The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Diana Hinchcliff


Full Board


Review of the Outline for the Regents Federal Agenda,

Federal Legislation and Education in New York State, 2005


July 30, 2004




Federal Advocacy


Goals 1-6






            The 2005 federal agenda will have legislative recommendations for the 1st  session of the 109th Congress.  The agenda will be streamlined this year in an effort to make it a more effective tool for use with Congressional staff members.  We believe these changes to both the articles and the recommendations will be more relevant to current discussions at the federal level.  The layout of the agenda will also be redesigned to highlight these beneficial changes.


            Attached is an outline of the 2004 version with proposed changes.  The full text of the 2004 agenda is available at:


            Congress is not likely to take further action on several pending reauthorizations, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act and the Perkins Vocational Education Act before the end of this session, but if action is completed on any of these bills, the outline will be revised prior to adoption.  Work on the federal law governing child nutrition programs was completed this year, and that section will be deleted.


            No formal action is needed now, only your reactions to the proposed contents.  You will be asked to take final action on the document in December, with public release in January.  A draft will be shared prior to December for your comments.  We will solicit comments from State education organizations on the outline and the completed draft document.


            If you have any questions, please contact me.




Summary of 2004 Federal Agenda with Proposed Revisions for 2005



2004 Federal Agenda



2005 Federal Agenda

I.                    Introduction


The Board reiterated that the traditional federal role in education should be maintained and coordinated with state and local activities.  After summarizing the actions of the 2nd session of the 108th Congress, we presented the goals underlying the Regents strategic plan as a prelude to our legislative proposals.



This section will be updated and continued as an introduction to the rest of the agenda.  We also will provide an overview of the 109th Congress.

II.                  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


We suggested that 1997 IDEA reforms must be completed and evaluated before further extensive changes are enacted. We urged the Congress to honor its commitment to full IDEA funding and also asked for changes in funding allocation methods and data collection, streamlined technical and due process provisions, improved services for younger children, and research-based practices. We also urged action to respond to the shortage of qualified special education personnel.




The IDEA reauthorization may be completed in 2004.  If so, this section will be deleted for the 2005 edition.  Otherwise, we will revise the text to provide brief critiques of the bills that passed each chamber in 2004 and to update other pertinent recommendations.

III.                Title I of the Workforce Investment Act


Title I of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 requires that nearly every of the 600 local workforce investment areas in the country develop and administer one-stop delivery systems offering a broad array of employment and training services to job seekers and businesses. Federal adult education, vocational rehabilitation, and postsecondary vocational and technical education programs are named as mandatory partners in the legislation and are expected to contribute to one-stop centers. We offered several recommendations that would strengthen the program in New York State by recognizing New York’s unique governance as it relates to WIA programs and by increasing flexibility to one-stop partners in determining the proportion of funds used to support one-stop infrastructure costs.




The WIA reauthorization may be completed in 2004.  If so, this section will be deleted for the 2005 edition.  If not, we will revise the text to provide brief critiques of House and Senate-passed bills and to update other recommendations. We would like to consolidate all the WIA program articles into one comprehensive section.


IV.               Rehabilitation Act


The 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) established a unique national workforce preparation and employment system that included services under the Rehabilitation Act.  Both the Rehabilitation Act and the WIA are scheduled for reauthorization.  We offered several recommendations for reauthorization, particularly designed to retain an adequately funded, flexible rehabilitation program as a separate WIA title while ensuring that such services are a key element in the nation’s workforce development system and effectively reach the maximum number of consumers.  We also emphasized the importance of strong state rehabilitation agencies, avoidance of order-of-selection, the use of private service providers, the improvement of the independent learning centers program, and addressed various other issues.




The WIA reauthorization may be completed in 2004.  If so, this section will be deleted for the 2005 edition.  If not, we will revise the text to provide brief critiques of House and Senate-passed bills and to update other recommendations. We would like to consolidate all the WIA program articles into one comprehensive section.

V.                 Adult Education and Family Literacy Act


The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA), the major federal source supporting adult literacy, English-language instruction, and GED preparation for out-of-school youth and adults lacking a high school diploma or an equivalent, also is due soon for reauthorization as part of the WIA law. 


In this section, we urged that the AEFLA structure be kept intact with funding allocated through competitive state programs administered by eligible agencies with responsibility for adult education.  Other recommendations dealt with various aspects of developing stronger links between the AEFLA and other elements of the workforce development system, providing more useful funding mechanisms, supporting professional development and technology, and broadening participation and the types of services provided to consumers.




The WIA reauthorization may be completed in 2004.  If so, this section will be deleted for the 2005 edition.  If not, we will revise the text to provide brief critiques of House and Senate-passed bills and to update other recommendations. We would like to consolidate all the WIA program articles into one comprehensive section.

VI.               Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act


In reauthorizing the Perkins Act, we urged the Congress to recognize that our ability to compete in a global economy is directly influenced by the federal investment in career and technical education (CTE).  This can be assured by having an independent Perkins retain a systemic, adequately funded approach.  Other recommendations included a call for support for equipment and technology and qualified CTE educators, the need to ensure strong, relevant accountability data, and the diminution of Perkins through WIA requirements.







The 108th Congress began consideration of the Perkins Act.  We will revise this section to provide brief critiques of House, Senate and Administration proposals and to update other pertinent recommendations.

VII.             Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act


In 1996, the Congress reconstructed the nation's welfare system through this Act, now up for reauthorization. In this section, we urged:

  • Rewards for states that promote economic self-sufficiency, employment-related youth programs and programs to break the intergenerational poverty cycle;
  • Flexibility for states to reach hard-to-serve populations and lift the working poor out of poverty, particularly by strengthening education and vocational rehabilitation provisions and allowances;
  • Support to help students in high-poverty schools to meet and exceed state standards for learning and attain academic credentials; and
  • More efficient coordination between this Act and other federal and state laws, especially the WIA.





Currently, Congress is not expected to complete action on the welfare reform legislation this year. Consequently, we will revise this section to provide brief critiques of pending bills that are important to education and update other pertinent recommendations.

VIII.           Higher Education Act


The Higher Education Act (HEA), a cornerstone of American education for over 30 years, has helped millions of people go to college, get better jobs, and earn higher pay.  In this section, we urged that the reauthorization build on past successes, particularly by facilitating access to college through higher Pell Grants and other means.  We also advocated for a stronger federal effort in:

·        Supporting graduate education programs;

·        Ensuring an adequate and steady flow of qualified K-12 teachers and education leaders;

·        Helping students with disabilities enter and complete postsecondary studies;

·        Aiding institutions that face precipitous enrollment declines, physical plant demolition, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, or other consequences of natural disasters and acts of terrorism or war;

·        Improving campus security and health programs;

·        Meeting national goals for improving the educational achievement of Hispanic students; and

·        Bolstering programs to combat student alcohol abuse.




The Congress is likely to address the HEA reauthorization in the 109th Congress.  The House addressed several titles of  the HEA in the 108th congress and we will comment on those pieces of legislation and offer updated recommendations as needed.


IX.               Early Childhood Education


Both the Administration and leaders of Congress are interested in legislation to address early childhood issues. To build a solid infrastructure for our youngest learners, we urge the Administration and the Congress to design programs that feature universal access, a qualified workforce, equitable staff salaries, a family focus, flexibility to recognize state efforts, stable funding, an early literacy component, and alignment with kindergarten and early elementary programs.




Both chambers passed bills addressing early childhood education in the 108th Congress.  We will offer brief analysis of those plans and offer updated recommendations.



X.                 Child Nutrition Programs


The Congress is due to consider amendments to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and six closely linked programs: the Summer Food Service Program, Commodity Distribution, Nutrition Education and Training, Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children, Homeless Preschool Feeding, and State Administrative Expenses.  We urged several changes in these laws, including restoration of Nutrition Education and Training funding, simplification of the Summer Program, and continuation of Section 4 funding, and offered several suggestions to make the programs more flexible and effective for states to operate.




Because the child nutrition programs were reauthorized in the 108th Congress, this section will be deleted.


XI.               Informational and Cultural Resources


We urged that the Museum and Library Services Act receive increased funding to allow more participation in its programs.  Other proposals advocated for more federal support for library construction, the “e-rate” discount, the digital conversion of public broadcasting stations, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the Save America’s Treasures and Teaching American History programs, and Government Printing Office depository library activities.




This section will be updated as needed to reflect current funding levels and other pertinent recommendations.

XII.             No Child Left Behind Act


We did not include a section on the No Child left Behind Act (NCLB) in last year’s agenda.




We would include a summary of NCLB implementation in New York State and offer several recommendations for legislative changes to NCLB to strengthen the law, especially as it relates to students with disabilities and teacher training.