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Legislative Update: Federal Government Shuts Down Amid Partisan Gridlock

October 4th, 2013

Government Shuts Down with No Continuing Resolution

After ongoing debates over the past several weeks, Congress was unable to come to an agreement on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would temporarily continue funding for federal agencies and programs. As a result, the federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years on Tuesday, October 1.Capitol

Prior to the shutdown, the House and Senate had been trading competing versions of a CR, with the most contentious issue being House Republican provisions to the bill that would defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” A comprehensive timeline for these events can be found here.   The President and Senate Democrats have been adamant that they will only accept a “clean” CR which would fund the federal government through November 15th.

House Republicans have suggested funding only certain parts of the government, such as the National Parks Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as a way to lessen the impact of the federal government shutdown.

Recently, House Republicans have also included proposals to fund a few educational programs such as Head Start, Impact Aid, and the Bureau of Indian Education. However, all of these proposals would lock in sequester cuts through December 15. A White House spokesperson stated that, “These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government . . . and if these bills were to come to the President’s desk, he would veto them.” Meanwhile, the effects of the government shutdown continue with over 800,000 federal workers furloughed and many essential government services have halted.

Debt Limit Deadline by October 17

In addition to the federal government shutdown, the nation is expected to default on its obligations, or hit its debt limit, no later than October 17.  The debt limit is the legislative restriction on the amount of money the Treasury Department can borrow to pay for existing legal obligations such as social security payments, military salaries, and interest on the national debt.

The Treasury Department has made clear that failing to address the debt limit by the October deadline would have “catastrophic economic consequences.” Yesterday the Department issued a report titled “The Potential Macroeconomic Effect of Debt Limit Brinksmanship” outlining in greater detail the calamitous effects of Congress failing to pass legislation to increase the statutory debt limit. The report has put increased pressure on Congress to find a compromise to the current political impasse to avoid potentially damaging economic consequences.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has recently voiced interest in crafting a larger budget deal that addresses both the CR and the debt limit. It is not clear what such a deal would look like or if a compromise on items such as tax reform and further deficit reduction— priorities House Republicans have already insisted should be part of such a deal— would be a feasible solution for Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration.

Check NASDCTEc’s blog for frequent updates on these rapidly changing issues.

Congress Members Talk Education at Annual CEF Events

On Wednesday, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) held its annual legislative conference and gala.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) emphasized a few guiding principles for budget negotiations. In particular, Senator Reed found it troubling that government revenues were being produced from student loans, something he felt should be stopped. Following his remarks, Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) discussed Congress’ inability to pass a budget and denounced the sequestration provisions from the Budget Control Act of 2011 as “stupid”— a phrase he used often when describing how these automated cuts were adversely affecting important federal investments in education and workforce development. Interestingly, Representative Hoyer recommended that CEF be rebranded to the Committee for Education Investment to better reflect CEF’s commitment to education as an investment for the nation.

Representative Hoyer also highlighted the need for a national manufacturing strategy and comprehensive immigration reform to keep the United States globally competitive.

Ellen Nissenbaum of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out that the current level of non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending is the lowest it has been in 40 years. When asked how she would explain sequestration to someone succinctly she said, “Sequestration is an abdication of Congressional responsibility.” Like Representative Hoyer, Nissenbaum pointed out that sequestration does not prioritize pieces of the federal budget and instead Congress chose to arbitrarily cut spending without giving thought to long-term consequences.

At its gala event, CEF honored Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) for his dedication to educational issues and work over his long career in the Senate. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) both spoke glowingly of Sen. Harkin and how he has helped shape public policy during his career.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

State CTE Policy Update: Two More States Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

September 25th, 2013

State MapThis month, two additional states, California and Delaware, joined Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont in adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  In both cases, the state boards of education voted to adopt the NGSS, which were released in Spring 2013.

Both California and Delaware were among the group of 26 Lead Partner States, playing a significant role throughout the development of the standards. Now, both states are turning their attention to the  implementation of the new standards, no simple feat as the NGSS are, purposefully, organized differently than traditional science standards, with a greater emphasis on cross-cutting concepts that reach across all science disciplines. Delaware is planning to develop a multi-year implementation strategy soon and the California State Board of Education will take up an initial implementation challenge, middle school course requirements, this Fall.

For more on the NGSS and their development and design, see www.nextgenscience.org

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Legislative Update: House Perkins Hearing This Friday

September 17th, 2013

CapitolThis Friday, the reauthorization process for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act will begin with a hearing called “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.” The hearing will be held by the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Witnesses will include a State CTE Director and a CTE high school principal.

Hearing: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs
Time: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:00 am ET
Location: Rayburn Building, Room 2175

The hearing will be available on a live webcast. In case you are unable to attend, we will provide a detailed summary in Friday’s legislative update.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update – Agenda Highlighted

September 6th, 2013

CTE_Logo_RGBNASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update

The Fall Meeting is geared toward professional development, sharing of best practices, state policy updates and other topical sessions. An important topic covered at this meeting will be the release of “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards.” It is a national report examining how states organize and implement CTE standards, using the Common Career Technical Core as the benchmark.

The agenda now includes confirmed presenters and will provide the professional development and content you need to stay on top of all the latest Career Technical Education happenings.

Important Updates

  • Access the robust Fall Meeting AGENDA to see confirmed presenters!
  • Early bird REGISTRATION rate is available until September 23; main registration available September 24 through time of meeting
  • Reduced group RESERVATION rate will end September 20. After that date, special rates and room availability are not longer guaranteed

Make your plans to attend the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

When: October 21-23, 2013

Where: BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD 21090

Who: State Directors, Associate Members, and CTE Leaders and Stakeholders

Range of topics will include:

  • Competency-Based Education
  • State Career Readiness Data and Reporting
  • Career-Ready Assessments
  • Common Core & CTE Implementation Strategies
  • Federal Policy Update
  • Update from OVAE’s Assistant Secretary
  • OECD Report: Skills Beyond School
  • Update on New State CTE Policies

The meeting is at the BWI Airport Marriott and will open with a dinner and program Monday evening, October 21; sessions all day Tuesday, October 22, and sessions till 10 a.m. or Noon on Wednesday, October 23. See agenda for more details.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

The Skills Gap: What Is it and How Can CTE Address It?

September 6th, 2013

The Skills Gap and Skills Mismatch

One of the most persistent issues facing today’s policymakers, educators, employers, and employees is how to accurately forecast the skills needed for tomorrow’s economy and how best to educate the nation’s workforce to meet those needs. Organizations need employees with the right knowledge, skills, and abilities to achieve their goals and remain globally competitive. When employers encounter a shortage of suitable candidates for critical positions they need filled, a “skills gap” is often cited as the source of the problem.

Mind-the-GapA skills gap, also sometimes referred to as a “skills mismatch”, implies that there is a structural unemployment problem within the labor market. More simply, the available skills of individuals in the labor market need to ‘match’ with the skills needed in jobs that are open. When they do not align a mismatch or gap exists.

As Peter Orszag, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, recently observed, “Over the past three years, the number of job openings has risen almost 50 percent, but actual hiring has gone up by less than 5 percent.” In short, companies are posting a larger amount of job openings, but are not filling these positions. The question is why?

The answer to this question is admittedly complex and economists across the political spectrum are divided over the issue. The debate boils down to whether the current high unemployment rate stems from a structural deficiency in the labor market preventing firms from hiring because they simply lacked suitable candidates to fill the position, in the right place, and with the appropriate skills or some other factors reflecting changes in aggregate demand.

Why Jobs Go Unfilled Even in Times of High Unemployment

Recently The Atlantic, in coordination with The National Journal, released an interview with René Bryce-Laporte the outgoing program manager of Skills for America’s Future. Titled “Why Jobs Go Unfilled Even in Times of High Unemployment”, the piece discusses at length issues surrounding the skills gap, why they have materialized, and what can be done to reverse some of the more troubling employment trends. Most importantly, Bryce-Laporte made a strong and compelling case for continued support and investment of Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

The piece highlighted the importance of postsecondary institutional partnerships with employers, from Des Moines Area Community College’s relationship with John Deere and Accumold, to how Snap-On Tools works with Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin. These are the types of partnerships that help build a workforce which meets the evolving needs of employers.

These partnerships are not just for postsecondary institutions. Secondary schools have also  demonstrated a great capacity to bolster their CTE programs through partnerships with employers. In particular Bryce-Laporte emphasized the great work that IBM has done with New York City Public Schools in launching a P-Tech program there— an academic model which integrates CTE and core academic content throughout the secondary level, leading to postsecondary and career-related experiences by the 14th year. P-Tech has been so successful that other big cities like Chicago have sought to emulate their example and the President even chose to use it as a model for his most recent budget proposal for High School reform.

The full article can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Reminder to Register for Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar Legislative Update Back to School Edition: Policy and Funding

August 29th, 2013

This is a reminder to sign up for our next webinar providing a Legislative Update – Back to School Edition: Policy and Funding

Join Kara Herbertson, NASDCTEc’s Research and Policy Manager, and Steve Voytek, NASDCTEc’s Government Relations Associate, as they walk you through the latest policy happenings in Washington.

Chalkboard with words "back to school"After years of anticipation, Congress has taken steps toward reauthorizing several pieces of legislation that impact CTE including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Higher Education Act. In addition to updates on these key pieces of legislation, we will discuss sequestration and debates over the FY14 budget.

Are there specific questions you would like us to address? Email Kara at kherbertson@careertech.org and we will be sure to address your question during this webinar.

Time: September 26, 2013 at 3 p.m. Eastern

Register NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Legislative Update: President’s Proposal for College Affordability

August 27th, 2013

President’s College Affordability Tour

CapitolIn recent years, the costs of higher education in the United States have risen more quickly than any other sector of our economy. According to the Department of Labor, college tuition and fees have increased by a staggering 538% since 1985. In an effort to combat these alarming trends, President Obama recently embarked on a two-day college affordability bus tour which concluded last week.

The President’s proposal would tie federal financial aid to school performance through a new college ratings system. Institutions would be ranked based on factors such as average tuition, loan debt, and graduation rates. Student outcomes after graduation have also been a point of emphasis for the proposed ratings system, although it is unclear how these indicators would be measured. As the President summed up, “Colleges that keep their tuition down and are providing high-quality education are the ones that are going to see their taxpayer funding go up.”

President Obama’s new proposal for higher education urges states to fund public universities and colleges based on similar measures. His new plan would also increase accountability for both students and colleges by linking continued federal financial aid to progress made towards a degree.

Changes to how higher education is paid for and the measures used for accountability have implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs particularly at the postsecondary level. The Administration’s emphasis on more affordable, high quality education and stronger outcomes will likely highlight the important role CTE programs have in preparing students to close the skills gap and fulfill the pressing needs of the American economy.

The President’s full speech can be found here and a summary of his plan can be found here. The new rankings system will not be fully available until 2015, but the Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has released a College Scorecard similar to President Obama’s proposal.

Boehner to Introduce Short-Term Continuing Resolution

When regular appropriations acts are not enacted by the start of a new fiscal year, Congress must pass what is known as a continuing resolution (CR) to fund Federal agencies and programs. Current legislation funds the federal government only through September 30th with a new fiscal year beginning on the first of October. If Congress fails to pass a CR to fund the government in the short to near-term, the Federal government will cease all non-essential functions until an appropriations bill is signed into law. Failure to pass a CR before October 1st would result in what is known as a government shutdown.

Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) confirmed plans to “move quickly on a short-term continuing resolution [CR] that keeps the government running and maintains current sequester spending levels.” The length of this CR has not yet been announced. However, a clearer outline should emerge when Congress comes back in session on September 9th.

Additionally, Congress is still grappling with the impending need to raise the debt ceiling. This past Monday, the Treasury Department announced that it expects the federal government to reach its statutory debt limit by mid-October. This is a legislative restriction on the amount of money the Treasury Department is allowed to borrow to pay for existing legal obligations such as Medicare, Social Security, military salaries, interest on the national debt, and other such payments. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would force the federal government to default on these legal obligations— an unprecedented move that would have “catastrophic economic consequences,” according the Treasury Department.

It is also important to note that the new fiscal year will coincide with the scheduled opening of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandated insurance exchanges. Certain elements in Congress are seeking to defund these exchanges, along with the rest of the ACA, by linking their support for raising the debt ceiling and a short-term CR to ACA’s funding. Congressional willingness to fund these exchanges, along with the rest of the healthcare law, may adversely impact the passage of a short-term CR and the need to raise the debt ceiling in October.

These two issues will likely consume the majority of Congressional time and energy during September and well into October. Compromise will be crucial to finding a solution to these fiscal and budgetary disagreements. In the coming weeks, negotiations between both parties will have significant implications for the functionality and day-to-day operations of the federal government.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate

 

State CTE Policy Updates

August 26th, 2013

State MapOregon closes out its legislative session with a number of Career Technical Education (CTE) related bills and Ohio make a decision on a measure of students’ early college and career readiness.

Oregon’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee & CTSO Grant Program
Oregon passed HB 2912 requiring representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, and the Bureau of Labor and Industries to meet at least four times each year to promote collaboration between the agencies on issues related to career technical education. The Advisory Committee is tasked with making sure CTE programs are available in public schools; developing regional centers that create partnerships between K-12, community colleges, public universities, and business/unions; encouraging the establishment of local advisory committees; and addressing barriers to CTE students transitioning to postsecondary education and the workforce.  This bill also establishes the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Grant Program within the Department of Education, allotted at $500,000 over two years, to encourage student participation in CTSOs.

Oregon’s Accelerated College Credit Programs
Oregon also established an Accelerated Learning Committee, comprised of the Chief Education Officer and appointees selected by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, and charged with examining methods to encourage and enable students to earn more college credit while enrolled in high school. The focus will be on the alignment of funding, assessments and policies between high schools and institutions of higher education. SB 222 also requires every community college district to implement and make available at least one two-plus-two, dual credit and/or another accelerated college credit program to every K-12 district within their community college district by 2015.

Oregon’s STEM Investment Council and Grant Program|
Lastly, Oregon created a STEM Investment Council via HB 2600 to help develop and oversee a long-term, statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) strategy. The council will consist of nine members from the private sector to be appointed by the Chief Education Officer to aid and advise the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Commissioner for Community College System and the Chancellor of the Oregon University System on policies and programs, including the STEM Investment Grant Program. This new grant program will provide funds to districts, community college districts, public universities, relevant state agencies and any combination of these eligible recipients to support STEM education inside and outside of the classroom. The legislation notes that a STEM Investment Grant Account will be established in the State Treasury, separate and distinct from the General Fund, but no amount is noted or appropriated in this bill.

Specifically, the Council and grant program are focused on helping the state meet these two goals by 2024-25:

  • Doubling the percentage of 4th and 8th grade students who are proficient or advanced in mathematics and science (e.g., via NAEP) and
  • Double the number of students who earn a postsecondary degree requiring proficiency in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.

Ohio Requires the PSAT for All Students
The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with the Ohio Board of Regents, has officially selected the PSAT as the statewide “college-career readiness assessment.” Beginning in October 2014, all sophomores will be required to take the PSAT. The goal of this policy is to provide information to students earlier about their readiness for postsecondary-level coursework so they can adjust accordingly while still in high school.

New Research/Resources
Jobs for the Future released What It Takes to Complete High School: A Shifting Terrain of Course and Diploma Requirements, a policy brief describing trends in states’ graduation policies (which NASDCTEc has begun tracking here, here, and here).

The New York State Association for Career and Technical Education issued a position paper in July entitled Recommendations for Developing College and Career Ready Students that offered the following six recommendations:

  1. Adopt a unified definition of College and Career Ready (that fully includes academic, employability and technical skills);
  2. Affirm the Common Core State Standards, Career Development and Occupational Studies and Next Generation Assessments to converge career and academic content and instructional practices;
  3.  Avoid imposing additional math and science course requirements;
  4. Link learner levels by restructuring existing middle-level and early high school CTE;
  5. Set goals for increasing the number of students who have Technical Endorsements to their diplomas; and
  6. Enact policies that assist all students to develop knowledge of career pathways leading to specific occupations and to have a personal career plan with flexible career goals.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Common Core State Standards & CTE Roundup

August 15th, 2013

CCSS LogoWith nearly every state in the country working to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/Literacy, and more and more resources and information being generated by states, districts, schools and education-focused organizations to support implementation, NASDCTEc is excited to present a blog series on the Common Core State Standards and Career Technical Education! The blog features news and resources that directly impact CTE educators as well as other materials we think are useful to the field. This edition features many communications-focused materials and resources.

In the News…
As you may have seen, New York State just released the results from its first year of administering CCSS-aligned assessments administered and, as expected, scores dropped fairly dramatically statewide. (Read more about it here). Kentucky experienced a similar drop in scores last year when they first moved to a CCSS-aligned assessment.

Featured Resources & Tools
The Center for Education Policy released “Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: State Education Agencies’ Views on the Federal Role,” the third annual survey and report on states’ progress in implementing the Common Core State Standards. Major findings include:

  • Thirty-seven of the 39 CCSS-adopting states that responded to the survey consider it “unlikely” that their state would reverse, limit, or change its decision to adopt the standards during 2013-14. In fact, very few respondents said that overcoming resistance to the Common Core posed a major challenge in their state – with no states saying resistance from within the K-12 system posed a major challenge. This is heartening as the survey was conducted in Spring 2013, when opposition was spreading in many state legislatures, but blocked in nearly every state.
  • At least 30 of the CCSS-adopting states indicated support for particular legislative changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would directly assist state and district efforts to transition to the Common Core, including supporting professional development or funding for the common assessments.
  • And, 22 of the 29 responding CCSS-adopting states that received ESEA waivers found them to be helpful in supporting the transition of the CCSS.

A number of pro-CCSS websites were launched this summer, most notably Conservatives for Higher Standards, which highlights a range of right-leaning political leaders’ positive positions on the CCSS and debunks many of the false claims about the CCSS currently being spread in some political factions, and iAdvocate for Students, a website managed by three PTA volunteers, who are classroom teachers and/or mothers of K-12 students that features positive stories on the CCSS.

To both promote a number of their own tools for supporting the implementation of the CCSS and to better coordinate related resources, Achieve, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Student Achievement Partners released a joint Toolkit for Evaluating the Alignment of Instructional and Assessment Materials to the CCSS.  This Toolkit features the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tools; the EQuIP rubrics for evaluating lessons and units; the Assessment Evaluation Tool; the Assessment Passage and Item Quality Criteria Checklist; Publisher’s Criteria for the CCSS; and a list of additional resources relevant to evaluating instructional materials’ alignment to the CCSS.

The Data Quality Campaign (of which NASDCTEc is a partner organization) has released a number of short resources to help leaders explain how education data can be utilized and to help dispel myths that CCSS will somehow require the sharing of any student-level data. Notable resources include What Every Parent Should Be Asking about Education Data  (co-developed with the PTA) and Talking about the Facts of Education Data with Policymakers and Parents.

Finally, the GE Foundation hosted its third annual Business and Education Summit last month, bringing together business and education leaders from across the nation to discuss the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, college- and career-ready assessment and accountability systems, and how the business community can best support state and local efforts to implement such policies and practices.  In advance of the Summit, GE Foundation conducted a survey of the business participants. Among the 52 executives who responded:

  • 87% say the new CCSS are “mission critical” to American business;
  • 64% say they have undertaken some efforts to support standards implementation; and
  • 57% say that their organization has had some jobs not filled as a result of skills gap.

Updates on Common Core Assessments
Consortia Musical Chairs: Georgia has withdrawn as a PARCC governing state, while North Dakota and Wyoming officially became governing states within Smarter Balanced.

Also major news is that cost estimates are now available from both consortia. PARCC’s summative assessments are priced just below the $29.95 per pupil median level of spending on summative tests in those two subjects in the consortium’s states. Smarter Balanced is offering two pricing options for states, $22.50 per student (which includes only summative tests) and $27.30 per student (which includes summative as well as interim and formative tests). The higher price tags are associated with more meaningful test items (aka no more “fill-in-the-bubble” tests).

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
PARCC released information on the field testing that will occur in 14 states and Washington DC in the Spring of 2014, for about 10% of all potential test takers. The field test will allow the states to test the accommodations policies and tools, assessment items and the technology.  Over this past summer, small-scale item tryouts occurred across ten states to begin to garner critical data. Tested items are expected to be released to the public in coming weeks.

PARCC recently released the first edition of the Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, along with a set of supporting communications materials.

Finally, PARCC has formally amended its grant for Race to the Top funding to fully operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with its own funding, board of directors, staff and programs. This change aims to provide PARCC with a long-term sustainable architecture to support states in the operations of the assessment system beyond 2014 when the Race to the Top grant comes to a close. For more, see here.

Have a good CCSS-CTE resource to share? Contact us at info@careertech.org!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Legislative Update: Senate Education Committee Passes WIA Reauthorization Bill

August 2nd, 2013

CapitolCongress Reaches Agreement on Student Loan Interest Rates

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to link interest rates on student loans to economic factors; if the economy improves, interest rates would rise. The bill, an amendment to the Higher Education Act (HEA), has already been approved by the U.S. Senate and will likely soon be signed into law by President Obama.

Once enacted, the new law would impact postsecondary students and their families starting this fall with interest rates of:

  • 3.9 percent interest rates for undergraduates (subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans)
  • 5.4 percent interest rates for graduate students
  • 6.4 percent interest rates for parents

The White House notes that the new loan rates would immediately impact 11 million borrowers and reduce average undergraduate interest costs by $1,500.

Though the amendment successfully passed the House and the Senate, the topic of student loan interest rates is likely to emerge again as the reauthorization of HEA begins to take shape this fall.

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

The House Education and the Workforce Committee asked education stakeholders to submit their views on policies that should be included in the upcoming reauthorization of HEA. NASDCTEc has worked with members in the higher education community to identify our broad priorities for HEA, which include improving data alignment between key pieces of legislation, reducing barriers to financial aid for traditional and non-traditional postsecondary students (including reinstating the Ability to Benefit option), and ensuring access to Title II funds for Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher preparation and professional development.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) also expects to announce a call for public input on HEA reauthorization soon.

Reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act

After a brief markup of the Workforce Investment Act of 2013 (WIA), or S. 1356, the Senate HELP Committee approved the bill by a vote of 18-3. An amendment to increase the accountability of Job Corps programs was included. The bill will next be considered by the full Senate.

NASDCTEc is pleased that Congress is moving forward with the reauthorization of WIA and has taken into consideration several areas that are important for CTE, including promoting programs that result in industry-recognized postsecondary credentials and align with the needs of local economies.

However, the bill passed by the HELP Committee included an area of major concern– a funding infrastructure mechanism for One-Stop programs under WIA – that would negatively impact CTE by siphoning funding from the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act (Perkins). Read more about this issue and our concerns in this blog.

As the bill moves to the full Senate, please encourage your networks to contact your Senators. Ask them not to use Perkins funds for WIA infrastructure, and urge them to maintain current law.

FY 2014 Updates

At the end of this week, Congress leaves for summer recess without having reached agreement on FY 2014 spending bills, total spending levels, or what to do about sequestration. When they return to Capitol Hill in five weeks, members will have just three weeks to reach an agreement on these issues to avoid a possible government shut down on October 1, 2013.

On a conference call this week held by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, Chairman Mark Begich (D-AK) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) spoke of the damage caused by sequestration and its negative impact on the economy and the middle class. The Senators encouraged listeners to use the Congressional recess wisely by contacting Congress members to specifically describe how sequestration is hurting constituents in their state or district. NASDCTEc urges you to contact your Congress members and tell them how sequestration is damaging CTE programs and your local economy.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

 

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