Kids in universal pre-K are more likely to attend college and graduate high school, study finds

Connecticut pre-k school coronavirus
  • A new study finds that children who attended universal pre-K were more likely to attend college.
  • Universal pre-K also seems to have positive behavioral impacts on attendees across race and income.
  • President Biden wants to establish universal pre-K and more affordable childcare in his new package.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden wants to establish universal pre-K as part of his infrastructure package, proposing a $200 billion investment. The White House estimates the program could benefit 5 million children, and save the average family $13,000.

But it could have a bigger impact: A new study finds that kids who attended universal pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.

The study, conducted by researchers from University of Chicago, MIT, and UC Berkeley, looked at 4,000 public preschool applicants in Boston; they compared the outcomes of students randomly selected by lottery for the program versus those whose numbers were not called.

Attending that universal pre-K did not have a “detectable” impact on standardized test scores. It did, however, have notable impacts elsewhere: The students that enrolled in preschool were 6% more likely to graduate from high school. They were also likely to enroll in the SAT, and to enroll in college.

In the short term, too, students fared better behaviorally: The likelihood of juvenile incarceration went down, along with the total number of high-school suspensions. Benefits were widespread. Students across races and incomes felt benefits similarly, with boys seeing a slightly impact.

“Notwithstanding the gender difference, this study suggests that all students – regardless of race or income – are likely to benefit from a universal preschool program,” the researchers wrote in a brief.

Universal pre-K and affordable childcare could also have a big impact on parents

The American Families Plan contains several childcare-centered provisions, with universal pre-K as one of its planks. Biden has also proposed $225 billion in funding for affordable childcare. An analysis from the National Women’s Law Center and Columbia University found that access to affordable childcare doesn’t just benefit children; it could boost lifetime earnings for women with two children by $94,000.

Additionally, access to universal childcare options would also boost the number of women – especially mothers – in the workforce, an issue that’s come into stark relief with the surprisingly dismal April jobs report.

According to the NWLC and Columbia, expanding childcare access could increase the number of women with young children working full-time by 17%.

Biden has proposed increasing income tax rates for the wealthiest Americans and upping capital gains rate – along with closing some potential loopholes and cracking down on tax enforcement – to offset the costs of his childcare proposals.

“We can take … this money and pay for universal pre-K for every three- and four-year-old in America,” Biden said in remarks on the American Families Plan. He added that it’s a choice:

“[Is it] more important to shield millionaires from paying their fair share? Or is it more important that every child gets a real opportunity to succeed from an early age and ease the burden on working families?”

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Most voters support Biden’s American Families Plan, poll finds

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Speaker of the House U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (R) look on in the House chamber of the Capitol.

  • A Morning Consult/Politico poll found 58% of voters support Biden’s American Families Plan.
  • Individual provisions within the plan, such as universal pre-K, are even more popular.
  • Republican lawmakers oppose the scope and price of the plan, calling it a “$4.1 trillion grab bag.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

While Republican lawmakers have strongly opposed President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan, citing concerns with its $1.8 trillion price tag and corporate tax hikes, a new poll found the majority of voters, including Republicans, support it.

A Morning Consult/Politico poll released on Wednesday found that 58% of all voters support the president’s plan, with 86% of Democrats, 54% of Independents, and 25% of Republicans backing it. Meanwhile, individual provisions within the plan were found to have more support than the overall package, with 64% of voters supporting ensuring low- and middle-class families pay no more than 7% of their income on childcare.

“The poll, conducted in the days after Biden’s address to Congress unveiling the plan, shows that most of the individual provisions in the package are more popular among voters than the plan overall – something to keep in mind as Biden reportedly considers splitting his proposal into multiple parts to reach a bipartisan compromise,” the poll said.

Here are other main findings from the poll:

  • 63% of voters support universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds;
  • 59% of voters support two years of free community college;
  • 59% of voters support a $15-per-hour minimum wage for childcare workers;
  • 57% of voters support extending the expanded child tax credit;
  • And 56% of voters support two years of subsidized tuition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and minority serving institutions.

Biden has cited this kind of bipartisan voter support from polling in arguing for a new definition of bipartisanship that doesn’t necessarily include any Republican votes.

Before unveiling his plan, for instance, Biden said there’s no reason why infrastructure cannot be bipartisan, and The Washington Post reported in April that Biden’s definition of “bipartisanship” means support from Republican and Democratic voters – not necessarily Republican lawmaker. Indeed, while not a single Republican in Congress voted for Biden’s stimulus, several have touted elements of it. Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy promoted a restaurant aid program from the stimulus.

Democratic lawmakers have advocated for the individual provisions, such as extending the expanded child tax credit from Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus. Many members of the party want it to be permanent, instead of the four-year extension Biden proposed.

When it comes to the price of the plan, although the majority of voters support the spending, Democrats and Republicans disagree the topic. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a red line at $600 billion for infrastructure and jobs, which is less than a fifth of the $4 trillion in spending Biden proposed.

“I don’t think there will be any Republican support – none, zero – for the $4.1 trillion grab bag, which has infrastructure in it, but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s remarks followed a group of GOP senators unveiling a $568 billion counter-proposal, largely focused on physical infrastructure, which Democrats called “a slap in the face” and “a joke.”

Separately, Penn Wharton Budget Model released an analysis on Wednesday that found Biden’s American Families Plan will actually cost $700 billion more than the White House’s initial $1.8 trillion estimate, while also noting that strengthened Internal Revenue Service enforcement will help raise $1.3 trillion in tax revenue over 10 years.

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Mitch McConnell draws a red line at $600 billion for infrastructure and jobs – and says Trump tax cuts are off-limits

McConnell
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

  • McConnell said the GOP won’t cut a deal with Biden above $600 billion on a jobs package.
  • He said there would be “zero” Republican support for Biden’s $4 trillion pair of spending packages.
  • Biden has proposed two packages with trillions of spending on physical and social infrastructure.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell drew a $600 billion red line for an infrastructure and jobs plan on Monday, an amount less than a fifth of the $4 trillion in economic spending plans that President Joe Biden has unveiled.

“We’re open to doing a roughly $600 billion package, which deals with what all of us agree is infrastructure and to talk about how to pay for that in any way other than reopening the 2017 tax reform bill,” he said at a press conference at Louisville, Kentucky.

The Senate’s top Republican flatly rejected going above the $600 billion price tag, saying “if it’s going to be about infrastructure, let’s make it about infrastructure.”

“I don’t think there will be any Republican support – none, zero – for the $4.1 trillion grab-bag, which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said. He also ruled out adjusting President Donald Trump’s tax law, a measure Biden wants to roll back to pay for his plans.

“We’re not going to revisit the 2017 tax bill,” he said. “We’re happy to look for traditional infrastructure pay-fors, which means the users participate.”

McConnell’s comments underscore the wide bridge between Republicans and Democrats on their economic priorities. Their ability to cut a deal will depend whether they can agree on methods to finance a package as well as its overall scope. Democrats are calling for aggressive spending while Republicans insist on narrowing a package’s focus.

Biden has rolled out $4 trillion in a pair of economic plans to shore up physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, as well as manufacturing and broadband. His latest $1.8 trillion plan unveiled Wednesday would establish paid family and medical leave, universal Pre-K, tuition-free community college, and monthly cash payments for parents.

Biden has proposed lifting the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21% to cover part of the spending, a step that has strong backing among many Democrats.

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia unveiled a $568 billion infrastructure plan late last month. Much of that spending would directed towards areas Republicans strongly favor, such as roads and bridges, ports, waterways, and expanded broadband.

Capito and Biden spoke on Thursday in what she described as a “constructive and substantive call” on Twitter.

“We’re working with the White House, and I think it’s been very open-door, we’ve been very encouraged to keep moving forward, and that’s what we’re going to do,” she told Fox News on Sunday. Capito floated user-fees and repurposing unspent stimulus aid provided to state and local governments as a means of paying for the plan.

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If you’re a parent, here’s how Biden’s new plan will benefit you – from free pre-K to childcare

joe bien baby
President Joe Biden greets Ret. US Marine Cpl. William Kiernan, his wife Leah, and their daughter Madison Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, during a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • President Biden’s American Families Plan includes major investments in childcare.
  • Parents would see more affordable childcare, and childcare workers would get a wage boost.
  • The plan represents a ‘historic investment’ in childcare and parents, according to one expert.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Under President Joe Biden’s latest infrastructure proposal, American parents and workers could see more free and affordable childcare – and childcare workers would get a wage boost.

The American Families Plan would make a multibillion-dollar investment in childcare and universal pre-K, signaling a paradigm shift in federal policy for workers and parents. The package would make childcare more affordable (and lucrative, for its staffers), a move that comes after women have born the brunt of care and unemployment throughout the pandemic.

Melissa Boteach, the vice president for income security and child care/early learning at the National Women’s Law Center, told Insider that the plan would have a “transformative effect” on both children’s access to high-quality early learning, and mothers’ ability to enter, advance, or remain in the workforce.

“It really begins to recognize and value caregiving as a core part of our economy,” Boteach said. Here’s what that means for parents and childcare workers.

Free pre-K and affordable childcare – and increased benefits for childcare workers

The American Families Plan directs $200 billion to create free, universal pre-K, which the White House estimates could benefit 5 million children.

Beyond the pre-K program, the plan also also invests $225 billion in childcare funding. That will go toward making childcare more affordable and higher-quality – and free for some.

With that funding, America’s lowest-earning families wouldn’t pay anything for childcare. Costs would increase on a sliding scale; families who make 150% of their state’s median income would only pay up to 7% of that income on childcare. It’s language that’s very similar to the recently introduced Child Care for Working Families Act (CCWFA).

“It’s finally recognizing that childcare is a public good, one which – whether or not you have children who require childcare – it benefits all of us the same way that roads and bridges, and K-12 public education benefit all of us,” Boteach said. “And that’s a really important shift in mindset, because for a long time we’ve seen childcare as a personal responsibility for every family to navigate on their own.”

The minimum wage for the workers staffing those pre-K and childcare programs would increase to at least $15 an hour. Research from the NWLC finds that 95% of the childcare workforce is female; 20% of childcare workers are Latina, and 19% are Black. The childcare workforce also has a higher share of women with disabilities and women born outside of the country than the average workforce.

Childcare workers were also more likely to live in poverty than the broader workforce, and had difficulty affording their own childcare.

Boteach noted that there are proposals in Congress that would go further and spend more, such as the CCWFA. She said her organization is celebrating this $425 billion investment in the American Families Plan, and looking forward to working with Congress to secure more.

“This is a historic investment that is going to make childcare more affordable for families,” Boteach said. “It’s going to fairly compensate the early educators who do this critical work, and it’s going to increase the availability of childcare.”

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Biden advisors reportedly plan $3 trillion more spending on infrastructure, universal pre-K, climate-change initiatives

Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Joe Biden’s economic advisors are drafting a proposal to recommend $3 trillion more spending.
  • The New York Times reports the White House could split its colossal infrastructure plan in two.
  • The first part would focus on infrastructure and climate. The second may set up universal pre-K.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Instead of pushing a single colossal spending bill through Congress, President Joe Biden’s advisors are reportedly expected to present a proposal this week that includes $3 trillion in spending aimed at boosting the economy and fighting climate change through separate legislative pieces.

The New York Times first reported that Biden’s economic advisors plan to recommend as much as $3 trillion to narrow economic inequality, reduce carbon emissions, and improve American manufacturing, beginning with an infrastructure bill. They cited people familiar with the plan, along with documents outlining its provisions.

The documents said the proposed package would spend heavily on infrastructure improvements, with nearly $1 trillion in spending alone for roads, bridges, electric vehicles, and more.

The second plan would be people-focused and spend heavily on education and programs to increase the participation of women in the labor force, including free community college, universal pre-K education, and a national paid leave program. Those elements are targeted at encouraging people to reenter the workforce and strengthen the overall economic recovery.

Administration officials said that while details on funding for the package are not yet determined, it might be financed by tax increases on the wealthy. Biden has already indicated that he would include a federal tax hike on high earners in his next big economic package, which would be the first major federal tax hike in nearly three decades.

Insider’s Juliana Kaplan reported Monday that Biden is likely to look at tweaks to the current tax code, instead of a new tax targeting wealth.

But whether Republicans will support one big bill, or a series of legislative pieces, depends largely on funding, and Republican lawmakers have already indicated they will not support a tax hike on the rich.

“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last week. The Republican opposition to tax increases could prompt Democrats to bypass the GOP using reconciliation, the same tactic used to enact the $1.9 trillion stimulus law, but passing it more piecemeal could win bipartisan approval for certain aspects of the spending.

Groups of lawmakers from both parties have already met with Biden to discuss an upcoming infrastructure bill.

Democrats, like Rep. Peter DeFazio, the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, suggested using reconciliation in a CNBC interview to pass the next bill, but Rep. Sam Graves, ranking member of the House infrastructure panel, said in a statement that it “cannot be a ‘my way or the highway’ approach like last Congress.”

Moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said in an “Axios on HBO” interview that an infrastructure bill could be as large as $4 trillion if it’s funded by tax hikes but that he would not support reconciliation.

“I’m not going to do it through reconciliation,” Manchin said. “I am not going to get on a bill that cuts them [Republicans] out completely before we start trying.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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