DECA and Politics: In-Depth Analysis


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This resource provides in-depth analysis of political topics that impact DECA.

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DECA and Politics: In-Depth Analysis

  1. 1. DECA and Politics In-Depth Analysis A Word from the Lead Developer Dear DECA Members, Thank you for taking the initiative to read this document. Reaching out to both state and federal legislators is vital to the future of DECA. Career and Technical Education (CTE) is the foundation for Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs), such as DECA. CTE has recently suffered significant cuts in funding, which has negatively impacted CTSOs. We cannot be complacent; we must take the initiativeto reach out to legislators and preserve our funding. This document provides in-depth analysis on political topics that impact DECA. This resource isintended to complement the “DECA and Politics” document, which can be accessed online As with all of my political outreach projects, this resource is written froma nonpartisan viewpoint. The information in this document presents quantitative information that isconfirmed by reputable sources.DECA Wishes,Micah MellingCentral Region Vice President2011-2012 Resource Developed by Micah Melling, Central Region Vice President for 2011-2012
  2. 2. DECA and Politics In-Depth Analysis The total budget for the federal government in Fiscal Year 2011 was $3.6 trillion. However, the federalgovernment only received $2.3 trillion in revenue, leaving a $1.3 trillion deficit for that fiscal year. The federalgovernment’s spending can be categorized into three areas: discretionary, mandatory, and interest. In Fiscal Year 2011,mandatory spending comprised $2 trillion (56%) of the budget. Spending on programs such as Social Security andMedicare are classified as “mandatory.” These programs run on “auto-pilot” and are not subject to annual reviews.Discretionary spending made up $1.3 trillion (37%) of the budget. Discretionary spending is set annually in theappropriations process, which means Congress can adjust funding for discretionary programs on a year-by-year basis.The final category of spending is interest payments, which was $230 billion (6%) of the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.Interest payments are simply the cost of borrowing money. Education falls under the “discretionary” spending area. There are two sections of discretionary spending:defense and non-defense. Education, clearly, falls under the non-defense section. Education is approximately 2.5% ofthe entire federal budget. Federal spending on education has been significantly reduced in both Fiscal Year 2011 andFiscal Year 2012. Funding was cut by $1.25 billion (2.7%) in Fiscal Year 2011. In Fiscal Year 2012, the Department ofEducation’s funding was cut by an additional $233 million. Between Fiscal Year 2010 and Fiscal Year 2012, more than 50education programs have had their funding completely eliminated.Career and Technical Education is federally funded by the Carl D. Perkins Act. The Perkins Act was essentially flat-funded at $1.27 billion from Fiscal Year 2001 through Fiscal Year 2011. During this span, Perkins funding lost 21% of itsbuying power due to inflation. In Fiscal Year 2011, the appropriation for the Perkins Act was reduced by $140 million(11%), decreasing the Acts monetary value to approximately $1.13 billion. Perkins was level-funded at $1.13 billion forFiscal Year 2012. In his Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal, President Obama requested that the Perkins Act remainlevel-funded. CTE is the basis for Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). Therefore, the Perkins Actimpacts organizations such as DECA. If funding for CTE is reduced, school districts might have to offer fewer CTEclasses, which would decrease the number of students who are eligible for involvement in CTSOs.
  3. 3. DECA and Politics In-Depth AnalysisThe Budget Control Act (BCA) was passed by Congress in August, 2011. The BCA sets caps on discretionary spending for FiscalYears 2012-2021. Additionally, the Act required the formation of a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known asthe "Super Committee." This committee was charged with agreeing on a plan to reduce the national debt by $1.2 trillion; however,no agreement was reached. Therefore, an automatic cut (known as a sequester) of approximately 9% will be applied to defenseand domestic programs, including education. The sequester would cut the Perkins Act by over $100 million, and it could preventapproximately 1.4 million students from experiencing quality CTE programs. To avoid these massive cuts, Congress would have toamend the BCA, which is a possibility.In February of 2012, President Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013. Although the House of Representativesunanimously voted against the entire budget proposal, analyzing key parts of the president’s proposals for education is stillimportant. These proposals can provide insight into the potential funding levels for education in the coming year. In his budgetproposal, President Obama requested that the Perkins Act be level-funded at approximately $1.1 billion dollars. However, $105million of this proposed funding was a competitive grant to states, which goes hand-in-hand with the president’s Race to the Topprogram. The president also requested investments for the advancement of career academies and community college funds.These proposals were also a part of President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which was defeated by Congress last fall. Overall, thepresident requested that the Department of Education’s budget be $69.8 billion, which would freeze the funding of severalprograms. Congress will consider these requests, along with many other proposals, as they develop the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget.It is important to note that if sequestration occurs in January of 2013, anything that happens in the appropriations process for FiscalYear 2013 will essentially be irrelevant.Key pieces of education legislation are in the process of being reauthorized. Two of the most important reauthorizations are forthe Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, better known as No Child LeftBehind). To a degree, each piece of education legislation has a ripple affect on each sector of the education community; therefore,CTE stakeholders should be interested in these reauthorizations. ESEA dictates a direction for public schools throughout thenation. Much controversy has surrounded ESEA since its most recent incarnation in 2002. This piece of legislation was schedule tobe reauthorized in 2007. Congress is currently working on the reauthorization, but this process will certainly not be completed in2012. Additionally, it is important to note that a few states have been granted waivers to key elements of ESEA, and several morehave applied for waivers. WIA is focused on improving the nation’s job-training system. This piece of legislation was scheduled tobe reauthorized in 2003; needless to say, it is in need of updating. WIA has seen action in Congress in both 2011 and 2012, but thereauthorization remains far from completed. One bill has proposed that WIA funds and Perkins funds could be consolidated intoone block grant to states. This would mean that Perkins funds could be used for any workforce development activity and notPerkins-specific activities, which could negatively impact CTSOs. This is simply a proposal, however.
  4. 4. DECA and Politics In-Depth AnalysisOn April 19, 2012, the Obama Administration released its blueprint for the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. ThePerkins Act was scheduled to be reauthorized in 2012, but the Administration rescheduled this important undertakingfor 2013. However, due to the slow progress of other reauthorizations, Perkins may not be updated until after 2013.The Administration’s blueprint centers around four key principles: alignment, collaboration, accountability, innovation.Here is a brief overview of each principle. Ÿ Alignment: CTE must align with the labor market and prepare students for high-demand jobs. Ÿ Collaboration: At both the secondary and postsecondary levels, CTE programs must collaborate with employers, industry partners, and the business community. Ÿ Accountability: By using common definitions and clear standards, CTE programs must be held accountable for their performance in developing students with core-academic and employability skills. Ÿ Innovation: State policies must be reformed to encourage innovation and implementation of effective learning strategies at the local level.The competitive-grant element is also included in the Perkins blueprint. (This type of grant was discussed in “Outlookfor Fiscal Year 2013” section). Many CTE stakeholders don’t support competitive grants as part of the Perkins Act.Their reasoning is that competitive grants don’t provide a stable level of funding, which can cause uncertainty from year-to-year when planning local budgets. However, it is important to keep in mind that this is simply a proposal. Allelements of the reauthorization to Perkins will be vetted multiple times by members of Congress, and CTE stakeholderswill be able to provide input throughout the reauthorization process.Career and Technical Education is broken down into sixteen “career clusters,” which cover a variety of occupations.There are four career clusters that relate to DECA: Business, Management, and Administration; Finance; Hospitality andTourism; and Marketing. Business Management, Marketing, and Hospitality and Finance are currently that largest careerclusters, and studies project they will grow and remain the largest for several more years. In fact, all three of theseclusters hold over 18 million jobs in the U.S. economy. The fourth ranking career cluster holds 12 million jobs in theeconomy. These statistics overwhelmingly prove that the business world, the government, and other entities shouldsupport DECA because this organization prepares leaders in high-demand and thriving career clusters. It is clear thatinvestments must be made in today’s business students in order to adequately fill many of tomorrow’s jobs.
  5. 5. DECA and Politics In-Depth Analysis Why We Must Advocate for CTE Without a doubt, DECA members must take the initiative to reach out to their legislators. The Perkins Act was cut by $140 million in 2011. With the threat of sequestration, the funding in the Perkins Act could be reduced by an another $100 million. A cut of this magnitude could prevent as many as 1.4 million students from experiencing quality CTE programs. Sequestration would certainly cause many CTE programs to shrink, which could put some marketing programs on the “choppingblock.” With fewer marketing programs, less students will be eligible to benefit from DECA. Fundingfor education has been reduced by many state legislatures, as well. Therefore, it is also important toreach out to state legislators and to inform them about the importance of DECA. Collectively, wemust get involved in the political scene, fight for our funding, and make our voices heard. Ÿ “Policy Soup,” lecture at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s National Policy Seminar; March 5, 2012 Ÿ “Money Maze,” lecture at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s National Policy Seminar; March 5, 2012 Ÿ “CTE Policy Watch Blog,” Association for Career and Technical Education; February 16, 2012. Ÿ “Budget Control Act Timetable and Summary,” Committee for Education Funding; August 8, 2011 Ÿ “The Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” Association for Career and Technical Education; March 4, 2012 Ÿ “The Workforce Investment Act,” Association for Career and Technical Education; March 4, 2012 Ÿ “Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education,” United States Department of Education; April 19, 2012 Ÿ “Career Clusters: Forecasting Demand for High School Through College Jobs,” National Research Council for Career and Technical Education; 2008.