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Action Alert: Congress Begins Work on Build Back Better Act

President Biden standing at a podium reading "Build Back Better" with a "Build Back Better" backdrop behind him

On Thursday, the House Education and Labor Committee considered education-related provisions of the Build Back Better Act, a bill that reflects much of President Biden’s American Families Plan.

The legislation would dedicate approximately $450 billion to early learning through universal pre-kindergarten and childcare, and target roughly $111 billion toward higher education to establish two years of free community college, increase the Pell grant award by $500 annually, and provide targeted investments to Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).

Within the proposal are targeted investments in grant programs to help train new educators and address the growing educator shortage, including:

  • $297 million for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part D Section
  • 662 personnel preparation program
  • $197 million to support grow your own programs
  • $198 million each targeted to teaching residency programs, school leadership programs, and the Hawkins Centers of Excellence grant program to diversify the workforce through teacher preparation programs at HBCUs and MSIs.

During Committee consideration, Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) lauded the legislation as a historic investment for children and workers, while Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) heavily criticized the measure due in large part to its price tag, calling it a “socialist handout” and a “reckless monstrosity.” After a lengthy markup in the Education and Labor Committee that spanned two days and largely consisted of Republican amendments to eliminate or limit provisions, the bill is expected to advance on a party line vote on Friday evening largely unchanged.

Over the next week, House Committees will continue to consider their portions of the Build Back Better Act. The Senate could begin consideration of the measure next week.

Action Alert!

Our community, members, and partners have worked tirelessly over the last month to ensure that educator provisions are included in this legislation.

While the House bill falls short of the American Families Plan—which would dedicate a total of $9 billion to the educator pipeline—CEC is pleased to see some funding targeted to addressing educator shortages, and it shows that our message is being heard! However, there is still much work to be done before the bill process is over.

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Posted:  10 September, 2021

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