Legislative Update: House Introduces HEA Reauthorization Bill

December 1st, 2017

There has been a lot of legislative action this week in Washington, DC! This week’s news includes the introduction of two pieces of postsecondary legislation, the nomination for a key position at the U.S. Department of Education and details on the school U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited this week – read below to find out more about each of these updates.

Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

On December 1, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER, Act). This bill would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008, and would make significant changes to a number of provisions within the current law. The four-page summary from the Committee can be found with additional materials here (with full bill text here). According to the summary, the act “will help more Americans earn a lifetime of success by promoting innovation, access, and completion, simplifying and improving student aid, empowering students and families to make informed decisions and ensuring strong accountability and a limited federal role.” Advance CTE will provide additional analysis of this bill as soon as possible and you can find our recommendations for the reauthorization of HEA here.

Go To High School, Go to College Act Introduced in U.S. House Representatives

On November 16, Representatives John Faso (R-NY) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) along with 11 co-sponsors reintroduced the “Go to High School, Go to College Act.” According to the press release, the bill “would allow Pell grant funding for eligible students to be used for transferable college credits that students complete in an early college program offered by an accredited Institution of Higher Education.” A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

President Trump Nominates New Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

On December 1, President Trump sent twelve nominations to the Senate, including Mark Schneider for Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is part of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for education statistics, research and evaluations.

Secretary DeVos Visits Oakland High School

On November 29, Secretary DeVos toured Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Oakland High School was a 2017 winner of Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action Award for its Mechatronics program, which prepares students for careers through hands-on experiences, rigorous academic coursework, nationally recognized certifications and dual enrollment opportunities. Beginning through a partnership with Oakland High School, Bridgestone and the Manufacturing Leadership Council, industry led the charge to build a talent pipeline of qualified employees in a highly in-demand sector. Upon completion of this program, students are armed with credits and certifications and poised to enter postsecondary education and the workforce. Learn more about Oakland High School and the 2017 Excellence in Action Award winners here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Updates: Tax Reform in Full Swing, Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing

November 16th, 2017

It’s been a busy time in Washington with tax reform in full swing and a Senate confirmation hearing for officials at both the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor. Read below to find out more about these updates and a new report from AASA, The School Superintendents Association and The Rural School and Community Trust, a recent op-ed by Rep. Foxx (R-NC) and the remarks from Secretary DeVos at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Conference and Expo.

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Tax Reform Bill, Senate Committee on Finance Marks up Senate Tax Reform Bill

On November 16, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a vote of 227-205. The Senate Committee on Finance began marking up its tax reform bill on November 13. While a final version has not been enacted, it is important to note that there are provisions in both bills (as currently written) that would have implications for CTE.

OCTAE Assistant Secretary Nominee Withdrawn

The nomination of Timothy Kelly, a Michigan state legislator, for the post of Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education was withdrawn. Education Week reported that Kelly’s blog, which he maintained from 2009 to 2012, included offensive comments about Muslims, women in STEM and Head Start. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee had scheduled Kelly’s confirmation hearing for November 15. Dr. Michael Wooten will remain the Acting Assistant Secretary until another individual is nominated for Assistant Secretary and confirmed by the Senate.

Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing for Key Officials at U.S. Departments of Education and Labor 

On November 15, the Senate HELP Committee began the confirmation process for Brigadier General Mitchell Zais, USA (Ret.), who was nominated for Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education, James Blew, who was nominated for Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the Department of Education, Kate O’Scannlain, who was nominated for Solicitor at the Department of Labor and Preston Rutledge, who was nominated for Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration at the Department of Labor. You can find the hearing and written testimony from each nominee here.

In Case You Missed It

On November 15, AASA, The School Superintendents Association and The Rural School and Community Trust released Leveling the Playing Field for Rural Students, a report that highlights recommendations for Congress on how to support students living in rural communities, including leveraging CTE.

On November 7, Rep. Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, penned an op-edLyndon B. Johnson’s Vision for Higher Education No Longer Serves Students, that outlines four pillars for reforming the Higher Education Act (HEA).

On October 27, Secretary DeVos spoke at the Future Farmers of America (FFA) National Conference and Expo. Find her remarks online here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Legislative Updates: Implications of House Tax Reform Bill for CTE

November 13th, 2017

This week’s news includes a status update on the tax reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and its implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) and an upcoming webinar. Read below to find out more about these updates.

Upcoming Webinar: “Connecting Secondary Students to Apprenticeship Programs” 

On November 20, from 2-3 pm ET, there will be a webinar on “Connecting Secondary Students to Apprenticeship Programs.” The description for the webinar notes that, “During this second webinar in a two-part series, OCTAE welcomes the release of technical assistance resources to assist state and local leaders in initiating or expanding the alignment between existing CTE and apprenticeship programs based on project findings. Presenters from Vivayic, RTI International, and the Tech Ready Apprentices for Career in Kentucky (TRACK) program will introduce the resources and discuss potential application for CTE and apprenticeship stakeholders.” You can register for the webinar here.

House Tax Reform Bill Has Implications for CTE Educators, Students and Funding

On November 2, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) introduced H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” in the U.S. House of Representatives. The House Committee on Ways and Means began to mark up the bill on November 6 and it passed out of committee on a party line vote on November 9. If enacted, the bill would have implications for CTE educators, students and funding, as it proposes:
  • Eliminating Deductions for Teacher Expenses;
  • Eliminating Student Loan Interest Tax Deduction;
  • Eliminating Tax Benefits for Employer Education Assistance Programs;
  • Eliminating the Lifetime Learning Credit;
  • Expanding 529 College Savings Accounts to Cover Apprenticeship Expenses; and
  • Eliminating State and Local Tax Deductions that Help Fund Public Schools
To learn more about each of these provisions and how the bill would impact federal revenue and education funding, check out this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

U.S. Department of Education Will Withdraw Outdated Guidance, New WorkforceGPS Webinar Announced

November 2nd, 2017

This week’s news includes announcements from the U.S. Department of Education on the guidance it will withdraw and Workforce GPS on an upcoming webinar, as well as updates on legislation related to postsecondary data and work-based learning. Read below to find out more about these new announcements and legislation.

U.S. Department of Education Will Withdraw Outdated Guidance 

On October 27, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it will withdraw over 600 pieces of subregulatory guidance that is out-of-date (including nine pieces from the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education that are no longer relevant). The press release notes that “each item has been either superseded by current law or is no longer in effect.” The announcement comes as ED’s Regulatory Reform Task Force continues its work to determine which regulations should be replaced, rescinded or modified.

WorkforceGPS Announces New Webinar, “MOU Negotiations: The Partner Perspective – A Virtual Roundtable”

On Wednesday, December 6, 2017 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET, Workforce GPS will be hosting a virtual roundtable on “the requirements of the one-stop delivery system’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) negotiations as called for under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)”. The webinar’s description notes that “grantee representatives from the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services will highlight not only the obstacles they have faced during their local negotiations, but also some best practices they have picked up along the way.” You can register for the webinar online here.

Members of Congress Push for College Transparency Act  

On November 1, Members of Congress pushed for continued support for the College Transparency Act on the House floor. Advance CTE is proud to support this legislation – it would create a federal postsecondary student-level data network to yield better and more complete information about student outcomes in our higher education system. Better data will help students, college leaders and policymakers make more informed decisions about higher education. Read more about a student-level data network in a new policy brief by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).

PARTNERS Act Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives 

On October 25, Representatives  Bonamici (D-OR) and Ferguson (R-GA) introduced H.R. 4115, the “Promoting Apprenticeships through Regional Training Networks for Employers’ Required Skills Act of 2017” (or PARTNERS Act). According to the bill summary, the bill would “establish a grant program to support the creation and expansion of industry and sector partnerships to help small and medium sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide mentoring and support services for workers.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Apprenticeship Task Force Members Named, U.S. Department of Education Announces Proposed Competitive Grant Priorities

October 26th, 2017

Both the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education made important announcements over the last two weeks. Read below to find out more about these announcements and how you can help push the U.S. Senate to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins).

Secretary Acosta Names Members of Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion

On October 16, U.S. Secretary of Labor Acosta announced the members who will serve on the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion. Members include representatives from education, business, industry and labor. The Task Force was one of the components outlined in the Executive Order, “Expanding Apprenticeship in America,” that President Trump signed in June.

U.S. Department of Education Announces Proposed Priorities for Competitive Grants, Seeks Comments

On October 12, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the proposed priorities for awarding competitive grants. ED has asked the public to weigh in on these priorities through a 30-day public comment process and will later announce the finalized priorities, which may be used to award competitive grants going forward. The proposed priorities are listed below:
  1. Empowering Families to Choose a High-Quality Education that Meets Their Child’s Unique Needs.
  2. Promoting Innovation and Efficiency, Streamlining Education with an Increased Focus on Improving Student Outcomes, and Providing Increased Value to Students and Taxpayers.
  3. Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills.
  4. Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills that Prepare Students to be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens.
  5. Meeting the Unique Needs of Students And Children, including those with Disabilities and/or with Unique Gifts and Talents.
  6. Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science.
  7. Promoting Literacy.
  8. Promoting Effective Instruction in Classrooms and Schools.
  9. Promoting Economic Opportunity.
  10. Encouraging Improved School Climate and Safer and More Respectful Interactions in a Positive and Safe Educational Environment.
  11. Ensuring that Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families Have Access to High-Quality Educational Choices.

 

You Can Still Help Push the Senate to Reauthorize Perkins 

As you may know, the  U.S. House of Representatives passed a Perkins reauthorization bill in June (find our summary and analysis online here). We have been urging the Senate to take up reauthorization swiftly, but they have yet to do so. Right now, Representatives Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Thompson (R-PA), the two main co-sponsors of the House Perkins reauthorization bill, are planning to send a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership encouraging them to take up Perkins reauthorization. They are asking for their colleagues in the House to join them in signing this letter. Now is a great time to reach out to your Representative to ask them to sign on to this letter (thanks to our partners at ACTE for sharing this Action Center with the entire CTE community)!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

 

Congress Continues to Recognize Importance of CTE

October 13th, 2017

Congress continued to recognize Career Technical Education (CTE) this week. Read below to find out more about a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter about reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), a recent briefing and a resolution about workforce development.

59 Senators Sign on to Letter to Encourage Perkins Reauthorization 

On October 12, Senators McCaskill (D-MO) and Inhofe (R-OK) sent a letter, along with 57 additional Senators, to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leaders Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Murray (D-WA). The letter encouraged them to take up reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), emphasizing that “It is crucial that the Senate work in a bipartisan effort to help our nation’s students acquire the skills needed to be successful in today’s work environment.”

Communicating the Value and Promise of CTE Briefing 

On October 11, Advance CTE, in coordination with the House and Senate CTE Caucuses, held a briefing, “Communicating the Value and Promise of CTE.” The briefing highlighted the key findings from research that Advance CTE commissioned with support from the Siemens Foundation and focused on how to combat negative stereotypes about CTE, and more effectively communicate the many benefits of CTE with parents, students and additional critical audiences. Read more about the event in Advance CTE’s blog post here.

In Case You Missed It: Workforce Development Resolution

On September 26, Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Hatch (R-UT), Baldwin (D-WI) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced a resolution, co-sponsored by an additional 11 Senators, designating September 2017, “National Workforce Development Month.” Advance CTE was proud to support his resolution. The resolution recognizes a number of workforce development programs and highlights CTE, noting the number of CTE students across the country, CTE’s role in dropout prevention, and that all states report higher graduation rates for CTE students.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

 

 

 

New Nominations for U.S. Department of Education, Senate Committee Discusses ESSA

October 6th, 2017

Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to garner attention this week in the nation’s capitol. President Trump announced his intent to nominate new leaders at the U.S. Department of Education, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the U.S. Department of Education released an updated College Scorecard.

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate New U.S. Department of Education Leaders 

On October 3, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Mitchell Zais, previously the State Superintendent of Education for South Carolina, to be Deputy Secretary of Education. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.

On September 30, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Michigan state Representative Timothy Kelly (R-MI) to be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). This nomination will require Senate confirmation. In addition, last week the U.S. Department of Education announced that Dr. Michael Wooten will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for OCTAE (which does not require Senate confirmation) and the Acting Assistant Secretary for OCTAE (and will remain the Acting Assistant Secretary until Timothy Kelly is confirmed by the Senate).

Every Student Succeeds Act Hearing Features States’ CTE Efforts

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on October 3 entitled, “The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation” to hear from states that have included innovative ideas in their ESSA plans. The witnesses who spoke during the hearing were Candice McQueen, Commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Education, John White, State Superintendent Of Education at the Louisiana Department of Education, Christopher Ruszkowski, Secretary Of Education at the New Mexico Public Education Department and David Steiner, Executive Director at Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. In his opening statement, Chairman Alexander (R-TN) highlighted Tennessee’s “Ready Graduate” indicator and Louisiana’s career education initiative. McQueen also discussed the indicator in her opening remarks, which puts an emphasis on “opportunities that students have to prepare for their next step after high school.”

Questions from HELP committee members ranged from those about the role of the federal government in education to state implementation of the law, including school ratings, teacher preparation, assessments and more. Senator Young (R-IN), one of the co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, asked how CTE prepares students for success and how to increase momentum around industry credentials. White answered citing the many benefits of CTE and emphasized the need for education and industry to collaborate on a comprehensive credential system that ensures that students are learning relevant skills.

Updated College Scorecard Released by U.S. Department of Education

On September 27, the U.S. Department of Education updated the College Scorecard with refreshed data and a new feature that allows uses to compare up to 10 institutions at the same time. The College Scorecard includes data from postsecondary institutions about graduation rates, cost, the average earnings of graduates and repayment rates for loans.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

President Trump Signs STEM Memo, U.S. Department of Education Adds Senior Staff

September 27th, 2017

It’s been a busy week in Washington! President Trump signed a memorandum on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). In addition, the U.S. Department of Education has announced new hires and decisions about guidance on campus sexual misconduct. Read below to find out more about the memo, the U.S. Department of Education’s new staff and new guidance.

President Trump Signs Memo on Increasing Access to High-Quality STEM Education

On September 25, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Education that establishes “promotion of high-quality STEM education, with a particular focus on Computer Science as a Department of Education priority.” In addition, it directs the Secretary of Education to devote “at least $200 million in grant funds per year to the promotion of high‑quality STEM education, including Computer Science in particular.”

New Senior Staff at the U.S. Department of Education

On September 26, Secretary DeVos announced that two new Senior Staff will be joining the U.S. Department of Education on October 2, 2017. Dr. Michael Wooten will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). Dr. Leonard Haynes will be the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary. You can find additional information about both new hires in the U.S. Department of Education’s press release here.

U.S. Department of Education Withdraws Guidance, Releases Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct

On September 22, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Seuxal Violence and the April 29, 2014 Q&A on Title IX Sexual Violence would be withdrawn. In addition, a new interim Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct was released. The Department’s press release noted that “In the coming months, the Department intends to engage in rulemaking on Title IX responsibilities arising from complaints of sexual misconduct. The Department will solicit comments from stakeholders and the public during the rulemaking process, a legal procedure the prior administration ignored.”

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

Congress Continues Appropriations Process, Secretary DeVos on “Rethink School” Tour

September 15th, 2017

News This Week

Congress is back in session and the pace is picking up again in Washington! Both the House and Senate have been busy with the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations process. In addition, Secretary DeVos is on a “Rethink School” tour this week. Read below to find out more about FY18 spending decisions and details on Secretary DeVos’ tour.

Continuing Resolution Approved

On September 8, President Trump signed H.R. 601, a short-term spending measure (known as a continuing resolution) that would fund the government through December 8. While the measure keeps the government open until that time, it included a small reduction in funds across all programs in order to comply with current budget caps. This means that some states may see a slightly smaller allocation for the portion of funds in the Perkins Basic State Grant that will be disbursed October 1st. However, there will be opportunities to restore these funds when appropriators work on their final FY18 spending bills (more on this below).

House and Senate Work on Appropriations Bills 

The House Rules Committee held hearings on the eight bill omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 3354 starting on Tuesday, September 5 and continued their considerations of testimony and amendments through Wednesday, September 13. This bill includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. The bill was bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, which passed the House on September 14 on a 211-198 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The Senate is also working on its appropriations bills. On September 6, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark up of their appropriations bill. On September 7, the full Senate Appropriations committee approved the bill, which which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. Congress will need to finalize all of the FY18 spending bills by December 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Secretary DeVos Embarks on “Rethink School Tour”

On Tuesday, September 12, Secretary DeVos headed to two schools in Wyoming to kick off the “Rethink School” tour. The tour will “showcase creative ways in which education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education” according to the media advisory. From September 13-15, Secretary DeVos traveled to schools across Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and to Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Find out more about the tour and which schools she visited here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

Congress Plans Appropriations Action in September & New WIOA Resources

August 23rd, 2017

While Congress is in recess until September 5, they’re likely to move quickly on the appropriations process for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) when they return. Read below to find out more about what’s on the agenda for Congress in September and new resources on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), including a report and three short videos.

House to Consider Omnibus Spending Bill After Recess

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider an eight bill omnibus appropriations bill when they return from recess the week of September 4. The bill will include the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. It will be bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, when it goes to the House floor. In addition, the appropriations process in the Senate is likely to pick up again in early September –  now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for sharing their resources with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in Career Technical Education (CTE)!

New Report on Importance of Partnership Between States and the Federal Government on Workforce Development 

The National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs just released a report, The Promise of the State-Federal Partnership on Workforce Development & Training, that outlines three cornerstones of successful state workforce development systems. One of these cornerstones is “Education Partnerships Align Education and Training with Skill Needs,” which calls for supporting and expanding opportunities for work-based learning and CTE (page 3). The report also highlights how WIOA and a continued federal investment in state workforce programs are key to growing state economies and provides seven recommendations for the Trump Administration.

Looking for Videos about WIOA Implementation?

Check out three new videos from WorkforceGPS, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, that were filmed during the 2017 WIOA National Convenings. In these short videos, attendees answered the following questions: “What is Innovation?“, “How Has WIOA Changed the Work You Do?” and “What WIOA Work Has You Excited?” and shared stories about their efforts to implement WIOA.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

 

Series

Archives

1