Magazine article Techniques

Congress Heard Our Message

Magazine article Techniques

Congress Heard Our Message

Article excerpt

Legislative advocacy pays off-literally. Thanks to the efforts of AVA members around the nation, vocationaltechnical education will receive more federal money in fiscal year 1997.

More money. In September, Congress reversed its trend of funding cuts by passing increased appropriations for the next fiscal year. Vocational-technical education programs will receive about $51 million more than in FY 1996. The federal school-to-work program will receive $50 million more, and adult education programs will get an additional $95 million. In addition, the maximum Pell Grant award will increase to $2,700.

These increases, some may say, were an act of political expedience. Congressional and presidential candidates love to claim that they support education, and what better way to do it than to vote in favor of more funding right before the elections? But why was education such a high priority for Congress now, after nearly two years of trying to scale back federal support?

Because members of Congress discovered the consequences when they proposed education cuts over the past two years, and they weren't pretty. They heard, loud and clear, that their constituents valued federal support of education and generally opposed cuts in this area. They heard from teachers, parents, administrators, counselors, students and representatives of community colleges and universities. They also heard from businesses and state and local policy makers, as well as national education organizations like AVA.

Grassroots advocacy works. …

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