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

All Eyes on Perkins Reauthorization

May 16th, 2017

With the House Education and the Workforce Committee slated to mark up H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (the bill that would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)), this week, Career Technical Education (CTE) has been getting a lot of airtime in Washington, D.C. Updates about CTE events, bills, and support in Congress are below.

Watch the Action Live: H.R. 2353 Mark Up Tomorrow 

On Wednesday, May 17 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up H.R. 2353. At this time, members of the Committee will consider and discuss amendments to the legislation. You can watch the mark up tomorrow live here and follow Advance CTE on Twitter at @CTEWorks for up-to-the-minute updates. Advance CTE sent a letter to the Committee outlining our support of many provisions included in H.R. 2353 and our main outstanding concern around how the bill defines a secondary CTE concentrator.

Chairwoman Foxx Discusses CTE at AEI

On May 16, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx of the House Education and Workforce Committee delivered remarks, engaged in a brief discussion with Andy Smarick, the Morgridge Fellow in education at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and answered questions from the audience about CTE. Chairwoman Foxx encouraged the audience to be mindful of the language we use to describe CTE, emphasized the strong academic outcomes of CTE students, and reinforced the need to share success stories about programs that prepare students for the workforce (and you can find Advance CTE’s resources to promote CTE programs here). In addition, she highlighted how H.R. 2353 provides opportunities for state and local CTE leaders to engage and partner with business and industry. Highlights and a recording of the event can be found online here.

Senate “Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 34 Signatures in Support of Perkins

On May 9, a “Dear Colleague Letter” was sent to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request an increase in the investment in Perkins State Grants to $1.3 billion (it is currently funded at $1.17 billion) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 34 signatures from Senators across 25 states. Please check to see if your Senators signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note! Advance CTE will also be thanking these Senators and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for leading the charge to collect signatures!

College Transparency Act Introduced

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the College Transparency Act on May 15. The bill would “establish a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary student data system at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Colleges would report data to this new data system in lieu of the current, burdensome reporting mechanisms, and NCES would be responsible for presenting the information in a user-friendly manner for students and the public, while safeguarding student privacy” according to this one-pager released by the bill’s sponsors.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Perkins Reauthorization Bill Introduced

May 5th, 2017

Congress was busy this week with the introduction of two Career Technical Education (CTE) bills and the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) Omnibus Budget Bill. More on each is below.

Perkins Reauthorization Bill Introduced

As we announced yesterday, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was introduced by Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). The bipartisan bill builds on last year’s effort to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Act (H.R. 5587), which passed the House by a 405-5 margin in September 2016. Since that time, Advance CTE has been advocating for our members’ interests, which are reflected in Advance CTE’s Perkins Reauthorization Recommendations, in our meetings with Congress, coalition groups, and other partners. Advance CTE will provide additional information about how the new bill compares to H.R. 5587 as soon as possible.

Additionally, Advance CTE is excited to support the CTE Excellence and Equity Act (S. 1004), which was introduced on Tuesday by Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN) as well as Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The bill “would provide federal funding through a competitive grant program to support innovative approaches to redesigning the high school experience for students as schools develop curriculum, assess student performance and teach workplace skills through job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships” according to a press release from Senator Kaine’s office. Find a factsheet for the bill here.

FY17 Omnibus Bill Heads to President’s Desk

The FY17 Omnibus Measure, which included level-funding ($1,117,598,000) for Perkins Basic State Grants and provided allocations for many other programs, passed both chambers with bipartisan support this week. The House voted 309-118 to pass the bill and the Senate approved it on Thursday in a 79-18 vote. The President is expected to sign it today (his failure to do so would result in a government shutdown). Appropriators are now considering the FY18 budget and the President is expected to release a full budget later this month.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Perkins Level-Funded in FY17 Omnibus Measure

May 3rd, 2017

Late Sunday night, Congressional appropriators released a Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Omnibus package (which comprises the 11 outstanding bills that need to pass to fund the government through FY17). Congress must vote on the measure by Friday, May 5 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

The Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill includes the following allocations:

  • Perkins Basic State Grants remain level-funded at $1,117,598,000. This amount has remained constant since FY14 and is a restoration of cuts that were part of the continuing resolution. We know you are anxious to find out your final Perkins allocation. Once the omnibus is finalized, the U.S. Department of Education budget services will need to run the federal to state formula to determine the state-by-state allocations. So, look for those soon.
  • Student Support and Academic Achievement state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), receive $400 million. These block grants 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 remain funded at their FY16 level and year-round Pell grants are reinstated. However, the bill includes a $1.3 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) remain level-funded at $2,709,832,000.
  • Apprenticeship programs funded through the Department of Labor see an increase from the FY16 allocation of $90 million to $95 million in FY17, with a direction to “build on the success of the ApprenticeshipUSA program” and “prioritize grant applications that engage, recruit, and serve women and other under-represented populations.”

You can find a helpful table with these numbers and more from the National Skills Coalition here.

Once Congress approves the FY17 Omnibus bill, it is likely that appropriators will turn their attention to the FY18 budget.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Current and Former Education Secretaries Talk Career Technical Education (CTE)

April 14th, 2017

This week has been relatively quiet, the Senate is in recess until April 24 and the House is out through April 25. However, Career Technical Education (CTE) is still making a buzz across the country, with current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussing CTE.

Secretary DeVos Signals Support for CTE  

On April 11, Secretary DeVos delivered a statement after participating in the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum. The highlight of these remarks was her recognition of CTE, “The best workforce is an educated workforce, and this Administration is committed to increasing access to career and technical education for college students and adults alike. By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.” Find the full statement here.

Arne Duncan Shines Light on Chicago CTE Programs

In an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on April 11, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan highlights local CTE programs writing, “Today, we have career and technical education programs like the Manufacturing Connect program at Austin College and Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago that trains students in advanced manufacturing. They get paid work experience while still in high school and have jobs paying as much as $30,000 a year waiting when they graduate — a good wage for a young person coming out of high school” and goes on to describe how these programs help students plan for their futures.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

140 Members of Congress Sign on to Support Perkins

April 10th, 2017

News This Week:

Bipartisan support for a strong investment in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was the top highlight of the week, but we’ll also dig into a recent happenings on the Hill, news and resources out of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and updates on ESSA state plans and budget resources.

“Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 140 Signatures in Support of Perkins

On April 6, a “Dear Colleague” Letter was sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request a strong investment in Perkins in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 140 signatures from Members across 38 states and shows the strong bipartisan support for CTE in the House (we anticipate a similar letter will be circulated in the Senate later this spring). Please check to see if your Member of Congress signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note!  We will also be thanking these Members and the House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) for leading the charge to collect signatures!

Go to High School, Go to College Act Reintroduced

On April 6, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Go to High School, Go to College Act, which would “make college more affordable for low-income students by letting them earn college credits while still in high school, funded through the Pell Grant program” according to the press release for the bill.

DOL Announces New Toolkit, Grants

On March 28, DOL released a toolkit to assist in the implementation of WIOA. Tools include a Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cost Allocation Analyses and could be used to guide local development processes.

On April 4, DOL announced $5.7 million in grants for states to build and improve upon their workforce databases. State Workforce Agencies are eligible to apply for funds, part of the sixth round of DOL’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative.

U.S. Department of Education (ED) Releases ESSA State Plan Peer Review Criteria:

The criteria notes that ED “will conduct a peer review only of the portions of a State plan related to Title I, Part A (ESEA sections 1111(a)(4) and 8451(d)); Title III, Part A (ESEA section 3113(c)); and Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act; (section 724(a) of the McKinney-Vento Act).” Department staff will review all other sections of state plans.

Hearing Highlights Skills Gap, Need to Invest in CTE

“Invest in career and technical education. Strengthen the direct funding for community colleges and career and technical education programs that play a crucial role in training the nation’s middle-skill workforce” – this testimony from Zoe Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation was part of a hearing, “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs” held by the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on April 4th. The committee heard testimony from Douglas J. Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council who focused his remarks on the “skills mismatch” facing the US and discussed ideas for how to “improve and invigorate WIOA”. Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale Institute Fellow, Urban Institute testified as well, highlighting promising practices in job training and notes that WIOA “includes provisions and changes that should improve the workforce development system and continue to build evidence about ‘what works.’” These hearings are increasingly important as Congress gears up to make appropriations decisions for both the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) and the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18).

Looking for Tools to Communicate About the FY17 and FY18 Budget Proposals?

The Committee for Education Funding has updated its funding charts, including the one to the right demonstrating how the President’s FY17 and FY18 proposals (excluding Pell Grants) compare to 2010 levels.  Find charts and additional federal budget resources here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

And They’re Off! Early ESSA Plans Signal Enthusiasm for Career Readiness

April 6th, 2017

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorized in 2015 under President Obama, affords states great opportunity to promote career readiness by updating state accountability systems, providing supports for teachers and leaders, and ensuring students can access a “well-rounded education,” including opportunities such as Career Technical Education (CTE). With the first submission window for ESSA plans now officially open, several states have stepped up to the plate, signaling a new era of career readiness.

Amid Transitions in Washington, States Move Forward as Planned

This week’s submission window comes after recent changes to the ESSA plan submission process threatened to derail the timeline. After Congress exercised its rarely-used Congressional Review Act authority earlier this year to revoke certain ESSA regulations, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos urged states to stay the course and continue their implementation efforts as planned. Earlier in March, Sec. DeVos released an updated template reorganizing the structure of the state plan and eliminating a few requirements from the Obama administration’s version, providing additional flexibility to states. While this reduced the turnaround time for states to prepare their final plans, states are permitted to submit plans as late as May 3 to provide the governor 30 days to review the final version, as required by statute.

States took these changes in stride, though some are reconsidering their approach to public data reporting. The accountability regulations repealed by Congress earlier this year encouraged the use of a “summative rating” to differentiate school performance. Now that the rule no longer applies, many states are rolling back A-F school report cards in favor of multi-measure dashboards. These changes are largely a response to criticism from local superintendents and other stakeholders who claim that summative reporting is overly simplistic and fails to provide a nuanced picture of school quality.

At Least Ten of First Eighteen States to Count Career Readiness in their Accountability Systems

Eighteen states have signaled they will submit ESSA plans during the initial review window, which opened on April 3. Of those, nine have already submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education. While Montana and Ohio originally opted to submit by the April 3 deadline, they have since delayed their plans to allow more time for stakeholder engagement. They, along with the remaining states, will submit in September.

A review of draft public-comment plans reveals some promising strategies to strengthen CTE and career preparation opportunities. Of the 18 states submitting plans this week, at least ten plan to use some form of career readiness indicator in their accountability systems. These include:

  • Connecticut, which plans to adopt three measures of college and career readiness, including preparation for coursework, preparation for exams and postsecondary entry. These measures examine preparation for two-and four-year colleges as well as participation and success in CTE courses and workforce experiences.
  • Michigan, where policymakers exceeded federal requirements and identified a total of seven different indicators (ESSA requires five). Under the state’s plan, the accountability system will measure “Advanced Coursework,” to include successful completion of dual enrollment, middle early college, CTE, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework. The Advanced Coursework indicator, along with other non-academic indicators, will together be weighted at 14 percent of the total score.
  • Nevada, which aims to adopt a “College and Career Readiness” indicator measuring ACT assessment scores, completion of college credit bearing coursework (AP, IB and dual enrollment) and industry-recognized credential attainment. That indicator will make up 25 percent of the state’s overall accountability score.

Other states such as Colorado plan to adopt additional indicators a later date once better systems have been developed to reliably collect and report data. Colorado plans to convene its accountability workgroup again this spring and will explore possible measures of career readiness, including completion of advanced coursework, students graduating with college credit or an industry credential, and post-graduation employment. 

Additional career readiness strategies are present throughout state draft plans. In North Dakota, state policymakers singled out ESSA’s “well-rounded education” requirements to promote CTE, competency-based learning, personalized learning and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) programs. The state plans to use ESSA’s Student Support and Academic Achievement Grants (authorized under Title IV Part A) to strengthen well-rounded education opportunities and prepare students for postsecondary success.

And in Maine, the Department of Education plans to continue its ongoing Intersections Workshops, which bring together academic and CTE teachers to identify intersections across different content standards. This work was originally started after the state adopted a competency-based education system in 2012.

The first round of state ESSA plans indicates enthusiasm and willingness to leverage federal policy to support career readiness. And even states that do not currently have the technical capacity to do so are taking steps to adopt such measures. With months remaining until the second submission deadline in September, we encourage states to examine ESSA’s increased flexibility and seize the opportunity to strengthen career readiness systems statewide.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

CTE and the Budget Continue to Get Attention

April 4th, 2017

This week we’ll dig into a hearing featuring CTE champions, Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent appearances, President Trump’s new Office of Innovation, and his proposed cuts to the current 2017 Fiscal Year budget.

Advance CTE Recognized as CTE Champions Testify on the Hill:

On March 29, Ms. Judith Marks, the CEO of Siemens, went to bat for CTE and highlighted Advance CTE’s forthcoming communications research that will help states combat commonly held negative perceptions and stereotypes of CTE (see her written statement here). This testimony was part of a hearing, “Closing the Skills Gaps and Boosting U.S. Competitiveness,” held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Colonel Michael Cartney (USAF, retired), President of the Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota, also testified about the skills gap and provided a  written statement that highlighted how Lake Area Tech is focused on closing it. Notably, the college also won the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Secretary Betsy DeVos Visits Valencia College, Brookings Institution:

On March 24, Secretary DeVos visited Valencia College in Florida, a college known for its dual-enrollment program, and hosted a roundtable discussion with students. During the discussion, Secretary DeVos said that year-round Pell grants are “definitely on the plate to be considered.” Other themes that arose during the discussion included efficiency, flexibility, and student advising. A list of programs that Secretary DeVos has highlighted can be found here.

On March 29, Secretary DeVos participated in an event that released the Education Choice and Competition Index. She emphasized her support of school choice in both her prepared remarks and the moderated question and answer session.

New White House Office of American Innovation:

On March 27, President Trump announced the creation of the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI), which will be led by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. The new office will recommend “policies and plans that improve Government operation and services.” While official proposals have not yet been released, some early priorities have emerged, including “developing “workforce of the future” programs.”

Budget Update:

As noted last week, the ongoing Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed late last year is scheduled to expire on April 28. At that time, Congress will need to pass an omnibus budget bill or another CR to continue funding for the remainder of FY17. On March 23, the Administration outlined $3 billion in possible cuts to education funding for FY17, most of which come to programs that were eliminated by ESSA or had been zeroed out in the FY18 “skinny budget.” As analysis of the “skinny budget” continues, more groups weigh in, including charter school CEOs on federal support for schools and the Center for American Progress on investment in manufacturing.

While we do not yet know the funding levels for Perkins for the remainder of FY17 or the proposal for FY18, what we do know is that CTE is currently chronically underfunded. Between FY06 and FY16, Perkins funding declined by $171 million, or a 27% reduction in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2006 to today. To find out more about why CTE can’t afford any additional cuts, see our new factsheet here.

As for Perkins reauthorization, there has been activity at the congressional staff level and they are hopeful official action will take place in the coming weeks.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

 

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