The three primary drivers of K-12 education has historically been what the state — and to a growing extent the federal government — “requires, funds and measures.” And given CTE coursework is not statutorily mandated and has been ignored in California’s high-stakes testing and accountability system, the primary motivation given to districts to maintain CTE has been state and federal funding streams (e.g., ROCPs, Partnership Academies, Ag Incentive Grant, Perkins Grant, etc.).

But under Governor Brown’s LCFF (“Local Control Funding Formula”), the state CTE funding streams were imperiled (with the largest of them, ROCP categorical funding, discontinued altogether, with those dollars rolled into base LCFF funds).

Get REAL member associations and individuals spearheaded the policy and budgetary efforts to convince policymakers of the need for the state to continue to provide schools financial incentives to maintain CTE programs. Working closely with Administration officials and the Legislature, Get REAL members helped design the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant. The state of California set-aside $900M of state matching grants over the course of three budget years, tying these funds to 10 specific performance criteria, designed to maximize the benefit to CTE students, their industry partners and our state’s economy.

Given the premise of LCFF, this victory represented a substantial policy and budgetary victory. Get REAL members will continue to encourage policymakers to maintain state funding for high-quality CTE, and will also look for other ways in which the state can incentivize districts to commit to these life and career inspiring programs.