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Legislative Update: Budget, NCLB Waivers, ESEA

Senate Urges OMB to Maintain Perkins Funding in FY13 Budget

A group of Senators led by Richard Blumenthal (CT) sent a letter this week to Jeffrey Zients, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, asking him to maintain FY12 Perkins Act funding for CTE programs in FY13. President Obama is scheduled to release his budget on Monday, and we hope that support from these Senators will encourage the Administration to maintain Perkins funding.

After the President releases his budget, Congress will begin work on their budgets and start the appropriations process. Members of both the House and Senate have expressed interest in drafting “Dear Colleague” letters to their respective chambers to garner support for Perkins Act funding.

Ten States Receive NCLB Waivers

President Obama this week announced that ten states will receive waivers for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, so long as they implement college and career ready standards and reform their accountability systems. The ten states are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 performance targets set by NCLB but must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,”  said President Obama. “Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them.  Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone.  Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.

Twenty-eight other states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have indicated that they will seek waivers later this spring. Additional materials can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility

House ESEA Bills Include CTE Provisions

Last month the House Education and the Workforce Committee released discussion drafts of two ESEA reauthorization bills. Yesterday, Committee Chairman John Kline (MN) formally introduced the bills, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

We worked with Congressional staff, as well as other policy groups, to get elements of the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act (a bill we told you about in the fall), included in both bills. In the Student Success Act, grantees’ local plans will have to include a description of how they use funds to support programs that coordinate and integrate “career and technical education aligned with state technical standards that promote skills attainment important to in-demand occupations or industries in the state and the state’s academic standards and work based learning opportunities that provide students in-depth interaction with industry professionals.”

The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act allows locals to use funds professional development for teachers and school leaders that is “evidence-based, job embedded, and continuous, such as professional development on integrated, interdisciplinary, and project based teaching strategies, including for career and technical education teachers.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

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