Fiscal Year 2005 Budget Summary February 2, 2004
Section II. C. Vocational and Adult Education
Programs in the Vocational and Adult Education account, as they are currently configured, provide formula grants to States to further State and community efforts to improve vocational education programs and adult education and literacy systems. With the exception of two programs (Smaller Learning Communities and Community Technology Centers) authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, all programs in this account are subject to reauthorization in 2005.
The fiscal year 2005 budget request of $1.6 billion for this account supports the Administration's reauthorization strategy to reshape the Federal investment in education for the workforce and intensify the focus on adult literacy skills. The total includes $12 million, funded under the proposed Secondary and Technical Education State Grants program as part of the President's Jobs for the 21st Century initiative, to increase the number of States implementing State Scholars programs that encourage high school students to complete a rigorous four-year course of study.
The proposed new Secondary and Technical Education program would create a coordinated high school and technical education improvement program in place of the current Vocational Education State Grants. Funding in this account would provide States, local educational agencies, community colleges, and schools with the resources to strengthen academic and technical education at the secondary and postsecondary levels. Also, proposed amendments to the adult education programs would strengthen local accountability for improved instruction in reading, mathematics, and English literacy.
Under the Administration's plan for reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 (Perkins III), a new Secondary and Technical Education State Grants program would replace the current Vocational Education State Grants program. The new program would shift from providing traditional vocational education to a stronger focus on supporting high levels of academic achievement at the high school level in the context of career and technical education programs offered in coordination with postsecondary education and training partners.
The new program would support and complement the achievement and accountability goals of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) by requiring States to focus more intensively on improving student academic achievement and outcomes in career and technical education programs so that students are taught the skills needed to make successful transitions from high school to further education and training and into the workforce.
States would use most of their allocations to make competitive grants to partnerships between school districts and technical schools, community technical colleges, and institutions of higher education. States would be able to use a portion of their formula allocations to carry out State-level activities, and a national activities reservation would fund research, development, demonstrations, and other activities to help improve the quality and effectiveness of career and technical education.
With an increased focus on academics in high school, some national activities already underway have the potential to demonstrate the benefit of high expectations for all students, including students engaged in career and technical education pathways. For example, as part of the President's Jobs for the 21st Century initiative, the Department is requesting $12 million to expand the number of State Scholars programs, which currently are operating in only 14 States. These programs are designed to dramatically increase the percentage of high school students who have the solid academic foundation necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and in an increasingly dynamic labor market.
State Scholars programs operate through business and education partnerships to encourage high school students to complete a rigorous curriculum that includes at least 3 years of mathematics and science, as well as 4 years of English and social studies, and courses in foreign languages. State Scholars is unique in that business leaders communicate directly with students about the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the workforce, helping students to understand better the importance of completing challenging academic courses in high school.
No funds are requested for the current vocational education programs, including National Programs, Occupational and Employment Information, Tech-Prep State Grants, and the Tech-Prep Demonstration. Although currently authorized under the Perkins Act, the Department is requesting funds for the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational and Technical Institutions program in the Higher Education account.
The Department's comprehensive review of the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, completed as part of reauthorization planning, identified the overall need to increase the focus on strengthening skills in basic reading, math, and English acquisition for adults who have weak literacy skills or want to earn their high school diploma or its recognized equivalent (the GED). As a result, the Administration's "Blueprint" for key areas of change in the current legislation includes: (1) requiring States to establish more effective and accountable programs that set challenging expectations for students, use meaningful assessments, and align instruction to meet those expectations, (2) improving the performance accountability system, (3) enhancing the emphasis on research to build a stronger foundation of knowledge for improving adult education, and (4) strengthening partnerships with the One-Stop delivery system under Title I of Workforce Investment Act.
The request includes $6.7 million for the National Institute for Literacy, with the expectation that new authorizing legislation would continue support for its communication, capacity-building, and policy analysis activities. In addition, the budget provides $9.2 million to continue high-priority research, demonstration, and evaluation initiatives funded under National Leadership Activities. In addition to evaluation activities, these funds support technical assistance to States on program accountability and effectiveness, and development and dissemination of staff development and training models to improve teaching.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 2, 2004 (mjj).