ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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| February 2013 »
On Wednesday, the House passed the No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 by a 141 vote margin, temporarily averting a government default for three months. The bill suspends the federal debt ceiling —a cap on the government’s overall borrowing limit—until May 18.
Once the country reaches its current debt ceiling, as it will in mid-February, Congress is required by law to approve an increase or risk defaulting on existing debt obligations. A default would result in the closing on some federal agencies, furloughing of government workers, and delays in benefits checks and health care reimbursements for programs like Social Security and Medicare. The last time the debt ceiling had to be raised in August 2011, a partisan fight broke out between congressional Republicans and the White House over pairing the increase in the borrowing limit with cuts in government funding. Though this crisis was averted, the resulting deal, known as the Budget Control Act of 2011, created the sequester that now threatens an automatic, across-the-board cut to programs like Perkins if Congress does not act before March 1.
Before Wednesday’s vote, it was not known if congressional Republicans would again insist on drastic cuts in exchange for raising the current limit, sparking concerns over the possibility of another protracted debt ceiling battle. However, the No Budget, No Pay Act does not include a requirement to cut spending and is primarily as a stopgap measure to prevent a default while allowing time for Congress and President Obama to find a long-term solution. The bill does require both the House and Senate to pass a Fiscal Year 2014 budget resolution by April 14, under the threat of suspending pay to all Members of Congress if they fail to meet that deadline. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have given their support to the plan and will work to pass the bill in the upper chamber.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/24/2013 at 05:42 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
ACTE today released an Issue Brief on CTE’s Role in Leadership Development that explores the integral role CTE curricula and programs play in addressing the leadership skills gap facing employers. CTE advocates, you can use this short publication to illustrate to legislators, businesses and the public the importance of CTE in building leadership and other employability skills.
When employers are asked to choose which skills are most needed in today’s workplace, key employability skills like leadership often rise to the top of the list. Thirty-nine percent of human resource professionals in a recent survey reported that job applicants in their industry have leadership skills gaps, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In addition, today’s workplace does not afford as much time or opportunity for those entering the workforce to methodically move up the corporate ladder or learn from those who have, a problem that will only be exacerbated as baby boomers begin retiring. More opportunities need to be provided within the education system for students to learn, observe and practice vital leadership skills.
The impending workplace leadership deficit and the need for the education system to address leadership deficiencies increase the importance of CTE initiatives, which provide opportunities for students to learn, observe and apply leadership in work-related situations in preparation for their future careers.
This Issue Brief examines how CTE programs provide ideal settings for leadership development through CTE coursework and activities such as Career and Technical Student Organizations as well as through the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) and postsecondary-level ROTC. Download the brief and read more!
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/24/2013 at 01:57 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
The U.S. House of Representative’s Education and the Workforce Committee met for the first time in the 113th Congress yesterday to approve the committee rules and subcommittee member assignments. Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) also used this first meeting to lay out his priorities for the committee during the 113th Congress.
A major focus for the committee will continue to be the nation’s workforce and job training system. Citing the 12 million Americans currently unemployed, the committee hopes to help job seekers access training opportunities and employers find skilled workers to help grow their businesses.
On the education side, Chairman Kline affirmed that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will remain a top priority for the committee in the 113th Congress, as it was in the 112th. Also in the committee’s sights is the state of the nation’s higher education system, including college costs and transparency.
Several large pieces of legislation have been due for reauthorization by the committee for multiple years, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Workforce Investment Act. Coming up for reauthorization in the 113th Congress, the committee will be responsible for reauthorizing several more large pieces of legislation, including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Education Sciences Reform Act.
A transcript of Chairman Kline’s remarks is available on the Committee’s Web site, along with a video archive of the meeting, the approved committee rules, and the Republican and Democratic subcommittee assignments.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 01/23/2013 at 05:10 PM | Permalink
On Monday, President Barack Obama began his second term in office to much fanfare at a public swearing-in ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. In his second inaugural address—a speech that traditionally does not highlight specific policy positions—the president spoke broadly on a few educational objectives that he hopes to address in his second term. He talked about the virtue and necessity of collaborative efforts to educate students and provide training for individuals to successfully enter the workforce. He stated, “Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.” The president goes on to say, “No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.“
The speech was, in part, a defense of the role of government in American society, including areas like education and job training; contrasting the view of congressional Republicans who argue for a more limited role for the federal government. The president will have an opportunity to expand on his second-term policy goals when he delivers his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, February 12.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/22/2013 at 05:43 PM in Executive Branch | Permalink
On Monday, the White House Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Congress informing the House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that the president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 budget request will not be ready by the February 4 deadline. The White House is required under federal law to submit a budget to Congress every year. In the letter, Acting Budget Director Jeffery Zients blamed the delay on the protracted negotiations over the fiscal cliff. He did not indicate when the budget request would be finished, but it may be pushed back into March. The release of the president’s budget is the starting point of the annual appropriations process when Congress will determine how much funding Perkins will receive for the year.
Additionally, appropriations for the current FY 2013 (which began on October 1, 2012) have not been completed yet. Congress passed a stop-gap Continuing Resolution (CR) in September, which effectively put government funding on autopilot for six months. The CR will expire on March 27, creating an overlap in which Congress will have to try to complete FY 2013 while beginning FY 2014.
Adding to the budgetary uncertainty is the unresolved sequester. As we reported earlier, the New Year’s Day deal to avert the fiscal cliff did not fully address the across-the-board sequester cuts. The agreement that was reached between the White House and congressional Republicans only pushed back the deadline until March 1. If Washington does not act to permanently fix the sequester, it will drastically reduce FY 2013 Perkins funding, impacting the 2013-14 school year, and it will set a lower funding threshold for FY 2014. The immediate and long-term effects of the sequester would be a major setback for funding of CTE. Tell Congress it’s time to find a balanced approach that does not include more cuts to Perkins!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/18/2013 at 05:43 PM in Executive Branch, Federal Funding | Permalink
In order to help legislators and their staff members better understand what is a credential, ACTE has developed a background informational sheet and legislative recommendations for use at the state and federal levels.
With a renewed focus on postsecondary education, there have been some misconceptions about what a credential entails. Is it a 4-year or 2-year degree or a certificate? In order to clear up confusion among Members of Congress, ACTE has developed and released this background sheet for legislative staff to use when drafting legislation.
The sheet includes a brief overview of what entails a credential, as well as descriptions of a few different types of credentials: certificates, certifications, licenses and degrees. Following the descriptions is a recommended legislative definition of an “industry recognized” credential for use in CTE and job training legislation.
For ACTE members and other CTE advocates, this sheet is a great tool to use when visiting and communicating with your local, state and federal lawmakers. You can download the sheet using this link (updated August 2015), or by visiting our Fact Sheets page in the CTE Information section of our Web site.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/17/2013 at 10:43 AM in Advocacy Resources | Permalink
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives recently announced new committee assignments for the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee for the 113th Congress. The Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee oversees annual funding for Department of Education programs, including Perkins.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has been named the new subcommittee chairman, replacing former-Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) who retired from Congress following a failed run for the Senate in 2012. Kingston is a veteran appropriator—former chairman of the agricultural appropriations subcommittee—and is now in his 11th term in the House. He will serve alongside Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) who is returning to her job as the subcommittee’s ranking Democrat.
In addition to Rehberg, Republican Reps. Jerry Lewis (CA), Kay Granger (TX), Jeff Flake (AZ) and Cynthia Lummis (WY) have also left the subcommittee. The new majority roster for the subcommittee includes:
There are two vacant Democratic spot on the subcommittee—former-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) resigned from Congress last year and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) has been named ranking member of the full appropriations committee—but those positions have not yet been filled.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/16/2013 at 05:44 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
A new National Academy Foundation (NAF) publication examines exemplary work-based learning experiences at its career academies around the country. Key elements include passion on both sides of the employer-business partnership, as well as adherence to the NAF Internship Gold Standards.
According to NAF, the Gold Standards were developed in conjunction with education and workforce development experts and employers and are grounded in the work-based learning experiences found most valuable in MDRC’s longitudinal study of career academies:
The report notes that exemplary internship programs can meet these standards and still vary dramatically in structure. For instance, students from the Harmony Magnet Academy of Engineering in California and their peers from other high schools will be working collaboratively—but virtually—on a design project, guided by industry professionals and college student mentors. Other NAF internship programs profiled include the Lancaster High School Academy of Finance in New York, the Skyline High School Academy of Hospitality and Tourism in Texas and the Southwest Miami High School Academy of Finance in Florida.
This publication is not the only recent addition to the dialogue on work-based learning. A webinar yesterday hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education focused on the role of business in work-based learning, featuring tips from representatives of NAF, Marriott International and the Bodnar Group on how to build education-employer work-based learning partnerships. For example, Doris Bodnar recommended starting small, inviting business leaders to deliver short presentations to students in the classroom and using that as a stepping stone toward greater involvement.
In response to a question on federal support for work-based learning, Charlie Katz of NAF said he was encouraged by the Obama Administration’s focus on education in general and support for career academies in particular. Katz suggested that monetary support for work-based learning could include Perkins funds as well as tax credits or subsidies to companies that hire interns.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/11/2013 at 12:19 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
On January 9, Secretary Hilda Solis announced that she is resigning as the head of the Department of Labor and will not be a part of President Obama’s Cabinet in his second term. Sec. Solis was previously a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the 32nd Congressional District in California. In 2009, she was appointed as Secretary of Labor—the first Hispanic woman to serve in a Cabinet—and has held her position in the Obama Administration throughout the first term.
The Department of Labor is responsible for overseeing many federal employment and training initiatives, including programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Additionally, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, Registered Apprenticeship system, Job Corps and Employment Service Grant program fall under the department’s jurisdiction.
As with all members of the Cabinet, the next Secretary of Labor will have to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. President Obama will announce his nominee to succeed Solis in the coming weeks. Sec. Arne Duncan is expected to stay on at the Department of Education into the president’s second term.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/10/2013 at 12:23 PM in Executive Branch | Permalink
On January 8, the second and final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released. Comment on the draft will be accepted until January 29 and the final standards are expected to be released in March.
The NGSS are being developed based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The Framework defined scientific literacy for all K-12 students by identifying Science and Engineering Practice, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas that will enable all student to make scientifically sound decisions about the world in which they live. One of the goals of the NGSS is to ensure that students apply their learning through scientific inquiry and the engineering-design process to deepen their understanding. Career and technical education advocates seeking to provide input on the NGSS should note that the standards include a definition of college and career readiness in science.
There are 26 states leading the NGSS development but those states are not obligated to adopt the standards once they are developed and finalized. ACTE is planning to submit comments on the draft standards and we encourage CTE advocates to provide a copy of any comments they submit, which will help inform ACTE’s response. Please forward comment to Stephen DeWitt.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 01/09/2013 at 12:21 PM in Standards and Assessments | Permalink
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