ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
In addition to the presidential and congressional races, state-level elections and ballot measures will have a large impact on CTE issues in 2016. At the top of the statewide ticket are 12 gubernatorial races that will be decided on November 8, in states like North Carolina, Missouri and Indiana. Governors play a major role in setting the education and workforce development agendas in their states, and must work with their legislatures to implement education policies and establish budgets to fund CTE programs. Nearly every state will also hold elections for state legislatures, as well as races for statewide offices, including some state school officials and members of state boards of education.
In addition to elected offices, education ballot measures will be decided in many states. Ballot initiatives allow voters to weigh in directly on proposed changes to state policy. The most common types of ballot initiatives include popular referendums, state constitutional amendments, bond funding issues and tax proposals. Several states will decide on ballot measures to increase funding for public education through the sale of state bonds or tax increases. Voters in Oklahoma will consider a one percent sales tax increase to generate $615 million for improving education, which may include addressing teacher shortages, increasing college and career readiness, and improving career and technology education. California is seeking approval to issue $9 billion in bonds for repairs and upgrades to K-12 schools, community colleges and other postsecondary institutions.
If approved, a proposed state constitutional amendment in South Dakota would empower the legislature to determine who governs postsecondary technical education institutes. Additionally, an Oregon measure would require state funding for dropout prevention and career and college readiness programs. Visit the Election Watch 2016 page on our website or the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more information and election coverage.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 10/03/2016 at 05:17 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
Registering to vote, and encourage others to register as well, is one of the most important steps you can take in advocating for CTE during this election year. Tuesday, September 27, is National Voter Registration Day—a day when thousands of organizations and individuals from across the country work to raise awareness of the importance of registering to vote. Through our partnership with Nonprofit VOTE, ACTE is able to provide resources and information on grassroots voter registration, ensuring that the CTE community can be an active part of this critical election. Here are a few ways that you can get involved:
You can also visit our Election Watch 2016 web page and the election section of the CTE Policy Watch Blog for the latest news and information.
ACTE is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 09/27/2016 at 10:22 AM in Election Watch | Permalink
While the race for the White House will dominate the nation’s attention in 2016, there is a lot happening “down ticket” in some important House and Senate races. While the next president will set the policy agenda, Congress still makes the laws and controls the budget. In recent years, the House and Senate passed major education and workforce development legislation, including the Every Student Succeeds Act and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. With the upcoming reauthorization of several important pieces of legislation including the Perkins Act and Higher Education Act, as well as the continued threat of budget austerity in federal CTE funding, the battle for control of the 115th Congress will significantly impact the future of CTE policy.
The political party that has the majority of members in the House or Senate is able to drive the legislative agenda and control key leadership positions in their respective chamber. Currently, Republicans hold a slim majority of seats in the Senate (54-46), and 61 seat advantage in the House (247-186, two seats currently vacant). All of the 435 seats in House of Representatives will be up for grabs in 2016. In the Senate, where lawmakers serve staggered six-year terms, 34 of the 100 seats will be contested in the following states:
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/15/2016 at 04:00 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
Elections do have consequences, and this election will have a major impact on the policies that are created, the legislation that becomes law and funding decisions that affect CTE programs nationwide. For CTE advocates, election season provides an important opportunity to further our advocacy goals and spread awareness about CTE’s important role in addressing employment, economic growth and other critical issues facing our country. ACTE is committed to providing the tools necessary for our members and the CTE community to actively engage in the electoral process.
As part of ACTE’s efforts to deliver information and resources during this crucial election cycle, we are pleased to announce the new Election Watch 2016 page on our website. Through our partnership with the national organization Nonprofit VOTE, ACTE is able to provide voter education tools as well as grassroots voter registration and mobilization information for CTE supporters. Additionally, we will offer regular updates on the state of the race with our Election Watch 2016 series available on the CTE Policy Watch Blog now through November 8!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/09/2016 at 10:52 AM in Advocacy Resources, Election Watch | Permalink
On Thursday, May 26, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 100 institutions and organizations committed to advocating for increased federal investments in education programs, will host a Presidential Forum 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET in Washington. ACTE is an active and long-time member of CEF. This event will be moderated by Candy Crowley, award-winning journalist and former chief political correspondent for CNN. The forum will be an opportunity for the presidential campaigns to highlight and discuss their education policy agendas as we move toward the general election in November. Stream the event live online here.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 05/25/2016 at 04:48 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
When the House and Senate reconvene in January for the start of the 114th Congress, some new faces will be joining the key committees that oversee education policy and funding. We previously reported on the announcement of some leadership positions on these committees. It was confirmed last week that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, succeeding retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) as the senior Democrat on the committee. Sen. Murray was one of the bipartisan sponsors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and has championed the restoration of the “ability-to-benefit” provision for the federal Pell grant program. Additionally, some rank-and-file committee assignments have been announced. The HELP committee will add Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
The Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal funding, will add four freshman members, including Sens.-elect Cassidy, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Daines (R-MT). New to the committee onn the minority side, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus.
In the House, the Education and the Workforce Committee will add:
New members of the House Appropriations Committee will include:
Check back to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more updates on the new Congress.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/19/2014 at 11:23 AM in Election Watch | Permalink
When the 114th Congress begins in January, a large “freshman” class of at least 70 newly elected members of the Senate and House of Representatives will bring with them a diversity of policy positions and personal experiences in education and workforce development.
Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) will have already served seven terms in the House when she takes her seat in the Senate. Capito has a master's degree in education, and worked as a college career counselor and state education official in West Virginia before being elected to public office. In the House, Capito has been a strong supporter of Head Start and TRIO programs and is a member of the House STEM Caucus. Capito has stated that she believes in providing students with a broad range of options for postsecondary education, including community and technical colleges and other postsecondary CTE intuitions. Joining Capito in the jump from the House to the Senate is Sen.-elect Cory Gardner (R-CO). Gardner previously worked as an advocate for the National Corn Growers Association and has been a proponent of agricultural issues during his tenure in the House. Additionally, he introduced bills during this Congress to increase the federal tax deduction for interest payments on student loans and increase the amount tax-exempt contributions that can be made to college savings accounts.
Among the incoming members of the House, Rep.-elect Gwen Graham (D-FL) has a professional background in education, having worked for the Leon County School System in her home state of Florida. She campaigned on a platform of promoting partnerships between postsecondary CTE institutions and local business and industry to support job training efforts. She has also called for investing in CTE at the secondary level to help students in high school progress along a career pathway. Check back to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more updates on the new Congress.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/05/2014 at 01:41 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
Republican victories in the congressional midterm elections last week will bring a new dynamic to Capitol Hill when the 114th Congress officially begins in January. This shakeup in Congress extends down to the key committees of jurisdiction for education and workforce training issues in both the House and Senate. While committee assignments will not be divvied up among the freshman and returning Members of Congress for several months, the likely successions of important leadership positions on these committees are beginning to take shape.
The most noticeable change will come in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), a veteran member of the committee and the current chairman, will retire at the end of the year. Since the Republicans took majority control over the Senate in the election, the HELP committee will not only be under the leadership of a new chair, but of a new party as well. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the current ranking member on the committee, is the front runner for the position. Sen. Alexander is the former governor of Tennessee and served at the secretary of education under President George W. Bush. If selected, Sen. Alexander is expected to prioritize the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). He has supported efforts to provide states with greater control over federal education dollars, particularly for ESEA Title I funding. Alexander has been very critical of the Obama Administration’s efforts to provide states with ESEA flexibility waivers, as well as signature Administration education programs like Race to the Top. Under Alexander, the HELP committee is also expected to continue work on the reauthorization the Higher Education Act (HEA) as one of its early priorities, with a focus on reducing federal regulations.
A strong contender to take over the position of top Democrat on the HELP committee is Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). As the current chair of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Murray has worked to increase federal funding for education though her efforts to replace sequestration. A signature higher education issue for Murray has been to reinstate the “ability-to-benefit” provision that was eliminated from the Pell grant program, which is one of our priorities as well. She was also one of the bipartisan sponsors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which reauthorized the federal job training system, and has introduced legislation focusing on career pathways.
House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Jon Kline (R-MN) has technically reached his term limit after serving six years as the top Republican on the committee. However, Kline has expressed his desire to retain his spot, and the House leadership could grant him a waiver that would allow him to retake the gavel for the 114th Congress. During Kline’s tenure, he has overseen committee efforts to reauthorize ESEA and HEA, both of which will be top priorities in the committee when it reconvenes. Additionally, the committee held hearings on the reauthorization of the Perkins Act in the fall of 2013 and earlier this year. It is unclear when either body will take up Perkins reauthorization in the next Congress. With the new Republican majority in the Senate, Kline will have his best shot at producing reauthorization bills that could be passed by both chambers. However, he and Alexander must still contend with filibusters from Senate Democrats and the threat of a White House veto on any legislation that does not have bipartisan support. Kline will likely serve alongside Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who is expected to replace retiring Rep. George Miller (D-CA) as the committee’s ranking Democrat.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/10/2014 at 10:02 AM in Election Watch | Permalink
The political balance of power in the U.S. Senate has been the biggest looming question over the congressional mid-term elections in 2014—a question that was decided on Tuesday in favor of a new Republican majority. At the time of this report, Republicans had a net gain of seven seats in the upper chamber, for at least a 52-seat majority. Many of the changes as a result of the election will have a definite impact on CTE.
The race to replace retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the current chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, resulted in a Republican pick up by Sen.-elect Joni Ernst. Harkin’s colleague on the HELP committee, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) was also defeated by her Republican challenger in the Tar Heel state. Sen. Harkin’s retirement and the Senate Republican takeover mean that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is likely to assume the role of HELP Committee Chairman. Sen. Alexander has put a priority on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and supported the idea of using federal funds to promote school choice. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is widely expected to become the Ranking Member on the Committee.
Election night also brought some shake ups to the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee—the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Perkins funding. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) lost to Republican Tom Cotton, while Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was able to fight off a challenge from former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). In Louisiana, the fate of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), also a member of the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will not be decided until a runoff election in December.
At the time of this report, the races in Alaska and Virginia were still too close to call for incumbent Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Mark Warner (D-VA). Both senators have sponsored CTE legislation and supported Perkins funding.
As expected, Republicans retained and expanded their majority—a net gain of 13 seats so far— in the U.S. House of Representatives. There were mixed results for embattled incumbents who currently serve on the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Election night brought victories for Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Chairman John Kline (R-MN), but not for veteran committee member Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY). Congressional Republicans are likely to use their hefty majority, along with the new Republican majority in the Senate, to push a bold policy agenda in the 114th Congress that will have major implications for education and workforce training issues. The threat of funding cuts will increase, as many newly elected members ran on a platform of cutting discretionary federal spending.
Along with the congressional midterm races, state-level elections and ballot measures will have a large impact on CTE issues in the coming years. At the top of the statewide ticket were a number of gubernatorial races. Govs. John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Nathan Deal (R-GA) and Scott Walker (R-WI) all survived competitive races, while Tom Corbett (R-PA) fell to his Democrat challenger in Pennsylvania. In addition to elected offices, education ballot initiatives were decided in several states. Voters in Illinois and New York approved ballot measures to increase funding for public education. Oregon voters rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment to create fund for students pursuing postsecondary education, including technical, professional and career training. A proposed teacher evaluation system, based in part on student test performance, was defeated in Missouri.
Visit the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more analysis and updates in the days ahead.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/05/2014 at 11:44 AM in Election Watch | Permalink
Believe it or not, there is only one day left before Election Day 2014. This year’s elections will have major implications for ACTE’s policy efforts, and the results will set the tone for the remainder of the Obama Administration. Because of these high stakes, it’s crucial that ACTE’s members take to the polls on November 4th to make an impact for CTE!
When voting in any major election, it is important to carefully research the candidates and issues that will be on the ballot. Talk to your friends and colleagues about issues that affect CTE programs in your area, and discuss which candidates and initiatives will effectively represent you and your community. To learn more about the elections and their implications for the political climate, visit ACTE’s Election Watch 2014 page and be sure to check out our coverage of specific policy-related issues on the CTE Policy Watch blog. Not sure where you should go to cast your ballot, or have questions about what forms of identification you’ll be required to present on-site? Look up your state’s voting information here on the National Association of Secretaries of State website. By participating in this year’s elections with a strong knowledge of the candidates and issues, you can ensure that CTE has a voice on the ballot!
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is a nonpartisan organization and does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 11/03/2014 at 01:43 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
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