Improvement on America's competitive position in international trade is one of the major issues confronting the 100th Congress. Most legislative proposals have included provisions for increasing the funding levels for Federal education programs, expanding current programs, or authorizing new programs. The primary goal is to improve the productivity of the Nation's workers by raising the skill level of the workforce. Discussions about education's role i n addressing the competitiveness issue have included the contribution of education to productivity growth, comparisons of the educational achievement of American school children with that of their peers in other nations , the educational needs of illiterate adults , and the role of technology in education.
This issue brief analyzes six areas in which Federal policies to address the educational system's current needs are being fashioned (1) services for disadvantaged youth, (2) the financing of post-secondary education, ( 3 ) the level of Federal appropriations for education, ( 4 ) responses to adult illiteracy, (5) international economic competitiveness, and (6) the role of vocational education.
This paper is divided into the following sections: (1) History of Federal Employment and Training Programs; (2) Reauthorization Issues; (3) Administration Legislative and Budget Proposals; and (4) Congressional Action.