Legislative Alert from ACTE

From www.acteonline.org

WHAT: The Bush Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget request today, February 5, 2007. The $2.9 trillion budget proposes to severely cut funding for the Perkins Act, along with a number of other education programs, to fund additional increases in No Child Left Behind targeted to high schools, as well as new voucher programs.

The budget request proposes to fund the Perkins Basic State Grant program at only $600 million, approximately half of its current amount. Also, under the proposal, funds for the Tech Prep program are completely eliminated. To see how much your state is estimated to lose, go to http://www.acteonline.org/policy/legislative_issues/funding_08.cfm.

The $56.0 billion Department of Education budget would eliminate or consolidate a total of 45 programs (including programs such as smaller learning communities and counseling), and would cut education funding overall by $1.5 billion from the estimated FY 2007 levels. The budget proposal also cuts key Department of Labor programs, such as funds for adult, youth, and dislocated workers under the Workforce Investment Act.

BACKGROUND: While policymakers and education advocates, including ACTE, have long called for increased focus on high schools and education to meet the needs of the 21st century economy, (see ACTE’s “Reinventing the American High School for the 21st Century”) these goals cannot be achieved by cutting or eliminating programs such as Perkins that are already helping students succeed, and the cuts to numerous education programs more than offset the proposed increases.

The Bush Administration called for 25 percent cuts to the Perkins Act in FY 2004 and FY 2005, and proposed to completely eliminate Perkins funding in FY 2006 and FY 2007. While Congress wisely rejected these proposals in the past, the program has not seen a substantial increase in funding since FY 2002, and the President’s new proposed cuts will cause detrimental harm to the newly reauthorized program.
The President’s budget request represents the start of the annual budget and appropriations process. Congress makes the bulk of the funding decisions for the federal government, and in a year where fiscal discipline will be paramount and budget deficits continue to draw increased attention, it is critical that CTE advocates clearly let Members of Congress know of the importance of increases for the Perkins program, not cuts.

ACTION NEEDED: Contact your Members of Congress in the House and Senate by phone, fax, or e-mail and:

Let Members of Congress know that while you support increased emphasis on high school improvement and economic competitiveness, it should not occur at the expense of other programs, such as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which are already successfully improving high schools and preparing students for the 21st century economy.
Ask them to oppose the President’s proposal to cut Perkins funds and education funding overall, and instead to increase Perkins funds to meet the critical education needs of the 21st century economy, and to adequately fund the initiatives in the newly reauthorized program.
Explain that Perkins funds are used for important education and job training programs in a variety of settings, including community and technical colleges. Cutting Perkins funding and funneling it toward a general high school program not only hurts existing high school CTE programs, but would harm these postsecondary programs as well.
Explain that Perkins is working well in your community, and that CTE makes positive investments in America’s future by providing relevant learning experiences for students, effective and proven links to skills-building and enhanced academic opportunities and improved employment outcomes; that it reduces dropout rates; and that employers in your local area continue to need well-trained workers with good skills to compete in the 21st century economy.
Additional talking points and more details are available on ACTE’s website at http://www.acteonline.org/policy/legislative_issues/funding_08.cfm. Also, ACTE will be producing a podcast to provide additional details on the budget request. This podcast will be posted on the ACTE Web site on Tuesday, February 6.

To find contact information for Members of Congress and a sample letter, please visit ACTE’s Legislative Action Center at http://capwiz.com/acte/home/.

We appreciate your efforts! For more information, contact the Association for Career and Technical Education's Public Policy Department, 1410 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22315, 1-800-826-9972, www.acteonline.org.

Write your Representative: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


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