American Rescue Plan Accomplishments
President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law on March 11, 2021. One year later, we are continuing to see and feel the results across our communities. Biden’s American Rescue Plan has provided relief to our nurses and healthcare professionals, provided funding for new healthcare and health access initiatives, and lowered health insurance premiums for millions. It provided resources to reopen our schools and ensure they are safe and welcoming for students and educators, and it allowed all students to have access to school meals, regardless of whether they were attending in person or remotely. Biden’s plan invested in COVID-19 testing, tracing, research and vaccine deployment. The vast majority of Americans received stimulus checks to help ease the pandemic’s economic burden. And it doesn’t stop there: Biden’s American Rescue Plan also provided billions of dollars in child care relief for families, housing assistance, broadband, workforce development and more. It is clear that elections matter; we know that when we show up and we vote, our elected leaders will have our backs. We have seen how Biden’s American Rescue Plan has helped ensure an equitable recovery over the last year, but we know we must continue to show up and push Congress to continue these programs that are a lifeline for millions of Americans to continue to thrive.
Under the American Rescue Plan:
- 164 million people received direct stimulus payments of up to $1,400.
- The child tax credits provided more than 36 million households with nearly 90 percent of children in the United States a tax cut, cutting the child poverty rate in half.
- Historic investments were made in K-12 schools, which—along with the administration’s use of its full force to get educators, staff and students vaccinated—enabled 95 percent of public elementary and middle schools to be open in person, full time, in early January 2022, compared with just 46 percent in January 2021.
- An unprecedented $122 billion was distributed to help schools reopen safely and support students, and the administration developed guidance to help schools use these funds for their most pressing needs, including addressing students’ mental health, students’ learning needs and school staffing shortages.
- Immediate needs from the pandemic and economic recession were addressed by expanding social infrastructure through the child tax credit, unemployment insurance and food assistance. These investments kept Americans from poverty in 2021, showcasing the power of equitable public investment.
- There was historic job growth, millions of children were lifted out of poverty, and families and the economy were helped to stay afloat amid the ongoing pandemic.
- Families across America have saved 40 percent off their monthly health premiums.
- According to Moody’s Analytics, the #AmericanRescuePlan was responsible for:
- 4 million additional jobs;
- 2 percent lower unemployment rate;
- A 5.7 percent increase in economic growth, instead of 3 percent; and
- Preventing a double-dip recession in the spring of 2021.
- Costs for Affordable Care Act health insurance were lowered, and 4.5 million more people got healthcare.
- States received more money for Medicaid to reduce waiting lists and improve home-based care.
- $120 billion was provided to help schools in all 50 states stay open for in-person learning and improve school infrastructure and ventilation systems.
- State and local governments received $350 billion in flexible grants to respond to COVID-19.
Affiliate success stories
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
The union and the district agreed to use the funds to hire more:
- Reading specialists
- Math specialists
- School counselors
Cleveland Teachers Union
The district negotiated with the union. Their American Rescue Plan funding supports:
- Funding for additional professional support positions such as a health professional in every school (either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse), library aides, music teachers (so that every school has one) and PE teachers.
- A summer learning program launched by the district and the union. The program is for preK-12 students. Teacher participation is voluntary, and those who do participate (and there are many who do want to be part of this) will be paid their daily rate. The summer learning program will be five days a week and allow for student to complete work disrupted by the pandemic or earn credits for next school year. K-8 students will focus on English language arts and math; high school students can make up credits, accelerate their learning with credits for new classes or prepare for college entrance exams. CTU members will be the instructors.
American Rescue Plan funds were used for:
- ·Better ventilation and higher cleaning standards for safer schools.
- One-time stipends for those working in person during COVID-19 in order to provide lunches, transportation of food and other school supplies.
- Additional COVID-19 leave to care for family if they contracted COVID-19 or to stay home if the worker was exposed to or contracted COVID-19 (after having used the federal 10 days).
- Hiring additional staff to meet the needs of students’ learning loss and/or to support their social and emotional needs due to the pandemic.
American Rescue Plan funds were used to:
- Establish health and safety protocols that supported most Utah students continuing with in-person learning throughout the 2020-2021 school year.
- Assess the impact of lost instructional time. The Utah State Board of Education developed a comprehensive plan for determining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning, including the identification of relevant data sources and the addition of “opportunity to learn” questions on statewide summative assessments in grades 3-10. USBE also administered a school climate survey to all local education agencies in spring 2021 to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on each student subgroup. USBE is also actively collecting school-level data on lost instructional time. USBE will use data from these sources to identify additional highest-priority needs and identify any subgroups of students that have been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Invest in summer learning and after-school programs. USBE indicates that it will award ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds for evidence-based summer learning and evidence-based after-school programming through a competitive grant process to both LEAs and community-based organizations. In the application, the LEA must include a description of the evidence-based interventions that it will implement. Applicants will be required to support not only students’ academic needs but also students’ social, emotional and mental health needs to be awarded the ARP funds. Applicants will also be required to submit targeted plans to serve students most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and applications will be reviewed by subject matter experts.