FY 2001 Budget Summary - February 2000

D. Vocational and Adult Education

(Including the School-to-Work Opportunities Act)

In response to rapid changes in the economy and society, schools and colleges must adopt educational approaches that ensure that every student achieves rigorous academic knowledge, computer and other technical proficiency, and skills in problem-solving, communications, and teamwork. The Department's Vocational and Adult Education programs help Americans of all ages attain this needed combination of skills and abilities.

[TOP] Vocational Education
(BA in millions)

State Grants$1,030.6$1,055.6$855.7
Tech-Prep Education106.0106.0306.0
National Programs13.517.517.5
Occupational and Employment Information09.00
Tribally Controlled Postsecondary
    Vocational Institutions


Vocational Education programs develop the academic, vocational, and technical skills of students in high schools and community colleges. The 1998 Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act helps States achieve this goal by focusing on the integration of academic and vocational instruction; student attainment of challenging academic, vocational, and technical standards; and development of stronger linkages between education and employers. The Act also greatly increases accountability for results: State and local recipients are using program funds to track and measure the educational and workplace outcomes for participating students, and States that exceed their performance goals will be eligible to receive "incentive awards" from the Federal Government.

[TOP] The request for Vocational Education is $1.183 billion, a $9 million (0.8 percent) decrease from the 2000 level. The total includes funding of about $856 billion for State Grants to support State, high school, and community college activities to improve the quality of vocational education and develop systems to track and report post-program education and employment outcomes of vocational students. The Department proposes to decrease funding for State Grants by $200 million in order to place greater emphasis on Tech-Prep Education, with its focus on preparing students for postsecondary education and high-skills careers.

[TOP] Tech-Prep Education funds State formula grants for programs that link secondary and postsecondary, and vocational and academic instruction to prepare individuals for high-tech careers. Tech-Prep programs emphasize the development of (and teacher training in) applied instructional methods for academic classes; more successful entry into postsecondary education; and an increased emphasis on academics, especially math, science, and technology. The $200 million increase proposed for Tech-Prep will help meet the growing demand for Tech-Prep education across the Nation. The additional funds will support efforts by Tech-Prep consortia to improve connections to 4-year postsecondary institutions and courses of study, make effective use of technology and distance learning, and integrate work-based learning opportunities into local programs.

[TOP] The Vocational Education National Programs support applied research and development activities aimed at assessing and improving vocational education programs nationally. Funds support the National Centers for Research and Dissemination in Career and Technical Education, data collections needed to fulfill the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act, and special initiatives in such areas as high school reform, educator professional development, and the development of high-tech "career clusters" that provide curriculum in a broad occupational area. The $17.5 million request will sustain these activities and fund completion of the national assessment of vocational education begun in 1999.

[TOP] Finally, the 2001 request includes $4.6 million for Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions, a program of competitive grants to institutions that provide postsecondary vocational training to Native American students.

[TOP] Adult Education
(BA in millions)

State Grants$365.0$450.0$460.0
National Leadership Activities14.014.089.0
National Institute for Literacy6.0

Many Americans lack the basic literacy skills needed to be successful citizens and workers in our increasingly technology-based economy. The 1994 National Adult Literacy Survey found that between 23 and 27 million adults performed at or below the fifth-grade level in reading and math. Adults who function at the lowest levels of literacy tend to live in poverty, drop out of school, and, if employed, have low-paying jobs. Poor literacy skills affect not only these adults, but their children as well; numerous studies have shown that the educational level of the parent, especially the mother, is the most influential factor in children?s success in school.

The Department?s Adult Education programs fund State and local activities that enable adults to become literate and complete high school, so that they can succeed as workers, parents, and citizens. Access to Adult Education programs is particularly important for recent immigrants and other limited English proficient adults who wish to learn English in a predominantly English-speaking society and further their education to obtain a GED, attend college, or improve their lifelong learning potential. One-third of recent immigrants do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and this population has a significantly lower average income and a higher unemployment rate than native-born Americans.

The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act of 1998 put a priority on the delivery of adult education services that make effective use of technology, are of sufficient intensity to bring about substantial learning gains, have measurable goals for client outcomes, and are based on research. Also, the Adult Education State Grants authority now includes a strengthened emphasis on program accountability. States, in cooperation with the Department, are required to set annual performance goals in such areas as making improvements in participants? literacy skills, receipt of high school diplomas or equivalent credentials, and placement in and completion of postsecondary education and training programs. States that exceed their goals will be eligible for performance bonuses.

[TOP] The request includes a $10 million increase for the State Grants program that would build on last year?s 23 percent increase to further the goals of the President?s adult literacy initiative. This initiative aims to close the Nation?s skills gap by 2005 by increasing the number of full-time instructors by 20 percent, doubling the number of instructional hours per student, tripling the number of computer stations, and more than doubling the amount of child care and counseling services available in adult education programs.

[TOP] In addition, the budget proposes a $75 million increase for National Leadership Activities, which support research, demonstration, and evaluation. In particular, the increase would expand Common Ground Partnership Grants, an English literacy and civics initiative that received $25.5 million in 2000 as a set-aside from Adult Education State Grants. This initiative helps States meet the increased need for adult education services, particularly among recent immigrants, but also among other adults who need to strengthen their literacy skills or obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent. Common Ground grants support demonstration programs that provide immigrants and other participants with English literacy skills coupled with other key skills that are necessary to effectively navigate life and work in American society.

Other National Leadership funds would be used for State and local evaluation activities, technical assistance to States on program accountability and effectiveness, and development and dissemination of staff development and training models to improve teacher effectiveness. The request would continue support for the High Skills Communities Campaign to help States and local communities promote lifelong learning and literacy and measure their progress in meeting their literacy and lifelong learning goals.

[TOP] The $6.5 million request for the National Institute for Literacy supports communication, capacity-building, and policy analysis activities in support of the national goal that all Americans will be literate and able to compete in the workforce. Institute activities have included developing a Web-based literacy information and communication system, supporting the development of content standards for adult education programs, and funding activities that focus on education of adults with learning disabilities.

[TOP] Community Technology Centers

BA in millions$10.0$32.5$100.0

This program makes grants to public housing facilities, community centers, libraries, and other community facilities to make educational technology available to residents of low-income urban and rural communities. The $67.5 million increase proposed for 2001 would support 280 new grants, up from 120 in 2000. The request would fund up to 1,000 Centers that would help address a "digital divide" in the use of computer and other communications technologies that threatens to widen the socioeconomic gap between poor and minority groups and other more affluent populations.

Research shows that lack of access by residents of such communities to computers and other information technology limits their ability to obtain job information, educational resources, and other benefits of the Internet. Grantees establish community learning centers that provide area residents access to preschool and family education programs, after-school activities, adult basic and English-as-a-second-language instruction, and online job databases.

[TOP] State Grants for Incarcerated Youth Offenders

BA in millions$12.0$14.0$12.0

This program provides formula grants to State correctional agencies to assist and encourage incarcerated youths to acquire functional literacy, life, and job skills through postsecondary education, employment counseling, and related services. At the requested level, States would be able to serve approximately 6,700 youth offenders.

[TOP] Literacy Programs for Prisoners

BA in millions$4.7$5.0--

The budget includes no funding for this program, which provided discretionary grants to State and local correctional agencies to establish and operate programs that reduce recidivism through the improvement of life skills. The program was repealed in 1998 by the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and replaced by a requirement that States set aside up to 10 percent of Adult Education State Grants for the education of prisoners and other institutionalized individuals.

[TOP] School-to-Work Opportunities

BA in millions$125.0$55.0--

No funds are requested for the School-to-Work Opportunities program, which supported the development of State systems that connect what goes on in the classroom to future careers and real-work situations and that prepare secondary school students for a broad range of postsecondary education and advanced training opportunities. The School-to-Work Opportunitites Act "sunsets" on October 1, 2001. After Federal support winds down, States will continue their school-to-work activities with funding from other Federal programs, such as Vocational Education and the Workforce Investment Act, and with State and local dollars.

Direct any questions to Martha Jacobs, Budget Service


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Rehabilitative Services]
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[Section E - Postsecondary Education]