ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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PARCC, one of the two consortia developing assessments linked to the Common Core State Standards, held a briefing on July 30 to update national organizations on their progress. The briefing included detail about a draft College-Ready Determinations (CRDs) Policy which is open for public comment until September 21. The policy will include five levels which will be used to determine a student’s postsecondary preparedness in English language arts and mathematics. The CRDs will be focused on academic preparation/skills only. Even though PARCC agrees that other skills (e.g. technical) are important to measure, the assessment is intended to measure academic preparedness only. However, those attending the briefing were reminded that the new assessments would include changes, such as the focus on more informational text and computer-based testing. PARCC officials said that they expect both the ELA and mathematics assessments to take longer for a student to complete than current state assessments, due to the essay and other types of questions which will require more time.When asked about PARCC’s plans regarding career readiness measures, officials reported that plans are not as far along as the CRD policy. There have been a lot of active conversations and the career readiness focus is included in the Common Core State Standards which have been adopted by most states, but the work is much more challenging, said staff. Mike Krause, director of academic affairs at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, who is also coordinating PARCC-related postsecondary engagement activities in the state, said that his state is preparing students for CTE that requires “some” training. He said that states are approaching the issue of career readiness in a number of different ways. The briefing included information on some of the upcoming work PARCC expects. The focus is on states for now but over the next year, there will be surveys with local administrators to determine capacity of local educators, including some work on sample items.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 07/31/2012 at 01:04 PM in Career Readiness | Permalink
Recently the Department of Education provided some new information about the impact of budget sequestration on education programs, offering clarification on an issue that will directly affect funding for Perkins. To recap, the Budget Control Act of 2011 created the “Super Committee” of Members of Congress who were tasked with creating a plan to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal budget. Their failure to reach an agreement triggered a provision in the law, known as sequestration, which will institute an automatic across-the-board cut to all domestic discretionary programs, including Perkins by a certain percentage (not yet determined) beginning on January 2, 2013.
A particular concern was how sequestration would impact education programs that receive advanced appropriations. Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 advance appropriations become available in October 2012 for 2012-13 school year. Because the across-the-board cuts under sequestration are suppose to be applied to funding available in FY 2013 (which also begins October 2012), it was assumed that there would be an immediate cut to those advanced funds once sequestration takes effect in January 2013. That raised the possibility of having cuts to Perkins and other important programs occur in the middle of the 2012-13 school year.
However, the Department of Education announced that it will not implement the cuts in the 2012-13 school year. They will still apply sequestration cuts to the FY 2012 advanced appropriated funds, but will subtract that from the funds that are allocated in July 2013 (those funds will also be subject to a cut). For example, assuming the sequestration cut is 8.4 percent, the FY 2012 advanced funds for Perkins will be cut by $66.4 million. The next round of Perkins funds will come in July 2013 and will also be cut by 8.4 percent or $27.9 million. The result is that the funds available in July will be reduced by $94.3 million. Thought the total cut ends up being the same, only the 2013-14 school year will be impacted.
Regardless of how the cuts are spread out, they will still be devastating to Perkins and many other programs. The easiest way to deal with sequestration is for Congress to act now and stop the cuts from ever happening!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/26/2012 at 01:05 PM in Federal Funding, Perkins | Permalink
On July 18, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee passed its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding bill. The $150 billion appropriations measure, which included funding for programs in the Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, provided level funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act! The subcommittee voted mostly along party lines, with Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) siding with committee Democrats in opposition to the bill (although his opposition was because he thought funding levels were too high, rather than too low).
Thought the exact line-item appropriations for individual programs are not yet available, the bill will now move on to the full Appropriations Committee in the next few weeks. Since the bill provides a total of $6 billion less than was appropriated for the current fiscal year (FY 2012), level funding for Perkins is a great victory and a strong recognition of the value and importance of CTE.
In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee also recommended level funding for Perkins as part of its FY 2013 bill. However, there are sharp differences in funding levels and priorities between the two bills, leaving a great deal of work to do before an agreement on overall funding can be reached.
ACTE staff have met with House and Senate committee members over the past few months and engaged in a wide variety of advocacy activities to help ensure Perkins funding is maintained. We will continue our outreach efforts in Congress as these funding bills move forward. Thank you for all the great advocacy work that has been done so far. Please continue to reach out to your Members of Congress and urge them to support funding for CTE!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 07/18/2012 at 01:06 PM in Federal Funding, Perkins | Permalink
With a vote of 64-35, the Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, commonly known as the 2012 Farm Bill, last week. The proposed legislation, a continuation of previous farm bills, will appropriate funds and set policy for most of the agricultural sector over the next five years. Roughly 80 percent of the bill’s costs are devoted to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. The Act also focuses on farm subsidies, crop insurance, energy, forestry and school lunches, among other topics. The estimated cost of the bill is $969 billion over the next 10 years, but it should reduce the federal deficit by $23 billion over the same period.
A major change to the bill concerns the focus on a crop insurance program that would replace many of the subsidies that are currently granted to farmers. This would provide money to farmers during seasons with poor harvests but avoid granting price supports in years with high profits.
The House Agriculture Committee will hold a vote on July 11 for their proposed version of the Farm Bill. Whereas the Senate seeks to cut about $4 billion from SNAP over the next ten years, the House aims to slash up to $15 billion. The House also wants to retain more of the current subsidy programs. They hope the bill can reduce the federal deficit by about $30 billion over the next 10 years.
The bill has a number of sections important for agriculture education and education in general. Most of the sections pertaining to education either maintain grant funding at the current levels or reduce grant funding. This could limit the educational resources available for promoting and sustaining some programs.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 07/02/2012 at 01:12 PM | Permalink
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