August 14, 2014
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Leads
Transformative Changes in Adult Learning
OCTAE Acting Assistant Secretary Johan E. Uvin recently released a Dear Colleague letter to apprise stakeholders of important new developments in adult learning. It addresses the recent enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the simultaneous release of Vice President Biden’s report, Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity, featuring 50 federal actions to create employment opportunities. The letter also acknowledges the attention and focus that members of the adult, career and technical, and community college education systems have brought to adults with low skills.
We encourage our readers to view the entire Dear Colleague letter, and to stay tuned to the OCTAE newsletter and blog for more news on adult learning, including information about upcoming stakeholder input sessions on WIOA implementation. Interested parties may also access two recent OCTAE Connection articles for information on WIOA both before and after it was signed into law.
The State of Preschool 2013
Preschool is an important focus of the Obama administration in ensuring that all students graduate high school college- and career-ready. Since at least the early days of President Johnson’s Great Society pre-collegiate education reforms it has been acknowledged that early childhood learning is integral to later success in school and in life.
The importance of early childhood education has been researched by a number of leading scholars, yet still today a large percentage of high school graduates do not complete high school college- and career-ready (see OCTAE Connection #193). Recognizing this, both the federal government and many states are focusing heightened attention on the importance of providing all children access to early education.
In order to take stock of current state-level initiatives promoting early childhood development, the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics at the Institute of Education Sciences, contracted with the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University to produce a report. The result, The State of Preschool 2013, is a descriptive study of state supported preschool enrollment and state funding of preschool programs.
After looking at the results of several studies that associated participation in preschool programs with “a number of positive outcomes,” The State of Preschool 2013 reports the following findings:
“The 2012–13 school year capped a dismal half-decade, with more bad news as well as a glimmer of hope.” Despite some pickup in spending after the recession, this was the first year since 2001–02 that states did not have an increase in pre-K enrollment.
- Pre-k state funding increased by almost $31 billion in 2012–13—a “small step towards reversing nearly a half a billion dollars in cuts in the previous school year.” Combined with the lower enrollment, the average state total spent on each child was $4,026, a $36 per child increase. (Some localities supplement the state funding, but this information is not systematically collected.) 2012–13 pre-K enrollment totaled 1.34 million students.
Visit the report the report online for more aggregated data as well as informative state-level data about preschools.
The State of Preschool 2013 cautions that readers are “not to draw causal inferences based on the results presented. Many of the variables examined in this report may be related to one another, but the complex interactions and relationships among them have not been explored.”