for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to build the physical research facilities and labs urgently needed to deliver on the country’s research and development, to update and modernize deteriorating facilities, including by strengthening the Historic Preservation program, and to create new space for increasing enrollments, especially at HSIs. While schools will be able to use these funds to upgrade the digital infrastructure, Biden will also support TCUs and other institutions in rural areas by investing $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and tripling funding to expand broadband access in rural areas. Additionally, as president, Biden will ensure all HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs have access to low-cost federal capital financing programs and will work with states to ensure they can take advantage of these programs. And, he will work to incentivize further public, private, and philanthropic investments in school infrastructure.

Provide support to continuously improve the value of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs by investing $10 billion in programs that increase enrollment, retention, completion, and employment rates. These programs may include partnerships with both high schools, other universities, and employers; evidence-based remedial courses; academic and career advising services; and investing in wages, benefits, and professional development and benefits to recruit and retain faculty, including teacher residencies. Additionally, Biden will incentivize states, private, and philanthropic dollars to invest in these programs, while ensuring schools that do not receive matches increase their competitiveness.

Expand career pathways for graduates of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in areas that meet national priorities, including building a diverse pipeline of public school teachers. Biden will invest $5 billion in graduate programs in teaching, health care, and STEM and will develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research agencies, including Department of Energy National Laboratories, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Defense.

Triple and make permanent the capacity-building and student support for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act. These funds serve as a lifeline to under-resourced HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs year over year, ensuring that the most vulnerable students have the support they need to succeed. The Biden Administration will make permanent $750 million per year in Title III and Title V funding, which will provide a dedicated revenue stream of $7.5 billion over the first ten years.

Reduce disparities in funding for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Biden will require federal agencies and states to publish reports of their allocation of federal funding to colleges and universities. When inequities exist between HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs and similar non-HBCU, TCU, MSI colleges, federal agencies and states will be required to publish robust rationale and show improvements in eliminating disparities year over year. To ensure funding is more equitably distributed among HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, the Biden Administration will require that competitive grant programs make similar universities compete against each other, for example, ensuring that HBCUs only compete against HBCUs. And, President Biden will require higher education accreditors to provide increased transparency in their processes.

Additionally, Biden recognizes the critical role low-endowment private colleges and universities play in providing educational opportunities and jobs in many rural communities. As president, he will establish an innovation competitive grant fund for these institutions, giving them additional funds to invest in increasing graduation rates; closing ethnic, racial, and income disparities; and increasing career outcomes for low-income students, students of color, first-generation students, and students with disabilities..
 
SUPPORTING LEARNERS AND WORKERS, NOT REWARDING WEALTH
 
The Biden plan for education beyond high school is a $750 billion investment over ten years targeted at growing a stronger, more inclusive middle class. It will be paid for by making sure that the super-wealthy pay their fair share. Specifically, this plan will be paid for by eliminating the stepped-up basis loophole and capping the itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans can take to 28%.

For more on Vice President Biden’s plan, see HERE. To see how Vice President Biden’s plan would impact you, click HERE.