News is coming fast out of the new Administration, from President Trumps ‘skinny budget,’ to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos making the rounds at a series of education-focused conferences. This week we’ll dig into the President’s 2018 Fiscal Year budget, explore a few bills that have been recently introduced, and get a sense of Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policy priorities.
Secretary Betsy DeVos maintains messages:
Secretary DeVos spoke to two groups of state leaders this week, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In her March 20 remarks in front of both groups, she emphasized the benefits of expanding school choice and the flexibility provided to state leaders under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Both speeches featured examples of best practices in states, and her NASBE remarks highlighted Career Technical Education (CTE) efforts in California, specifically the state’s CTE courses that satisfy admission requirements for the University of California system and programs that incorporate industry-based learning.
This follows last week’s letter to chief state school officers on ESSA, including new guidance and an updated plan template. Notably, states planning to submit their plans by the first deadline will have until May 3 to allow governors sufficient time to review the updated template. Find more information and resources here.
The President’s FY18 budget lays out cuts to the U.S. Department of Education totaling $9 billion. However, just $4.9 billion in cuts are outlined at this time (see this table for additional details), meaning that there is a strong likelihood that another $4.1 billion in cuts will be outlined at a later date. We do not yet know the proposed level of funding that Perkins will receive (though we do appreciate that Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent this letter to President Trump encouraging him to invest in Perkins). While we are unsure of the exact timeline for Perkins reauthorization (though we continue to urge Congress to reauthorize soon), discussions are underway and it is likely that a bill will first move through the House, likely building off the version passed in the fall (H.R. 5587). While the administration has its sights set on the FY18 budget, the ongoing Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed late last year is scheduled to expire on April 28. At that time, Congress will need to pass an omnibus budget bill or another CR to continue funding for the remainder of FY17.
In case you missed it:
- Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN) – co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus – reintroduced the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act on March 14. This bill would amend Perkins, with a focus on raising the quality of CTE programs (see this factsheet for additional details).
- Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would create a competitive grant program through the Department of Labor to “create and expand partnerships between two-year community and technical colleges and employers to train millions of Americans for jobs in high-demand industries” according to this one-pager released by the bill’s sponsors.
- While budget cuts may be ahead, it seems there is at least general support for CTE from this new administration. In her March 15 remarks to the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Secretary DeVos said, “We should break the stigma that career education options are not valid paths to learning and success.” Just two days later in a discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German business leaders about workforce development issues President Trump said, “Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeship — that’s a name I like, “apprentice” — apprenticeship programs.” Major employers who have been supportive of CTE also contributed to the discussion, including IBM and Siemens.
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy