FY 1999 Budget Summary

Section 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 problem-solving, communications, and teamwork skills. The current shortage of information technology workers provides one example of the need for American students to receive this type of education if they, and the country, are to thrive in the global economy. The Department's School-to-Work Opportunities, Vocational Education, and Adult Education programs help Americans of all ages attain this needed combination of skills and abilities.

[TOP] School-to-Work Opportunities


BA in millions $200.0 $200.0 $125.0

The Administration is requesting a total of $250 million--$125 million each for the Department of Education and the Department of Labor--for School-to-Work Opportunities--to continue support for 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. Fiscal year 1999 would begin the planned phase-out of funding for this program, in accordance with the October 2001 "sunset" in its authorizing statute. As Federal support winds down, States will continue their school-to-work activities with funding from other Federal programs, such as Vocational Education, and with State and local dollars.

By the end of fiscal year 1998, the two Departments expect to have provided school-to-work implementation grants to all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The program also supports separate grants to high-poverty urban and rural areas, and to Indian tribes and the Outlying Areas. Limited funds reserved at the national level support training, technical assistance, and evaluation activities.

The school-to-work concept is the product of a broad-based consensus among policy-makers, teachers, researchers, and others about the need to improve career planning and workforce preparation among youth, and the kinds of learning experiences that schools need to provide. States' early experiences in developing school-to-work systems indicate that the concept can bring together educators, businesses, and other members of the community in designing new educational programs. States like Kentucky and Oregon have made school-to-work reforms a central part of their broader education reform strategies.

[TOP] Vocational Education
(BA in millions)


State Grants $1,015.6 $1,027.6 $1,030.7
Tech-Prep Education 100.0 103.0 106.0
National Programs 13.5 13.5 13.5
Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions 2.9 3.1 --1
Subtotal 1,132.0 1,147.1 1,150.1
Permanent Appropriation (Smith- Hughes Act) 7.1 -- 2 --2
Total 1,139.1 1,147.1 1,150.1

1 Under the reauthorization legislation the Administration has submitted to Congress, tribally controlled postsecondary institutions would receive funding under the Basic Grants set-aside for Indian and Native Hawaiian programs. The 1999 budget would continue funding for those institutions at $3.1 million.
2 The Smith-Hughes Act permanent appropriation was repealed in August 1997.

The 1999 budget includes nearly $1.2 billion for vocational education programs, a $3 million increase from the 1998 level. The request is based on the "Carl D. Perkins Career Preparation Education Act," the Department's reauthorization bill that is currently pending in Congress. This proposal would assist in the transformation of State and local vocational education programs into components of career preparation systems linked to challenging academic and industry skill standards and capable of meeting the needs of all youth. It would also streamline the current legislation by consolidating most program authorities, enhance State and local flexibility by eliminating many administrative and governance requirements, strengthen the Perkins Act's focus on accountability and program results, and target funds more effectively on the neediest communities and educational institutions.

For State Grants, which provide formula grants that States, local educational agencies, and postsecondary institutions use to improve vocational education programs and to ensure that individuals with special needs have full access to those programs, the request is approximately $1.0 billion. The Act concentrates Federal resources on schools and colleges with high concentrations of low-income and other special-needs students. The State Grants appropriation also funds a statutory set-aside for Indian and Native Hawaiian programs. The budget would maintain the 1998 funding level for State Grants (assuming the consolidation of funding for tribally controlled postsecondary vocational institutions into the Indian set-aside, as proposed in the Department's reauthorization bill.)

[TOP]The budget includes a $3 million increase, to $106 million, for Tech-Prep Education, which supports State formula grants for programs that link secondary and postsecondary, and vocational and academic instruction to prepare individuals for high-tech careers. Tech-Prep has laid the foundation, in many States, for the introduction of school-to-work systems, and the additional funds will assist States' efforts to extend tech-prep programs to more schools and students.

The National Programs support applied research and development activities designed to improve and assess vocational education programs nationally. Recently, the Department has begun using these resources to help States develop the data collection and program accountability systems needed to improve program management and supply the performance information needed under the Government Performance and Results Act. The budget request of $13.5 million for National Programs would also support continuation of the National Center for Research on Vocational Education, initiation of a new national assessment of vocational education programs, activities to improve the professional development of vocational educators, and continuing efforts to document and disseminate information on high schools that have achieved outstanding outcomes with curricula that integrate academic and vocational study.

[TOP] Adult Education
(BA in millions)


Adult Education State Grants $340.3 $345.3 $361.0
Evaluation and Technical Assistance 5.0 5.0 27.0
National Institute for Literacy 4.5 5.5 6.0
Literacy Programs for Prisoners 4.7 4.7 --
Total 354.6 360.6 394.0

Many Americans lack the basic literacy and language skills to succeed in today's 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 programs in the States that enable adults to become literate and complete high school, so that they can succeed as workers, parents, and citizens.

The 1999 budget is based on the "Adult Basic Education and Literacy for the 21st Century Act" that the Department submitted to Congress in 1997. This proposal would simplify the current adult education programs by eliminating unnecessary set-asides and requirements, strengthen accountability for results, and target funds more effectively on States and local areas with the greatest needs. The proposal also would improve program quality by funding activities that are (1) built on a strong research foundation, (2) employ advances in technology, (3) establish measurable goals for client outcomes, and (4) are of sufficient intensity and duration for participants to achieve substantial learning gains.

[TOP]The 1999 budget includes $361 million for a reauthorized Adult Education State Grants program, up $15.7 million or 4.5 percent to help states to increase the number of adults served and allow them to focus on improved program quality and student achievement.

[TOP]The $27 million request for Evaluation and Technical Assistance is a $22 million increase over the 1998 level. Most of the proposed increase is for a $20 million initiative to develop model English as a second language programs. This new activity would fund demonstrations involving different instructional approaches, delivery methods, teacher qualifications, and resource levels for providing English instruction to Hispanic and other adults who lack proficiency in English. Up to 40,000 adults would be served through the demonstrations. The remaining Evaluation and Technical Assistance funds would provide continued support for major evaluations and technical assistance activities, including a national study of adult education instruction and outcomes instruction, as well as efforts to help States develop results-based performance information systems.

[TOP]For the National Institute for Literacy, the Department's $6 million request would continue efforts to identify, promote, and demonstrate approaches that effectively respond to the diverse needs of adult learners, build adult literacy providers' capacity to meet client needs with high-quality services tied to rigorous content standards, and increase national awareness of the importance of literacy and public support for literacy programs.

[TOP]Because all States use a portion of their Adult Education State Grant funds to provide literacy services to incarcerated and other institutionalized individuals, the Department is not proposing to reauthorize or fund the separate Literacy Program for Prisoners activity for 1999.

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Direct any questions to Martha Jacobs, Budget Service