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Ag. Education Advocacy

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FY22 White House Budget Request and Updates from the U.S. Department of Education (ED)

 

The White House has released its $6 trillion budget proposal for FY22. This request calls for a $20 million increase (approximately 1.5%) to the Perkins Basic State Grant, as well as a $108 million increase for National Programs -- of which $100 million would fund competitive awards for middle and high school CTE innovation projects aimed at advancing equity and $8 million would fund technical assistance and grant evaluations. The request also includes a new $1 billion annually for 10 years to support middle and high school career pathways that would occur through the passage of the American Jobs Plan. Advance CTE in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a statement on this proposal, which can be viewed here.

 

Of the record 41% increase ($29.8 billion) for education programs, much of that funding is dedicated to new programs. For example, the $20 billion increase for Title I is designated for a new Equity Grants program with the purpose of addressing inequities in education systems. Some additional changes to existing programs include an increase of $200.8 million for Federal TRIO Programs and an increase of $5 million for rural school districts through the Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP).

 

You can find additional information on the White House budget request at the following links:

House Appropriations Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Education Budget

 

On Thursday, May 6, 2021, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified at a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) hearing on the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget request from the Biden Administration.

 

This was in reference to the skinny FY22 discretionary budget request that the White House shared in April, but the hearing also made mention of the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. A full budget request is expected in the coming weeks.

 

In his opening statement, Secretary Cardona named the importance of CTE, as well as plans to address the full education continuum from early childhood to postsecondary education. Regarding the postsecondary level, Secretary Cardona emphasized the need to make higher education affordable and accessible for each student. He also highlighted investments in Pell Grants, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), as well as programs such as TRIO and GEAR UP.

 

Throughout the hearing, Secretary Cardona reiterated that the education system needs to evolve to meet the needs of learners, and not the other way around. Representative Josh Harder (D-CA) used his time to speak about the impact of CTE programs, the need to expand Pell Grant eligibility and funding streams for high-quality short-term programs and the importance of early exposure CTE and workplace skills. In response, Secretary Cardona agreed with the value of CTE and the need to give learners options early on, as well as recognizing that learning also happens outside of a classroom. He also said that he is interested in getting more perspective on funding for short-term programs.

 

Other common themes of the hearing were reopening schools, social and emotional learning, civics education, charter schools, teacher shortages and meeting the needs of communities who are traditionally underserved.

US Department of Education (USED) Announces New Deputy Assistant Secretary (and Acting Assistant Secretary) for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)

 

On April 9, 2021, Dr. Amy Loyd was announced as the new Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives at OCTAE as well as Acting Assistant Secretary. A full statement from Advance CTE in support of Dr. Loyd’s appointment can be found here.

 

From the USED website:

 

“Amy Loyd, Ed.L.D., has an extensive background in education and the nonprofit sector, and has designed and led programs across the United States that improve education and workforce outcomes for people and strengthen communities. Most recently, Dr. Loyd was a Vice President at Jobs for the Future, where she led the organization's programs in college and career pathways that span K-12 and postsecondary education and training into the world of work; in workforce development with a lens on economic advancement; in state and federal policy; and in diversity, equity, and inclusion. She previously was the Director of Education at Cook Inlet Tribal Council, leading a network of schools and programming providing comprehensive, culturally responsive education, training, and wraparound services to the Alaska Native and Native American communities. Dr. Loyd holds a bachelor's degree from St. John's College and a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she is an adjunct lecturer focused on using career pathways to increase opportunity and equity.”

 

An excerpt from Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green is below:

 

“On behalf of Advance CTE, I am delighted with the appointment of Dr. Amy Loyd as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Strategic Initiatives at OCTAE. She is a friend to and advocate of Career Technical Education (CTE), with a deep and long history and commitment to ensuring every learner has access to a high-quality career pathway. Dr. Loyd understands the breadth of CTE - from secondary, postsecondary and adult programs - and has done extensive work developing education programs for historically marginalized populations, including individuals reentering communities from the criminal justice system and Alaska Native and American Indian families. She is a national expert regarding systems change, career pathways, equity, scaling best practices and building more resilient systems and is an excellent, high-qualified choice for this position.”

 

The White House FY22 Budget Proposal

 

The White House has submitted an abbreviated version of the Administration’s FY22 discretionary budget request to Congress which includes a proposed $29.8 billion increase in US Department of Education programs. While the “skinny” budget did not include the Administration’s request for Career Technical Education (CTE), it does outline some education and workforce funding levels, including:

  • $20 billion increase to Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA);
  • $3 billion increase to raise the maximum Pell Grant by $400;
  • $600 million increase for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs);
  • $203 million to increase Workforce Innovation and Opportunity (WIOA) state grants; and
  • $100 million increase to expand registered apprenticeship programs.

 

A press release can be found here and the full request can be found here.

United States Senate Confirms New United States Secretary of Education – On Monday, March 1, 2021, the United States Senate voted to confirm Dr. Miguel Cardona as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. The Senate voted in favor of Secretary Cardona 64-33, making this nomination more bipartisan than the past two U.S. Secretary of Education confirmation processes.

 

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) shared a letter from Secretary Cardona following his confirmation. In the letter the Secretary names supporting high-quality career technical education (CTE) as one of the areas of focus for ED. Secretary Cardona writes that right now the top priority is to bring students back to school for in-person learning. He discusses additional goals, including:

  •     Building better career pathways;
  •     Making college more affordable;
  •     Ensuring all students have access to high-quality schools with balanced coursework;
  •     Supporting teacher quality and improving teacher diversity;
  •     Ensuring teachers receive the support needed; and
  •     Expanding access to high-quality preschool.

 

Check out this introduction video from Secretary Cardona for more information.

US Senate Committee Confirmation of US Secretary of Education

 

The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) voted 17-5 to confirm Dr. Miguel Cardona as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. The vote followed the HELP Committee hearing on Dr. Cardona’s nomination. Details of the hearing are here. Confirmation of Dr. Cardona was supported by both HELP Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC). Next, Dr. Cardona’s nomination will be voted on by the full Senate.

 

House Introduces Resolution to Recognize February as National CTE Month

 

Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), Co-Chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, introduced a resolution that recognizes February as National CTE Month. The resolution highlights the value of CTE programs for all learners, as well as the role that CTE plays in economic recovery. The press release from Congressmen Langevin and Thompson includes a statement from Advance CTE Executive Director Kimberly Green: 

“We are proud to support the CTE Month resolution, honoring the learners, educators, supporters and stakeholders who are navigating a challenging time for our education system. It has been heartening to see current and former CTE learners on the frontline of the pandemic – as educators, scientists, manufacturers, transportation professionals and healthcare workers. CTE plays a crucial role in helping learners stay engaged in their education, ensuring they are prepared with the knowledge and skills needed no matter what the future economy holds. At the same time, postsecondary CTE is paramount to the upskilling and reskilling for the millions of Americans who are still out of work, preparing them for living-wage and in-demand careers. We appreciate elevating these important issues during CTE Month.”

Senate FY 2021 Appropriations Bill Provides $75 Million Increase for Perkins -- As Congress returned for the lame duck session, one of the most critical items on the agenda before the end of the year is the passage of Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. As one step toward finalizing these bills, on November 10, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its long-awaited draft FY 2021 appropriations bill. According to the?Committee’s highlights document, the proposal includes $184.47 billion in overall funding, with $73.2 billion of the proposed discretionary spending for the Department of Education, which would be an increase of $433 million or 0.9 percent over FY 2020 enacted levels.

 

Even with this very modest overall increase, there was some very good news for CTE in the bill! The bill proposes an $75 million, or 5.8 percent increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant over the FY 2020 enacted levels, bringing its total proposed funding level to approximately $1.36 billion. This is $57 million more than the funding level included in the appropriations bill passed by the House in July 2020.

 

Below are some additional funding levels proposed in the bill for programs that are important to CTE educators:

 

  • CTE National programs: $7.42 million, level funded from FY 20 level
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.18 billion, level funded from FY 20 level
  • Adult Education: $671 million, level funded from FY 20 level
  • DoL Training and Employment Services programs: $3.585 billion, a decrease from $3.611 billion in FY20
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY 20 level
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2.132 billion, level funded from FY 20 level
  • ESSA Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants:?$1.25 billion, an increase of $40 million from FY 20 level
  • Pell Grants: $6,495 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY 20 level

 

The bill is not expected to have a markup or be considered individually on the Senate floor, but it will serve as a negotiating position for the Senate with the House.?To prevent a government shutdown, Congress needs to pass FY 2021 appropriations bills, or a new continuing resolution (CR), prior to the December 11 expiration of the current CR.

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, it is a solid step in this process considering restrictive budget caps and urgent needs created by the pandemic.

 

Encourage your Members of Congress to support the higher Perkins funding level included in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.

GO AG Act – On October 6, 2020, United States Representative Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-1), Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA-15), Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-3), and Representative Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22) introduced H.R. 8535 – the Growing Opportunities in Agriculture (GO AG) Act – to amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to direct the Secretary of Education to award grants for new agricultural education programs in secondary schools. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.

 

In a nutshell, this bill, if signed into law, would authorize the U.S. Department of Education to provide grants to states to start new school-based agricultural education programs in school where agricultural education does not currently exist.

 

The bill has been introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives. It will have to pass the House, pass the U. S. Senate, and be signed by the president before it will become law.

 

NAAE and the National FFA Organization are supporting the GO AG Act:
 

  • "On behalf of the board of directors and the over 9,000 members of the National Association of Agricultural Educators, I am grateful to Representative Finkenauer for her support for school-based agricultural education in our schools,” said Parker Bane, NAAE President and agriculture teacher at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Illinois. “Opening agricultural education programs where they don’t exist currently will expand opportunities for students to learn science, mathematics, and literacy skills in the applied context of agriculture, which is our nation’s most important industry sector. Ag-related value chains provide excellent opportunities for high-demand, high-wage careers and school-based agricultural education programs are the beginning of the human capital pipeline for these careers."

 

  • "Agricultural education plays an important role not only in FFA but in developing a future generation of leaders. Through hands-on experiential learning, students in agricultural education develop skill-sets to help them succeed in life, said Dr. James Woodward, National FFA Advisor. "The Finkenauer legislation enables more students to experience agricultural education and the opportunities it offers."

 

  • "On behalf of the National FFA Organization, I’d like to express my thanks to Congresswoman Finkenauer, Congressman Thompson, and Congressman Luetkemeyer for their leadership in ensuring support for school-based agricultural education programs. As National FFA works to grow the world’s next generation of leaders, we recognize and realize that we are just one piece in this puzzle," said Mark Poeschl, CEO, National FFA Organization. "This legislation provides opportunities for students to experience classroom instruction, a work or project-based experience (which we refer to as a Supervised Agricultural Experience) and of course the National FFA Organization. We look forward to the passing of this legislation and the impact it will provide to future students of agricultural education."

 

Stopgap Funding Bill – The president has signed a stopgap funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown since federal funding expired on September 30, 2020. The Senate passed this continuing resolution (CR) in a bipartisan vote of 84-10, following the House vote on the CR. This bill extends federal funding at the currently enacted levels through December 11, 2020. At that time Congress will either pass new Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills, or continue with another CR. The bill (H.R. 8337) extends funding for all 12 appropriations bills, including Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed). All education programs will continue at the currently enacted funding levels through the duration of the CR.

There's not a lot to report from Congress recently directly related to career and technical education. But, here are quick updates on the reauthorization of the National Apprenticeship Act from the House and the proposed simplification of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form from the Senate.

 

National Apprenticeship Act ... The United States House of Representatives has introduced a proposal to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship ActThe new bill, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, would invest $3.5 billion in Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships over five years, and develop approximately $1 million new apprenticeships. The Act authorizes $400 million in Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) with annual increases of $100 million, up to $800 million in FY25. Additionally, this would codify the role of the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship, codify the role of State Apprenticeship Agencies and create an interagency agreement between DOL and the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The full Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

 

FAFSA ... The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a "Time to Finish Fixing the FAFSA" hearing. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has long advocated for updating the complicated and burdensome Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. After announcing his retirement from Congress, Senator Alexander is continuing to push for FAFSA simplification to be completed before he moves on.

Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bill Passes in the House

 

On July 31, 2020, the US House of Representatives passed an FY21 appropriations minibus, or grouping of appropriations bills, on party lines. This $1.3 trillion package (H.R. 7617) included the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Ed) appropriations bill, which provides an increase of approximately $716 million for federal education programs and an increase of approximately $254 million for federal labor programs. This bill increases the Perkins Basic State Grant by about $18 million, or 1.4%, bringing the total amount of funding to about $1.3 billion. There are six appropriations bills that make up this minibus, in addition to Labor-HHS-Ed, the package also includes: Defense; Commerce, Justice and Science; Energy and Water Development; Financial Services; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. A summary of the full bill can be found here

 

Next, the Senate will introduce and vote on their own appropriations bills, which can be expected to differ from what was passed in the House. Ultimately, the House, Senate and administration must come to an agreement on FY21 federal funding.

US House of Representatives Proposes Increase for Fiscal Year 2021 CTE Funding

 

On July 6, the US House of Representatives Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bill. According to the Committee's press release, the bill includes "$196.5 billion in overall funding, an increase of $2.4 billion above the FY 2020 enacted level and $20.8 billion above the President's 2021 budget request after accounting for offsets and adjustments." Policymakers were limited to the approximately 1.22 percent increase due to statutory budget caps that had been agreed to by both chambers last year.

 

However, even with this very modest overall increase, there was some good news for CTE in the bill. While the funding level proposed for Perkins does not match the amount suggested by the Administration earlier this year, the bill proposes an $18 million, or 1.4 percent increase for the Perkins basic state grant, bringing its total funding level to approximately $1.3 billion.

 

Under the US Department of Labor, the bill also includes small increases for WIOA state grant programs, registered apprenticeships and Strengthening Community College Training Grants, among other programs, with a total budget of $10.2 billion for the Employment and Training Administration (a $187 million increase) and $12.7 billion overall (a $254 million increase).

 

This is the first official congressional step toward funding these programs for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2020. The process has been significantly delayed due to attention on the pandemic response; however, it is now expected to move forward relatively quickly in the House. House leaders have expressed interest in passing all 12 appropriations bills, including this one, on the House floor before the August recess. The process remains stalled in the Senate however, so it is likely one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to extend funding at the end of the fiscal year.

 

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn't come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, particularly as a result of the pandemic, it is a solid first step in this process considering restrictive budget caps.

US Department of Education (ED) Approves First Round of Perkins State Plans

 

How much do you know about Perkins State Plans? It is a complex process. Details related to programs authorized under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) are compiled on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Perkins Collaborative Resource Network website.

 

Your respective state’s plan must be submitted to ED for approval. The state plan sets forth how the federal appropriation for Perkins programs in your state may be expended.

 

ED has announced that the first six state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) have been approved. Perkins V was signed into law on July 31, 2018. Since then, states have submitted and implemented one-year transition plans. Now, states are awaiting approval of the full four-year state plan. The six approved states are Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. ED provides a few highlights from each plan here.

 

Because each state plan is individualized for the respective state, it is difficult to say how Perkins appropriations are used across the board nationally. However, by studying your state’s plan, you can better understand how Perkins funds may be used in your state and in your local program. For specifics on how Perkins funds may be, and are, used in your local school district, talk with your local CTE director/administrator.

Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3 trillion, 1,800 page follow-up coronavirus relief package. Although it made important, substantial investments into our education system, it does not include any dedicated resources for CTE programs.

 

In early May, Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington introduced H.R. 6646/S. 3659, the Relaunching America’s Workforce (RAWA) Act, which provides over $15 billion in funding for various federal workforce programs in response to the economic fallout created by COVID-19, including $1 billion through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), and $2 billion for community college and industry partnerships. The bill also provides critical Perkins V waivers that give our education leaders the flexibility necessary to ensure they continue to provide high-quality CTE programs to students.

As attention now turns to the Senate and negotiations between the respective parties, our goal is to ensure that CTE funding is prioritized! It is critical that the next relief package provides the necessary resources to ensure students can gain skills that are needed to help combat the pandemic and that will be needed by business and industry as we shift toward long-term economic recovery.

 

For those of you who have relationships with your Members of Congress, now would be an excellent time to contact them and ask them to support the inclusion of funding for the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act in the next relief package.

 

You can contact your Members of Congress through the ACTE Legislative Action Center … or you can call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. An operator will then connect you with your requested office. This can be particularly effective if you have a contact in the congressional office that you can ask for directly. For sample talking points, please see below.

 

  • CTE is critical to helping our nation’s economy recover and to getting millions of Americans back to work. 
  • Significant investment is needed to help upskill and retrain the over 30 million Americans who are out of work and the many whose jobs are likely to be changed and impacted as a result of coronavirus. 
  • During the last recession, postsecondary enrollment increased by nearly 2.5 million students or 16 percent. The increase was largely due to nontraditional-aged college students, and 50 percent of the new enrollments went to community colleges. A similar trend can be expected with the current predicted economic downturn.
  • The next stimulus bill must include a significant investment in CTE and workforce development programs to ensure that CTE has the capacity and resources to nimbly and adequately support urgent workforce needs.

Virtual Congressional Visits

 

Due to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak, ACTE's National Policy Seminar had to be cancelled this year. But, our valued partners at ACTE have done a tremendous job in developing the "Virtual Visit Guide."

 

So,  NAAE's Washington Beat this month, focuses on this resource from ACTE. In addition to great suggestions on conducting telephone meetings with Congressional staffers, the resource includes updates on these issues:

  • Coronavirus-related Relief Funds
  • Perkins Funding for Fiscal Year 2021
  • Joining the CTE Caucus
  • Higher Education Act Reauthorization
  • National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization
  • Infrastructure Investments
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Reauthorization

Please enjoy, take full advantage of the "Virtual Visit Guide," and pay your ACTE dues!

 

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From ACTE:

On behalf of ACTE, we hope that you and your family remain safe and healthy throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While we know canceling NPS was the right decision for the health and safety of everyone involved, it does not mean that our advocacy has to stop! In fact, ensuring CTE programs are included and valued is as important now as ever. We hope that you are able to move any meetings you had scheduled to phone calls instead, either now or later as schedules allow, and that you continue to reach out to any offices that you did not have meetings scheduled with already to open lines of communication. We have created a “Virtual Visit Guide” to help you with your advocacy. This document is intended to provide you with relevant information ahead of these conversations, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact the ACTE Public Policy Department at publicpolicy@acteonline.org.

As we go into 2020, how do you plan to advocate for your program and ag education?

What can you do at National FFA Convention to advocate for your program? 

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