Build Back Better Act is a Major Step Forward for Education Equity
Substantial Investments Would Expand Education Access, But More Can Be Done
Statement from Denise Forte, interim CEO of The Education Trust on the Build Back Better Act:
WASHINGTON (September 10, 2021) – “The Build Back Better Act contains substantial investments in early childhood education, higher education school nutrition, and educator preparation systems, the entirety of which represent a step in the right direction towards improving the quality of education for all students in this country. The Education Trust supports these investments, and we commend the House Education and Labor Committee for including them. We urge swift passage of the entire budget reconciliation bill by the full House, even as we urge the Senate to improve upon the House bill in key areas.
“We enthusiastically support the bill’s provisions making students with DACA and TPS protections eligible for federal student aid and the investments in HCBUs, MSIs, TCUs and their students. However, if students of color and from low-income communities are going to succeed at the same rate as their peers, additional investments in college completion and college affordability are necessary, including strengthening positive proposals like supporting evidence-based efforts to increase college completion, and the federal-state partnership to provide free community college tuition. Similarly, the bill falls short by not making critical investments in the Pell Grant, which continues to lose purchasing power. We need to increase the Pell Grant this year by more than has been proposed.
“Beyond higher education, the Build Back Better Act provides greater access to affordable, high-quality childcare and pre-K, invests in strengthening and diversifying the educator workforce, and provides essential support for student nutrition during the summer and throughout the school year — all necessary pillars to offering educational equity for all students.
“Investments in this bill will ensure millions of children, students and families get the opportunities and supports they need to emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. As the bill moves forward, we encourage the House and the Senate to ensure that the Build Back Better Act is the driver for a more equitable education system and a stronger social safety net and look forward to working with Congress and other stakeholders to make that a reality.”