What Does Alaska Need From The American Families Plan?
During the joint address to congress in mid April, President Biden announced his American Families Plan. It’s a 1.9 trillion dollar plan, including many things targeted directly at families like increasing the child tax credit and free two year community college.
The Biden Administration released a fact sheet laying out what the greatest needs for families in each state. We are going to start with the state of Alaska.
Starting with higher education, the average cost of two year community college in Alaska is 4,300 dollars a year. The Biden Administration says this is one of the reasons why 60% of Americans have not received a college degree.
The Biden Administration believes the best way to start a child’s journey to higher education and successful schooling starts in pre-school. In the state of Alaska, only 5,200 children ages 3–4 years old have enrolled in pre-school out of the 20,900 children that qualify in Alaska.
Another part of the American Families Plan is investing in teachers. The Biden Administration says even before the pandemic the nation was 100,000 teachers short, causing many teachers to teach in a different subject area. The state of Alaska has had a 19% decline in new teachers.
Another portion is childcare. The average Alaska resident pays over 11,300 dollars in childcare for their toddlers. This equals about 11% of the total income from a family with two parents. Due to the cost of child care in Alaska, 20% of women have had to quit their jobs to take care of their children. In addition to this, 61% percent of Alaska residents don’t have enough options to get their child daycare during the day.
The American Families Plan includes requiring paid leave for family and medical. The fact sheet says that there are a total of 110 million people in the United States who go without paid family leave, and about 84 million go without paid medical leave. The Biden Administration says having no paid leave increases the separation of opportunity and wealth between gender and people of color. They also say that having paid leave improves the health of children.
Another portion of the American Families Plan is child nutrition. According to the fact sheet, 13% of children in Alaska don’t have food security. Along with this, 29% of Alaska children are obese. The American Families Plan would provide 34,000 children in Alaska with free lunch in schools and provide funding for 59,000 children to purchase food over the summer.
There are 18,000 unsecured residents in Alaska. Under the American Families Plan it would provide health insurance for them, and roughly 14,000 Alaska residents will save hundreds of dollars a year in healthcare. On average, Alaska residents will save 50 dollars a year per person on health insurance.
The final part of the American Families Plan is tax cuts for families. To find out about more of the specifics for what is in the bill, listen to this episode of Blind Boys Politics.