ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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A recent poll released by the business advocacy group Small Business Majority found that an overwhelming majority of small business owners are concerned about the effect that the looming fiscal cliff—a combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts under sequestration that could take effect in January—will have on federal funding for CTE and the workforce system. The poll, conducted between September 27 and October 12, surveyed 500 small business entrepreneurs on their concerns about the fiscal cliff and how it might impact their businesses. With regard to possible funding cuts, 86 percent of respondents were concerned about cuts to the Perkins state grants for CTE! This is a strong affirmation from the small business community on the importance of CTE in preparing a highly-skilled workforce that meets the needs of employers.
Additionally, 66 percent of small business owners indicated that were worried about cuts to the Workforce Investment Act state grants that provide employment and training services to disadvantaged and underemployed adults, dislocated workers, and youth. The poll finds that while small businesses are very concerned with the fiscal cliff, they do not want the solution to interfere with opportunities for job creation. 53 percent believe that developing a plan to create more jobs should be the top priority for Congress and the Obama Administration in 2013. In addition, 57 percent agreed that cutting spending on education, healthcare and infrastructure would do more to harm the economy than raising taxes on the wealthiest two percent.
Among the small business owners who responded to this poll, 47percent self-identified as Republican or independent-leaning Republican, with 35 percent as Democrat or independent-leaning Democrat. As was demonstrated in other recent polls, federal funding for education and CTE has broad, bipartisan support. Congress and the White House need to work to find a bipartisan and balanced solution to stop sequestration and protect funding for CTE!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/29/2012 at 12:34 PM in Perkins | Permalink
Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner announced committee chairs for 19 of the 21 House standing committees in the 113th Congress.
Many of these chairs will not change, particularly those related to education and workforce development. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) will remain as the leader of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. Hal Rogers will remain as chair of the full House Appropriations Committee.
While these top leaders will remain in place, questions still remain about subcommittee leaders that will play key roles in shaping the funding and authorizing bills that will most impact CTE. There are also a number of vacancies on these key committees and subcomittees that will have to be filled, so a number of new faces are expected. More information on subcommittee chairs and committee assignments should be emerging soon.
In other 113th Congress news, the final contested House seat has now been decided (with one intra-party runoff remaining), giving Democrats a net gain of eight seats over the current Congress for a projected balance of power of 234 Republicans and 201 Democrats.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 11/29/2012 at 12:33 PM | Permalink
Speaking at the Council of Chief State School Officers meeting last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan hinted that he would stay on as secretary for President Obama’s second term and laid out his goals for that time period. Going forward, he said the department will leverage education improvement at the state and local levels, with a new emphasis on principal preparation and evaluation.
In his speech, Duncan made clear that if Congress continues to delay in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which has been overdue for reauthorization since 2007, the bill will not be a priority for the department. When pressed on the issue, Duncan stated, “we will lead, we will help, we will push, but Congress has to want to do it.”
Last year, the department began granting waivers for states to become exempt from certain provisions in the 2001 ESEA bill, also known as No Child Left Behind. The process has given some states breathing room from AYP provisions, but it has also made reauthorizing the ESEA more complicated due to each state having its own accountability system.
The secretary also stressed the importance of improving early-childhood education, making college more affordable in the future and ensuring innovation can occur at the district level without states “vetoing” those ideas.
Although Secretary Duncan did not discuss any of his department’s goals for career and technical education in the second term during this speech, there could be additional activity as the Perkins CTE Act comes due for reauthorization in 2013.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 11/26/2012 at 12:36 PM in Executive Branch | Permalink
With Election Day come and gone, lawmakers are finally returning to Washington to close out the last weeks of the 112th Congress. The lame duck session, the period between the end of the election season and the beginning of the first session of the new Congress in January, can often be little more than a procedural formality—a time for an incoming Administration or new congressional majority to run out the clock until they can officially take power and begin pushing a new legislative agenda. However, with many matters unresolved and a looming deadline attached to critical fiscal policy issues that threaten to throw the economy back into a tailspin, the last six weeks of the 112th Congress may prove to be the most crucial.
Sequestration is one of those pending issues that will have a major impact on CTE. If Congress does not act by January 2, there will be an automatic, across-the-board cut of 8.2 percent to most federal discretionary programs. This means that the Perkins stands to lose approximately $92 million in July 2013 alone! Congress and the Obama Administration must work during the lame duck session to find a balanced approach to prevent these arbitrary cuts from happening. Additionally, the sequestration problem will likely be tied in with a partisan fight over taxes. A package of tax cuts, instituted during the Bush Administration, is set to expire at the end of the year. President Obama has said that he would like to see tax rates increase for those with higher incomes, while House Republicans have pushed to extend tax cuts for everyone. Both sides have indicated that sequestration and the tax issue could be part of a “grand bargain” in which both sides would agree to a compromise that might include increased tax revenues and targeted spending cuts.
There is also a possibility that Congress will address FY 2013 Perkins funding in the coming weeks. Before adjourning for the election, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) that has effectively put Perkins funding on autopilot at current levels until March. They will have come to an agreement on the continuation of funding for the remaining six months of the fiscal year before the current CR expires—an issue that may come up during the lame duck.
While reauthorization efforts for major education and workforce development programs like WIA, Perkins and ESEA will have to wait until the 113th Congress, the unfinished 2012 Farm Bill is expected to be part of the legislative agenda in the lame duck. The Senate has already passed their version of the bill, but the full House has yet to approve the measure that was agreed to by the House Agriculture Committee in July.
As all these issues unfold over the next few weeks, ACTE will keep you updated on implications for CTE – stay tuned for all the latest news!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/13/2012 at 12:37 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
Winners have finally been declared in the two closely contested U.S. Senate races in Montana and North Dakota. Incumbent Sen. Jon Tester (D) has defeated Rep. Denny Rehberg (R), the outgoing chairman of the House Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, in Montana. In the open race to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Kent Conrad (D), the Democratic candidate and former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp beat Rep. Rick Berg (R).
At the state level, Montana, North Carolina and New Hampshire all elected new Governors on Tuesday. In Indiana, Rep. Mike Pence (R) was selected to succeed the term-limited Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). Pence campaigned on a CTE platform in which he pledged to “enhance career, technical and vocational career pathways for high school students by engaging local employers and educators in designing demand-driven curriculum and providing applied learning opportunities.” He plans to create regional workforce councils comprised of employers and educators who will provide a comprehensive evaluation of CTE opportunities for high school students in each region. These councils will also have the power to develop “alternative curriculum” for career pathways with high-wage, high-demand jobs.
We also wanted to update you on some important state ballot measures that will impact education, which had mixed results across the country. In Idaho, Propositions 1 and 2, which focused on restricting collective bargaining rights for teachers and instituting a pay-for-performance system for teacher compensation, were both defeated by the voters. Proposition 3, a referendum on an online learning bill that was signed into law by Idaho’s governor in 2011, also went down on Tuesday.
One of the more controversial education ballot issues of the year, a state-level version of the DREAM Act, won over the voters in Maryland. The measure will allow the children of undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain conditions. California voters approved income and sales tax increases to help fund education, while Proposition 204 in Arizona, a measure to permanently enacting a one cent sales tax increase for education, was defeated.
Be sure to check back on our CTE Policy Watch blog for more on how the election may impact the future of education policy as the next few weeks unfold.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/09/2012 at 12:38 PM in State and Local Issues | Permalink
On November 2, The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of the two state-led consortia working to develop assessments aligned with the Common Core State Standards, unveiled its College- and Career-Ready Determinations (CCRD) policy and Policy-Level Descriptors (PLDs). The CCRD and PLDs, reported about in an earlier CTE Policy Watch blog post, establish a common benchmark to define the academic preparation in English Language Arts/literacy and mathematics which students will need to be college and career ready.
The policy and determinations determine the level of academic preparation needed for students to be successful in entry-level, credit-bearing courses in two- and four-year public institutions of higher education. These institutions include technical colleges and other institutions that award degrees or credentials aligned to entry requirements of middle- or high-skilled jobs. Students who achieve at the CCRD level on the high school assessments will be able to enter directly into certain entry-level, credit-bearing courses in those subject areas without having to take placement tests.
The CCRD policy recognizes that while academic preparation is an essential part of students' readiness for college and careers, it does not encompass the full range of knowledge, skills, and characteristics that students need for ultimate success, such as persistence, motivation, time management, employability skills, and technical skills. ACTE has participated in the conversation on this issue and is pleased that the PARCC recognizes that the CCRD and PLDs are not inclusive of all which is needed for students to be career ready. PARCC says that the CCRDs serve as one piece of a larger set of strategies states may deploy to support students as a part of a broader agenda to increase college completion rates and career success.
For more information, visit the PARCC website.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 11/06/2012 at 12:40 PM in Career Readiness | Permalink
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