H.R. 2353, the bill to reauthorize the Perkins Act, passes the House of Representatives

June 22nd, 2017

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by voice vote to pass H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The bill would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) through Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

Kimberly Green, executive director of Advance CTE and LeAnn Wilson, executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education praised the 100-year history of bipartisan support for Career Technical Education (CTE). They also commended Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), along with leadership from both parties, particularly House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), for their strong commitment to support CTE.

While Advance CTE and ACTE supported the passage of H.R. 2353, they noted that there is one outstanding issue to be resolved around the bill’s proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator. Both organizations encourage the Senate to resolve this issue and capitalize on the momentum of the House-passed vote to reauthorize Perkins. Read the full statement here.

 

Both Green and Wilson spoke at a press conference immediately following the vote to reinforce the importance of CTE as a truly bipartisan issue that not only prepares learners for a successful future, but also contributes to our talent pipeline and efforts to narrow the skills gap. Representatives Thompson (R-PA), Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Langevin (D-RI), Byrne (R-AL), Ferguson (R-GA), Nolan (D-MN), and Smucker (R-PA) all spoke in support of the legislation. In addition, Stan Litow, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM and Eleanor Kerr, Director, Government Affairs, Siemens Healthineers provided brief remarks about the value of CTE.

 

“I want to thank everyone who said yes to today’s vote…It’s so important to remember that [there is] longstanding bipartisan support for CTE because it comes from a place of understanding that Career Technical Education plays an important role in making sure that learners of all ages get a chance to explore their talents, interests, career options, [and] that they get a chance to try out different careers, have hands-on experiences and real-world opportunities to find a lifetime of career and education success,” said Green. “There’s no doubt to me that this legislation will work to close the skills gap… As many others have said, I urge the Senate to act.” Watch the video here.

Perkins Vote on Thursday, Apprenticeship Executive Order Signed

June 21st, 2017

The focus on Career Technical Education (CTE) remains strong this week as attention shifts from last week’s “Workforce Week” events to action on Capitol Hill. More below on a vote on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)), the Executive Order on apprenticeship and new resources from Advance CTE and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).

H.R. 2353 Vote on Thursday

Following unanimous approval from the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 17, we anticipate that H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize Perkins, find our summary here) will come to a vote this Thursday, June 22. Once the vote occurs, we will share the final vote count. We will also analyze the bill and share out any technical changes that were made between the Committee mark up and floor vote as soon as possible. Timing and consideration of the bill in the Senate are not known at this time.

President Trump Signs Executive Order

On June 15, President Trump signed the “Expanding Apprenticeship in America” Executive Order (EO). Key components of the EO include:

  • “Establishing Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships”: Directs the Secretary of Labor to consult with the Secretaries of Education and Commerce to “consider proposing regulations… that promote the development of apprenticeship programs by third parties. These third parties may include trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations.”
  • “Promoting Apprenticeship Programs at Colleges and Universities. The Secretary of Education shall, consistent with applicable law, support the efforts of community colleges and 2 year and 4 year institutions of higher education to incorporate apprenticeship programs into their courses of study.”
  • “Establishment of the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion: The mission of the Task Force shall be to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships, especially in sectors where apprenticeship programs are insufficient.”
  • “Improving the Effectiveness of Workforce Development Programs”
    • “The head of each agency shall submit a list of programs, if any, administered by their agency that are designed to promote skills development and workplace readiness” and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget “shall consider the information provided… in developing the President’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget.”
    • “The head of each agency administering one or more job training programs shall order… an empirically rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of such programs, unless such an analysis has been recently conducted.”

The EO provides broad contours and policy direction. Advance CTE will watch for more information and provide updates when details are available, which are particularly important given the lack of details in the EO. Of particular note is the direction to OMB, given the rationale used to justify the 15% proposed cut in the President’s budget. To learn more about the flawed justification and Advance CTE’s response to it, read this opinion piece written by Advance CTE and ACTE.

New Resources on Apprenticeship

To learn more about the connections between apprenticeships and secondary CTE, check out the resources from Advance CTE and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) here, including two new videos.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

June 16th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

By integrating classroom instruction and hands-on learning, both apprenticeships and CTE can enhance the high school experience and better prepare learners for future career success. Not to mention, secondary apprenticeships equip students with skills in high-demand career pathways, helping to strengthen the talent pool and close critical skills gaps.

A new report, Opportunities for Connecting Secondary Career and Technical Education Students and Apprenticeship Programs, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education and prepared by Advance CTE with support from Jobs for the Future, Vivayic and RTI International, profiles eight secondary apprenticeship programs to identify strategies to connect CTE with apprenticeship programs. The report classifies each program as either an apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship and maps each by the degree of instructional alignment and program articulation.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is conducting a survey to learn the perspectives of individuals focused on preparing young people ages 16- 24 for work. If you provide services to youth in this age range, complete this survey.

AWARD OF THE WEEK

On Monday, applications open to the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which includes over $500,000 awarded to 10 outstanding skilled trades teachers in American public high schools and the skilled trades programs in their schools.

Judges for the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence will look for those programs that are led by a teacher who clearly loves the subject matter and is both highly knowledgeable and skilled; where the curriculum is matched to a relevant career pathway and future work choices, and is designed to flow seamlessly into next step options, whether to employment or college; that encourages exploration and experimentation among students in a safe environment; and that connects students to new relationships and worlds outside the classroom.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Push for Apprenticeships is Focus of Workforce Development Week

June 14th, 2017

It’s “Workforce Development Week” for the Trump Administration. Events throughout the week have involved remarks from key officials and a visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, but the biggest news is expected later this week.  See below for additional details on the week’s events, a new report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Advance CTE, and an announcement from Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Monday: Ivanka Trump Talks Perkins, Apprenticeship Raised in Cabinet Meeting,  

On June 12, Ivanka Trump appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” and provided an overview of Workforce Development Week. She discussed the skills gap, the upcoming visit to a technical college in Wisconsin, apprenticeships, and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). Ivanka Trump commented on the Carl D. Perkins Act noting that, “It’s a very good piece of legislation. They’re refining it and extending it, but it’s all about skills-based education and really making sure people have the technical skills to succeed in this modern economy.”

Also on June 12, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta presented on apprenticeships and distributed this policy memo, which outlines the need for skilled workers, highlights key facts about apprenticeship in the United States and requests that, “each Agency head support the Administration’s apprenticeship initiative by removing obstacles to apprenticeship growth that may be present in current regulations or practices.”

Tuesday: Visit to Waukesha County Technical College

On June 13, President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Secretaries Devos and Acosta visited Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin and then held a roundtable discussion with Governor Scott Walker and students and instructors from the college. Topics addressed in the discussion’s opening remarks from President Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Governor Walker included the skills gap, the importance of skills-based programs and apprenticeships to address that gap, and the Governor’s recent announcement about a grant to support apprenticeships for high school students. Members of Congress have been weighing in on Workforce Development Week and we appreciate Senator Baldwin’s response that called attention to the President’s proposed cuts to Career Technical Education (CTE).

Wednesday: New Apprenticeship Bill, Report

Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Collins (R-ME) introduced the Apprenticeship and Jobs Training Act of 2017 on June 14 (find the summary here). According to a press release from Senator Cantwell’s office, the bill would:

  • “Create a $5,000 tax credit for up to three years for companies that hire and pay employees enrolled in a federal- or state-registered apprentice program. Additionally, employers participating in a multi-employer apprenticeship program, the credit rate would be $3 per hour each individual works.
  • Allow senior employees near retirement to draw from pensions early if they’re involved in mentoring or training new employees. Workers must be at least 55, and have reduced work hours to spend at least 20 percent of their time training or educating employees or students.
  • Help veterans get into skilled jobs that match their military experience sooner by allowing credit in apprenticeship requirements for previous military training.”

Curious about how apprenticeship programs relate to CTE? Check out this new resource from OCTAE and Advance CTE that details how eight programs connect secondary CTE to apprenticeship.

What’s Next for Workforce Development Week?

News reports from Inside Higher Ed and others anticipate that President Trump will make an announcement this week about expanding apprenticeship efforts and increasing the federal investment in apprenticeship. In addition, the President is expected to sign an executive order related to apprenticeships.

Secretary DeVos Announces Rulemaking Committees

On June 14, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department of Education (ED) would create two rulemaking committees on regulations surrounding Borrower Defense Repayment and Gainful Employment. With regard to Gainful Employment, the press release noted that “As the Department worked on implementing this regulation, it became clear that, as written, it is overly burdensome and confusing for institutions of higher education.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

CTE is Not an Either/Or – A Response to “General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle”

June 12th, 2017

A new study came out recently that is garnering some media attention and calling into question the long-term value of CTE for students internationally. In a nutshell, this study, General Education, Vocational Education, and Labor-Market Outcomes over the Lifecycle, finds that the labor market advantage associated with participation in vocational education diminishes over time as the vocational individuals’ skills become outdated,making them less able to navigate the ever-changing world of work, compared to those students who completed a general education (or non-vocational) path in high school.  

Needless to say, this is raising questions for some about what this means for U.S. CTE system. While the study raises some important questions about the consequences of a truly tracked system, it also validates the direction CTE has been going here in the U.S.  In particular, this paper reaffirms so much of the exciting work going on – led by states and supported by the federal government, advocacy organizations like Advance CTE, and philanthropic partners like JPMorgan Chase – to raise the quality and rigor of CTE programs and pathways so that they serve as effective platforms to both college and careers for students.

The study compared students on the “vocational” track to those on a “general-education” track in 11 individual European countries. Right off the bat, the idea of a “track” is one that we have been very intentional about moving away from. And, the researchers freely admit this:

The United States, for example, has largely eliminated vocational education as a separate track in secondary schools on the argument that specific skills become obsolete too quickly and that it is necessary to give people the ability to adapt to new technologies. On the other hand, many European and developing countries, led by Germany’s “dual system,” provide extensive vocational education and training at the secondary level including direct involvement of industry through apprenticeships.”

This is hugely important, but also a bit ironic. I can’t tell you how many articles I have read or conversations I have had about how we can better replicate the German model for CTE. The fact is, CTE and academics are not an either/or in the U.S. system – all high school students are still required to take an academic core and, in many states, a college- and career-ready course of study, in addition to having the option to pursue a CTE pathway. From this perspective, CTE is a “value add” to the traditional high school experience, offering opportunities for specialized, career-focused coursework, hands-on learning and access to a network of mentors inside and outside the classroom, in addition to core academics.

Equally important is that high-quality CTE programs are designed to develop lifelong learners. Programs of study, by design, begin with foundational knowledge and skills and then progress to more occupationally-specific expectations over an intentional sequence of courses that extend across secondary and postsecondary. Programs of study like our Excellence in Action award winners offer opportunities for early postsecondary opportunities, meaningful work-based learning experiences and are anchored in credentials of value. These are programs not focused on short-term labor market needs – although they may fill them – but rather on the lifetime success of their students.

There is undoubtedly real value in this paper. It identifies important trade-offs and offers a potential cautionary tale of focusing on the short-term needs of an economy when designing a career preparation system. While it is important to continue to study international models – or, really study any models, policies or strategies that we think can help us get smarter about designing effective and meaningful career-focused pathways – this study also reaffirms that the efforts across the U.S. to drive quality CTE programs deserve just as much attention, if not more.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Secretary DeVos Defends Cuts to Career Technical Education, Continues to Promote School Choice

June 7th, 2017

Congress returned from last week’s recess ready to dive into the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget and appropriations process – and we’re ready to advocate on your behalf! Please continue to send your stories about what the proposed 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant would mean for you to Katie Fitzgerald, kfitzgerald@careertech.org and we will follow up with you about featuring your story in our advocacy communications. Find more on the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee’s hearing on the FY18 Department of Education (ED) Budget and details on the Administration’s proposed initiatives around school choice below.

Secretary DeVos Defends Cuts to Career Technical Education

Keep your calls to Congress coming! It’s not too late to reach out to your Members of Congress to encourage them to support a strong investment in Perkins. Because of your advocacy, CTE was in the spotlight during the FY18 Budget hearing for ED (you can watch it online here) held by the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposed cuts to CTE came up quickly, as the subcommittee’s Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) pointed them out specifically in his opening statement:

In reviewing this budget request it is difficult to know whether you made cuts because you believe the programs are truly ineffective or because your budget number required these reductions just to reach the bottom line. For example, I believe significant reductions to programs like Career and Technical Education, TRIO, and Federal Work Study will make it harder for students to get into and complete college, and go on to well-paying jobs.”

While Secretary DeVos did not have the opportunity to respond during the opening statements, she did have the opportunity to do so when Senator Shelby (R-AL) asked about the perceived implications of the proposed cuts to the Perkins Basic State Grants in light of the continued need for skilled workers. Secretary DeVos responded by saying that there’s an opportunity to look at how some CTE efforts have been siloed, that there is some overlap between CTE and programs administered through the Department of Labor, and that there is a need to think holistically about how higher education legislation can support opportunities in CTE. Secretary DeVos provided a similar answer and emphasized the need to foster innovation when Senator Baldwin (D-WI) asked how the $20 million for competitive grants would make up for over $1.5 billion lost via formula grants through Perkins, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and the Student Success and Academic Enrichment grants (authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act). Senator Schatz (D-HI) mentioned CTE in his remarks and Senator Murphy (D-CT) referenced the “massive cuts in CTE” when addressing the Administration’s school choice proposal (more details below).

More Than $1.4 Billion in Increases for School Choice in FY18 ED Budget Proposal

The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee’s hearing on the FY18 Department of Education Budget included many questions about the additional $1 billion in Title I funding for school choice and the increases for other programs that would focus on it. What are the specific funding levels and purposes of the programs? The ED press release describes them as follows:

  • $1 billion increase for Title I for new Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants. FOCUS grants would provide supplemental awards to school districts that adopt student-centered weighted student funding formulas combined with open enrollment systems.
  • $250 million increase for the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program for competitive awards for applicants to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
  • $167 million increase for the Charter Schools Grants program to strengthen State efforts to start new charter schools or expand and replicate existing high-performing charter schools while providing up to $100 million to meet the growing demand for charter school facilities.”

It is ultimately up to Congress to determine the fate of these programs and the others included (and excluded) in the Administration’s FY18 Budget Proposal for ED: appropriators make the call as to whether ED programs are funded and the level at which to fund them. We will continue to provide updates as Congress works through the budget and appropriations process for FY18.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Despite Federal Budget Constraints, States Forge Ahead with ESSA Planning

June 5th, 2017

Earlier this year, 16 states and the District of Columbia submitted plans for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to the Department of Education, detailing strategies to strengthen standards, accountability, teacher effectiveness and student supports. Since then, the remaining 34 states have continued work drafting their own plans. Despite uncertainty from Washington, DC, states such as New York and California are taking advantage of ESSA’s increased flexibility to promote career readiness, specifically through new accountability systems.

Despite lawmakers’ intentions to expand local flexibility, state planning has been somewhat constrained by the federal budget process. In May, Congress approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2017 that fell short of the authorized funding for certain ESSA programs. Specifically, the Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program — which consolidated a basket of categorically-funded initiatives in order to expand state flexibility — was funded at only $400 million for the year, far short of the authorized $1.6 billion (the program is eliminated entirely under the President’s proposed FY18 budget). As such, lawmakers decided to give states the option to distribute grants competitively rather than through a formula, as is prescribed in the law. It is not year clear if states will take this opportunity, though switching to a competition may discourage smaller districts from applying.

Under ESSA, at least 95 percent of SSAE funds are to be awarded to local education agencies for one of three priorities: supporting a well-rounded education, fostering a safe and healthy school climate and providing for the effective use of technology. These funds can be used to strengthen or enhance local Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, which are covered under the statutory definition of “well-rounded education.” Although funds go primarily to the local level, states have leeway to signal how they should be used. They can also expend state set-aside funds under Title IV-A to administer technical assistance in certain priority areas. While SSAE grants provide a clear leverage point to promote CTE statewide, many states are approaching the opportunity with caution, leaving it up to local education agencies to determine how such funds will be spent.

In the Wake of April’s Submission Window, Five States — Including New York and California — Release Draft Plans

In addition to the 16 states and D.C. that submitted plans during the first window, another 20 states have released draft plans or guidelines as of June 2017. The newest states to release draft plans include Arkansas, California, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Below we examine different approaches that New York and California are taking to leverage ESSA in support of statewide career readiness.

New York’s Plan Envisions Success in College, Careers and Citizenship

Building on the state’sgraduation pathways work, one of the key threads throughout New York’s first ESSA state plan draft is ensuring all students graduate “prepared for success in postsecondary education, careers, and citizenship.” The plan envisions a K-12 system that provides rigorous instruction, positive learning environments, and appropriate opportunities and supports so that all students can succeed.

One area in the plan where this priority is reflected is the state’s accountability system, which adopts a measure of College, Career and Civic Readiness as one of two School Quality and Student Success indicators at the high school level. ESSA requires states to adopt at least five accountability indicators, four that are loosely prescribed and a fifth measure of school quality that is up to a state’s choosing. As we’ve reported in the past, many states are seizing the opportunity to measure not only college preparedness but career readiness as well.

In New York’s case, the proposed College, Career and Civic Readiness Index encourages both college and career preparation and awards bonus points for students who surpass the minimum Regents or Local Diploma requirements. Under the proposal, schools will receive full points for students who earn a standard diploma, an additional half point for students who enroll in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) or dual credit courses, and a full two points for students earning a CTE endorsement, an industry-recognized credential or a passing score on an AP or IB exam (among other options).

Furthermore, the plan explicitly encourages local education agencies to use SSAE grants to offer multiple pathways to graduation and career readiness. The state plans to use up to 4 percent of its permitted set-aside funds to support local education agencies to implement this, and other, priorities. And while the plan is light on details, the state promises to support student access to extra-curricular opportunities, including “community-based internships and … sports and arts.” New York’s state plan is still in the public comment stage and subject to change prior to the September submission deadline.

In California, Local Control Accountability Plans Will Drive ESSA Implementation

California meanwhile is approaching ESSA’s increased flexibility as an opportunity to supplement ongoing state efforts. In 2013, the Golden State transformed the way it funds education using a Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) to consolidate state education funding and empower local education agencies to create and implement their own strategic priorities. Under the policy, local districts are required to create Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP) to set goals and plan their delivery strategies. Additionally, California last year adopted a new multi-measure accountability system aligned to the LCFF to hold local districts accountable for using state education funds effectively. Just this year the state Department of Education released a school accountability dashboard that illustrates student performance on a variety of different measures.

California’s state plan proposes to use LCFF as a vehicle to implement ESSA. The plan, appropriately titled “The California Way,” proposes to map local ESSA planning efforts against the current LCAP to create a “single, coherent system that avoids the complexities of having separate state and federal accountability structures.” Local education agencies will submit an LCAP addendum as a supplement to address additional requirements under ESSA.

So how will California’s ESSA plan support career readiness? For one, the current accountability system includes a career and college readiness index. Interestingly, and unlike most other state proposals thus far, the index will count toward the state’s academic success indicator, along with student performance and growth on assessments. While the State Board of Education has blessed the indicator, it has yet to determine how it will be measured. Current considerations include dual enrollment, AP exam performance, IB exam performance and CTE pathway completion. Additionally, California’s plan points to other recent initiatives — such as the state’s three-year, $900 million CTE Incentive Grant Program — that are designed to enhance and expand regional CTE pathways in the state.

What New York’s and California’s ESSA state plans tell us is that states are taking full advantage of newfound flexibility to align federal initiatives with their own efforts. In the case of California and New York, both states have undergone work in recent years to revise graduation and accountability policy to better promote career readiness in high school. Others should consider how to align opportunities under ESSA to support their own state and local initiatives.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

June 2nd, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Can you imagine a world where all learners have the opportunity to realize their full potential and achieve career success? Check out our newest video, which demonstrates what the world would look like if all vision principles of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE are put into action.Advance_CTE_5.16.17_Final_HD1080P

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK

New America released national survey data about perceptions of higher education. Some interesting findings:

  • 75 percent believe it is easier to be successful with a college degree than without
  • 64 percent believe that two year community colleges “are for people in my situation” (though this is virtually the same for public four-year colleges and universities)
  • More people (80%) believe that two year community colleges prepare people to be successful. This is higher than four-year public (77%) four-year private (75%) and for-profit (60%).
  • 82 percent believe two-year community colleges are worth the cost. This is higher than four-year public (61%) four-year private (43%) and for-profit (40%).
  • 83 percent believe two-year community colleges contribute to a strong workforce. This is higher than four-year public (79%) four-year private (70%) and for-profit (59%).

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Scholarships for Career or Technical Certificates or Degrees: The Horatio Alger CTE Scholarship program is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications for more than 1,000 awards of up to $2,500 each.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Have completed high school (or earned a High School Equivalency credential) by Summer 2017
  • Will be enrolled in an eligible CTE program in Fall 2017
  • Exhibit a strong commitment to pursue and complete a career or technical program at an accredited non-profit post-secondary institution in the United States
  • Demonstrated financial need (must be eligible to receive the Federal Pell grant as determined by completion of the FAFSA)
  • Demonstrated perseverance in overcoming adversity
  • Be under the age of 30
  • Be a United States citizen

Funds may be used for tuition, fees, books and supplies.  All scholarship funds are paid directly to the institution on behalf of the recipient.

More information can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/le9ovq2

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Tennessee Expands Access to Community College for Adult Learners

May 30th, 2017

Image Credit: https://twitter.com/GreeneSun/status/867755597755805696/photo/1

This month Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s vision for increasing postsecondary credential attainment in his state came one step closer to reality. On May 24, Gov. Haslam signed the Tennessee Reconnect Act into law, providing tuition scholarships for adult learners to access one of the state’s many community colleges and Colleges of Applied Technology. The Reconnect Act, a core piece of the Governor’s 2017 state of the state address, will be available to eligible non-degree holding adult students who are admitted into qualifying postsecondary institutions beginning in the fall of 2018.

The program is expected to have a substantial impact. The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee estimates that 5,503 additional part-time students and 4,102 full-time students will be eligible to receive the grant award in Fiscal Year 2018-19, at an estimated cost of $8.5 million.

Expanding access to postsecondary education and training has been a priority for Gov. Haslam during his tenure. In 2014, Tennessee launched the Tennessee Promise program, a last-dollar tuition scholarship that has seen tremendous growth and success since it was proposed in 2014. The state is seen as a pioneer in expanding access to free community college.

Separately, Gov. Haslam approved bills

Coming Soon to Iowa Schools: New K-12 Computer Science Pathways

Meanwhile, Iowa passed a law to enhance digital literacy with new K-12 computer science standards and funding for teacher professional development. The legislature’s goal is that by July 2019, all elementary, middle and high schools in the state will offer some form of computer science instruction. The bill directs the Department of Education to establish a computer science education workgroup to put together a plan to adopt new graduation requirements, integrate computer science instruction into CTE pathways and develop new K-12 computer science pathways.

Additionally, the law establishes a computer science professional development incentive fund, which Governor Terry Branstad has proposed to fund at $500,000 in his 2019 budget. The fund is designed to help school districts pay for teachers to get additional training on computer science.

South Dakota Approves CTE Standards in Six Clusters

Speaking of standards, the South Dakota Board of Education voted in its May meeting to adopt new Career Technical Education (CTE) standards in six Career Clusters®: Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications; Finance; Health Science; Human Services; and Manufacturing. The standards were developed by workgroups of secondary CTE teachers, postsecondary faculty, industry representatives and others. Standards for five additional Career Clusters® will be developed later this summer.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

President’s Budget Proposal Raises Questions

May 26th, 2017

As we reported, the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) was released on Tuesday. This proposal includes a $168 million cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant, a 15 percent decrease from the current level of funding, while increasing $20 million for National Programs for competitive grant program to spur innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Find our full statement on the budget here. We have details on the budget itself, a briefing at the U.S. Department of Education (ED), the Congressional hearing on ED’s budget, and a resource update below. Additionally, we encourage you to send us your stories on how these budget cuts would impact CTE programs in your state.

Budgets for Departments of Education and Labor Slashed

Overall, when comparing the proposed FY18 ED budget to the FY17 levels appropriated by Congress (including the Pell grant rescissions included in both), the total cut is $7.9 billion (12 percent). Some notable proposed cuts are outlined below:

  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are eliminated. These block grants received $400 million in FY17 and were authorized by ESSA to receive $1.6 billion for FY18. They have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes CTE programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
  • Pell grants are reduced by $42.7 million and the maximum award size is frozen at the 2017 level, but year-round Pell grants are supported. However, the proposal also includes a $3.9 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants are reduced by $96 million (16 percent).

Find charts with the ED numbers for FY17 compared to the President’s FY18 budget proposal and the overall federal investment in education over time from the Committee for Education Funding here.

The proposed FY18 budget for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) cuts $2.5 billion (21 percent) when compared to the FY17 levels appropriated by Congress. Some notable proposed cuts are outlined below:

  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) are reduced by over $1 billion (40 percent).
  • Apprenticeship grants are reduced by $5 million.

You can find a helpful table that compares FY17 appropriations to the President’s FY18 budget proposal for key programs under WIOA, DOL, ED, and more from the National Skills Coalition here.

Budget Events Draw Crowds, Questions

On Tuesday afternoon, ED held a briefing on the President’s budget (you can find the slide deck and more here). Secretary Betsy DeVos gave opening remarks, Erica Navarro, the Budget Service Director at ED, presented, and then the floor was open for questions. Many questions focused on how programs up for elimination would be phased out, questions to clarify specific numbers, and the rationale for particular cuts). When Advance CTE posed a question about the rationale behind the cut to the proposed $168 million (or 15 percent) to Perkins Basic State Grants, the response was that ED wanted to give Congress flexibility in the reauthorization process. In addition, we asked about the proposed $20 million increase to National Programs (which has historically been used for research and evaluation of CTE programs) and were provided with a similar answer to what appears in the ED Budget summary document: that it is meant to spur innovation in STEM CTE programs. The overall theme of this briefing was that “tough choices” had to be made.

On Wednesday, Secretary DeVos appeared in front of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee to discuss ED’s budget (you can watch the hearing here). In contrast to the day before, the main themes were state and local control, parental choice, and an emphasis on the idea that past approaches haven’t worked (see the written testimony from Secretary DeVos here). The hearing drew a large crowd and Members of Congress used the entire time allotted for the hearing for their questions, which focused on a wide variety of programs in the budget and the role of ED more broadly in regard to accountability. Representatives Womack (R-AR), Moolenaar (R-MI) and DeLauro (D-CT) all spoke in favor of CTE. Secretary DeVos recalled her visits to community colleges with CTE programs, discussed the importance of multiple pathways to success in the workforce, and reinforced her support of dual-enrollment programs, but did not address the proposed $168 million cut to Perkins Basic State Grants. Rep. DeLauro pointed out the irony of this at the end of the hearing, as have others, including AFT and the Atlantic.

What Would the Cut to Perkins Mean for you? Send Us Your Stories!

One of the most effective ways to illustrate to Members of Congress the importance of a strong investment in Perkins is real stories about what a cut to those funds would mean on the ground (you can find your state’s potential allocation in FY18 here – see page 21). What would a cut mean for your program? Could fewer students enroll? Would it mean that students will have to use outdated equipment? Send your stories about what cuts to Perkins would mean for you to Katie Fitzgerald, kfitzgerald@careertech.org and we will follow up with you about featuring your story in our communications.

ICYMI: Perkins Reauthorization Update

H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) was marked up by the House Education and the Workforce Committee last week. Find our updated summary and analysis here, which incorporates changes from the mark up.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

 

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