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.”
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