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President Biden targets free education in new ‘American Family Plan’

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Biden Congress Address

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Free Pre-K schooling and community college could be on the horizon in the United States.

To mark 100 days in office, President Joe Biden is making his largest proposal yet, a $1.8 trillion plan to invest in universal preschool, free community college, expanded access to child care and child tax credits.

The proposal dubbed the 'American Families Plan' would provide universal preschool to all 3- and 4-year-olds and two years of free community college, regardless of income. To off-set costs, the plan would increase taxes on the wealthy over a 15 year period and is proposed to yield over $1.5 trillion dollars over a decade.

For local early education programs like The Learning Tree Child Care Center in Eau Claire, the proposal would mean more intense learning at a more impressionable age, for all.

"They always say early intervention for small children, their brains are very sponge-like at this age, so they absorb a lot of information" said Ms. Leah, the lead 4-K program teacher at The Learning Tree.

The American Family Plan would invest over $300 billion in funding education, and over $225 billion in child care. Low- and middle-income families will not pay for more than 7% of their incomes on child care.

"It would be less day care expense for them. If they start at three, they won't be paying daycare at 3," said Cassi Stoeklen, the owner of The Learning Tree.

Stoeklen is all for the proposal, however, the logistics of the plan cause some concern, "We would want to make sure that there is enough funding to cover what the costs would be to run a pre-k program and also to pay a teacher at a teacher wage that would be competitive to other teachers in the area."

Biden's tax increase proposal will raise the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans to 39.6%, taxes on capital gains will increase to 39.6% for households making over $1 million.

The plan will extend the expansion of the federal tax credit in the American Rescue Plan through 2025, and will make the tax credit permanently refundable.

The family plan also calls for a national paid leave program that would provide up to $4,000 a month for 12 weeks for paternal, family or personal leave.

There is no word on when the bill will prompt a vote.

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Alyssa Lyons

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