On World Teachers’ Day, October 5, the White House issued this fact sheet showing the ways the Biden-Harris Administration is standing up in support of teachers, when in many locales, teachers have been under attack. In Florida, for example, any parent can sue a teacher if they take offense with what is being taught, and expects teachers to be human shields for mass murderers – no wonder Florida is short 9,000 in the classroom.
Our teachers prepare and inspire the next generation of leaders who are critical to our future. On World Teachers’ Day, October 5, First Lady Jill Biden appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show for an hour-long special dedicated to teachers, and participated in Pinterest’s day-long livestream to celebrate teachers, featuring top educator creators from across the country. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to celebrating and elevating the teaching profession, and to addressing the challenges facing teachers by taking comprehensive actions to recruit, respect, and retain educators.
To Recruit,Respect, and Retain teachers and other school staff we must:
Pay educators competitively: President Biden has long called for increases in teacher pay. On average, teachers make about 33 percent less than other college-educated professionals. We cannot address staffing shortages impacting schools without addressing paying teachers a livable and competitive wage.
Improve working conditions: Whether it’s sufficient planning time and staffing levels, opportunities for leadership and collaboration with peers, or clean air to breathe and cool classrooms during heat waves, educators need working conditions that are conducive to teaching and to students’ learning.
The Biden-Harris Administration has taken concrete actions to advance these goals.
American Rescue Plan
President’s Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $122 billion to the nation’s K-12 schools. The President, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh have urged states and districts to use these funds to increase compensation for teachers, invest in teacher pipeline programs, and hire more professionals across the education workforce. These investments not only provide greater supports to students, but also reduce the burden on current teachers. With the help of the ARP, there are 261,000 more jobs in local education than when President Biden took office. As of July, ARP funding has helped school districts increase the number of school social workers by 54 percent, increase counselors by 22 percent, and increase nurses by 22 percent, compared to the pre-pandemic period. For example:
Iowa is using ARP funds to train 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers. Starting this year, the program will help current high school students and adults earn a paraeducator certificate and associate degree, and paraeducators to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching license – all while learning and working in the classroom.
Gaston County Schoolsin North Carolina used ARP funds to double their nursing staff and secure a nurse for each of their 54 school locations, so that nurses no longer have to split their time between two buildings.
Additional Federal Investments in Teacher Recruitment and Preparation
Through Department of Education grants, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized supporting teachers in a wide array of Fiscal Year 2022 grants, particularly investing in high-quality teacher preparation programs that include robust experience in the classroom before becoming a teacher. These programs recruit more diverse teachers, better prepare them for the classroom, and increase the likelihood of teachers staying in the profession. The President has called for an additional $590 million investment in teachers in his FY23 budget.
New investments under the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program to help ensure long-term support for teacher pipeline and development programs across the country. The 22 new three-year grants totaling more than $60 million include:
The National Center for Teacher Residencies will increase the number of effective teacher residents from diverse backgrounds in underserved schools, districts, and subjects by boosting teacher residency programs across Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The New Orleans SEED program will address persistent teacher shortages by boosting pathways into the profession through the expansion of Grow-Your-Own pathways. By 2025, the project hopes to recruit, prepare, and place 550 teachers in underserved schools and have more than 200 high school students in its teacher pipeline.
New Teacher Quality Partnership awards to help recruit, prepare, develop, and retain a strong and diverse teacher workforce. The 22 five-year grants totaling $24.7 million include:
In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, North Carolina, funds will support a residency program that will recruit, prepare and retain 120 special education, elementary and secondary teachers in high-need schools.
Funds will support a Grow Your Own program in Gwinnett County, Georgia, that will support alumni of Gwinnett County Public Schools in returning to the community as teachers after they graduate from college.
For the first time, this year the Department of Education will also award grants under the Augustus F. Hawkins program to support teacher preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions.
The Department of Labor has also committed to prioritizing the education sector in future apprenticeship funding, including its next round of over $100 million in apprenticeship grants. This will provide critical support for states and other partners looking to start and expand teacher apprenticeship programs, which allow individuals to earn while they learn, receiving pay while they gain teaching skills and take coursework to earn their teaching license.
Ensuring Education Jobs Are Good Jobs
Schools cannot recruit or retain the teachers they need unless jobs in education are good jobs. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages of public school teachers only increased by $29 between 1996 and 2021. Beyond calling for better pay and encouraging the use of ARP funds for this purpose, the Administration has taken concrete action to address teacher compensation.
Sustained Funding to Increase Teacher Pay: To increase teacher pay, schools need more funding. President Biden’s budgets have proposed an additional $20 billion for Title I—which supports schools serving students from low-income backgrounds—more than doubling funding for this program. These resources would help schools increase teacher pay and close gaps in access to educational opportunity. As roughly 92 percent of funding for public schools comes from the state and local level, state and local leaders must also take decisive action to provide schools with the resources they need to pay teachers competitively and to close funding gaps undermining schools serving low-income communities.
Reducing Student Debt for Teachers: Too many teachers are burdened with so much student debt that they feel like they cannot stay in the classroom. Debt also keeps many prospective teachers from entering the profession. The Administration has taken decisive action to provide more breathing room to America’s working families, including teachers, as they continue to recover from the strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris Administration made temporary changes to the PSLF program that make it easier than ever for public servants, like teachers and school staff, to receive loan forgiveness or get credit toward loan forgiveness. To date, the Department of Education has approved more than $13 billion in forgiveness for more than 211,000 public servants under this waiver. To benefit from the temporary changes, borrowers must apply and certify their employment for the period of time they wish to count toward PSLF by October 31, 2022 using this Help Tool. For more information, visit www.PSLF.gov. Teachers who previously received Teacher Loan Forgiveness can now also count those years used toward the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program toward PSLF but they must certify those years by October 31. The Administration has also proposed regulatory changes to ensure more effective implementation of PSLF moving forward.
TEACH Grant: The Department is implementing improvements to the TEACH Grant program, which provides up to $16,000 in grants to teachers who commit to teaching in a high need school and field for 4 years.
Cancelling and Reforming Student Debt: In addition to the one-time student debt relief of up to $20,000 announced by President Biden in August, the Biden-Harris Administration has proposed a plan to reduce the burden of student debt through reforms to income-driven repayment plans. Under the proposed plan, borrowers will have more income protected and monthly payments on undergraduate loans will be cut in half – from 10 percent to 5 percent of their discretionary income.
ARP powered historic jobs recovery – with the largest calendar increase in jobs on record, unemployment down to 3.8%, and record drops in Hispanic Unemployment and Youth Unemployment – and ensured less scarring than any recovery in memory.
With the focus on Ukraine’s desperate fight against Russia’s criminal war and President Joe Biden’s role in marshaling the free world in its defense, little attention is being paid to the Biden Administration’s domestic actions that are having real achievements. On the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, the White House highlighted the difference the ARP is making in ordinary people’s lives; – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Lowering Health Care Costs and Increasing Health Coverage
14.5 million Americans – the most ever – signed up for ACA marketplace plans due to, on average, 50% lower costs in premiumsfor returning consumers.
Nationwide, existing consumers with a new or updated plan selection after ARP saved an average of $67 (or 50%) per consumer per month on premiums, totaling $537 million per month in savings. In twenty states and the District of Columbia, existing consumers saved over $75 per month, on average, due to the ARP.
5.8 million more Americans have health insurance today than a year ago. Between 2016 and 2019, 3.6 million Americans lost coverage.
A family of four is saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums. Four out of five consumers could find quality coverage for under $10 a month.
Investing in Mental Health:
$3 billion invested in expanding access to mental health and substance use services at the state level –largest one-time investment in history for mental health and substance use programs.
Billions more in American Rescue Plan funding are being used to address mental health challenges affecting our children, including through hiring school social workers and counselors. With the help of American Rescue Plan K-12 funding, schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers, and a 17% increase in counselors.
Distributed 200 million vaccines, and millions of therapeutics using ARP dollars.
375 million at-home tests per month now available; before ARP, no at-home tests.
$14.5 billion to address COVID for America’s veterans, including support for 37,000 homeless veterans.
Getting Kids Back in School
Today,99% of schools are open. Before ARP, only 46% of schools were open in-person.
Major Investments in Keeping Schools Open, Combatting Learning Loss & Addressing Mental Health Challenges: Independent experts estimate based on school district plans that 59% of school districts are using ARP funds to hire/retain teachers and counselors, 35% are using ARP funds to hire/retain psychologists and mental health staff, and 52% are using ARP funds for HVAC and ventilation.
A survey from the School Superintendents Association indicated 82% of superintendents plan to use funds to expand social, emotional, mental and physical health and development.
Supporting Working Families
Expanded Child Tax Credit for Working Families – Helping Deliver Record Lows in Child Poverty.
The 2021 CTC will reach a record nearly 40 million families with 65 million children.
Expanded $3,000 credit for kids age 6-17 and $3,600 for kids under 6
Experts estimate that the Child Tax Credit was the main driver in the American Rescue Plan bringing child poverty to record lows in 2021– including record low Black and Hispanic child poverty.
Economic Impact Payments for Vast Majority of Americans
Over 170 million Economic Impact Payments to 85% of all Americans – including an additional 19+ million payments to Social Security beneficiaries, 3 million payments to SSI beneficiaries, and 320,000 payments to Veterans who would not have received these benefits under normal tax filing requirements.
Ensured Kids didn’t go hungry in the summer
Estimated 30 million kids fed with first nationwide Summer supplemental nutrition program – more than 10x higher than 2019 summer meals for kids.
Unprecedented Emergency Rental Relief and Eviction Prevention
Over 4 million Emergency Rental Assistance payments to tenants in a single year – by orders of magnitude the largest eviction prevention effort in history.
Eviction filings at just 60% of historic averages in 5 months after CDC moratorium – even though some had projected an eviction tsunami.
More than doubled the amount of LIHEAP – the most ever going to help with Heating and Cooling Costs of well over 5 million households
Helping People Get Back to Work
Most One-Time Support for Childcare Providers Ever to Keep Them Open and Operating
150,000+ providers supported by childcare stabilization payments so far, the most support for childcare providers ever.
More than 5 million children served by these providers.
Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for Workers
Tripled EITC for 17 million workers without dependent children from $540 to $1500 – first increase since 1993 – and extended the credit to younger & older workers.
Helping millions of front-line workers: This expansion will help nearly 1.8 million cashiers and retail salespeople; almost 1 million cooks and food prep workers; and more than 850,000 nurses and health aides, 500,000 janitors, 400,000 truck and delivery drivers, and 300,000 childcare workers.
Getting Americans Back to Work with State and Local Investments
Over half of states and scores of cities across the country have invested in workforcedevelopment, apprenticeships, training, and premium pay for essential workers – with premium pay to nearly 750,000 essential workers.
State and local governments added 467,000 jobs in 2021– best year since 2001.
Staying True to Our Veterans:
ARP provided resources for veterans currently receiving housing support, including an estimated37,000 homeless veterans.
ARP cancelled health care copayment charges for 2.5 million veteransduring the pandemic – worth $1 billion.
ARP Child Tax Credit expansion meant that roughly 5 million children in veteran and Active Duty families are receiving the credit for 2021, per CBPP estimates.
ARP invested in 16,000 veterans’ health care with ARP funds for 158 State Veterans Homes operations and for State Veterans Home renovations and capital projects.
ARP funding is enabling the Veterans Benefits Administration toreduce the claims backlog from 212,000 in March 2021 to 100,000 by September 2022.
Rescuing and Transforming Our Communities:
Dozens of cities and 21 states have already committed ARP Fiscal Recovery Funds to public safety, including critical investments in gun crime prevention – hiring and retaining police officers for community policing and investing in critical technology to take on increases in gun and other violent crimes, and supporting evidence-based community violence interventions and summer youth employment.
State and local, Education and HUD investments in affordable housing and fighting homelessness:
ARP Department of Education program to provide services and enable full attendance for students experiencing homelessness will reach1.5 million children.
ARP added about 70,000 emergency vouchers to the rental market through HUD.
ARP funded new housing counseling program which is expected to provide 80,000 housing counseling sessions.
Roughly half of cities and states are investing some portion of their State and Local Funds in housing assistance and investments – from New Jersey’s $750 million eviction prevention and utilities program to Austin and Travis County’s $200 million ARP investment in a comprehensive plan to take on its homelessness crisis.
Broadband Investments underway across the country:20 states have already invested Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand broadband access – in addition to $10 billion Capital Projects Fund which they can use to help ensure that all communities have access to high quality modern infrastructure needed to access critical services, including broadband.
Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced about $9 billion in ARP investments to expand high speed internet access.
Long-needed investments in clean water: with21 states already committing Fiscal Recovery Funds to improve water and sewer infrastructure, including removing lead pipes.
Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced investing $7.5 billion in ARP funds for water and sewer improvements.
Providing Permanent Tax Relief for Puerto Rico Families
Made hundreds of thousands of families in Puerto Rico eligible for CTC for first time – previously ~90% of families excluded from CTC.
First-ever Federal Support for Puerto Rico’s EITC, more than tripling workers’ benefits.
Most support ever for Tribal Communities
$32 billion to Tribal communities and Native people, the largest in assistance to tribal governments in history.
FACT SHEET: How The American Rescue Plan Is Keeping America’s Schools Open Safely, Combating Learning Loss, And Addressing Student Mental Health
On March 11, 2021 – one year ago – President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act into law, an unprecedented $1.9 trillion package of emergency assistance measures. The ARP provides a historic investment in America’s preschool through twelfth grade (P-12) schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep schools safely open, tackle learning loss and mental health. These funds include $122 billion for P-12 schools in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. ARP also dedicated an additional $8 billion to states and school districts to meet the needs of certain student populations, including over $3 billion for students with disabilities and $800 million for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
ARP has already had a significant impact on schools across the country: over the last year, states, school districts, and schools have used these funds to safely reopen and sustain in-person instruction, combat learning loss, and address students’ mental health needs.
In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden called on schools to hire more teachers, urged the American people to sign up to be tutors and mentors, and – as part of his unity agenda – encouraged the country to come together to address child mental health. ARP ESSER funds are supporting this agenda in several ways:
Schools have gone from 46% open before ARP to 99% safe and open today: Before ARP was signed into law, just 46 percent of America’s P-12 schools were open for full-time, in-person learning. Today, over 99 percent of P-12 schools are open for full-time, in-person instruction.
ARP led to record growth in local education jobs that are critical to meeting students’ academic and mental health needs: Although there is more work to do to address longstanding educator shortages and return to pre-pandemic levels, ARP has led to record jobs growth in the education sector. With the help of ARP ESSER funding, local governments added more than 279,000 education jobs in 2021 – the best calendar year of jobs growth since records began in 1956 – and added an additional nearly 46,000 jobs in the first two months of 2022. Schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers and a 17% increase in counselors relative to before the pandemic.
Analysis of school district plans shows overwhelming majority of funds are being used for priorities like teachers, counselors, academic recovery, mental health, and health and safety measures like ventilation improvements: FutureEd – an education think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy – analyzed data on a representative sample of over 3,000 school districts’ plans covering 55% of ARP ESSER funds. This analysis showed:
Nearly 60% of funds are being used to:
invest in staffing – both retaining current staff and expanding professional development opportunities, as well as recruiting, hiring and training of new teachers, school staff and mental health professionals to increase school capacity and meet the academic and mental health needs of students;
combat learning loss through student support programs such as evidence-based tutoring, expanded after-school and summer learning and enrichment programs, and the purchase of millions of new textbooks and learning materials; and
supporting the physical and mental health of students and educators.
Another 24% is being invested in keeping schools operating safely, including providing PPE and updating school facilities to support health and safety. This includes investments in lead abatement and an estimated nearly $10 billion for improvements to HVAC and ventilation.
ARP has fueled investments in education spending and accelerated the rate of spending of education relief funds by five to six times: Before the passage of ARP, states and school districts were spending a total of a little more than $500 million per month of federal emergency relief funds for education. Since the passage of the ARP and the assurance to states and school districts that critical funds were on their way, the monthly rate of spending of ESSER funds from ARP and earlier relief legislation has accelerated to more than $3 billion per month – an increase of five to six times.
All 50 states submitted clear spending plans that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education: On March 24, less than two weeks after ARP was signed, two-thirds of funds – $81 billion – were released. To ensure funds would be used effectively, states had to submit and receive approval on their spending plan to receive their final third of funds. As of December 2021, every state, plus DC and Puerto Rico, submitted a plan, the U.S. Department of Education has approved all plans, and all $122 billion in ARP ESSER funds have been made available to states.
Survey of 600 school superintendents shows school leaders are meeting the challenge of the President’s unity agenda by using funds for students’ mental health and other developmental needs: The COVID-19 pandemic has subjected many young Americans to social isolation, loss of routines, and traumatic grief – increasing the need for mental health supports. A recent survey by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, found that 82% of districts plan to use funds to address this need by expanding supports for social, emotional, mental, and physical health and development.
States and school districts have deployed funds strategically while engaging meaningfully with their communities – including parents: In developing their spending plans, states and school districts were required to engage members of the community, including parents, educators, students, representatives of students with disabilities and others. The U.S. Department of Education continues to encourage states and school districts to consult with these critical partners on how to ensure these funds have the most impact in classrooms.
ARP ESSER-Funded State and District Activities From the U.S. Department of Education
Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations Safely reopening schools and keeping them open safely are essential for student learning and well-being.
Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas has allocated ARP ESSER funds to campuses for COVID-19 mitigation efforts. HISD has provided COVID-19 testing at 90 percent of its campuses and has hosted nearly 100 vaccine clinics.
The DeKalb County School District in Georgia upgraded air filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13 in every school facility that could accommodate that size filter and took steps to improve ventilation in all other schools using ARP ESSER funding.
White Plains City School District in New York will use a combination of local and federal funds to replace the HVAC units across their district to provide a safer learning environment for students and staff. Upon completion, the total project will cost $26.3 million, with nearly one-third of the funding coming from relief funds, including ARP ESSER.
Combating Learning Loss States and school districts have the resources they need, and are required to address the impacts of the pandemic on students’ learning. States and districts nationwide are using funds to hire teachers and other instructional staff, launch tutoring, summer and afterschool programs (which states are required to fund), and make long-overdue investments in instructional materials. States are specifically required to address the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including students with disabilities, English learners, and students experiencing homelessness.
Recruiting, Retaining, and Expanding Professional Development of Staff:
Maine School Administrative District 11 is addressing gaps in learning opportunities by using ARP ESSER funds to hire nine new teachers and implement a new math, language arts, and social studies program. The additional teachers permitted the district to reduce class sizes from 22-24 students to an average of 14-16 students. The district has provided external and internal coaching, ongoing professional learning, and additional support to educators and staff.
Gaston County Schools in North Carolina is adding an additional teacher and a temporary employee per school to decrease class sizes, help manage workloads and provide classroom coverage in each of its 54 schools using ARP ESSER funding. This supports and helps retain current teachers, who are less likely to have to give up planning time to cover another classroom, or combine classrooms, and also benefits students whose learning is less likely to be disrupted by the absence of another teacher.
The Asheville City Schools Board of Education in North Carolina is using ARP ESSER funds for a bonus of $3,000 to $3,500 over the course of the year for full-time teachers and faculty in order to increase staff retention.
Providence Public School District in Rhode Island is launching new incentives to recruit and retain highly-qualified educators, including early signing bonuses for newly-hired educators and support staff in hard-to-fill positions using ARP ESSER funding.
Summer Learning and Enrichment:
In New Mexico, the College and Career Readiness Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department launched the Summer Enrichment Internship Program in 2021 using ARP ESSER funding. The program covers the cost of summer internships for New Mexico high school students and provides high school students, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic, with the opportunity to participate in high-quality internships in government agencies, including county, tribal, and municipal placements. Over 300 community partners and 1,200 student interns participated across 26 counties. Summer jobs programs like these that engage students are also important community violence intervention strategies. This program will continue in the summer of 2022 as well.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Ohio used ARP ESSER funds to increase summer learning participation seven-fold. In 2021, 8,400 students participated in summer school, compared to 1,000-1,200 students in previous years. Focused on “Finish, Enrich, and Engage,” the expanded summer school offered 12 weeks of programming that allowed for credit accumulation and unfinished learning. Students engaged in problem-based learning units in the morning with engagement activities like clubs and sports in the afternoon. This inclusive programming, which included students with disabilities and multilingual learners, will continue in summer 2022.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education is using ARP ESSER funds to implement evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs and to expand afterschool programming through partnerships with community organizations. They provide for social, emotional, and academic support and access to technology. This initial investment of $6 million provided services through 28 organizations, at 140 sites, serving an average 11,000 students a month through the summer of 2021.
The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has established the Arkansas Tutoring Corps using ARP ESSER funding. The Arkansas Tutoring Corps program includes recruitment, preparation, and support for candidates to become qualified tutors to provide instruction or intervention to meet the academic needs of students most impacted by lost instructional time. A system connects prepared candidates with organizations seeking to support students’ academic needs. The program is already enhancing learning experiences of students due to loss of instructional time and addressing gaps in foundational skills in mathematics and literacy.
Meeting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs Districts and states must use a portion of ARP ESSER funds for evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ social, and emotional needs – such as the ability to collaborate with others or persist through difficult challenges – and to support students’ mental health. Districts must specifically address the impact of the pandemic on groups of students that were disproportionately impacted.
Hiring Counselors and Increasing Supports:
The Kansas Department of Education has developed a Grow Your Own Counselor model with ARP ESSER funding that encourages districts to identify candidates and employ them as student services coordinators while they develop their skills in an approved school counseling graduate program.
The Nevada Department of Education has allocated $7.5 million to support districts in hiring 100 additional school based mental health professionals. Using ARP ESSER funding, the state is spending $1.7 million to hire a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support coach for every district.
Plymouth-Canton Community Schools in Michigan hired three full-time high school counseling staff to decrease counselor caseloads with ARP ESSER funding. Counselors are now able to dedicate more time to individual student meetings, attend meetings with assistant principals and deans to review academic progress and other needs of students, and develop a wellness center at each campus.
The New York City Department of Education announced an investment of $10 million to expand the district’s research-based community schools initiative from 266 to 406 sites citywide using ARP ESSER funding. These schools provide integrated student support services to students and the surrounding community, such as mental health care, adult education courses, community violence intervention programs, and nutrition support.
Strengthening the Educator Workforce The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s educators as well as its students. States and districts should support and stabilize the educator workforce and make staffing decisions that will help address students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs.
The Tennessee Department of Education has created a “Grow Your Own” grant with federal funding, including ARP ESSER, that is designed to foster partnerships between educator preparation programs (EPPs) and districts to provide promising and innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers. The program is currently comprised of 65 partnerships between 14 EPPs and 63 districts across the state – enabling over 650 future educators to become a Tennessee teacher for free. $6.5 million has been allocated to this program thus far. Tennessee also pioneered a pathway with the U.S. Department of Labor by establishing the nation’s first registered apprenticeship program for teachers, which will help sustain the state’s Grow Your Own programs and partnerships leveraging federal apprenticeship funding.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The White House issued a fact sheet explaining how President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan will support children, teachers and working families in rural America:
President Biden knows a strong middle-class is the backbone of America and that rural and tribal communities are essential to the economic growth of our country. Rural communities require targeted investments that meet the needs of their children and families, along with workforce development for those providing childcare and education. The American Families Plan represents a generation-defining investment in rural America, and a commitment to grow the middle-class and expand the benefits of economic growth to all Americans. All told, by extending and building upon the provisions of the American Rescue Plan, the American Families Plan would cut the rural poverty rate by more than 21 percent and the rural child poverty rate by 50 percent, relative to the projected poverty rate for 2022.
UNIVERSAL PRE-SCHOOL FOR 3- AND 4-YEAR OLDS
Low population density, physical isolation, and broad spatial distribution make access to preschool more challenging for low-income families in rural areas. President Biden’s American Families Plan will:
Provide free universal pre-school 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 settings that work 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 invest 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 and benefits similar to elementary school teachers.
FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND OTHER POSTSECONDARY INVESTMENTS
There are approximately 250 rural community colleges across the U.S., with an even greater number of community colleges that serve a primarily rural student population. Colleges and universities are important anchor institutions in rural communities, providing jobs to residents, attracting businesses, and boosting local economies.
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:
Provide two years of free community college so that first-time students and workers wanting to reskill can enroll in a community college without paying tuition and fees.
Increase the maximum Pell Grant award by approximately $1,400 to provide additional assistance to low-income students and also allow DREAMers to access the grant.
Provide grants to increase college retention and completion, allowing states, territories, and Tribes to support the adoption and expansion of evidence-based practices and promising solutions that help students complete their degrees.
Increase funding to support 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), and the students they serve. This will provide two years of subsidized tuition, as well as funding to support institutional development and the strengthening of the health care workforce, which will benefit rural areas where the need for physicians, nurses, and other providers continues to limit access to care.
Education and Preparation for Teachers
More than 9 million students—nearly one in five students—attend a rural school in the U.S. But these schools face challenges in hiring and retaining teachers, particularly in special education and specialized instruction.
President Biden’s American Families 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 and expand it to early childhood educators. The President’s plan would also invest $3.2 billion to cultivate and recruit teachers from the communities that schools serve, provide year-long, paid residency programs, and invest in teacher preparation 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. President Biden is calling on Congress to create a new fund 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 fund will support over 100,000 educators, with priority for public school teachers with at least two years of experience at schools with a significant number of low-income students or significant teacher shortages.
Invest in educator leadership. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $2 billion in programs that leverage teachers as leaders to multiply their impact within their school, such as high-quality mentoring programs that leverage current teachers as mentors for new teachers, which improve student outcomes and increase teacher retention rates while keeping great teachers in the classroom.
Lack of access to affordable, high-quality child care is making it hard for parents to work and provide for their families. Many rural families have to go without care, and without sufficient demand, it can be challenging for centers to afford to operate. Over half of rural families live in a child care desert, meaning there are few or no child care options. In particular, rural families disproportionately lack access to child care centers serving infants and toddlers.
The American Families Plan builds on investments in President Biden’s American Jobs Plan and will further expand access to high-quality child care in rural areas.
President Biden’s American Families Plan will:
Make child care more affordable. Families will pay only a portion of their income on child care 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 up to 1.5 times their state median income will spend no more than 7% of their income on child care for young children.
Ensure this child care is high quality. The American Families plan will ensure child care providers, including centers and home-based providers, receive funding to provide the true cost of quality early childhood education—including a developmentally appropriate curriculum, small class sizes, and culturally and linguistically responsive environments that are inclusive of children with disabilities.
Invest in the care workforce across rural America. Early childhood educators are among the most underpaid workers in the country and nearly half rely on 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. The American Families Plan will ensure a $15 minimum wage for early childhood educators. Those with comparable qualifications to elementary school teachers will receive comparable compensation and benefits. And, the American Families Plan will ensure educators receive job-embedded coaching and professional development, along with additional training opportunities.
Paid family and medical leave supports workers and families and is a critical investment in the strength and equity of our economy. However, many rural workers lack access to paid family and medical leave programs, particularly low-wage workers. According to one nation-wide survey, over fifty percent of non-metro (including rural) workers said they would very likely face hardship if they had to take a few months of unpaid time off work, compared to 40 percent of metro area workers. Furthermore, many small rural businesses struggle to compete for and retain talent compared to urban areas. These businesses often cannot afford to provide workplace supports like paid family and medical leave. Rural areas are also more likely to have older populations, increasing the need for both medical and caregiving leave. One study found that California’s paid leave program accounted for an 11-percent relative decline in elderly nursing home usage, saving costs for both the state and families.
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.
With higher child poverty rates and longer distances to grocery stores, accessing nutritious food can be challenging for families in rural areas. Eighty-six percent of counties with high child food insecurity are rural, and children in rural areas are 25 percent more likely to be obese than those in urban areas. To foster positive long-term health outcomes through nutrition security, 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 leads 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 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. This will especially help rural schools, which often have limited administrative capacity for food purchasing and accounting.
Launch a healthy foods incentive demonstration to further improve the nutrition standards of school meals and support the development of healthy lifestyles throughout the school environment.
Tax Cuts for America’s Families and Workers
While the American Rescue Plan provided meaningful relief to hundreds of millions of Americans, that was 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 those changes, more than three in four uninsured people living in rural areas are now eligible for low-cost health care, and more than four in five current HealthCare.gov enrollees in rural counties are eligible for low-cost health care. The American Families Plan will make a $200 billion investment to make those premium reductions permanent. 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. Rural child poverty rates are higher than the national average, and more than 200 rural counties qualify as “persistent-poverty counties,” meaning they have experienced poverty rates of 20 percent or higher for at least 30 years. The President is calling for extending the Child Tax Credit expansion first enacted in the American Rescue Plan, which increases the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for 6-year-olds and above and $3,600 per child for children under 6. It also makes 17-year-olds eligible for the first time and makes the credit fully refundable, meaning that the nearly half of low-income rural families that historically did not qualify for the full credit because they earned too little, can now receive the same credit as middle-income families. If extended, this would be the single largest contributor to this plan’s historic impact of lifting a projected 620,000 children in non-metro areas out of poverty in 2022 and cutting rural child poverty in half.
Permanently increase tax credits to support families with child care needs. To help even more families, President Biden is calling on Congress to make permanent the temporary expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) 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. Making the American Rescue Plan expansion of CDCTC permanent will also ensure the credit will continue to be fully refundable, making it 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.
Make the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansion for childless workers permanent. President Biden believes our tax code should reward work and not wealth. And that means rewarding people 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 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 credit to more than $1,100, EITC expansion helps pull such workers out of poverty. The President is calling on Congress to make this expansion permanent. All told, the expansion will directly benefit more than one in five rural workers without children.
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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.
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 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 comprehensivepaid 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.
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.
To view this fact sheet in your browser, click here.
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 12, April 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 families, this 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.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. Mayor Pete Buttigieg released hisplan 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 centeraround 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
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
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
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 moresegregated 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 Black, Latinx, Native 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
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 eliminatingentirely. 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
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
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
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.
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
workers, I 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
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
Combating the Privatization and Corruption of Our Public
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, primarilystudents 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.Certainstates 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 enrollment, suspension, and expulsionpractices 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 servefor-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
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:Severalinvestigations 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
New York State Governor
Andrew Cuomo has said he won’t sign the state budget unless it makes permanent
the property tax cap.
“The highest tax in the state
is the property tax and it is a killer,” Governor Cuomo said.”We want to reduce economic
pressure on families by making sure government is not aggravating the problem
with increased expenses. We’re going to cut your state income tax and
we’re going to cap your property taxes so you know it’s not going higher than 2
percent. And I will tell you this as sure as I am before you today: if we do
not have the permanent property tax cap in that state budget, this hand will
never sign that state budget until it’s in there.”
From the very
beginning, I have objected to this trampling off local control with an
arbitrary and unreasonable constraint designed to hamstring and ultimately
destroy local governments. Cuomo’s original intent was to force school
districts and other local governments to cannibalize their reserve funds; the
second was to force consolidation and dissolution of local governments and the
third was to use local taxes as the bogeyman, so politicians could appear to be
on the side of taxpayers.
Of course the
property tax is the largest state tax and of course school taxes are the
largest component. Something has to be “largest”. What should be? But local
property taxes are spent where they are used, and local people have the
greatest ability to participate in spending decisions. In fact, school and
library taxes are the only taxes we taxpayers directly vote.
What the property
tax cap does, though, is remove local control. Communities should have the
right to decide if they want to improve their schools or parks. The property
tax cap which basically keeps the annual increase to 2% or the rate of
inflation whichever is less says: we
don’t want any growth or improvement or new investment in your community. We
want the status quo, and if that means deterioration, so be it. (Little known
fact: the property tax cap incentivizes bonding because the debt service isn’t
counted toward the cap.)
Somehow, and fairly
ingeniously I think, the Great Neck Public School district has managed to
continue to be among the best in the country and still average only 1.8 percent
increase in the tax levy since the property tax cap was implemented in 2012,
despite increasing enrollments and unfunded state mandates. This year, though,
through the complicated formula, the school district could have raised taxes by
4.09 percent and still fall within the cap, is only seeking 1.94 percent
I resent the
property tax cap by which the Governor and state legislators can declare
themselves champions of reducing or controlling taxes.
But here’s the
thing: New York State’s property taxes are not the highest in the nation; Nassau
County’s taxes are not the highest; and both of these do not take into account
that Long Island and New York’s incomes and our housing values are higher.
According to a survey by Wallethub, a financial services company, New York State ranks 8th (not first) in property taxes. New York ranks 43rd in its real estate tax rate, at 1.68 percent. You know which states are higher? Nebraska (1.80), Texas (1.83), Vermont (1.83), Wisconsin (1.94), Connecticut (2.07), New Hampshire (2.20), Illinois (2.31), and New Jersey (2.44) (See the study: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-property-taxes/11585/)
Even so, do you
want to be Alabama, which is #2 on the list for lowest taxes, where the median
home value is $132,000 and the tax is $558 (0.42%), or Louisiana, #3, where the
median home value is $152,900 and median tax is $795 (0.52%)? Louisiana ranks
51st in health care, Alabama is 48th. New York is 17th
(fourth most physicians per capita)
USA Today ranks New
York’s public education 9th noting, “Between 2003 and 2015, the
achievement gap between eighth graders living in poverty and their wealthier
peers narrowed by the largest amount of all states…Annual public school
funding totals $18,665 per pupil in New York, the third highest expenditure of
all states.” (Top three are Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont). Alabama
ranks 43rd (14th lowest in public school spending at
$10,142). Louisiana is 46th, Mississippi is 48th.
Yes, total taxes
are high: New Yorkers spend 17.07 percent of income on taxes, second highest after
Connecticut (17.65 percent). But New York State is spending billions on a
21st century infrastructure and racing toward 50:50 clean energy by
2030. This is where I want to live. So do 20 million others, a number that is
increasing, even as unemployment rates are at the lowest ever and the number of
jobs is at an all-time high.
We pay a lot in
taxes because our incomes are higher and our housing values are higher, what is
more, we get more for our money, making for a higher quality of life.
The states that
don’t charge an appropriate amount of state and local taxes – that is related
to the cost of providing services and public investment – depend on federal
handouts. New York is one of 11 states that send more money to the federal
government than it gets back, in fact the #1 donor state, sending $36-$48
billion more to the federal government than it gets back. Alabama is 4th
“most federally dependent state”; Louisiana is 10th.
New York sends the
second highest amount in federal taxes, $133 billion (California sends $227
billion), and is fourth in the average amount of federal taxes per adult
($8,490), behind Connecticut $10,279), Massachusetts ($9,445), and New Jersey
(Here’s an idea: New York should do
what tenants do in a landlord dispute and put that $36 billion into escrow
until the SALT deductibility issue is fixed.)
But we shouldn’t be
punishing our localities because of the criminality of Republicans to use the tax
code as political weapon – according to State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli, the
SALT deduction cap has driven down tax receipts by $2.3 billion, as wealthiest
New Yorkers choose other places for primary residency.
But the tax cap is also a
larger objective is to eliminate local municipalities entirely – to force villages
to consolidate into towns, towns into counties, school districts into larger
school districts. But the fallacy in that is all that it saves is a few
administrative positions. Villages and school districts already have
cooperative purchasing, mutual aid; school districts even cooperate on
transportation where feasible. Our school district spends 4 percent of its
budget on administration, the lion’s share, 75 percent, on instruction (12
percent on building, grounds & capital projects, 6 percent on
transportation). (To see where your schools spend every penny, come to Great
Neck South High School this Saturday at 9:30 am for the line-by-line budget
The state boasts that since
implementation the tax cap has “saved” taxpayers $24.4
billion statewide – that works out to $1000 per capita, divided by 7 years, or
$142 a year. I’m not sure that’s worth giving up local control.
But just as Cuomo
and the Congressmembers decry Trump’s disparity in federal spending for blue
states versus red states and the attack on state control over its ability to
raise revenue and spend, it is the same thing with local spending: there is
gigantic disparity in the level of state
aid to school districts, with the result that New York City only has to raise
50 percent of its school budget from property taxes, while Great Neck, which
gets just 4 percent from the state, has to raise 95 percent through property
taxes. Here’s another measure: Roosevelt, with 3270 enrolled students, gets $53
million in state aid; Great Neck, with 6399 enrolled students, gets $10 million
– the difference made up from property taxes. That’s just the way it is.
What the property
tax cap means is that virtually all Great Neck’s school spending is governed by
the cap; other districts have much less that is controlled by the tax cap.
for determining if our elected representatives are properly handling our tax
appropriations is on the community, not an arbitrarily selected cap enshrined
We see what our
school taxes (and park and library and sewer district) pay for and I don’t want
the state – or some politician looking to score points – deciding we can’t have
low class size or a robotics club or a fencing team or an opera performance
(Great Neck South High marks its 50th anniversary full-scale opera
production, April 12). This community has decided these things are just as
important to our district’s mission of helping every child fulfill their full
potential as cramming the latest incarnation of ELA and math or operating
school buildings as if they were prisons. Our mission has been to instill a
love of life-long learning. And the investment this community has made in
public education has brought solid ROI day after day.
There is much to cheer in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address, one of which he delivered at SUNY Farmingdale on Long Island. His agenda for infrastructure, mass transportation improvements, water quality, affirming women’s reproductive rights, support for immigrants and refugees, free tuition at public colleges for those who qualify, and how he couples the need for aggressive climate action with vigorous sustainable economic development, giving his blessing leading to LIPA’s landmark decision for a 90 megawatt off-shore windfarm to supply the East End, the first utility-scale project in America and making Long Island a leader in a new American industry, put Cuomo in line another New York Governor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which FDR brought to the White House as the New Deal (and it is clear Cuomo is jockeying for an eventual run for president).
The one jeer? His renewed assault on local control, which he casts as the culprit for unceasingly high property taxes, which is a not-really-veiled attack on public education.
Each year, Cuomo has used a different mechanism to make the property tax cap – which limits the amount a municipality can raise through property taxes to 2% or the CPI, whichever is less – an offer that can’t be refused. This year, Cuomo has unveiled a “groundbreaking” proposal which mandates the county executive “to develop localized plans that find real, recurring property tax savings by coordinating and eliminating duplicative services and proposing coordinated services to enhance purchasing power, such as jointly purchasing and coordinating use of expensive transportation or emergency equipment. Taxpayers will then vote on these cost-saving plans in a referendum in the November 2017 general election.” If the referendum fails, well then, the plan would need to be reworked and resubmitted in November 2018. (Notably, New York City is exempted.)
But the argument begins with a flawed argument that we spend 2.5 times on property taxes than state income taxes. Doesn’t that spending differential reflect how much we pay for the services we actually receive locally? Plowing snow. Repairing roads. Treating sewage. Picking up garbage. Delivering water. Maintaining police, fire and emergency services. Keeping street lights on. And yes, public education.
Though people like to charge that Long Island pays the highest property taxes in the country, that isn’t true. Nor do New Yorkers pay the highest taxes in the nation, When all taxes are tallied –real estate, income, sales taxes and fees, New York comes in 6th (behind Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Connecticut and Rhode Island). Nor are the taxes out of line to the incomes earned and home values. But most importantly, for the quality of municipal services including public schools, we want in our community.
Question for Cuomo: before you forcibly consolidate local governments, how much money would be saved by the exercise and how would consolidation actually work? North Hempstead already promotes intermunicipal cooperation; the school districts already participate in joint purchasing and shared services (BOCES) wherever practicable. Indeed, Great Neck public schools now earn a tidy sum in revenue from other districts for tuition paid into programs such as SEAL (rather than paying out $1 million in tuition). If there is waste and duplication, voters can show their ire at the ballot box or make their better-government suggestions known at public meetings.
But the real target of Cuomo’s assault on local governments and property taxes is public education, since 60-65% of the property tax bill goes to fund schools.
Talk about wasteful duplication. If he were so concerned, Cuomo wouldn’t be pushing for a second tier public school system – for-profit charter schools – without the same financial or academic accountability or subject to the same state mandates, to divert money from public schools.
Indeed, Long Islanders wouldn’t pay so much in property taxes if we weren’t so shortchanged in state aid for our public schools – though Long Island has 17% of NY’s student population, we only receive 12% of state aid. It is a lot more obvious when you compare the percentage of school budgets funded by state aid: New York City, where property taxes are low and just about everybody gets some sort of tax holiday, gets 50% of its school budget paid by the state; in comparison less than 5% of Great Neck’s school budget comes from the state. Also, new enterprises, like Avalon Bay residential development, are getting a PILOT by Nassau County’s IDA, reducing the taxes they contribute to the school district as well as Village of Great Neck; the difference is made up by homeowners.
Governor Cuomo has made property taxes, and particularly school taxes, the enemy, falsely claiming that the taxes inhibit growth. But the services that are funded through property taxes contribute to economic growth and activity (an educated workforce, lighted roadways) as well as quality of life.
“Economic theory expects people to consider taxes when deciding where to live, but most studies show taxes only tangentially influence these decisions,” explains Stephanie Hunter McMahon, professor of law at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, in a WalletHub report. “Taxes are, therefore, more influential for what they do or do not provide rather than the rate itself…these taxes are really payments for the goods and services state and local governments provide to the taxpayer and other members of the community.”