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Posts Tagged ‘federal legislation’

Perkins Funding Maintained in House Proposal

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its FY12 bill yesterday. In it, the House proposes to maintain Perkins funding. Given the House’s stated goal of reducing federal spending, this is a tremendous victory for Perkins and CTE!

As we reported last week, the Senate also proposed level funding for Perkins in their appropriations bill, so there is a good chance that the final bill will reflect this consensus. However, this is not guaranteed, and we must continue to fight for CTE funding. I encourage you to call your Members of Congress and thank them for preserving Perkins funding in their respective draft bills, but also ask them to keep  Perkins level funded in the final bill.

I also encourage you to ask your business and industry partners to show their support for CTE funding by signing onto a business letter that we, along with ACTE, AACC, CCSSO and AASA, are planning to send up to Congress in October. If you have businesses in your state that want to sign on, please have them email me at nconneely@careertech.org.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Senate Passes Short-Term Funding Bill

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Last night the Senate voted to modify the continuing resolution (CR) passed by the House last week, removing additional funding for disaster relief. Because of the changes, the bill must now go back to the House for approval before the fiscal year ends on Friday. The House is in recess this week, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) has said that the chamber would approve a one week CR by unanimous consent on Thursday. This bill would give Congress until October 4 to pass a longer CR that would fund the government until November 18.

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, ESEA

Friday, September 16th, 2011

House Introduces Continuing Resolution to Fund Government through November

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government running beyond the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The bill, H.J.Res 79, would fund the government at a rate of $1.043 trillion. This figure represents the amount to which Congress and the Obama Administration agreed in the recent debt-ceiling deal. This is a 1.409% cut from the fiscal year 2011 level, and would mean a cut to Department of Education discretionary programs of $962 million. If passed, the CR will expire on midnight, November 18, 2011.

CTE Highlighted in House Hearing on School Accountability

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing, “Education Reforms: Examining the Federal Role in Public School Accountability” which examined the appropriate federal role in accountability, namely the Adequate Yearly Progress requirement in ESEA. During the hearing, Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, asked the panel how they think Congress should define “college ready.” The witnesses agreed that all students should be prepared for higher level math, science and reading, because many careers today require it. Alberto Carvalho from Miami-Dade Public Schools said that while every student should be prepared for college, it should not be done at the expense of “demonizing” CTE. He went to say that CTE in this country has been wasted and that we as a country need to recognize the value of CTE if we want to remain competitive.

Bills Introduced

Senate Republicans Introduce ESEA Bills

This week, a group of Republican Senators — Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), and Mark Kirk (IL) — introduced a series of bills that would reauthorize key pieces of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These bills would address what the Senators view as major problems with the current law by giving states and local school districts greater flexibility to:

• Improve state accountability systems
• Improve teacher and principal professional development programs
• Consolidate federal education programs to give state and local education leaders more freedom in meeting local needs
• Expand the number of charter schools

For more details on each bill, please see this press release from Sen. Alexander.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Obama Jobs Plan, FY12 Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, September 9th, 2011

President’s Jobs Package Focuses on Education

Last night, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama unveiled his proposal to create jobs and grow the economy. With unemployment hovering around 9%, the Administration hopes that this plan turn around the economy. Broadly, the American Jobs Act proposes to extend existing and implement new tax cuts, and invest in areas such as infrastructure, housing aid, and education. This $400 billion plan will be paid for using savings identified by the newly-appointed Congressional deficit reduction committee.

Related to education, and CTE in particular, there are some promising elements:

$35 billion to prevent public sector job layoffs – This includes educators, police officers and firefighters. Up to 280,000 education jobs are vulnerable to cuts this school year due to state budget troubles. The fund would support state and local efforts to retain teachers, counselors, tutors, and classroom assistants.
$30 billion school modernization fund – This fund would support efforts to modernize at least 35,000 public schools. The money could be used to update labs, renovate facilities and increase internet access. Priority will be given to rural schools and schools in the most need. The funding includes $5 billion dedicated to community colleges.
$5 billion for low-income youth and adults – This funding will focus on expanding employment opportunities for communities that have been hardest hit by the recession. Called the Pathways Back to Work Fund, it will make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will include:
o Support for summer and year-round jobs for youth
o Subsidized employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are unemployed
o Support for local efforts to implement promising work-based strategies and to provide training opportunities, including:
 Sector-based training programs
 Acquisition of industry-recognized credentials
 Career academies that provide students with academic preparation and training
 Free evening and weekend basic computer training classes, adult basic education and integrated basic education

FY 12 Appropriations
The House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education markup scheduled for this morning has been cancelled, with no new date announced. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) has said that the House will vote on a continuing resolution during the week of September 19 that it will likely run through November 18. Congress is hoping to finalize the appropriations process by that date and will use an omnibus appropriations bill, rather than separate bills by subcommittee.

In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee approved a funding level for Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee that is $17.9 billion above the $139.2 billion set by the House. While the $157.1 billion allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee is $23.7 billion below the Administration’s FY12 budget request and $300 million below FY1 levels, this is encouraging news. Despite the fiscal climate, it is clear that the Senate understands the importance of education programs.

Bills Introduced

Technical school training subsidy bill
Rep. John Barrow (GA) introduced H.R. 2851, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act to establish a technical school training subsidy program. The bill would provide competitive grants to the states to provide funds to local workforce investment boards for technical school training subsidies in local areas through the One-Stop system. Subsidies received by individuals shall be used to assist them in paying the cost of tuition for career and technical education at a technical school.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Webinar: The Ins and Outs of Advocating

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Recent cuts to the Perkins Act and the threat of further cuts to all discretionary programs reinforces the need to let Congress know that CTE programs are vitally important to preparing individuals for careers and turning around the economy.

Join NASDCTEc’s Public Policy Manager, Nancy Conneely, as she walks you through how to be an effective advocate for Perkins and CTE. While many use the terms “lobbying” and “advocating” interchangeably, there is a difference. So, even if your state prohibits you from lobbying, there are still things you can do to bring attention to the importance of CTE at a time when it is needed more than ever.

When: Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 2 p.m. EST
Where: http://nasdcte.adobeconnect.com/advocacy/

You do not need to register for this webinar. Simply log in using the link on September 14th.

By Nancy in Webinars
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Rebuilding America’s Schools Act Could Provide Funding for CTE Schools

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

There are two bills moving through Congress that, if passed, would provide funding for school renovation and repair. Rep. Charles Rrangel (NY) and Sen. John D. Rockefeller (WV) have introduced H.R. 2394 and S. 796, respectively. These two bills, also known as the Rebuilding America’s Schools Act, would extend funding for the qualified school construction bond program and the national limitation amounts for bonds issued under the qualified zone academy bond (QZAB) program through 2015. The amount of funding proposed in these bills is $1.4 billion. If the bills are not passed, funding will expire on December 31 of this year.

These competitive programs provide schools districts with noninterest-bearing bonds that can be used for school renovations and repairs as well as other improvements. The school district must pay the principal back within 15 years. A 10 percent match is required from a business or nonprofit partner which can be in cash or in-kind donations. The match partner works with the school district to set up a QZAB Academy that “prepares students for college or workforce.”

Schools are eligible for funds if 35 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals or if the school is located in an enterprise community or empowerment zone. The funds provide an opportunity for CTE schools that meet this criteria to update and renovate buildings as well as invest in equipment and up-to-date technology.

To voice your support for these bills, contact the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to the majority staff on the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways and Means Committee.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Deficit Committee, Bills Introduced

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Congress Appoints Deficit Reduction Committee

The Budget Control Act, which raised the debt ceiling earlier this month, requires Congress to select a bipartisan, bicameral committee to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Congressional leaders this week revealed their picks:

Senate

House

The co-chairs are Sen. Murray and Rep. Hensarling. The committee has until December 23 to vote on a final bill to reduce the deficit. If the committee cannot come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts or revenue, that will trigger $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts that will go into in 2013.

Because of the sheer number of cuts that need to be made to reduce the deficit, there is great potential for Perkins funding to be affected. And if we are not a part of the committee’s cuts, we may be impacted by the across the board cuts that will go into effect if the committee does not meet its $1.5 trillion target.

We encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress, but the committee members in particular, to ask them to preserve Perkins funding. Given that Perkins was cut in FY 2011, we know that we are vulnerable. Now is the time to tell Congress how those cuts and future cuts will hurt CTE students and programs.

Bills Introduced:

Hire, Train, Retain Act
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) introduced H.R. 2742, Hire, Train, Retain Act of 2011, which would provide tax incentives to employers for providing training programs for jobs specific to the needs of the employers.

METRICS Act
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Richard (CT) introduced S. 1464, Measuring and Evaluating Trends for Reliability, Integrity, and Continued Success (METRICS) Act of 2011. This bill is designed to help states implement integrated statewide education longitudinal data systems by awarding grants to state educational agencies.

Early Intervention for Graduation Success Act
Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) introduced S. 1495, Early Intervention for Graduation Success Act in an effort to curb dropout rates. This bill would amend ESEA to direct competitive grants to states and school districts with the lowest graduation rates for school dropout prevention activities.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Duncan to Grant Waivers from NCLB Requirements

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Due to Congress’ failure to act on reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it plans to offer states relief from some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in exchange for states’ support of the Administration’s education reform policies.

Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said during the announcement, “America’s future competitiveness is being decided today, in classrooms across the nation. With no clear path to a bipartisan bill in Congress, the President has directed us to move forward with an administrative process to provide flexibility within the law for states and districts that are willing to embrace reform.”

States will be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver from certain requirements in the law. These applications will be peer reviewed by individuals outside of the Department, but the final decision will belong to Secretary Duncan. The waivers would take effect during the 2011-2012 school year. Further details about the waivers will be released in September. However, rumors are swirling that states would be given waivers from NCLB’s 2014 proficiency deadline and more funding flexibility, in exchange for adopting college- or career-ready standards, creating differentiated accountability systems, and adopting teacher evaluation systems.

While the Secretary has clear legal authority to grant waivers from the law, it is not clear that he has the authority to make them conditional on support for the Administration’s reform policies.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: No Debt Deal Yet, Duncan Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee, WIA Postponed, No Timeline for ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, July 29th, 2011

No Deal Yet

Debt ceiling talks picked up this week as scores from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on debt legislation were released. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (NV) plan would reportedly cut the deficit by $2.2 trillion, more than Speaker Boehner’s (OH) legislation.

While support for Boehner’s plan seemed to increase throughout the week, the GOP could not persuade enough members to support the measure last night and a vote on Boehner’s bill was postponed indefinitely. Many Senators contend that the bill would be quickly rejected if and when it makes it to the Senate floor.

Congress has until next Tuesday, August 2nd to come to a deal before the country hits its default deadline.

Duncan Testified at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing this week, Senators were surprised to learn that spending at the Department of Education increased by 20 percent over the last two years. Education secretary Arne Duncan revealed that the increased spending was mostly due to the rise in Pell grant use, a conversation that dominated most of yesterday’s hearing. Duncan also brought up the Race to the Top and I3 funds as priorities, though several members questioned these approaches. Duncan stressed that all students need a well-rounded education and that youth and adults need “new skills for the jobs of tomorrow” but there was no mention of Career Technical Education as a method of delivering these goals.

View a webcast of the hearing here.

WIA Markup Postponed

The August 3rd markup of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) has been removed from the Senate calendar. A new date has not been set.

No Timeline Set for ESEA

Sen. Tom Harkin (IA), chairman of the Senate’s Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, was unable to give a timeline this week when asked about a schedule for marking up the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) bill. Harkin stated that his discussions with the HELP committee’s top Republican, Sen. Michael Enzi (WY), are progressing but they still disagree on major issues like accountability, teachers and comparability. While Harkin would like to see a bipartisan ESEA bill passed, this seems very unlikely to happen before the start of the new school year.

For the first time since Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s controversial offer to grant waivers to states on aspects of the old law, Sen. Harkin suggested that he may be open to Duncan’s waiver idea if no progress is made on reauthorizing ESEA.

Bills Introduced:

Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act

Rep. Judy Chu (CA) and Rep. David Loebsack (IA) reintroduced H.R. 2637, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act to encourage collaboration among communities, schools and social-service programs to find solutions for challenges faced by struggling students to reduce dropout rates. The bill would award grants to states, who would award subgrants to local consortia. Grantees may, but are not required to, use funds to implement dual enrollment programs, early college high schools, and strategies for dropout prevention. Grants may also be used to fund opportunities for job training, career counseling, internships, and Career Technical Education.

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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Perkins Cut Impacts Resonating in Media

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Last week, a New York Times article highlighting career technical education (CTE) brought to light the impacts funding cuts could have on programs that effectively prepare students for college and career. Seemingly, the blogosphere and local media are catching wind of this significant issue. This may be an opportunity for the CTE community to call attention to how these budget cuts are felt on the ground.

The FY11 funding bill cut $140.2 million from Perkins, including completely eliminating funding for Tech Prep and cutting Basic State Grants by $37.3 million. These cuts may disable programs that have results in preparing students for college and career – the very objectives the nation are working to achieve.

In Maryland, The Gazette, features an article: State losing 15 percent of career education grants, Maryland worries about impact on job market. The Gazette hones in on Thomas Edison High School of Technology in Silver Spring, which partners with the community college system to offer a comprehensive program in which students may earn a national Automotive Service Excellence certificate. The successful program may be in danger, according to the article.

Kathy Oliver, the Assistant State Superintendent for Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education told The Gazette that the funding cuts conflict with efforts to boost the nation’s economy.

“It’s a huge blow, and I’m somewhat perplexed why the administration, why the Congress, would take this action now when we know that one of the big issues to re-enegizing our economy is jobs,” Oliver said.

In the business and industry world, an article in at Sustainable Plant, an online publication and resource dedicated to advancing the sustainability of manufacturing, called on its community to support programs like CTE that help fuel the economy.

“More realize that if we’re going to keep a strong economy, it must have a strong feeder system. This is your chance to garner the influence and support you need to advance your operations. I hope that you can take advantage of this precious window of opportunity,” the article said.

How will budget cuts impact your CTE program’s ability to prepare students to succeed, and help cultivate a competitive workforce? Reach out to your local media today and tell your story.

By Erin in News
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