Fact check: False claim says Biden’s American Families Plan would extend high school by 4 years

The claim: President Joe Biden wants to extend high school by four years 

Social media users are sharing a misleading clip of President Joe Biden’s April 28 address to Congress to further the false claim that he wants to extend high school by four years.

The brief clip, published in a June 1 Instagram post, shows Biden explaining how his proposed “American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America.” 

Text over the video reads, “Joe Biden Says He Plans To Extend High School Education By Four More Years.” The video’s caption reads, “#JoeBiden thinks 12 years of public school education isn’t enough.” 

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Other posts shared the same clip with similar text.

But this claim is a distortion of Biden’s proposal. He has not announced any plan to elongate high school. In reality, the American Families Plan would grant two years of free prekindergarten and two years of free community college to all Americans.

USA TODAY reached out to several posters for comment.

Full address shows claim is false

The clip shows a short and misleading section of Biden’s April 28 address to Congress. In the clip, Biden says: 

“I wonder whether we’d think, as we did in the 20th century, that 12 years is enough in the 21st century. I doubt it. Twelve years is no longer enough today to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century. That’s why my American Families Plan guarantees four additional years of public education for every person in America – starting as early as we can.” 

President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress as Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (R) look on in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol April 28, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Pool, Getty Images)

The clip does not include Biden’s next statement, in which he explained the additional public education would involve “two years of universal high-quality pre-school for every 3- and 4-year-old” and “two years of free community college.”

American Families Plan proposes free pre-K, community college 

The American Families Plan would grant $200 billion for free prekindergarten and $109 billion for free community college for all Americans.

If passed, states would have the option to partner with the federal government and receive the funding. 

Biden tapped first lady Jill Biden, who continues to work as a community college professor, to lead the effort. 

The plan does not extend the duration of high school. 

Our rating: False

The claim that Biden wants to make high school four years longer is FALSE , based on our research. His American Families Plan proposes to make two years of prekindergarten and two years of community college free for all Americans. The plan would not make high school longer. 

Our fact-check sources: 

  • PBS NewsHour on YouTube, April 28, WATCH LIVE: President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress
  • USA TODAY, April 28, Read the full transcript from President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress
  • USA TODAY, April 28, Biden to propose $1.8 trillion ‘families plan’ with paid leave, child care, universal pre-K, free community college
  • Associated Press, Feb. 9, First lady Jill Biden urges free access to community colleges to spur prosperity

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