Legislative Update: First Perkins Plans Approved and Federal Response to COVID-19

The first round of approved state Perkins V plans were announced today. Read below to learn about which states were granted approvals, as well as the continuing federal response to COVID-19 and the 2020 Presidential Scholars. 

ED Approves First Round or Perkins State Plans

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that the first six state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) have been approved. Perkins V was signed into law on July 31, 2018. Since then, states have submitted and implemented one-year transition plans. Now, states are awaiting approval of the full four-year state plan. The six approved states are Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. ED provides a few highlights from each plan here

Stimulus Package Passes in the House

Late May 15, the House passed a new stimulus bill in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800) is a $3 trillion relief package that includes measures such as funding for state and local governments, support for Coronavirus research, unemployment assistance, an additional round of individual direct payments and expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program. 

The HEROES Act also includes $100.15 billion for education, comprised of $90 billion in formula grants to states for K-12 education and $10.15 billion for higher education. It also provides $3.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Labor, with $2 billion allocated for worker training. 

This bill has some of the Career Technical Education (CTE) provisions that were in the previously introduced Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA), which Advance CTE supports. Specifically, the HEROES Act includes:

  • Flexibility at the state and local levels during the pandemic for retention of funds so that funds not used during the 2019-2020 school year because of Coronavirus can be retained; 
  • Flexibility for local Perkins recipients to pool funds for supporting secondary to postsecondary or employment transitions for CTE students whose academic year was changed because of Coronavirus; and 
  • Waives some of the professional development requirements during the pandemic. 

However, the HEROES Act does not include CTE-specific funding (which was also part of RAWA). All educational programs have been impacted by Coronavirus, and CTE programs are no exception. CTE programs are also expected to play an important role in economic recovery, especially to reskill and upskill individuals. It is imperative that secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE learners are able to access high-quality CTE programs during the pandemic.  

Next, the Senate will take up the HEROES Act. However, the Senate has conveyed that it will not happen until after the Memorial Day recess at the earliest. In the meantime, we encourage you to let your representative know that you support including the full RAWA CTE related pieces in the next Coronavirus relief bill by following the quick prompt here.

Senate Introduces Broadband Bill

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), along with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020– which has 36 cosponsors. This bill would allocate $4 billion to ensuring that all K-12 students have internet access during Coronavirus through the E-Rate program. Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

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