California schools could be affected by proposed CTE budget elimination

Career technical education programs could be on the line under the governor's new budget proposal.

Governor Jerry Brown has a budget proposal gaining attention that could eliminate future Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, Farmers of America and other programs.

The 2017-18 state budget released earlier this year showed a proposed complete elimination of funding for CTE and other programs.

The opposition, which includes the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, have recently commented about their disapproval of Gov. Brown's proposal.

“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Brown has proposed eliminating Career Technical Student Organizations like the Future Farmers of America and other CTE funding in California,” said Jim Aschwanden, Executive Director of the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association in a press release. “The loss of these components of Career Technical Education will have a devastating effect on programs and teachers statewide. CTE programs remain vitally important to the economic well-being of our state, and this proposal eliminates highly effective programs that have proven their worth over time. We think this is a terrible mistake.”

How will this directly affect schools and their students?

Lynn Martindale, faculty member of the School of Education at UC Davis, discussed how the students -- at the college and high school levels -- are losing the most in this decision. With the proposed budget cut, she states that all CTE's will decrease in numbers and it's not productive for students because all students don't learn the same.

"It's more than just walking and teaching from a book," said Martindale. "I'm afraid this cut back would discourage students to become teachers and be involved."

Because of this, Martindale says that if you don't have strong teachers within CTE programs then "kids become disinterested." The programs give students the chance to have opportunities that they wouldn't necessarily have had.

"It gives students opportunities beyond just the classroom." she said. "I think when every time CTE goes through this it's a fight for life, so to speak. [For] CTE's, if you have to continually fight for funding to keep the funding going, it becomes not worth it." 

She says that the programs will survive for a few years, but the potential opportunities to gain down the road for all kids will be gone.

There's less money available to get students out into the workforce, being in competition with other programs and academic areas.

"I just don't think he [Gov. Brown] understands the unintended consequences," she added.

One of those is that people with passion for agriculture, automotive, construction, culinary and graphic arts or other fields will lose interest, then those programs eventually just die down. According to Martinadale, these programs give students beneficial opportunities extending beyond just the classroom.

Once a program is gone from a school it's a very tough task to get it back, she said.

Many have also engaged in the conversation about what the exact timeframe for schools would be to feel the impact, if any at all.

"UC Davis and other schools won't be felt for the first couple of years, it'll be two to three years down the road," she said. "Every program that doesn't have solid replacements, it'll be gone in the next five years."

ABC10's Anne Di Grazia visited Elk Grove High School's Ag Department. She met with department head and FFA advisor Mike Albiani. He said his program gives kids vocational education preparing them for future careers. 

"The program is to teach job skills whether it be hard skills like the ability to arrange flowers or soft skills like working in group," said Albiani. 

Sarah Cueva, a senior floriculture student, said she plans to attend a university for agriculture education after taking FFA courses, a direction she and her peers said they didn't have before. 

"I had no idea what I wanted to do, after being here and seeing the opportunities, I could have done what I want to pursue," said Cueva. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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