The Fight For CTE Funding Is Far From Over

In recent years, we have seen a steady decline in education funding across the board. This decline has been evident in local, state and federal governments and is a direct result of the economic turmoil that has affected so many of us.

In 2011, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Improvement Act was cut by $140 million, which decreased the total value of the program to $1.13 billion. The Perkins Act is a key piece of legislation for all Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) and is the principle source of funding for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs nationwide.

The Perkins Act is expected to be presented to Congress this year for reauthorization; however, there is no official timeline set. The future of this legislation is unknown. As DECA members, many of us benefit from the funding provided by this legislation. It helps supplement many of the costs incurred by the school district or school, which makes our DECA experience more affordable.

On a smaller scale, some states are fighting for funding legislation to help CTE programs in their communities. For example, members from all of Oregon’s CTSOs have been promoting HB2985, which aims to provide more than $5,000 in state grants to each CTSO program in the state. Not only does this legislation provide funding to sustain CTSO programs, but it also provides opportunities for teachers’ professional development.

I encourage DECA members to advocate for support of CTSOs, whether it’s financial support, human resources or other assistance. Increasing awareness of DECA to our public policy makers can be the catalyst to increased support of CTSOs.

There are many ways to gain legislative support of DECA, which could help secure financial support. Talk to your family or friends and encourage them to help spread the word about DECA and other CTSOs and the many benefits provided to members. Contact your state’s representative and let him or her know the impact DECA has had on your professional development.

If we continue to reach out and increase awareness, we can take our organization to the highest limits.

Follow Trevor on Twitter @decatrevor.

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