On Wednesday, President Biden stated that he wants children to have a minimum of 14 years of education, but in the same speech said, “I want to guarantee the additional four years of public education for every person in America.” America’s public school system currently requires 12 years of education, which added to the four years Biden would guarantee makes 16, not 14.
Speaking in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Biden stated, “One of the reasons why we are a leading country in the world for so long and still on the edges is because we’re the first industrial nation in the world to allow 12 years of free education back at the turn of the 20th century, but everybody’s caught up. At the time they were debating what should be education in America? The argument was there should be 12 years of free education. And that’s what got us ahead. That’s what had us leap ahead of the rest of the world. But today everybody’s caught up. Does anybody think in the 21st century with changes taking place in technology and across the board that 12 years of education is enough to be able to live a middle-class life? I don’t think so.”
“And so the fact of the matter is I’ve decided we should have a minimum of 14 years of education,” Biden lectured. “I want to guarantee the additional four years of public education for every person in America … Starting with providing two years of universal high quality preschool for three and four year olds. … I want to add two years of free community college for everyone.”
Biden recalled, “I proposed to increase the maximum Pell grant, which if you’re below a certain income you qualify for a Pell grant from right about 6,500 a year to $8,000 a year. … My plan will reduce student debt for future teachers, double the size of annual federal scholarships for future teachers, will also support a hundred billion dollar in school infrastructure improvements, including community college … My plan will also provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for medical care.”
As far as adding two years of free education for preschoolers, an idea that was essentially tried by the famed Head Start program, the Cato Institute noted in 2010:
Created in 1965, the comprehensive preschool program for 3- and 4‐year olds and their parents is meant to narrow the education gap between low‐income students and their middle‐ and upper‐income peers. Forty‐five years and $166 billion later, it has been proven a failure. Instead of throwing more dollars at this proven failure, President Obama might consider throwing his weight behind proven successes.
The bad news came in the study released this month: It found that, by the end of the first grade, children who attended Head Start are essentially indistinguishable from a control group of students who didn’t. What’s so damning is that this study used the best possible method to review the program: It looked at a nationally representative sample of 5,000 children who were randomly assigned to either the Head Start (“treatment”) group or to the non‐Head Start (“control”) group.
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