What a 15 Percent Cut to Perkins Really Means

Advance CTE asked its members and the readership of its Legislative Updates newsletter (sign up to receive it by checking “Advocacy and Federal Policy” here) what a 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant (as proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget) would mean for them. Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, students and educators from across the country wrote to us to let us know how devastating these cuts would be to programs across the country. Unsurprisingly, we heard that these cuts would severely impact every stakeholder involved in a successful CTE system – from students, to teachers, to communities – and their ability to address important issues – from student access to programs, to their ability to develop in-demand skills, to the health of the U.S. economy.

We plan to share these stories with the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees – the key decision makers about Perkins funding. Compelling, real-world stories have great impact on legislators. They pull on their heart strings and highlight the harsh reality that these cuts will result in a loss of opportunities for students and employers.

How Cuts Hurt Learners

“Creating my two games taught me things about computer science and coding that I never knew existed. The computer science classes that I’ve taken have given me a greater appreciation for technology and were so much fun in the process. High school wouldn’t be the same without them.” David, CTE Student in California

“Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of students interested in taking a foundations CTE course rise from 358 to 802.  In a school with around 1200 students, this is a significant increase.  No longer is CTE the place where students go to fill their schedule.  Students interested in engineering, computer science, pharmacy, etc are requesting to take our courses so that they can become better prepared for their future.” Kyle, CTE Professional in Alabama

“Because these funds are used in programs across the schools, it is accurate to say every one of the 1,600+ students in our schools has been supported by instructional materials purchased with Perkins funds.” – Jack, CTE Professional in California

“Next year…there will be three new CTE programs–Engineering, Biomedical, and Computer Science…With the 15 percent cut to [the] Perkins Basic State Grant…these pathways may be in jeopardy.” Linda, CTE Professional in Massachusetts

“While [Perkins funds are] a relatively small percentage of our budget, the funds support critical services that increase students’ likelihood of earning their diploma and a credential.” – Tony, CTE Professional in Ohio

How Cuts Affect Instructors

“We rely on these funds to partially offset the costs of employing the unsung heroes of secondary Career and Technical Education programs – our industry-experienced paraprofessionals.” – Jason, CTE Professional in Michigan

How Cuts Impact Communities

“It’s a local and national economic development issue that strengthens all communities. Critical and long standing Perkins funding for CTE programs should be fully restored and enhanced.” – Aiddy, CTE Professional in Iowa

“We have finally acknowledged the value of CTE and the resources it provides to our communities and youth.  Let’s not, again, go down the path of neglecting the core of our workforce.” – Lex, CTE Professional in California

How Cuts Harm Our Economy

“The lack of these funds would impair the ability of students to find employment in the current job market and affect industries’ ability to fill skilled positions.” – Connie, CTE Professional in Kansas

“[CTE] is the solution to filling a substantial portion of the workforce demand not only in Oklahoma, but nationally. As our nation faces the difficulty of meeting the needs of a skilled workforce, we should be investing in Perkins funding, not cutting resources which are core to educational, and workforce advancements.”  Marcie, CTE Professional in Oklahoma

“The Administration’s plan to cut Perkins funding for Career and Technical Education, will not only hurt career centers, high schools and  adult training centers it will be absolutely devastating  to our overall economic growth. The current shortage of skilled workers is already an issue; this would only intensify the shortage of skilled workers and hurt our nation’s youth and adults who are in desperate need of technical training… We as a country would be making a grave mistake to continue to cut Perkins funding.” – Scott, CTE Professional in Ohio

What can you do?  

Connect with your local press: Tell them about what CTE is doing in your state and how these cuts would impact your state. Here is a great example from Oklahoma.
Contact your members of Congress: Let them know that you oppose these proposed cuts by calling them via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or contacting them through the CTE Action Center, brought to you by our friends at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

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