The American Families Plan is a Big Step Forward on Educational Equity
Statement from Denise Forte, interim CEO of The Education Trust, on the American Families Plan:
WASHINGTON (April 28, 2021) – “We are pleased that President Biden’s American Families Plan offers new opportunities for children, students, and families to participate in the recovering economy with important investments in early childhood education, higher education, school nutrition, and educator preparation systems. We view these proposals as a critical step forward in advancing educational equity for students from low-income backgrounds and communities of color.
“The proposed investments will provide greater access to affordable, high-quality childcare and pre-K for three- and four-year-olds that would pay dividends for future generations, and directly address the massive disparities in access to high-quality early childhood education for Black and Latino children. These improvements to early childhood education, combined with the improvements proposed to the existing child tax credits, would help millions of families meet their monthly childcare needs.
“We are also encouraged by the new federal-state partnership to expand affordable access for students at community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) via free tuition and tuition subsidies. This new partnership, combined with dedicated funding for student supports that boost college completion and a meaningful increase in the maximum Pell Grant, would be a significant step toward improving access and reducing economic disparities in higher education. We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen the partnership by including students attending public four-year institutions, alongside additional investments to double Pell, in the coming months.
“Additionally, we are pleased to see proposed investments to expand access to school meals during the academic year and summer months, which could result in millions more students receiving nutritious meals, which research shows can improve health and academic performance.
“We are also very supportive of increased investments designed to diversify and strengthen our nation’s educator workforce. All students benefit from having a teacher of color, and investments designed to remove financial barriers and build a diverse pipeline of new teachers will help address the current landscape where only 1 in 5 classroom educators are people of color even though students of color comprise the majority in most classrooms today.
“Taken together, the American Families Plan will ensure more children, students and families will be able to access a more equitable education system and give them the supports they need to help move past the economic and health challenges experienced over the last year. Congress should act swiftly to build on these transformative proposals and enact them in forthcoming legislation.”