President Announces 2012 Budget Request for Career and Technical and Adult Education
President Obama announced his FY 2012 budget yesterday, framing a comprehensive and responsible plan that will put the country on a path toward fiscal sustainability in the next few years. Agencies and programs across the government are facing level funding, or even budget cuts. The budget calls for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending other than for national security. It requires tough choices since every decision to invest requires cuts somewhere else. Education is a priority for the administration, which views it as a prerequisite for prosperity as well as an obligation we have to the next generation for ensuring their success in a career and in life. Although these are challenging times, we must educate our way to a better economy by investing responsibly, advancing reform and demanding results. The administration is committed to investing in and improving our education system, continuing its commitment to protect students most at risk while supporting reform at the state and local levels.
A key administration goal in creating the FY 2012 budget is to maintain fiscal discipline by prioritizing programs that are best aligned with the president’s education reform agenda. During FY 2012, in preparation for the Perkins Act reauthorization, the Department plans to promote reforms in career and technical education (CTE) that lay the foundation for strengthening CTE. Consequently, the president’s FY 2012 budget request includes $1.0 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants, $160.9 million below the 2011 continuing resolution (CR) annualized amount. The administration is not requesting funds for Tech Prep Education State Grants and, instead, proposes to consolidate the program with the Career and Technical Education State Grants program to offer more flexibility to states. Funding for Career and Technical Education National Programs was preserved at the 2011 CR level of $7.9 million. The opportunity for reforms in CTE will open up real opportunities for students and ensure accountability for results. As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “Career education is vitally important to America’s future, but we need to strengthen and reform our programs before expanding them.”
The administration is requesting $635.0 million for Adult Education State Grants, $23.3 million for Adult Education National Leadership Activities, and $17.2 million for Workforce and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Individuals State Grants. The request for Adult Education State Grants is $6.8 million over the 2011 CR level. It makes $75million of the state grant amount available for integrated English literacy and civics education services to immigrants and other limited English proficient populations. It includes an 8 percent set-aside, equivalent to $50.8 million, for a new Workforce Innovation Fund, administered with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and in partnership with the Department of Labor. The fund will provide grants for projects that encourage innovation and validate effective strategies that improve service delivery and outcomes for beneficiaries under the Workforce Education Act (WIA). The request for Adult Education National Leadership Activities is $12.0 million over the 2011 CR level. Of the $12.0 million increase, $6.0 million would support a new impact evaluation of “college bridge programs” that assist adult learners in transitioning from adult basic education to postsecondary education and training. The remaining $6.0 million would support the development of a comprehensive technology infrastructure for adult learners and adult educators. The balance would provide continued support to the adult education and literacy field.