Governors ask Congress to prioritize education, workforce development
- Federal support for education and workforce training should continue, and in negotiations for the coming year’s budget Congress should ensure funding to make the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act successful, according to a letter from the National Governors Association.
- The letter, addressed to the chairs and ranking members of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education in the House and Senate, marks the first time since 2007 that governors have collectively advocated regarding federal funding levels.
- The governors also requested that Congress work to ensure proper funding is continued for state grants under the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Preschool Development Grants and state grants available due to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Many states have been planning how to ensure their K-12 education systems align with ESSA for years, so states have a great deal riding on a properly funded rollout of the legislation, especially considering that those states are in the midst of submitting plans to ensure that they comply with the federal law.
The call for Preschool Development Grants to be continued is particularly pertinent as a recent study indicated that much of the increase in availability of early childhood education in the country last year was due to Preschool Development Grants. Cutting them would likely lead to a decrease in state-funded preschool programs. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget calls for moving the grants from the U.S. Department of Education to the Department of Health and Human Services, but there is no further information in his administration’s proposal.
The budget proposal also calls for a $949.5 million allocated for Career and Technical Education State Grants, which would be a decrease of about $166 million from the prior fiscal year. CTE tends to garner bipartisan support, and Trump has continuously touted the importance of vocational education, both on the campaign trail and since taking office. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the United States, Trump lauded the country’s apprenticeship program. The proposed Trump budget will likely change in significant ways before being passed by Congress, and many of the cuts may not be included by the end of the process, but the proposed cuts to CTE state grants despite bipartisan support for the program’s efficacy have made governors take an action they haven’t deemed necessary in 10 years.