Magazine article Techniques

2004: A Year of Change for Career and Technical Education Policy

Magazine article Techniques

2004: A Year of Change for Career and Technical Education Policy

Article excerpt

What does the year ahead hold for policies of interest to the career and technical education (CTE) community? This year promises to be a busy one as many programs face reauthorization decisions and continued funding challenges.

Our biggest challenge--and I think largest opportunity--in 2004 will be the expected reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act. Last year we saw requests for drastic funding cuts and significant and potentially harmful changes to the Perkins program coming from the administration. The many career and technical educators that raised their voices in opposition to these plans have forced the administration to take a second look at what they are proposing for the Perkins program. We eagerly await new details from the administration, and from Congressional leaders regarding a reauthorized Perkins.

This year we will be working closely with Congress and the administration to recommend improvements to the program and to prevent negative proposals from becoming reality. Your voices will continue to be crucial to this process, and we will be asking you to lend your voices to ACTE's efforts over the coming months. We expect the Perkins reauthorization process to begin sometime in the late winter or early spring. It's difficult to predict how long the process will take, but given crowded legislative calendars in both the House and the Senate during an election year, final resolution may take us into next year--and a new Congress.

We also face unfinished business in other legislative areas--Congress left much work undone in several crucial areas in 2003 that still needs to be addressed in 2004. These include funding for CTE, job training, and education programs, and completing the reauthorization processes for special education, higher education, welfare, and workforce programs (please see In Washington on these pages for a review of these programs' legislative status).

Funding decisions will likely be finalized by February, with anticipated slight increases in Perkins, and funding for job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) sustaining cuts imposed on the program last year. Movement to finalize the reauthorizations of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and the Workforce Investment Act could continue in February as well--with Congress debating further restrictions on education and training for those transitioning from welfare to work, and block grants and funding changes to WIA that could impact WIA's partner programs, including Perkins. …

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