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Workforce Wednesdays: Get Involved!

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Join NASDCTEc and the more than 40 other national organizations that make up the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce for “Workforce Wednesdays,” each Wednesday in August.

CTE and workforce development programs are an important part of the nation’s economic recovery and job creation effort, yet our nation’s investments in the skills of its people are at risk. Non-defense discretionary programs—including education and workforce programs—face at least $55 billion in funding cuts as of January 2013 due to the Budget Control Act, and efforts to protect funding for defense programs could double the size of these cuts. Key policymakers have even proposed eliminating dozens of federal workforce programs. It is critically important that we help policymakers understand why investments in CTE and workforce development programs are important and how these investments impact their local communities.

Participate in Workforce Wednesdays by taking action—it can be as simple as calling your Senators or Representative or, even better, arranging a site visit  — but just take action on one or more Wednesdays during the month of August. Stand united with NASDCTEc and the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce in support of adequate funding for CTE, adult education and workforce training programs!

Members of Congress will be in their home districts during the month of August.  Contact your Senators and Representative today to arrange an in-district meeting, a site visit, or engage in a direct conversation with in-district staff to let them know where you stand on funding for CTE and training programs. Or let your local community know why these investments matter by submitting an op-ed or letter to the Editor to your local paper. What you do isn’t as important as that you do something, so take action as part of Workforce Wednesdays in August!


RESOURCES

Find Your Members of Congress

Advocacy Tip Sheet

FY13 Funding Request Sheet

Leave Behinds and One-Pagers

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Obama Administration Must Release Details of Sequestration Cuts Within 30 Days

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

President Obama today signed into law the Sequestration Transparency Act, which requires the Administration to detail what the $110 billion in sequestration cuts will look like in Fiscal Year 2013. The Administration must issue its report to Congress within 30 days. The bill was a show of bipartisanship in Congress at time when the House and Senate have a hard time agreeing on anything. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent last month and passed the House by a vote of 414-2. Congress is expected to try to negotiate an alternative to sequestration during the lame duck session that will save $1.2 trillion over ten years.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Sequestration

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

House and Senate Continue to Spar Over Sequestration

Speaker of the House John Boehner along with other members of the House Republican leadership sent a letter this week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, urging the Senate to agree to a deal that would prevent sequestration just for defense. Senator Reid responded in letter that read in part:

Democrats have no intention of giving up on balanced deficit reduction. At the same time, we fully agree about the importance of avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff. Toward that end, the Senate recently passed legislation that cuts taxes for 114 million middle class families. By not extending tax breaks that only go to the very wealthy, the bill also produces critical savings that could be used to suspend sequestration as part of a comprehensive deficit reduction package.

Congress is scheduled to go on recess today until Monday September 10th. When they return, they are expected to pass a six month continuing resolution, but will not tackle sequestration until after the election.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Congress to Pass Six Month CR in September

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner announced today that they have reached a deal on a six-month continuing resolution (CR), which will fund the government at $1.047 trillion, which is the level set for FY 13 in the Budget Control Act (BCA). While no other details have been announced, staff will work through August recess to draft a bill. One issue to note is that the funding level set by the BCA is $4 billion more than the FY12 level, so the CR cannot simply fund programs at last year’s levels. It is unclear how Congress will allocate the additional funding for the six month CR.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Alternative Certification, Career Academies

Friday, July 27th, 2012

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Alternative Certification

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing this week to examine alternative certification of teachers. The topic is a timely one given its connection to defining highly qualified teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act. In 2010, Congress passed legislation that allowed students enrolled in alternative certification programs to be considered “highly qualified teachers.” The House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill seeks to extend this definition for two more years.

There was general support for alternative routes to certification on both sides of the aisle during the hearing. Chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) had this to say:

Alternative certification routes help address teacher shortages in particular geographic areas and subject matter, as well as strengthen the overall quality of the teaching profession. While Republicans know there is no one-size-fits-all federal solution to help put more effective teachers in the classroom, supporting the availability and acceptance of alternative certification programs is one way the public and private sectors can join together to ensure more students have access to a quality education from an extraordinary educator.

Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, agreed that alternative certification programs hold a lot of promise, but that there need to be policies in place to ensure that they are “high quality, innovative, and effective,” which also holds true for traditional teacher preparation programs. She suggested that Congress focus on teacher effectiveness rather than alternative routes to certification.

More Details on Career Academies Proposal

Last week Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the National Academy Foundation’s NEXT Conference about the President’s FY13 budget proposal to invest $1 billion in career academies. Funding at this level could increase the number of career academies by 3,000 and serve an additional 500,000 students.

According to Duncan, $200 million in grants to states would be available in FY13, and $400 million would be available in both FY14 and FY15. Grants to would total $4 million each to states, and would be given over a three year period. States would distribute those funds competitively to locals.

As part of the grant program, the Department of Education is proposing a definition of “career academy” that each state must use for the in-state competition:

  1. A career academy is a secondary school program as organized as a small learning com­munity or school within a school to provide the support of a personalized learning environment.
  2. The academy must begin in ninth grade and combine credit-bearing academic and techni­cal curriculum.
  3. The academy must organize curriculum around a career theme like those proposed by NAF — hospitality and tourism, IT, health, sci­ence, and engineering — and be aligned with states’ college- and career-ready standards.
  4. The academy must provide work-based learning and career exploration activities through partnerships with local employers.
  5. The academy must articulate entrance re­quirements of postsecondary education programs to ensure students graduate from high school ready to pursue a higher education degree or credential.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Sequestration: Resources and New Information

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The information surrounding the impact and logistics of sequestration is continually in flux. With little guidance from the Office of Management and Budget, a number of policy groups are speculating about what will happen in 2013. We also know that states and locals are bracing for the worst, and trying as best they can to prepare for an approximately 8 percent cut to federally funded programs. To help you better understand the potential impact of sequestration, we have pulled together a number of resources from various sources.

Based on estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Education Association, an 8.4% cut to Perkins in FY13 would amount to a $94 million cut. A cut of this magnitude would bring funding down to 1999 levels at time when there are 2.5 million more students enrolled in CTE than there were in 1999. There is however, some good news. We had originally believed that sequestration would cut Perkins advance appropriations immediately on January 3, 2013, but the Department released a clarifying memo on Friday that read in part:

If Congress does not act to avoid sequestration, and assuming the 2013 appropriations for these four accounts are structured similarly to past appropriations (which they are under the pending House and Senate appropriations bills), the Department will take the sequester from funds that would become available in July 2013 for school year 2013-14, not from the 2012 advance appropriations available in October 2012. The amount of the reduction will be calculated by applying the sequester percentage (to be determined by the Office of Management and Budget) to the fiscal year 2013 budgetary resources from both the 2012 advance appropriations and the 2013 regular appropriations that are available for the four accounts. The calculated sequester amount will then get subtracted from the July 2013 funding. The net effect will be to cut the funding level for the programs in the four accounts with advance funding by the same percentage as all other programs, projects, and activities.

We also want to bring to your attention the results of a survey conducted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) on the impact of sequestration on schools. The overwhelming majority of respondents (90 percent) said that neither their state nor their district would be able to absorb or offset the sequestration cuts. Fifty-four percent said that they have built in the potential cuts to their 2012-2013 school year budgets. The areas that are most likely to be affected, according to survey respondents, are: professional development, after-school programs, laying off instructional staff, and increasing class size.

What would sequestration do to CTE in your state? As we go up on the Hill and advocate against cuts to Perkins, we need to be able to share your stories. Please send any impact data on an 8.4% cut to Nancy Conneely at nconneely@careertech.org

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, NCLB Waivers

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Victory for Perkins Funding in House Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee approved its FY13 bill this week by a vote of 8-6. We are happy to announce that Perkins was level funded in this bill! Thank you to everyone who contacted their Member of Congress in support of CTE and Perkins.

Because the House and Senate bills are approximately $7 billion apart, there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming months before the two chambers can agree on final spending levels. However, because Perkins was level funded in both the House and Senate bills, we are optimistic that it will remain level.

The bill will now move to the full House Appropriations Committee, likely on Wednesday July 25.

Six Additional States and the District of Columbia Receive NCLB Waivers

The Obama Administration announced this week that six more states – Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon and South Carolina – and the District of Columbia have received NCLB waivers that give them flexibility in meeting performance targets under NCLB. This latest round of recipients brings the total number of states with NCLB waivers to 32 plus the District of Columbia. Additional information on state requests and other documents can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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House to Mark Up Education Spending Bill this Wednesday

Monday, July 16th, 2012

As we’ve reported several times over the last few weeks, the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees Perkins funding has pushed back their mark up of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education funding bill. The Subcommittee has now scheduled the mark up for this Wednesday July 18.

If your Representative is a member of the Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee, we urge you contact them today and ask that they maintain Perkins Act funding. Because the House’s allocation for education and labor programs is lower than that of the Senate, it is even more important that House members hear from constituents about the importance of Perkins and CTE in helping to prepare students for jobs that remain unfilled, and in turning around the economy.

Call Your Member of Congress TODAY!

If you have any questions or to update NASDCTEc on your contact with Congress, please call Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager, at 301-588-9630 or email her at nconneely@careertech.org

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Sequestration, Student Loan Rates

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Congress Asks OMB for Detailed Impact of Sequestration

While there has been much talk about the devastating impact of sequestration on federally-funded programs, there have not been a lot of details to help states and districts prepare. To help increase transparency around this issue, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and John McCain (AZ) recently introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Farm Bill that would require the Office of Management of Budget to submit to Congress a detailed analysis of the impact of sequestration cuts on both defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including education programs like Perkins. Specifically, it would require OMB to provide figures for the number of educator job lost, the number of students no longer able to access education programs, and education resources lost by states and districts. This report would have to be completed within 60 days of the Farm Bill’s passage. If the bill does not pass, the Senators intend to attach the amendment to any future bills that the Senate takes up.

In the House, the Budget Committee unanimously reported H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. Like the Murray-McCain amendment, this bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to detail how defense and non-defense programs would be affected by the automatic cuts.

Deal Reached on Student Loan Interest Rates

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached a deal to prevent the interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, 2012. The deal will extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans for one year. The extension will be paid for through two offsets. First, changes would be made to pension plans. The second, smaller offset would affect students: limiting how long new borrowers could receive in-school interest subsidies to 150 percent of the average time it takes to complete a degree. Currently there are no limits.

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote today on the bill to which this provision is attached. We will keep you updated on any developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, 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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