Biden’s Education Spending Spree Ignores Choice
The Biden administration has big, expensive plans for education, including not just oceans of new federal money, but expanded commitments to play a leading role in education from pre-K through college:
Should Biden’s entire agenda become law, the U.S. educational system could morph from a 13-year guarantee — where children are entitled to free education from kindergarten through 12th grade — to a 17-year promise, where prekindergarten is available starting at age 3 and tuition is free through two years of community college.
Because nothing says “we care” like a new entitlement program. And a costly one, too, including:
…a discretionary budget proposal that seeks a 41 percent increase in the Education Department pre-pandemic budget, far more than any presidential request since the agency was created in 1979. It includes additional money for community schools, students with disabilities and school counselors. Biden also signaled that he would request a big increase in the Pell Grant, which subsidizes college tuition for low-income students, when he makes his full budget request.
A $200 billion pre-K plan, along with tuition-free community college and $225 billion for child care, is expected this month as part of a package the White House calls the American Families Plan.
There’s nothing “free” about any of these programs – they will have to be paid for, either through new taxes, more borrowing, cuts elsewhere (which rarely happens), or some combination.
More importantly, public education, which will be the beneficiary of Mr. Biden’s largesse, if it occurs, showed major weaknesses during the pandemic. Remote learning was uneven, its quality questionable, and the school closures? They persisted in some states despite the science generally supporting school reopening (with sensible precautions), in part because of union opposition.
There is much wrong and broken in America’s public education system. Throwing unprecedented sums of money at it won’t fix those problems. More alternatives – more choices – for parents and kids to get an education are a key ingredient the Biden approach entirely, and intentionally, ignores.