New Survey on ESSA Title IV-A Funds, Perkins Implementation Begins

On July 1, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) (which reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act) went into effect.  As such, each state’s Perkins V one-year transition plan went into effect. Read below to learn more about Perkins V implementation, new survey data on how schools are using ESSA Title IV-A funding, what the repeal of the gainful employment rule means and how afterschool programs can reduce equity gaps in Career Technical Education (CTE).

New Survey Illuminates How Schools are Using ESSA Funds

For the first time, policymakers have a glimpse at how schools are using their grant funding under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant, a program established in 2015 through Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). SSAE consolidated several existing categorical funding streams to provide local leaders more flexibility to support student learning. The program has three focus areas: well-rounded education (which includes CTE as well as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)), the effective use of technology, and safe and healthy schools. 

Thanks to a survey conducted by the School Superintendents Association, the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), the Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA), and the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators (NAFEPA), we now have a glimpse at how schools are using these funds. According to their findings, 83 percent of survey respondents said that the investment in a well-rounded education is very or extremely important. 

Many schools and school districts are already using these funds to strengthen career readiness. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they are using SSAE funds to support STEM education, 16 percent for college and career counseling, and 15 percent for CTE. 

Perkins V Implementation Begins

The U.S. Department of Education announced that each state’s one-year transition plan had been approved to be implemented beginning July 1 when Perkins V went into effect. 

Secretary Betsy DeVos shared the following statement : 

“Our team is so encouraged by the way states have embraced the spirit of this new law and are rethinking career and technical education on behalf of their students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “The work is just beginning though. As states begin to think about their long-term career and technical education strategies, I would encourage them to continue to act boldly and break down the silos that exist between education and industry so that all students are prepared for the in-demand, high-paying jobs of today’s economy and tomorrow’s.”

Now, states are developing their full four-year Perkins V state plans that must be submitted to the Department in the spring of 2020. You can learn more about the Perkins V state plan process and content here

DeVos Repeals Gainful Employment Rule

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released its final regulation that rescinds the 2014 Gainful Employment Rule. The Obama-era rule stated that an educational program must prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” to be eligible for funding from Title IV of the Higher Education Act, measured by data such as debt-to-earnings rates. This rule mainly impacts for-profit institutions, as well as non-credit programs at non-profit institutions. 

This repeal will be effective beginning July 1, 2020, but the administration announced that an early implementation option is available to institutions. If institutions are accepted for early implementation they will not have to submit 2018-2019 data. 

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education & Labor, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) opposed the gainful employment rule largely on the basis that it is biased against for-profit programs. Their committee counterparts took the opposing stance. House Committee on Education & Labor Chairman Bobby Scott’s (D-VA) statement opposing this repeal can be found here, and Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray’s (D-WA) press release can be found here

Senate CTE Caucus Holds Event on Middle School Career Exploration

Earlier this summer, the Senate CTE Caucus held an event in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance that discussed how to make the most of middle school career exploration. In particular, the featured panel looked at the role of afterschool programs in showing students different career pathways. Check out this blog to learn more about topics covered during this event, and how afterschool programs can help address inequities in CTE. 

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

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