On Thursday, March 11, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion package in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Below, please find a statement from America Forward about the impact of the bill and what comes next.
“The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 delivers urgently needed support to communities across the country, and sets the stage for a more equitable, inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The final legislation signed today by President Biden reflects a number of priorities championed by America Forward throughout the negotiation process. Of the more than $122 billion allocated for K-12 schools, both Congress and the President have ensured that a significant percentage will be directed to evidence-based, whole-learner approaches that address the academic, social, and emotional impact of the pandemic on students. In addition, the legislation includes billions to support postsecondary students and institutions of higher education, strengthens child care providers, provides an additional $1 billion to expand national service programs, and devotes $100 million to the Institute of Educational Sciences specifically for research related to addressing student learning loss as a result of the pandemic, all of which will be essential to a robust, sustainable recovery.
The legislation also addresses structural inequities that have been worsened by COVID-19. In addition to extended unemployment benefits and critical food assistance for families, a dramatic expansion of the federal child tax credit will significantly reduce child poverty and help break persistent cycles of trauma that, today, impede the ability to learn for millions of children.
Now, our attention turns to implementation. We must ensure that the resources promised by this legislation reach our communities and are utilized effectively to meet the needs of those most impacted. America Forward and the 120+ organizations that make up the America Forward Coalition have been working to support communities across the country since the start of the pandemic, and we stand ready to work alongside the federal government, state and local education agencies, and community partners to identify and expand best practices, effectively target funding, and ensure that this legislation leads to more equitable, positive outcomes for all students, educators, workers, and families.”
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