Hello, my name is Amanda Shively. I live in Arizona and work in the Glendale Union High School District. I am the Director of Career and Technical Education. I attended the ACTE National Policy Seminar this year in Washington DC. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit a few offices of Arizona Representatives and Senators while I was there, including several legislative aides that deal with education issues. We had a great chat. It is not nearly as scary as it sounds to go and talk to your representatives and senators. They are very nice people and want to hear your input!
In one of my meetings, we spoke about career and technical education (CTE) issues and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Both Perkins and ESEA deserve attention this session, so I thought those were the most important points to discuss. The legislative aide was very attentive and listened to all of our stories. However, I noticed that when we really started talking about what we wanted to see in both reauthorizations, he began taking notes. Our group emphasized that ESEA should include some CTE accountability measures along with all of the rest. The focus in this country has really started to take career preparation/training into account as well as college preparation, so we do NOT want to be excluded from ESEA. We, as CTE professionals, make many valuable contributions to the preparation of the workforce in our country. We also talked about Perkins and the fact that not only should it be fully funded, we would like to see more funding for specific services. We also stressed that it should remain formula funded to ensure that all students receive services. When grants are competitive, that means there are winners and losers. These losers are our students and that is wrong!
Since we are from Arizona we also explained to the aide what the hold harmless provision in the Perkins Act does to Arizona and several other states during times of economic recession. We urged him to address these issues with the Senator and to stress that we would like the hold harmless provision to be updated to reflect numbers from the most recent census to ensure that funding is reflective of up-to-date population information.
We all left feeling positive that we were able to successfully deliver our message. I encourage you to visit with some of your local, state, or federal representatives.