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 the greatest needs for families in each state. Today we are going to talk about the state of Tennessee.
Starting with higher education, the average cost of two year community college in Tennessee is 4,600 dollars per year. The Biden Administration says this is one of the reasons why 60% of students in the state 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 preschool. In the state of Tennessee, only 40,900 children ages 3–4 years old have enrolled in pre-school out of the 166,000 children that qualify. That is 25%.
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 Tennessee has had a 35% decline in new teachers.
Another portion is childcare. The average Tennessee resident pays over 10,000 dollars in childcare for their toddlers. This equals about 12% of the total income from a family with two parents. Due to the cost of child care in Tennessee, 21% of women have had to quit their jobs to take care of their children. In addition to this, 48% of Tennessee residents don’t have an adequate number of options to get their child daycare during the day.
The American Families Plan includes requiring paid leave for family and medical reasons. 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, 16% of children in Tennessee live without food security. Along with this, 36% of children in the state are obese. The American Families Plan would provide 117,000 children in Tennessee with free lunch in schools and provide funding for 616,000 children to purchase food over the summer.
There are 143,000 uninsured residents in Tennessee. The American Families Plan would provide health insurance for them, and roughly 134,900 residents will save hundreds of dollars per year in healthcare. On average, Tennessee 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.