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Policy and Legislation - National

National Policy Update 2012
Bill Requires Unemployment Insurance Recipients Enroll in Adult Education if They Don’t Have a H.S. Diploma or GED


May 2012

In Congress, H.R.3765, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, includes a provision that would require those seeking unemployment benefits to meet minimum education requirements in addition to work search requirements. To meet these requirements, an individual would need to have earned a high school diploma or GED credential or other State-recognized equivalent. If one doesn’t have such a credential, he/she would need to be enrolled and making satisfactory progress in classes leading to a diploma, GED or its equivalent. Under the bill, which has passed the House, these requirements can be waived by states if they are deemed to be unduly burdensome.

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The impact of this legislation could be substantial. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1.6 million unemployed adults do not have a high school diploma or equivalent. This cohort of adults has the highest rate of unemployment at 13.8%

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the provision would disproportionately affect older laid-off workers. Nearly half (47 percent) of unemployment insurance recipients with less than a high school education or the equivalent are over age 45. By contrast, less than one-fifth of such recipients are under age 30.
Questions have been raised as to the current adult education and literacy system’s capacity to accommodate a large influx of new students without significant additional resources.

The legislation is now being considered by a Senate/House Conference Committee. The Senate version of the bill does not include a similar provision.

Florida Legislation
Below are several bills being considered by the Florida Legislature which could have an impact on adult education and literacy.

House Bill 407 - Funds for Operation of Workforce Education Programs:
Deletes restriction on funding for student coenrolled in K-12 education program & adult education program; provides that student who is coenrolled may be reported for purposes of funding under certain circumstances.

House Bill 331 - Career and Adult Education:
Requires Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to include financial literacy in core curricular content of economics; includes study of financial literacy in public school required instruction; replaces term "vocational-preparatory" instruction with term "applied academics for adult education" instruction with respect to adult general education; conforms provisions relating to career education programs; authorizes district school boards & Florida College System institution boards of trustees to vary certain intended learning outcomes; deletes certain courses as priorities in provision of adult education program academic services; requires students entering adult general education programs to complete "Action Steps to Employment" activities.

Senate Bill 1162 - Family Charter Academies:
Authorizes the formation of family charter academies with the expressed intent to assist the state in greater cost efficiencies in family education and, at the same time, to increase the academic achievement outcomes in family education. Family charter academies shall be part of the state’s public school system. A family charter academy could  be formed by creating a new school or by allowing an existing charter school or an existing nonprofit organization to add a family charter component.

The Florida Department of Education provides a state bill tracking service that can be accessed at www.fldoe.org/Workforce/legislation.asp.  ACE of Florida also tracks and provides an analysis of state legislation.

Resources for National Legislative and Policy Updates:
 
ProLiteracy
 
The National Council of State Directors of Adult Education

National Coalition for Literacy
 
U.S. Department of Education (Legislative Section)

 

 

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