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Legislative Update: ESEA Update; New CTE-Related Bills Proposed

Rep. Langevin Op-Ed and Announcement of Counseling Legislation

Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), co-chair of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) announced in an op-ed this week new legislation to authorize funding for comprehensive career counseling services. The “Counseling for Career Choice Act,” which would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), would authorize grants to successful applicants that are prepared to implement comprehensive school counseling programs that align to a statewide counseling framework. The legislation is a companion bill to one introduced earlier this year by Senator Begich.

In the op-ed, Representative Langevin highlighted the importance of career counseling in making students aware of the many education and training opportunities available after high school – whether a two-year degree, apprenticeship, certificate, four-year degree, or other option – to help meet their future educational and career goals. Langevin also stressed the link between economic competitiveness and education and training, and the role of CTE in closing the skills gap. Staff will continue to work with Representatives Langevin and Bonamici to promote important aspects of CTE, such as counseling, in upcoming legislation.

Rep. McNerney  Introduces GREEN Act

Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA) introduced this week the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act to increase education and training in the clean energy sector through CTE programs of study. The GREEN Act would authorize $100 million in competitive grants to postsecondary institutions, local education agencies, CTE schools, and community partners to develop clean energy programs of study and curriculum. The bill would also authorize funding to build energy-efficient CTE facilities and promote renewable energy practices.

The clean energy sector currently employs around 3 million Americans and growth of the sector is doubling that of the overall economy. CTE programs will be instrumental to providing education and training to individuals pursuing careers in clean energy.

In Representative McNerney’s press release for the bill, Kimberly Green, Executive Director at NASDCTEc, expressed support on behalf of our members: “We applaud Congressman McNerney’s introduction of the Grants for Renewable Energy Education Act. Promoting energy efficient Career Technical Education facilities and supporting the development of Career Technical Education programs of study in the fields of clean energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency will ensure that the United States has the workforce needed to build, support and maintain the energy infrastructure essential for our country’s future.”

ESEA Update:

ESEA, currently enacted through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), expired at the end of FY 2008 and has since been eligible for reauthorization. As we reported last week, several ESEA reauthorization proposals have been introduced in Congress. See a side-by-side comparison of the proposals here.

Senate Approves Democrat ESEA Bill

This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the Democrats’ ESEA reauthorization bill, the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, on a party-line vote of 12-10. HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) noted that he would like to move the bill to a floor vote this year but that this is unlikely to happen before September. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), whose ESEA reauthorization proposal substitute was voted down by the committee, stated that he would like to amend Senator Harkin’s bill significantly when it reaches the floor. Read more about the proposals on our blog.

Ten amendments to the bill were adopted including:

  • Sen. Baldwin (D-WI): Amendment to include career readiness measures from the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act on state and school report cards.
  • Sen. Harkin: Amendment making clear that, if states don’t want to implement accountability measures in the ESEA bill, they are not obligated to take Title I money for their state.
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA): Amendment for schools to track children of military members as a separate subgroup.

Thirteen amendments were offered but not passed including:

  • Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY): Amendment to scale back federal role in the bill as related to school improvement and accountability.
  • Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC): Amendment to change special education testing and also to clarify that states can change their standards without the permission of the U.S. Secretary of Education.

House ESEA Proposal Markup Set

House Republicans on the Education and the Workforce Committee introduced their ESEA reauthorization proposal, the Student Success Act (H.R.5) on June 6, 2013. A markup of the bill has been scheduled for June 19, 2013. Read more about the proposal here.

FY 2014 Appropriations :

House Appropriations

This week, the House Appropriations Committee held a full Committee markup of the defense appropriations bill. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) attempted to amend the bill by bringing FY 2014 funding levels for the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) to pre-sequestration levels. The amendment was rejected on a party line vote of 21-29.

In May, the House Appropriations Committee released its draft FY 2014 302(b) allocations, which establish a cap on spending for each of the appropriations bills. The allocations suggest devastating cuts for programs with funding allocated under Labor-HHS-ED. It is unclear when markup of the House Labor-HHS-ED bill will be held.

Senate Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to release formal 302(b) allocations at the full committee markup on June 20, 2013. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has scheduled a markup of the Senate Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill on July 9, 2013 in subcommittee and on July 11, 2013 in full committee. Staff will continue to monitor these events and advocate on Capitol Hill for education and CTE funding.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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