New Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grants, Congress & Administration Look at HEA

April 17th, 2019

Congress was busy last week heading into the two-week recess with activity on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and appropriations. Read below to learn more and find out about news from the Administration on the Innovation and Modernization grant program authorized under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and higher education.

41 Senators Sign CTE Funding Letter  

Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) was joined by 40 additional Senators who signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter that encouraged robust funding for Perkins. The letter was sent to the Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member, Senator Murray (D-WA) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as they begin the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). The widespread support for the letter is a testament to your advocacy efforts! You can see if your Senators signed on to the letter in this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) – please be sure to send a thank you note to those who signed!

Looking to continue to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress.

House Holds Hearing on U.S. Department of Education Priorities

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” In particular, the hearing focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget. A variety of topics were covered, such as secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, expanding Pell grant eligibility to short-term programs, federal student aid delivery and support for Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A video of the hearing and statements from Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Secretary DeVos can be found here. The statement from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) can be found here.

Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grant Now Accepting Applications

On April 15, applications became available for the Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program to “identify, support, and rigorously evaluate Evidence-Based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize CTE and ensure workforce skills taught in CTE programs…align with labor market needs.” Over $2 million in total are available for this grant, and up to six grants will be awarded to scale evidence-based innovative programs that lead to better student outcomes and program effectiveness. Grantees will receive between $400,000 and $500,000 for a 36 month project. Each grantee must match awarded funds with non-Federal funding sources.

The one absolute priority for all applicants is to “submit a plan to create, develop, implement, replicate or take to scale Evidence-Based, field-initiatives innovations to modernize and to improve effectiveness and alignment of CTE with labor market needs and to improve student outcomes in CTE.” In addition, there are three Competitive Preference Priorities: programs that will improve STEM and computer science student outcomes; programs that serve the majority of students from low-income households and programs that serve students in Qualified Opportunity Zones. A webinar will be held by the U.S. Department of Education on April 25 to provide additional information.

Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Reached Consensus

The negotiated rulemaking committee reached consensus on all three regulation packages proposed by the Education Department after months of hearings and rounds of edits to the originally proposed regulatory language. The panel of negotiators agreed to changes on issues such as accreditation, federal distance education rules, competency-based education, federal aid programs for religious institutions and a change to the TEACH grant program that would provide teachers whose grants were changed to loans an opportunity to appeal.

In order to reach consensus, the Administration removed some proposals, such as changing the scope of regional accreditors and giving colleges receiving federal aid permission to outsource over 50 percent of a program to an unaccredited external entity. Now, the Education Department will publish the agreed upon regulatory language in the Federal Register and allow for public comments. The new rules must be finalized before November in order to be enacted in the summer of 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos put out a statement in support of the committee’s consensus.

Senate Holds Hearing on Higher Education Act Reauthorization

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing last week on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strengthening Accountability to Protect Students and Taxpayers.” This hearing explored topics such as the role the federal and institutional roles in ensuring accountability and how data can better support all students. A video of the hearing and all witness testimonies can be found here. HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) press release on the hearing can be found here, and the statement from Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) can be found here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

155 Representatives Sign CTE Funding Letter, President Signs Executive Order on Higher Ed

March 28th, 2019

With two hearings this week on the President’s budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), appropriations season is in full swing! Read below to learn more about the hearings, the Representatives who signed a letter to support funding for CTE, and updates on both higher education and K-12 education.

155 Representatives Sign CTE Funding Letter

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, were joined by 153 additional Representatives from both parties who signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter that encouraged strong funding for Perkins. The letter was sent to the Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member, Tom Cole (R-OK) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as they begin the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). The widespread support for the letter is a testament to your advocacy efforts! You can check this spreadsheet to see if your Representative signed on to the letter – please don’t forget to send a thank you note to those who signed!

Looking to continue to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress.

Secretary DeVos Testifies at House and Senate FY2020 Education Budget Hearings

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies held hearings on the President’s FY2020 budget proposal for the U.S. Department of Education on March 26 and March 28, respectively. Secretary DeVos testified before both committees and both hearings covered a wide variety of topics, from student loan debt to school discipline to school safety and more. In addition, there was much discussion around issues affecting CTE, such as teacher shortages, expanding Pell grant eligibility to high-quality, short-term programs, apprenticeship, and the proposed elimination of two programs that can support CTE and other efforts: the Supporting Effective Instruction grants authorized under Title II of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants authorized under Title IV-A of ESSA. While the President’s budget proposed level-funding for CTE State Grants, multiple members of Congress expressed support for CTE and the need to change the perception of CTE.

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Higher Education

On March 21, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities. The executive order provides direction across three categories: Promoting First Amendment Rights, Improving Transparency and Addressing Student Loan Debt. First, the executive order reinforces existing requirements for colleges receiving federal funding for research to support free speech. Significantly, the order directs the U.S. Department of Education to add program level data on student outcomes for the first time to the College Scorecard, an online interactive tool that allows users to gather information on the cost and certain outcomes (e.g., median earnings, median loan debt, and loan default and repayment rates) of higher education institutions. The executive order also calls for the U.S. Secretary of Education to lead the research and reporting of policy options for risk sharing with student loan debt so that the federal government, institutions and other entities- not only the student- have a financial stake in students’ ability to repay loans. The research must address: state and institution transfer policies, how states and institutions can increase dual enrollment opportunities, and other ways to increase student success, particular in completing postsecondary programs of study. Secretary DeVos’s statement on the executive order can be found here and Senator Alexander’s (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, statement can be found here.

More than Twice As Many States Counting Career Readiness than in 2014

A new report from Advance CTE, Achieve, Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers through the New Skills for Youth initiative examines state and federal accountability systems to see how states are measuring college and career readiness. The report, called Making Career Readiness Count 3.0, finds that the number of states with career readiness metrics in their systems has more than doubled from 17 in 2014 to 40 in 2019. The report breaks down common approaches to measuring college and career readiness and offers critical questions for states to consider as they implement new measures.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Contact Your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE

March 20th, 2019

The congressional appropriation process is now underway and there’s lots of news about  the Higher Education Act (HEA). Read below to learn more about how to support the federal investment in CTE by contacting your Representative about signing a “Dear Colleague” letter and how Congress and President Trump are focusing in on HEA .

Contact your Representative to Support the Federal Investment in CTE by March 22 

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, will be sending a “Dear Colleague” letter to the Chairwoman, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member, Tom Cole (R-OK) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies respectfully encouraging that they consider strong funding for Perkins. Please contact your Representative to encourage them to sign on to the letter by visiting ACTE’s Take Action page and scroll to “Ask Your Representative to Sign Perkins Funding Letter” and click “Take Action.” You can also find your representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to their office, and then ask about the Representative’s interest in signing on to a “Dear Colleague” letter to support strong funding for Perkins. Interested Representatives can contact the offices of Representatives Langevin (D-RI) or Thompson (R-PA) to sign on. The deadline to sign on is 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, March 22.

White House Releases Proposal for Higher Education Reform

On March 18, the Trump administration released its principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), led by Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President. The administration seeks to “increase access to affordable, flexible, and innovative postsecondary education and skills attainment.” The following goals were outlined:

  • Reorient the Accreditation Process to Focus on Student Outcomes;
  • Increase Innovation in the Education Marketplace;
  • Better Align Education to the Needs of Today’s Workforce;
  • Increase Institutional Accountability;
  • Accelerate Program Completion;
  • Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities;
  • Encourage Responsible Borrowing;
  • Simplify Student Aid;
  • Support Returning Students and
  • Give Prospective Students More Meaningful and Useful Information about Schools and Programs.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor efforts in Congress to reauthorize HEA and provide updates.

Congress Introduces Higher Education Legislation

On March 14, Senators Kaine (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH) reintroduced the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. This legislation would expand Pell Grant eligibility to high-quality short-term postsecondary programs. Eligible short-term programs would have to be at least 150 clock hours over at least eight weeks, meet local or regional labor market needs, articulate to institutional credit and provide students with a recognized postsecondary license, certification or credential.

Also on March 14, Senators Cassidy (R-LA), Warren (D-MA), Scott (R-SC) and Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced the College Transparency Act. This legislation would create a student-level data network within the National Center for Education Statistics and promote transparency and accuracy in postsecondary student data.

On March 12, Senators Kaine and Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act. This legislation aims to help address teacher and principal shortages, particularly in rural areas.

Advance CTE is proud to support all three of these bills, and will continue to advocate for legislation that reflects our HEA recommendations.

Congress Holds First HEA Hearings of 2019

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held its first HEA hearing this year on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Simplifying the FAFSA and Reducing the Burden of Verification.” Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) agreed that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be simplified to be more accessible.

The House Committee on Education and Labor also held its first of five announced HEA hearings on “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach.” In his opening remarks, Chairman Scott (D-VA) share that his goal is to pass comprehensive higher education reform, with a focus on access and affordability. Topics that came up throughout the hearing included improving the purchasing power of Pell Grants, simplifying FAFSA, responding to state disinvestment in higher education, making college more affordable and simplifying student loan repayment.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

President’s Budget Proposal Released

March 14th, 2019

During the last week, the President released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a meeting and there’s news about the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Read below to learn more.

President’s Budget Proposes Significant Cuts for Education and Workforce Programs 

On March 11, President Trump released the budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins October 1. The President’s budget proposal is typically released the first Monday in February, but this year’s partial government shutdown delayed the process. Importantly, the release of the President’s budget proposal formally begins the appropriations process, during which Congress will decide the extent to which they align their funding decisions with the priorities laid out in the President’s budget proposal.

Unfortunately, the proposal includes a 12.5 percent cut overall for the U.S. Department of Education and a  9.7 percent cut overall for the U.S. Department of Labor. Some key programs are highlighted below and the specific levels for each program can be found in the U.S. Department of Education budget summary and the U.S. Department of Labor budget in brief:

  • Investments in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V):
    • CTE State Grants: proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants at the amount provided by Congress in FY19. The President’s budget also includes the recommendation that Congress authorize changes to increase the fees collected for H-1B visas and redirect 15 percent of that revenue to provide an increase in funding for CTE State Grants. However, we are still examining this proposal and at this point, it is unclear if this would be a practical way to ensure more resources for CTE State Grants and how much funding could be realized.
    • National Programs: proposed increase of $12.58 million above the amount provided by Congress in FY19 to support the new Innovation and Modernization grants authorized under Perkins V.
  • Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which can support CTE as part of a well-rounded education: proposed for elimination.
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, authorized under Title II of ESSA, which can support CTE professional development: proposed for elimination.
  • Pell Grants: proposed to keep the maximum Pell grant frozen at its current level, rescind $2 billion from the the Pell reserve (the unobligated funds for the program that have been previously appropriated), and expand the access to the Pell grant to short-term programs. Advance CTE is supportive of expanding Pell grants to shorter-term programs as outlined in the JOBS Act, which has bipartisan support.
  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): proposed level funding at the amount provided by Congress in FY19.
  • Adult Education and Family Literacy State Grants: proposed decrease of $156.2 million below the level provided by Congress in FY19.
  • Apprenticeship grants: proposed level funding at the amount provided by Congress in FY19, noting that these funds should be directed to Industry-Recognized Apprenticeships.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor the appropriations process and will let you know when it is time to contact your members of Congress.

American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meets 

On March 6, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board held a meeting. As we reported, the board is comprised of 25 members representing the education, business, nonprofit and government fields. During the meeting, Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President, shared four goals that were discussed during the meeting:

  • “First is to develop a robust campaign to promote multiple pathways to good-paying jobs, dispelling the myth that there is only one path to a successful career.
  • Second, improving the availability of high-quality, transparent, and timely data to better inform students and educators, as well as match American workers to American jobs.
  • Third, modernizing candidate recruitment and training practices to expand the pool of job applicants employers are looking to hire.
  • And finally, measuring and encouraging employer-led training and investments. We are championing and seeking to further private-sector leadership and investment in workforce development.”

Additional remarks from the meeting are now available. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the advisory board.

Fourteen States Now Publishing Spending Data per ESSA Requirements

For the first time, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to publish school-by-school spending data to illuminate where and how taxpayer dollars are being spent on education. According to an analysis from Georgetown University14 states have now made this information public. Many states are still working through the process of collecting and publishing their spending data.

States Mulling Revisions to ESSA Plans

According to EdWeek, five states – New Mexico, Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wyoming – are considering revisions to their ESSA state plans. Most of the proposed changes involve restructuring the school rating system without significantly altering the accountability indicators.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate 

CTE Month is Recognized and Congress Speaks on HEA and ESSA

March 1st, 2019

With Career Technical Education (CTE) month having come to a close, this update includes how CTE month was recognized, next steps for Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization, questions about supplement not supplant under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the first education bill of the 116th Congress, renewal of Second Chance Pell and the new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Senate Passes CTE Month Resolution

The Senate passed a resolution to officially recognize February as CTE month. Introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and the Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs, S. Res. 79 was co-sponsored by 50 senators across both parties. A resolution, H. Res. 119, was also introduced in the House by House CTE Caucus co-chair Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), and co-sponsored by 46 representatives across both parties.

Secretary DeVos Joins CTE Month School Visit

In recognition of CTE month, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos joined the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for a site visit to the Academies of Loudoun  in Leesburg, Virginia. During the visit, Secretary DeVos learned more about the school’s innovative CTE programs and toured the radiology technology lab, auto service technology lab, auto collision repair lab, makerspace, engineering research lab and greenhouse. Secretary DeVos also participated in a roundtable conversation along with Academies of Loudon’s Principal Tinell Priddy, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Ashley Ellis, ACTE’s Steve DeWitt and Advance CTE’s Kimberly Green.

Senator Murray’s Vision for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

On Thursday, February 28, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke about HEA reauthorization at the Center for American Progress. Senator Murray outlined the four following priorities: 1) Improving college affordability; 2) Holding schools accountable; 3) Expanding access to higher education and 3) Increasing campus safety and protecting students’ civil rights. Senator Murray voiced that reauthorization is an opportunity for comprehensive higher education reform, and has been in negotiations with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Committee on Education & Labor Announces Five Hearings on Higher Education

Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced five upcoming bipartisan hearings on higher education. The hearings will cover: 1) The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach; 2) Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers; 3) The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education; 4) Engines of Economic Mobility: The Critical Role of Community Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions in Preparing Students for Success and 5) Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree. No dates for the hearings have been announced yet.

Democratic Congressional Leaders Respond to Education Department’s Proposed ESSA Title I Guidelines

Representative Scott and Senator Murray responded to the Education Department’s proposed guidance on the supplement not supplant requirement under Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The proposed guidance alters the methodology for accountability around supplement not supplant funding. School districts would need to demonstrate that a school’s Title I status was not considered when designating state and local resources to each school. Representative Scott and Senator Murray called on Secretary DeVos to carry out a negotiated rulemaking process instead of moving forward with this proposal.

House Committee on Education & Labor Votes on Rebuild America’s Schools Act

The first education bill of the year, the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, was cleared to go to the full House of Representatives in a 26-20 vote in the House Committee on Education & Labor. This bill would provide $100 billion in grants and tax-credit bonds for school infrastructure. CTE is incorporated in this bill as an allowable use of funds.

U.S. Department of Education Renews Pilot Pell Grants Program

On February 13 the U.S. Department of Education approved renewal of a pilot program started by the Obama administration that allows incarcerated individuals to access Pell Grants. The program, called Second Chance Pell, is in its fourth year. Through this program, and the 67 participating colleges and universities and over 100 federal and state penal institutions, 12,000 incarcerated learners are able to utilize Pell. The creation of this pilot was the first time that prisoners were able to access Pell since Congress banned this in 1994. Currently, Secretary Betsy DeVos has voiced an interest in lifting this ban. Senator Alexander and Representative Scott have both recently spoken out in support of lifting this ban through reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Administration Creates American Workforce Policy Advisory Board

On February 13 the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross and Ivanka Trump, adviser to President Trump, announced a new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The new advisory board is comprised of 25 members, including the chief executives of Apple Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Siemens USA and Walmart. The advisory board is separate of the National Council for the American Worker, which was established by Executive Order in June 2018, but the two groups will work together. One example noted was that the advisory board would be “be asked to help the council develop a national campaign to promote education and training, recommend ways to improve labor market data, increase private sector investments in job learning and better identify companies’ needs in hiring.” Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the work of the council and the advisory board.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Ask Your Representative to Co-Sponsor CTE Month Resolution by 2/8

February 4th, 2019

Career Technical Education (CTE) Month is now underway and there’s lots of attention on CTE in Washington, DC. Read below to learn more about how to contact your Representative to support the resolution recognizing CTE Month, an update on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, how to promote equity in college in high school programs and the Administration’s recent mention of CTE.

Contact your Representative to Co-Sponsor the CTE Month Resolution by 2/8

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, recently introduced a resolution to recognize CTE month (last year’s resolution had 47 co-sponsors)! Please contact your Representative to encourage them to co-sponsor the CTE Month resolution by visiting the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) CTE Action Center here. You can also find your representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to their office and then ask about the Representative’s interest in co-sponsoring the Resolution. Interested Representatives can contact the offices of Representatives Langevin (D-RI) or Thompson (R-PA) to co-sponsor the resolution. The deadline for additional co-sponsors is 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, February 8.

Senator Alexander’s Vision for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

On Monday, February 4, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), spoke about reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) at the American Enterprise Institute. He announced three key concepts for updating HEA in a way that responds to some of the pressing challenges facing prospective, current and former college students: 1) Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 2) Streamline the options to repay student loans and 3) Create a new accountability system for colleges to report whether borrowers are able to repay loans. There have been multiple proposals in the Senate that touch upon these three ideas and Senator Alexander plans to work with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, to introduce one piece of legislation this spring that encompasses each.You can find Senator Alexander’s remarks here and be sure to keep an eye on Advance CTE’s blog for additional updates on HEA reauthorization.

How Can ESSA be Used to Advance Equity in College in High School Programs?

The Education Trust and the College in High School Alliance recently released a fact sheet, Advancing Equity in College in High School Programs: Opportunities Under ESSA, that includes key questions and considerations for those thinking about how to advance equity in college in high school access and success, and how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be leveraged to accomplish it. Related videos on dual-enrollment can be found here.

Administration Releases Fact Sheet on Revitalizing American Manufacturing, Includes Perkins Reauthorization

On January 31, the Administration released a fact sheet, President Donald J. Trump is Following Through on His Promise to Revitalize American Manufacturing, which included the passage of the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as an example of how President Trump is investing in workforce development. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the Administration’s coverage of CTE, including if it is mentioned during the State of the Union address on February 5 at 9:00pm Eastern Time.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Members of House Committee on Education and Labor Announced, Secretary DeVos Focuses Remarks on CTE

January 24th, 2019

This week brings news from Congress, remarks on Career Technical Education (CTE) from the Administration, questions about when states will release report cards required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a report on food insecurity on college campuses. Read below to learn more about these updates.

New Members on the House Committee on Education and Labor 

On January 23, House Republicans named the members that will serve on the House Committee on Education and Labor for the 116th Congress. This finalizes the composition of the Committee, which has 28 Democrats, 14 of whom are new to the Committee, and 22 Republicans, 10 of whom are new to the Committee. As the Committee begins its work, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on hearings, votes and more.

Secretary DeVos Focuses Remarks on CTE at Conference of Mayors 

On January 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the annual United States Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, emphasizing the theme of “rethinking” education throughout her speech. She highlighted that mayors can help build relationships between educators and industry and how this can happen through Perkins V planning efforts. During her remarks, she highlighted CTE programs across the country that offer opportunities like apprenticeships, the ability for high school students to earn associate’s degrees and business partnerships that offer upskilling opportunities through community colleges.

When Are States Publishing ESSA Report Cards?

Shortly after the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed, the Obama administration developed regulations requiring states to publish their performance report cards by December 31, 2018. When Congress overturned those rules in early 2017, it left states without clear guidance on the deadline to release their report cards. While several states have published information on 2017-18 student performance, many have yet to do so. Significantly, more than 30 states are measuring career readiness on their state, district and high school report cards, some for the first time. Looking for more information about ESSA and the career-ready indicators states are using? Check out the ESSA pageon Advance CTE’s website.

In Case You Missed It: New Report on Food Insecurity Among College Students

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in response to a 2017 request by Senate Democrats, released Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefitsa report that looks into 31 studies on food insecurity among college students. This report found that in 2016 about two million students eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) did not receive benefits and that income level was the biggest indicator of food insecurity. The report discusses what was previously considered to be a typical college experience and how the college student population has changed. The report comes at a time when the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is considered a top priority for this Congress.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

116th Congress Kicks Off, Administration to Begin Negotiated Rulemaking on Higher Ed

January 11th, 2019

With the 116th Congress sworn in on January 3, there is a lot of news coming out of Washington, D.C. this week! Read below to learn more about new reports, Congressional leadership, and updates from the Administration on the Higher Education Act (HEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Senate Releases Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently released the Committee Report on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V). The report provides key details on legislative intent, a section-by-section analysis and shows how the new law made changes to Perkins IV.

Committee Assignments and Changes in the 116th Congress

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Leahy (D-VT) announced that Chairman Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Murray (D-WA) will remain as the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. The House Appropriations Committee leadership has shifted: the new Chairwoman of the Committee is Rep. Lowey (D-NY) and the new Ranking Member is Rep. Granger (R-TX). Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) will serve as the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

For the Senate HELP Committee, Sen. Alexander (R-TN) will remain the Chairman and Sen. Murray (D-WA) will remain the Ranking Member. The membership for the Committee shifted slightly: Sen. Young (R-IN) and Sen. Bennet (D-CO) will move off the Committee and Sen. Hatch (R-UT) retired in 2018. Sen. Romney (R-UT), Sen. Braun (R-IN) and Sen. Rosen (D-NV) will be joining the Committee. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce is now renamed the House Committee on Education and Labor, as has been past practice when Democrats are in the majority in the House. Rep. Scott (D-VA) is serving as the Committee’s Chairman and Rep. Foxx (R-NC) is serving as the Committee’s Ranking Member. Looking to see when the House and Senate are in session this year? Check out the new calendars here.

2019 Negotiated Rulemaking Proposals Released

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education released recommendations to make significant changes to a variety of higher education regulations. The Committee on Accreditation and Innovation, Subcommittee on Distance Learning and Educational Innovation, Subcommittee on TEACH Grants and Subcommittee on Faith-Based Entities, all comprised of stakeholders, will begin negotiating the proposals starting on January 14 and attempt to reach consensus. If the committee and subcommittees do not reach consensus, the Department of Education will determine whether or not to move forward with regulations.

Additional information on committee and subcommittee members, a schedule of hearings and the proposed regulations can be found here. More information on the negotiated rulemaking process can be found here.

Office of the Inspector General to Look Into ESSA Accountability, Oversight of Title IV

The U.S. Department of Education’s (USED) internal watchdog agency, the Office of the Inspector General, released its 2019 agenda. On the list of priorities for investigation, which is influenced by members of Congress and other officials, is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into how states are operating their statewide accountability systems. According to an Advance CTE and ESG report released last year, more than 30 states are measuring career readiness in their accountability systems. Also on the Inspector General’s list is whether USED is providing sufficient oversight into states’ use of Student Success and Academic Enrichment grants, a $1.1 billion grant program that can be used to support well-rounded educational activities, which includes Career Technical Education (CTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate and Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

Administration Focuses on STEM, Apprenticeship

December 12th, 2018

As the 115th Congress wraps up, the Administration has made a few announcements related to Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about updates from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), the new strategy for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, a recently renewed commitment to apprenticeship and a new resource on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from from the School Superintendents Associations (AASA) and the College in High School Alliance (CHSA).   

New Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education

Dr. Casey Sacks, who previously served as a Vice Chancellor at the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, has been named Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE).

Trump Administration Releases Strategy to Bolster STEM Education in the U.S.

On December 4, the Committee on STEM Education of the National Science and Technology Council released Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education, a report that outlines the Trump administration’s five-year strategy to increase access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and to ensure the United States is a global leader in STEM literacy, innovation and employment. Read more about the strategic goals and pathways in Advance CTE’s blog.

U.S. Signs Apprenticeship MOU with Switzerland

The U.S. Departments of Education, Labor and Commerce came together with the Swiss government to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that signals continued collaboration on apprenticeships. With this MOU, both governments renewed their commitment to apprenticeships. This includes spreading awareness of the importance of apprenticeship programs to those from the business, academic and policy communities.

New Fact Sheet: Using ESSA to Support and Expand College in High School Programs

Looking for information about how college in high school programs, including dual and concurrent enrollment programs, are covered in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? Check out a new fact sheet, “Using ESSA to Support and Expand College in High School Programs,” and the blog post “Opportunities In ESSA For College In High School Programs” from the School Superintendents Associations (AASA) and the College in High School Alliance (CHSA).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy and Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

2018 Election Wrap Up, ESSA in the Spotlight

November 29th, 2018

With the results of the 2018 election mostly finalized and Congress back in session, there’s news about both secondary and postsecondary education this week. Read below to find out more about how the elections impacted state leadership, updates on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Secretary DeVos’ recent remarks on postsecondary education.

How the 2018 Elections Impacted State Leadership 

Looking for a one-pager summarizing how the 2018 elections resulted in changes in Governors, Legislatures and other state leaders? Check out this infographic from the Education Commission of the States.

Will Newly Elected Governors and Chiefs Revise their State ESSA Plans? 

The U.S. Department of Education earlier this month released guidance for new state leaders who want to amend their state ESSA plans. According to the guidance, states will need to submit an update with redlined language and a cover letter summarizing any changes. New plans will need to be submitted by March 1, 2019 to be considered.

New Reports Look at Equity in ESSA Plans and Implementation

The U.S. Department of Education has approved plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for all states and territories and conclusion of the 2017-18 academic year marks the first full year that the law has been in effect. New reports have begun to look at how equity is addressed in state plans and how implementation is going. The Alliance for Excellent Education looked at how states factor subgroup performance into school ratings, as required by law, in their brief, “Too Many States Minimize Student Subgroup Performance in ESSA Accountability Systems.” In addition, America’s Promise Alliance released a report, Great American High School: Reforming the Nation’s Remaining Low-Performing High Schools” that “identifies the progress made and remaining challenges in enabling all students to graduate from high school ready for college or career” and looks at how ESSA can be leveraged to advance equity. The Collaborative for Student Success and HCM Strategists conducted an “independent review of the progress made to date on school improvement under each state’s renewed context for school accountability” in their report, “ESSA and School Improvement: Promise to Practice.” Seventeen states were reviewed and the report outlines the extent to which equity was prioritized and identifies promising practices from states reviewed.

Secretary DeVos Describes an Impending Crisis in Higher Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided remarks at the Federal Student Aid Training Conference on November 27 about an impending crisis in higher education. Secretary DeVos called for policy changes regarding student aid, and outlined the following four core principles as a guide:
  1. “Every person should have the opportunity to pursue the education that’s right for them. And so, supporting and encouraging a multitude of pathways makes common sense.”
  2. “Innovation must be unleashed.”
  3. “Better, more accessible information is necessary for policymakers, for students, for parents, and for taxpayers.”
  4. “Nothing is free. Someone, somewhere ultimately pays the bills.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

 

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