GetREAL Coalition Urges Legislature to Protect CTE

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 22, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

GetREAL (Get Relevance in Education and Learning), a coalition of employers, labor organizations and educators concerned that students aren’t being adequately prepared for future careers, this week announced their concern with the use of career technical education (CTE) dollars under Governor Brown’s new education finance reform proposal.

In a letter to the State Legislature, the coalition, of which CMTA is a principle member, urged the policy makers to separate CTE funds from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) proposal and instead make the funds available to local districts for the sole and intended purpose of preparing students for future careers.  They also advocated that school districts be held directly accountable for the use of those funds to ensure the mission is met.

“The current drivers of our state’s K-12 education system do not directly include indicators for vocational and career readiness.  Only those programs that the state requires, measures and funds have any significant presence in the instructional day of our middle and secondary schools,” said Get REAL.  “Until the real drivers of the K-12 system are broadened to include actual career preparatory indices, we are hesitant to embrace the idea of providing [a] “blank check” of existing CTE state and federal dollars to districts.”

Under the LCFF, school districts will receive a base funding grant made up of a combination of current education resources that can be used however the district deems necessary.  Additional “supplemental” funding, equal to 35 percent of the base grant, will be available to districts with high proportions of English language learners (ELL) and economically disadvantaged (ED) students.  When the proportion of ELL and ED students exceeds 50 percent of its total student population, the school district will receive an additional “concentration” grant equal to 35 percent of the base grant for each ELL and ED student above the 50 percent threshold.  Both the supplemental and concentration funding grants can be utilized at the district’s discretion to benefit the students generating the funding.

In the past, this type of local discretion has resulted in the redirection of CTE dollars from career preparatory courses to more general education purposes.

“In 1987, 74 percent of high school students were able to enroll in campus-provided CTE courses; that number has slipped below 30 percent today, [a] historic low for California … We are not well positioned to lead this state out of the ‘Great Recession’ nor, in the words of Governor Brown, to teach kids ‘how to fish.’”

The legislative Budget Committees will begin hearings on the LCFF proposal within the next couple of weeks.

Click here to review the full text of Get REAL’s letter:  www.cmta.net/pdfs/Brown_CTE_Budget_Proposal_Response.pdf

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