At last weekâ€™s Career Clusters Institute representatives from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education held a listening session to hear from stakeholders about the upcoming Perkins reauthorization, scheduled for 2012. The session was centered around three topics: programs of study, Tech Prep and the legislation generally.
Programs of Study
When asked how reauthorized legislation could better connect secondary and postsecondary levels, attendees responded in a variety of ways:
- There should be a sequence of courses at the cluster level so that students would have more options when they are in postsecondary. While Perkins is implemented in this way in many places, attendees said that it should be spelled out better in the law.
- There should be a better opportunity for students to blend clusters (e.g., healthcare and IT), and POS should be individualized for students to be able to do this.
- Students need better access to school counseling.
- Dual enrollment should continue to be an option, not a requirement.
In his budget the President proposed consolidating Tech Prep and the Basic State Grant, and reaction from the attendees was mixed:
- Some were afraid that consolidation would lead to Perkins money being used for things other than Tech Prep in the Basic State Grant.
- A merged state reported that in their state funding goes to POS, so articulation and collaboration between secondary and postsecondary still occurs.
Finally, OVAE asked what the new Perkins should look like and attendees brought up several areas of focus:
- Focus on business and industry
- Teacher education programs should focus on CTE
- Professional development for teachers and counselors
- Emphasis on career academies and small learning communities
- Funding to develop a leadership base