Legislative Update: Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills and Panel with Federal CTE Leadership


Legislative Update: Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills and Panel with Federal CTE Leadership

This week, the Senate introduced Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and workforce funding, as well as a panel discussion about the history and future outlook of Career Technical Education (CTE) and the start of administration transition planning. 
Senate Introduces Fiscal Year 2021 Funding Bills
Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.
As Congress returned this week for the lame duck session, one of the most critical items on the agenda before the end of the year is the passage of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. As one step toward finalizing these bills, on November 10, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its long-awaited draft FY21 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s highlights document, the proposal includes $184.47 billion in overall funding, with $73.2 billion of the proposed discretionary spending for the Department of Education, which would be an increase of $433 million or 0.9% over FY20 enacted levels. 
Even with this very modest overall increase, there was some very good news for CTE in the bill! The bill proposes an $75 million, or 5.8% increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant over the FY20 enacted levels, bringing its total proposed funding level to approximately $1.36 billion. This is $57 million more than the funding level included in the appropriations bill passed by the House in July. 
Below are some additional funding levels proposed in the bill: 

  • CTE National programs: $7.42 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.18 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Adult Education: $671 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • DoL Training and Employment Services programs: $3.585 billion, a decrease from $3.611 billion in FY20 
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2.132 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • ESSA Title IV–A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.25 billion, an increase of $40 million from FY20 level 
  • Pell Grants: $6,495 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY20 level 

The bill is not expected to have a markup or be considered individually on the Senate floor, but it will serve as a negotiating position for the Senate with the House. In order to prevent a government shutdown, Congress needs to pass FY21 appropriations bills or a new continuing resolution (CR) prior to the December 11 expiration of the current CR.  
While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, it is a solid step in this process considering restrictive budget caps and urgent needs created by the pandemic. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 relief package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs and encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress to ask them to support the higher Perkins funding level included in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.   
Federal Leadership Speaks on Advance CTE Panel 
On Tuesday, November 10, Advance CTE was joined by an esteemed panel of current and former Assistant Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), including:

  • Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for OCTAE, 2018 – Present; 
  • Brenda Dann-Messier, 2009 – 2014; 
  • Carol D’Amico, 2001 – 2003; 
  • Trish McNeil, 1996 – 2001; and
  • Betsy Brand, 1989 – 1993. 

Panelists shared memories over the 100 years of Advance CTE’s work, including work on the federal investment in CTE and the advancement of federal CTE Policy. The group as a whole expressed great pride in changing the national narrative of CTE to a program of value for each learner, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or where they live. 
Former Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier complimented current Assistant Secretary Stump, noting that “for a long time, CTE was a dumping ground…based on race and ethnicity. It has been a long haul. Scott [Stump], you’ve done a phenomenal job to change that trajectory.”
Looking ahead to the next 100 years with the CTE community, Advance CTE is excited to continue to push forward in order to grow and transform CTE into a system that prepares each learner for a lifetime of success. 
A full recording of our 100 year celebration can be found here.
President-Elect Begins Transition Planning
On Saturday November 7, it was announced the former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) received the electoral votes required to win the presidential election. In the days since, President Elect Biden has begun to share his plans for the transition between administration.
It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team.
At this time, the Biden-Harris Transition Team has put out a public website: https://buildbackbetter.com. This includes priorities for COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. President-Elect Biden outlines four national efforts as part of an economic recovery strategy:

  • Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America;
  • Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future;
  • Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce; and
  • Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America.

In addition, Linda Darling-Hammond was named as the head of the education transition team. Darling-Hammond has an extensive career in the education field, including Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford School of Education, past President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond also ran the education transition team for former President Barack Obama in 2008.
Darling-Hammond will lead the Department of Education Review Team of volunteers, comprised of the following individuals:

  • Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
  • Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jim Brown, United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
  • Norma Cantu, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
  • Jessica Cardichon, Learning Policy Institute
  • Keia Cole, MassMutual
  • Lindsay Dworkin, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association
  • Kristina Ishmael, Open Education Global
  • Bob Kim, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • James Kvaal, The Institute for College Access & Success
  • Peggy McLeod, UnidosUS
  • Paul Monteiro, Howard University
  • Pedro Rivera, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Roberto Rodríguez, Teach Plus, Inc.
  • Shital Shah, American Federation of Teachers
  • Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, American Federation of Teachers
  • Emma Vadehra, The Century Foundation

Full information on the Biden-Harris campaign platform pertaining to education and workforce development can be found here.
Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy