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Posts Tagged ‘federal legislation’

Legislative Update: New Sequester Cut to FY13; President’s Budget for FY14; Senate Passes FY14 Budget Proposal

Friday, March 29th, 2013

New Sequester Cut to FY13

We reported last week that the Senate and House approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide funding for federal programs through the remainder of FY 13. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the CR into law. Since our last report, both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have analyzed the CR to determine whether or not the enacted legislation has exceeded the budget caps. While the CBO predicts the budget caps will not be exceeded in FY13 under the CR, the OMB predicts that the budget caps will be exceeded. As the OMB has sole authority on this matter, they are requiring an additional 0.2 percent cut to non defense discretionary (NDD) spending to ensure the budget caps are not exceeded. The expected 5 percent sequestration cuts will then be made.

Since the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) falls under the NDD category, Perkins funding will be reduced for FY 13. This means that the previous tables provided by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) are no longer accurate. Due to the unforeseen additional 0.2 percent cut, OVAE will have to run their formulas again to determine state allocations for July 1, 2013. We will pass along any additional information to members as it is provided to us.

President’s Budget for FY14

After several delays in its release date, the White House has announced that President Obama’s budget will be made public on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. We will review the President’s budget closely to see what is proposed for Career Technical Education (CTE), as CTE was featured so prominently in his State of the Union address.

Senate Passes FY14 Budget Proposal

The Senate has now passed S.Con.Res.8, their proposal for the FY 14 budget. The budget passed the Senate by 50 votes to 49, with four Democrats voting against the proposal. As reported in a previous blog post, S.Con.Res.8 would replace the sequester cuts from FY14 with a balanced deficit reduction package. This would mean that NDD spending in FY14, which includes Perkins funding, would be at much higher levels than what is proposed in the House Budget, H.Con.Res.25. Budget proposals generally do not provide recommendations for program level increases or decreases but instead provide a broad framework, an overall cap on spending, and guidelines for where investments should be made. Therefore, the exact impact of either proposal on Perkins funding is unclear at this time.

Now that both the House and the Senate budgets have passed, a Conference Committee will be held to discuss differences between the House and Senate proposals and for compromise to be reached. After that, the appropriations process will begin, which will provide more details on how each party would fund NDD spending. As soon as more details are available, they will be shared with members.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

By David in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Passes FY14 Budget Proposal; House Passes Continuing Resolution

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

House Passes FY14 Budget Proposal
The House yesterday moved to pass H.Con.Res.25 to establish the budget for the U.S. government for FY 14 and set forth appropriate budgetary levels for FY 15 through FY 23. Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal for FY14, with 221 votes cast in favor of the measure and 207 votes against it. Ten Republicans voted against passage. As reported in a previous blog post, H.Con.Res.25 proposes an 11.7 percent reduction in overall non defense discretionary (NDD) spending in FY14, which includes Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) funding. The Senate is currently debating amendments to their own budget proposal (S.Con.Res.8).Once the final version passes in the Senate, a Conference Committee will be held to discuss differences between the House and Senate proposals and for compromise to be reached.

Houses Passes Continuing Resolution
The House yesterday also passed the Senate-approved Continuing Resolution. This decision means the bill is passed to President Obama to sign. The bill, which will presumably be signed into law, would not require any additional cuts to Perkins other than the already agreed upon 5 percent cut from sequestration.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

By David in Public Policy
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Duncan Outlines ED Priorities for Second Term

Monday, November 19th, 2012

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) last week in his first detailed speech since President Obama’s reelection. In his remarks, Duncan outlined areas of priority for the U.S. Department of Education over the next four years.

Duncan, who is presumed to stay for a second term with the Obama Administration, made clear that his focus will continue to be innovation. School Improvement Grants, which the Secretary noted spurred measurable improvements for two-thirds of participating schools last term, will be a priority. Other priorities for improvement include:

Duncan made clear that the Department of Education will not focus heavily on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) unless Congress takes action to reauthorize the act. As for the ESEA waivers currently approved in many states, Duncan’s work will continue and will possibly include district-level ESEA waivers.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Perkins Reauthorization Blueprint Discussion of State-Level Implications

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

During this session, officials from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education walked through the Obama Administration’s blueprint for Perkins reauthorization and the proposed reform models that they believe will positively impact the way that states develop, administer, implement, and evaluate local CTE programs. These reforms include things such as mandatory local consortia, within state competition to distribute funds, common definitions for accountability, and state conditions for receipt of funds.

NASDCTEc supports the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation — as is reflected in our recently released Federal Policy Priorities. We would like to see a greater emphasis in the next federal CTE legislation on the strong work that the community is doing around programs of study, a link to labor market needs, greater collaboration between partners, stronger and more effective accountability linkages, and additional funding for innovation.

We do, however, have some concerns about the details in the Blueprint, some of which were voiced by attendees during the question and answer portion of the session. For example, attendees remarked that if the next Perkins includes common measures, it is important that there is a way to track students across states. States also asked for federal support and funding to implement this effectively.

Regarding consortia, we heard about the structure that Minnesota is using for consortia where secondary and postsecondary partners are each fiscal agents, which seems to be working for that state. However, there was a variety of concerns about consortia, including the fear that those with the most resources would have better applications than those with fewer resources. Others pointed out that consortia with fewer resources also cannot afford technology to link partners across the state. There was also concern that the move to consortia will limit students to regional opportunities, rather than statewide programs.

In regards to the focus on in-demand industries, some attendees asked the Department for more assistance to better serve areas in their state where there are no job opportunities in in-demand industries, and to help bridge the disconnect between high poverty areas and in-demand local industries.   Others were concerned that the focus on in-demand and high growth industries will exclude some states’ core industries.

Funding was another area that attendees were worried about. There was fear that the shift to competitive funding will create winners and losers among local programs. Some also pointed out that local teachers and administrators do not have time to work on applications for competitive grants because they are busy serving students. Competitive funding was seen as appropriate for an innovation fund, but not the Basic State Grant. Attendees also stated that taking 10 percent out of the Basic State Grant for an innovation fund means that fewer CTE programs will be funded.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Perspectives from the Hill

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday afternoon we were joined by a panel of Congressional staffers who shared with attendees their outlook on budget topics, as well as the status of a number of education and workforce related bills. We were reminded that the remainder of the year is going to be a challenging one for Congress as they tackle issues such the national debt, sequestration, and tax cuts that are set to expire in December. The combination of these fiscal problems will undoubtedly lead to cuts in many federal programs.  Given that it is an election year, most of these issues will not be taken up until the lame duck session in November and December.

Because Perkins is not due for reauthorization, Congress is focused on other programmatic bills, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Child Development Block Grant. There has been a lot of action around ESEA in both chambers this session, but things have seemed to slow done. The outlook was that it probably would not be reauthorized this year. While there has been a flurry of activity on the Workforce Investment Act in the House, it is unlikely that the bill will progress much further because of stalled negotiations on the Senate side.

However, the panelists did give their perspective on Perkins-related issues. As far as the Obama Administration’s Blueprint is concerned, it could be a discussion starting point for Members of Congress as they begin talking about reauthorization. More specifically, the proposal for competitive funding is not popular in Congress, while there is agreement that accountability and data needs to be stronger. Congress would also like to see better alignment with other federal programs such as ESEA and the Higher Education Act.

All of the panelists stressed that they want to hear from you! Constituent input is very important as they decide how to allocate federal dollars most effectively, and as they work on bills such as Perkins. So if you haven’t already, contact your Member of Congress now and let him or her know how critical CTE and Perkins is. Preliminary conversations about Perkins could be starting this year, and Congress needs to hear from the field about what is working, what is not working, and changes you would like to see made.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, National Career Clusters Institute, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes WIA Reauth Bill

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. The bill represents large scale changes to the current WIA program. The bill was approved by a party line vote of 23 to 15. There is no word on when the bill will go to the floor.

The bill proposes to consolidate approximately 30 existing workforce and training programs into a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund, and it would give Governors the power to consolidate even more programs under a unified state plan. The bill would also require states and locals to use common performance measures for all workforce development programs.

As we previously reported, an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), which was merged into H.R. 4297, allowed states to submit a unified state plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. After hearing from the CTE community, new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as one program whose funds cannot be consolidated into the Workforce Investment Fund.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act also proposes changes to the Job Corps program to ensure that CTE and job training offered under that program is focused on in-demand occupations and that disadvantaged youth receive a regular high school diploma and/or a postsecondary credential that prepares them for employment.

Democrats on the Committee are not supportive of the bill, and offered a substitute bill as an amendment. Their bill focused on career pathways in high demand industries that lead to industry recognized credentials and postsecondary attainment. It would also expand the role of community colleges in job training. The Democrats’ amendment was voted down along party lines.

A summary of H.R. 4297 can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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CTE IN THE NEWS: Career Education Plan from Obama Administration Unlikely to Bear Fruit for a Year or More

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education unveiled by the Obama Administration this week surfaced questions among key education and policy stakeholders; they rose issue regarding the timing of the document and effectiveness of its funding proposal, according to a recent Huffington Post article.

The article highlighted NASDCTEc’s concerns over the Perkins Blueprint, particularly relative to the proposal that would shift Perkin’s longstanding formula funding into competitive funding. Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director, noted how elimination of formula funding would leave states and regions with little or no monies to support areas that likely need the most help with training and educating CTE students for jobs.

“The details worry us,” said Green, in the article. “The competitive approach has the potential effect of really disadvantaging rural areas … that have smaller staffs and no full-time grant writers.”

NASDCTEc this week released a statement noting concerns of the Perkins Blueprint.

Echoing concerns over the Perkins Blueprint funding proposal, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) said in a statement that she “supports the Administration’s push to build on the successes of CTE programs,” but has “concerns with the funding mechanisms being proposed,” according to the article.

Finally, the article speculated that the Perkins Blueprint will likely not see much traction during this election year, adding that “no congressman has indicated he or she would sponsor a CTE reform bill along the lines of Obama’s proposal.”

“It’s part of a campaign strategy to emphasize employment,” said Jack Jennings, a former longtime Democratic congressional education staffer. “That’s Obama’s weak spot.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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Department’s Perkins Reauthorization Proposal Raises Questions and Concerns

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Yesterday Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier unveiled Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. This Blueprint outlines the Obama Administration’s plan for reauthorizing the Perkins Act, and revolves around the following four themes:

  1. Alignment: Effective alignment between high-quality CTE programs and labor market needs to equip students with 21st-century skills and prepare them for in-demand occupations in high-growth industry sectors;
  2. Collaboration:  Strong collaborations among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry partners to improve the quality of CTE programs;
  3. Accountability: Meaningful accountability for improving academic outcomes and building technical and employability skills in CTE programs for all students, based upon common definitions and clear metrics for performance; and
  4. Innovation:  Increased emphasis on innovation supported by systemic reform of state policies and practices to support CTE implementation of effective practices at the local level.

 

While we support the themes encompassed in the Blueprint, we worry that the details related to each of these areas could have an adverse affect on CTE programs. For example, the proposal to award funds to consortia on a competitive basis could result in decreased, inequitable student access to high-quality CTE programs. You can read our joint statement with ACTE here. We will provide more detailed analysis in the coming days.

For more information from the Department of Education, you can access a summary of the Blueprint, as well as their press release.

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Career and Technical Education Leaders Respond to Department of Education Perkins Blueprint

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, at Des Moines Area Community College, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the Administration’s proposal for Perkins reauthorization. NASDCTEc, together with ACTE, issued a statement immediately following the release:

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On April 19, 2012, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan unveiled Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education, outlining the Obama Administration’s proposal for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) appreciate the Department’s focus on Perkins, and Career and Technical Education (CTE), at a time when many industries face a shortage of well qualified skilled workers. However, some of the details in the Blueprint raise serious concerns.

While we support the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation—we worry that the details in the Blueprint could have an adverse affect on CTE programs and result in decreased, inequitable student access to high-quality CTE programs. As the reauthorization process moves forward, CTE stakeholders across the country are looking forward to providing input to develop a new law that will best meet the needs of CTE students and our nation’s economy.

We believe that a new CTE law should provide sufficient resources to ensure that all students have access to high-quality CTE, beginning early in a student’s education with career awareness and broad knowledge and building pathways to more specific career-readiness skills through connections among secondary education, postsecondary education, and the labor market. To achieve this goal, we believe it is critical that the new law focus on improving program quality by building the capacity of secondary and postsecondary educational institutions to prepare all students for success in current and emerging in-demand career pathways.

Recent data prove that CTE is making the difference in the lives of students, in communities and for businesses all across our nation. We are eager to work with the Department of Education, the Obama Administration and Congress to develop federal policy and legislation that builds on strengths, expands opportunities and access for more students to be successful in college and careers, and helps keep our nation’s economy strong and prosperous.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Congress is on recess this week and next for the Easter and Passover holidays. They will reconvene on Monday April 16, 2012.

 

Dear Colleague Letters Call for Investment in Perkins

Members of both the House and Senate have signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters, asking the appropriators in their respective chambers to invest in Perkins during the FY13 appropriations process. The Senate letter, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), was signed by 22 Senators. In the House, the letter was authored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and Jim Langevin (RI), and was signed by a total of 65 Representatives.

At a time when Congress is looking to cut spending in all areas, letters such as these show appropriators the level of support among members for individual programs. While it is hard to predict what will happen with funding for any programs this year, we hope that these letters will resonate with the Appropriations Committees and will stave off further cuts to Perkins.

Bills Introduced

Rebuild America Act

Senator Tom Harkin (IA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has introduced S. 2252, the Rebuild America Act, aimed at restoring the middle class through investments in education, infrastructure and job training, and changes to the tax code. Among other things, the bill would:

 

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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