ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the White House released its Fiscal Year 2012 budget, which proposes to cut the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) to $1 billion, a $264 million loss, which takes funding for the program back to 1991 levels. Today, the House of Representatives is poised to take up the FY 2011 bill with a Perkins cut of $102.9 million. Both of these actions are misguided, especially during a time when Perkins is helping adults re-enter the job market and helping CTE students to outperform their peers.
Under the Administration's proposal, some states will lose up to 38 percent of funding for career and technical education (CTE) programs, and the House bill also cuts Perkins funds for each state. The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) oppose both proposals because CTE plays a critical role in ensuring students are college- and career- ready and prepare adults for the global economy.
Ironically, the president released his budget yesterday at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology and lauded the school's engineering programs, which benefited from Perkins funds. The school received Perkins funds to launch Project Lead the Way's (PLTW) Gateway to Technology instructional modules and help create a pipeline for the high school PLTW pre-engineering program offered at Parkville High School.
The Perkins program, which funds both secondary and postsecondary institutions such as community and technical colleges, provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to compete in today's global workforce. It is the largest source of federal funds for secondary schools and has more direct links to business and industry than any other federal education program. Perkins provides funding for many of the courses that are helping adults learn new skills after losing their jobs.
Not only have enrollments for these programs increased to record levels, but Perkins is focused on high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs that will help meet the Administration and Congressional goal of increasing 5 million more Americans with certificates and degrees. Congress must invest in CTE programs through the Perkins Act and restore funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant and Tech Prep programs to $1.264 billion total. With states already facing tight education budgets, these cuts will prevent development and support of programs that train students for 21st century careers.
"In a time when the President and Congress are putting the emphasis on education, training, and innovation as well as stressing the importance of postsecondary education, Congress and the president should be increasing, not reducing Perkins funding," said ACTE Executive Director Jan Bray. "These programs teach students to be college- and career- ready. CTE is proven to teach students the technical, academic and employability skills employers are looking for, especially with regard to high-skilled and high-demand jobs. If Congress and the Administration want to restore job growth, reduce the dropout rate, and improve the U.S. economy, then we need to continue to invest in CTE."
Research shows that CTE students are significantly more likely than their non-CTE counterparts to report that they developed problem-solving, project completion, research, math, college application, work-related, communication, time management, and critical thinking skills during high school. They also graduate at higher rates, have higher academic achievement levels than general track students, and earn more once in the workforce.
"Earlier this month, Secretary Duncan himself said that 'CTE has an enormous, if often overlooked impact on students, school systems, and our ability to prosper as a nation.' The Administration's budget proposal to cut $264 million in CTE funding overlooks the positive impact CTE programs are having and harms our nation's ability to climb out of this recession." said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director said. "CTE programs across the country, like those the President highlighted in his State of the Union address, are models for innovation, economic recovery and college and career success. These exemplars were created despite no funding increases in the last 9 years. CTE has done more with less. To ask CTE to take a 14% cut, while overall education spending increased by 11%, is tying our hands behind our back in the fight to restore the nation's economy."
SOURCE Association for Career and Technical Education; National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium