Magazine article Techniques

You Have the Power to Protect Career and Technical Education

Magazine article Techniques

You Have the Power to Protect Career and Technical Education

Article excerpt

As predicted, in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 budget recommendation to Congress, President Bush proposed eliminating funding for the Perkins program in order to direct funds to his $1.24 billion High School Intervention Initiative. The president's budget, released February 7, also eliminated a total of 48 education programs. As you know, such a proposed dismantling of Perkins would severely threaten career and technical education in high schools and postsecondary settings across the country.

Congress has wisely rejected the Bush Administration's proposed cuts to Perkins in the past, and many Members of Congress have expressed opposition to the president's plan and strong support for career and technical education. Despite this support, this will be an exceptionally tight budget year for Congress, and all domestic programs are at risk of being cut to some degree.

The power of the career and technical education community working together has helped secure funding for CTE programs before. We must work harder than ever to promote the success story of CTE in communities across the country. What can you do to protect funding for career and technical education? Reach out to legislators, the media, and businesses and other stakeholders in the community and let them know the importance of your local programs. Following are some messages that may assist you in your efforts; it is helpful to add examples of your local experiences to these messages.

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act supports career and technical education programs at the state and local levels, prepares youth and adults for the future by building their skills for the careers of today and tomorrow, and is essential to strengthening the American workforce. The Perkins program is among our nation's most important investments in high schools, a key component of our postsecondary and workforce development systems, and is vital to American business.

Cuts to Perkins would prove devastating to career and technical education, and threaten our nation's ability to ensure rigorous and relevant educational experiences for students and to create a highly skilled workforce that supports the demands of the 21st century economy.

Career and technical education provides effective and proven links to skills-building and academic opportunities, as well as improved employment outcomes: Students completing a rigorous academic core coupled with a career concentration have test scores that are equal to or higher than those of students considered to be "college prep"; are more likely to pursue postsecondary education; have a higher grade point average in college; are less likely to drop out in the first year; and have better employment and earnings outcomes than other students, according to the Southern Regional Education Board. …

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