Congress Shows Support for Perkins on the Heels of Proposed Cuts

May 23rd, 2017

Career Technical Education (CTE) gains major win in the House Education and the Workforce Committee, followed by a potentially devastating 15 percent cut to CTE proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget. Find information on the budget, legislation related to the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins), and cybersecurity and the workforce below.

President’s Budget Proposal Cuts Perkins 15 Percent

The President’s Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Budget was released earlier today. This proposal includes a $168 million cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant, a 15 percent decrease from the current level of funding. This cut is especially disappointing given the Administration’s public support of CTE. Just last month President Trump said, “Secretary DeVos is working to ensure our workers are trained for the skilled technical jobs that will, in the future, power our country.” This proposal also includes an increase of $20 million for National Programs, which according to the Department of Education’s FY18 Budget Summary and Background Information would “support a competition to promote the development, enhancement, implementation, or expansion of innovative CTE programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.”

In a statement released earlier today, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) stated, “This proposed $168 million cut from state grants for CTE significantly reduces states’ abilities to use these resources to improve and expand CTE programs based on their specific needs. It’s incredulous that an Administration that wishes to devolve authority to the states proposes to increase its own funding at the federal level by $20 million; this essentially equates to taking funds out of the pockets of states, colleges and schools to a create a new, untested program run by the Secretary of Education.” Find the rest of the statement about the President’s FY18 Budget here.

Allocations for other Department of Education programs can be found here and the Committee for Education Funding will post an updated budget chart here as soon as possible. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will have a hearing on the Department of Education Budget on Wednesday, May 24 at 11 a.m. ET (watch it live here), during which Secretary DeVos is scheduled to testify.

It is also important to note that previous administrations have proposed similar cuts to Perkins (and even elimination of the investment entirely), but that Congress has continued to approve appropriations bills that surpassed the amounts outlined in past Presidents’ proposals. Now is the time to reach out to your Members of Congress to encourage them to support a strong investment in Perkins.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Unanimously Passes H.R. 2353 

On May 17, the House Education and the Workforce Committee marked up H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (the bill that would reauthorize Perkins). You can watch the mark up here and see the letter that Advance CTE and ACTE sent to the committee outlining our support of many provisions included in H.R. 2353 and our main outstanding concern around how the bill defines a secondary CTE concentrator.

Cybersecurity and the Workforce: Implications for CTE

On May 11, President Trump signed an executive order entitled, “Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure.” Among other provisions, the order includes a “Workforce Development” component that directs the Secretaries of Education, Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense and Labor along with the Office of Personnel Management to “jointly assess the scope and sufficiency of efforts to educate and train the American cybersecurity workforce of the future, including cybersecurity-related education curricula, training, and apprenticeship programs, from primary through higher education,” and submit a report with the findings and recommendations to the President within 120 days.

The need for a workforce with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the cybersecurity sphere was also the topic of a recent Senate CTE Caucus briefing. The panelists, Casey O’Brien, the Executive Director and Principal Investigator at the National CyberWatch Center, Sophie Webb-Lopez, Deputy Director at the Department of Homeland Security, Aaron Cohen, Director of Cyber Skills Development at Symantec Corporation, Margaret Leary, the Chair of the Cybersecurity Program at Northern Virginia Community College, and David Tobey, Assistant Professor at Indiana University South Bend and Founder and CEO at VivoWorks Inc., discussed the challenges facing the cybersecurity workforce, including the need for professionals who are innovative and can apply technology to solving problems. They also shared how competency-based education, broader understanding and awareness of the issue, and high-quality CTE programs can play a role in solving these problems.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy 

All Eyes on Perkins Reauthorization

May 16th, 2017

With the House Education and the Workforce Committee slated to mark up H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (the bill that would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)), this week, Career Technical Education (CTE) has been getting a lot of airtime in Washington, D.C. Updates about CTE events, bills, and support in Congress are below.

Watch the Action Live: H.R. 2353 Mark Up Tomorrow 

On Wednesday, May 17 at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, the House Education and the Workforce Committee will mark up H.R. 2353. At this time, members of the Committee will consider and discuss amendments to the legislation. You can watch the mark up tomorrow live here and follow Advance CTE on Twitter at @CTEWorks for up-to-the-minute updates. Advance CTE sent a letter to the Committee outlining our support of many provisions included in H.R. 2353 and our main outstanding concern around how the bill defines a secondary CTE concentrator.

Chairwoman Foxx Discusses CTE at AEI

On May 16, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx of the House Education and Workforce Committee delivered remarks, engaged in a brief discussion with Andy Smarick, the Morgridge Fellow in education at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and answered questions from the audience about CTE. Chairwoman Foxx encouraged the audience to be mindful of the language we use to describe CTE, emphasized the strong academic outcomes of CTE students, and reinforced the need to share success stories about programs that prepare students for the workforce (and you can find Advance CTE’s resources to promote CTE programs here). In addition, she highlighted how H.R. 2353 provides opportunities for state and local CTE leaders to engage and partner with business and industry. Highlights and a recording of the event can be found online here.

Senate “Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 34 Signatures in Support of Perkins

On May 9, a “Dear Colleague Letter” was sent to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request an increase in the investment in Perkins State Grants to $1.3 billion (it is currently funded at $1.17 billion) in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 34 signatures from Senators across 25 states. Please check to see if your Senators signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note! Advance CTE will also be thanking these Senators and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) for leading the charge to collect signatures!

College Transparency Act Introduced

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced the College Transparency Act on May 15. The bill would “establish a secure, privacy-protected postsecondary student data system at the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Colleges would report data to this new data system in lieu of the current, burdensome reporting mechanisms, and NCES would be responsible for presenting the information in a user-friendly manner for students and the public, while safeguarding student privacy” according to this one-pager released by the bill’s sponsors.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Perkins Reauthorization Bill Introduced

May 5th, 2017

Congress was busy this week with the introduction of two Career Technical Education (CTE) bills and the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) Omnibus Budget Bill. More on each is below.

Perkins Reauthorization Bill Introduced

As we announced yesterday, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was introduced by Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL). The bipartisan bill builds on last year’s effort to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Act (H.R. 5587), which passed the House by a 405-5 margin in September 2016. Since that time, Advance CTE has been advocating for our members’ interests, which are reflected in Advance CTE’s Perkins Reauthorization Recommendations, in our meetings with Congress, coalition groups, and other partners. Advance CTE will provide additional information about how the new bill compares to H.R. 5587 as soon as possible.

Additionally, Advance CTE is excited to support the CTE Excellence and Equity Act (S. 1004), which was introduced on Tuesday by Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN) as well as Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The bill “would provide federal funding through a competitive grant program to support innovative approaches to redesigning the high school experience for students as schools develop curriculum, assess student performance and teach workplace skills through job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships” according to a press release from Senator Kaine’s office. Find a factsheet for the bill here.

FY17 Omnibus Bill Heads to President’s Desk

The FY17 Omnibus Measure, which included level-funding ($1,117,598,000) for Perkins Basic State Grants and provided allocations for many other programs, passed both chambers with bipartisan support this week. The House voted 309-118 to pass the bill and the Senate approved it on Thursday in a 79-18 vote. The President is expected to sign it today (his failure to do so would result in a government shutdown). Appropriators are now considering the FY18 budget and the President is expected to release a full budget later this month.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Perkins Level-Funded in FY17 Omnibus Measure

May 3rd, 2017

Late Sunday night, Congressional appropriators released a Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Omnibus package (which comprises the 11 outstanding bills that need to pass to fund the government through FY17). Congress must vote on the measure by Friday, May 5 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

The Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill includes the following allocations:

  • Perkins Basic State Grants remain level-funded at $1,117,598,000. This amount has remained constant since FY14 and is a restoration of cuts that were part of the continuing resolution. We know you are anxious to find out your final Perkins allocation. Once the omnibus is finalized, the U.S. Department of Education budget services will need to run the federal to state formula to determine the state-by-state allocations. So, look for those soon.
  • Student Support and Academic Achievement state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), receive $400 million. These block grants have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes CTE programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
  • Pell grants remain funded at their FY16 level and year-round Pell grants are reinstated. However, the bill includes a $1.3 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
  • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) remain level-funded at $2,709,832,000.
  • Apprenticeship programs funded through the Department of Labor see an increase from the FY16 allocation of $90 million to $95 million in FY17, with a direction to “build on the success of the ApprenticeshipUSA program” and “prioritize grant applications that engage, recruit, and serve women and other under-represented populations.”

You can find a helpful table with these numbers and more from the National Skills Coalition here.

Once Congress approves the FY17 Omnibus bill, it is likely that appropriators will turn their attention to the FY18 budget.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Current and Former Education Secretaries Talk Career Technical Education (CTE)

April 14th, 2017

This week has been relatively quiet, the Senate is in recess until April 24 and the House is out through April 25. However, Career Technical Education (CTE) is still making a buzz across the country, with current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan discussing CTE.

Secretary DeVos Signals Support for CTE  

On April 11, Secretary DeVos delivered a statement after participating in the President’s Strategy and Policy Forum. The highlight of these remarks was her recognition of CTE, “The best workforce is an educated workforce, and this Administration is committed to increasing access to career and technical education for college students and adults alike. By encouraging public-private partnerships, we can help connect students with prospective employers and provide those students with the necessary skills to find a good-paying job in their communities.” Find the full statement here.

Arne Duncan Shines Light on Chicago CTE Programs

In an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune on April 11, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan highlights local CTE programs writing, “Today, we have career and technical education programs like the Manufacturing Connect program at Austin College and Career Academy on the West Side of Chicago that trains students in advanced manufacturing. They get paid work experience while still in high school and have jobs paying as much as $30,000 a year waiting when they graduate — a good wage for a young person coming out of high school” and goes on to describe how these programs help students plan for their futures.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

140 Members of Congress Sign on to Support Perkins

April 10th, 2017

News This Week:

Bipartisan support for a strong investment in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was the top highlight of the week, but we’ll also dig into a recent happenings on the Hill, news and resources out of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and updates on ESSA state plans and budget resources.

“Dear Colleague” Letter Garners 140 Signatures in Support of Perkins

On April 6, a “Dear Colleague” Letter was sent to the chair and ranking member of the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to request a strong investment in Perkins in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Bill. The letter garnered 140 signatures from Members across 38 states and shows the strong bipartisan support for CTE in the House (we anticipate a similar letter will be circulated in the Senate later this spring). Please check to see if your Member of Congress signed the letter here and if so, send a thank you note!  We will also be thanking these Members and the House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) for leading the charge to collect signatures!

Go to High School, Go to College Act Reintroduced

On April 6, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Go to High School, Go to College Act, which would “make college more affordable for low-income students by letting them earn college credits while still in high school, funded through the Pell Grant program” according to the press release for the bill.

DOL Announces New Toolkit, Grants

On March 28, DOL released a toolkit to assist in the implementation of WIOA. Tools include a Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Cost Allocation Analyses and could be used to guide local development processes.

On April 4, DOL announced $5.7 million in grants for states to build and improve upon their workforce databases. State Workforce Agencies are eligible to apply for funds, part of the sixth round of DOL’s Workforce Data Quality Initiative.

U.S. Department of Education (ED) Releases ESSA State Plan Peer Review Criteria:

The criteria notes that ED “will conduct a peer review only of the portions of a State plan related to Title I, Part A (ESEA sections 1111(a)(4) and 8451(d)); Title III, Part A (ESEA section 3113(c)); and Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Act; (section 724(a) of the McKinney-Vento Act).” Department staff will review all other sections of state plans.

Hearing Highlights Skills Gap, Need to Invest in CTE

“Invest in career and technical education. Strengthen the direct funding for community colleges and career and technical education programs that play a crucial role in training the nation’s middle-skill workforce” – this testimony from Zoe Baird, CEO of the Markle Foundation was part of a hearing, “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs” held by the House Appropriation Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies on April 4th. The committee heard testimony from Douglas J. Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council who focused his remarks on the “skills mismatch” facing the US and discussed ideas for how to “improve and invigorate WIOA”. Dr. Demetra Smith Nightingale Institute Fellow, Urban Institute testified as well, highlighting promising practices in job training and notes that WIOA “includes provisions and changes that should improve the workforce development system and continue to build evidence about ‘what works.’” These hearings are increasingly important as Congress gears up to make appropriations decisions for both the 2017 Fiscal Year (FY17) and the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18).

Looking for Tools to Communicate About the FY17 and FY18 Budget Proposals?

The Committee for Education Funding has updated its funding charts, including the one to the right demonstrating how the President’s FY17 and FY18 proposals (excluding Pell Grants) compare to 2010 levels.  Find charts and additional federal budget resources here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

CTE and the Budget Continue to Get Attention

April 4th, 2017

This week we’ll dig into a hearing featuring CTE champions, Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent appearances, President Trump’s new Office of Innovation, and his proposed cuts to the current 2017 Fiscal Year budget.

Advance CTE Recognized as CTE Champions Testify on the Hill:

On March 29, Ms. Judith Marks, the CEO of Siemens, went to bat for CTE and highlighted Advance CTE’s forthcoming communications research that will help states combat commonly held negative perceptions and stereotypes of CTE (see her written statement here). This testimony was part of a hearing, “Closing the Skills Gaps and Boosting U.S. Competitiveness,” held by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Colonel Michael Cartney (USAF, retired), President of the Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota, also testified about the skills gap and provided a  written statement that highlighted how Lake Area Tech is focused on closing it. Notably, the college also won the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Secretary Betsy DeVos Visits Valencia College, Brookings Institution:

On March 24, Secretary DeVos visited Valencia College in Florida, a college known for its dual-enrollment program, and hosted a roundtable discussion with students. During the discussion, Secretary DeVos said that year-round Pell grants are “definitely on the plate to be considered.” Other themes that arose during the discussion included efficiency, flexibility, and student advising. A list of programs that Secretary DeVos has highlighted can be found here.

On March 29, Secretary DeVos participated in an event that released the Education Choice and Competition Index. She emphasized her support of school choice in both her prepared remarks and the moderated question and answer session.

New White House Office of American Innovation:

On March 27, President Trump announced the creation of the White House Office of American Innovation (OAI), which will be led by Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. The new office will recommend “policies and plans that improve Government operation and services.” While official proposals have not yet been released, some early priorities have emerged, including “developing “workforce of the future” programs.”

Budget Update:

As noted last week, the ongoing Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed late last year is scheduled to expire on April 28. At that time, Congress will need to pass an omnibus budget bill or another CR to continue funding for the remainder of FY17. On March 23, the Administration outlined $3 billion in possible cuts to education funding for FY17, most of which come to programs that were eliminated by ESSA or had been zeroed out in the FY18 “skinny budget.” As analysis of the “skinny budget” continues, more groups weigh in, including charter school CEOs on federal support for schools and the Center for American Progress on investment in manufacturing.

While we do not yet know the funding levels for Perkins for the remainder of FY17 or the proposal for FY18, what we do know is that CTE is currently chronically underfunded. Between FY06 and FY16, Perkins funding declined by $171 million, or a 27% reduction in inflation-adjusted dollars from 2006 to today. To find out more about why CTE can’t afford any additional cuts, see our new factsheet here.

As for Perkins reauthorization, there has been activity at the congressional staff level and they are hopeful official action will take place in the coming weeks.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Bills, the Budget, and More from the Hill

March 23rd, 2017

News is coming fast out of the new Administration, from President Trumps ‘skinny budget,’ to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos making the rounds at a series of education-focused conferences.  This week we’ll dig into the President’s 2018 Fiscal Year budget, explore a few bills that have been recently introduced, and get a sense of Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policy priorities.

Secretary Betsy DeVos maintains messages:

Secretary DeVos spoke to two groups of state leaders this week, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In her March 20 remarks in front of both groups, she emphasized the benefits of expanding school choice and the flexibility provided to state leaders under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Both speeches featured examples of best practices in states, and her NASBE remarks highlighted Career Technical Education (CTE) efforts in California, specifically the state’s CTE courses that satisfy admission requirements for the University of California system and programs that incorporate industry-based learning.

This follows last week’s letter to chief state school officers on ESSA, including new guidance and an updated plan template. Notably, states planning to submit their plans by the first deadline will have until May 3 to allow governors sufficient time to review the updated template. Find more information and resources here.

Budget Update:

The President’s FY18 budget lays out cuts to the U.S. Department of Education totaling $9 billion. However, just $4.9 billion in cuts are outlined at this time (see this table for additional details), meaning that there is a strong likelihood that another $4.1 billion in cuts will be outlined at a later date. We do not yet know the proposed level of funding that Perkins will receive (though we do appreciate that Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent this letter to President Trump encouraging him to invest in Perkins). While we are unsure of the exact timeline for Perkins  reauthorization (though we continue to urge Congress to reauthorize soon), discussions are underway and it is likely that a bill will first move through the House, likely building off the version passed in the fall (H.R. 5587). While the administration has its sights set on the FY18 budget, the ongoing Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed late last year is scheduled to expire on April 28. At that time, Congress will need to pass an omnibus budget bill or another CR to continue funding for the remainder of FY17.

In case you missed it:

  • Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN) – co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus – reintroduced the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act on March 14. This bill would amend Perkins, with a focus on raising the quality of CTE programs (see this factsheet for additional details).
  • Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would create a competitive grant program through the Department of Labor to “create and expand partnerships between two-year community and technical colleges and employers to train millions of Americans for jobs in high-demand industries” according to this one-pager released by the bill’s sponsors.
  • While budget cuts may be ahead, it seems there is at least general support for CTE from this new administration. In her March 15 remarks to the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Secretary DeVos said, “We should break the stigma that career education options are not valid paths to learning and success.” Just two days later in a discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German business leaders about workforce development issues President Trump said, “Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeship — that’s a name I like, “apprentice” — apprenticeship programs.” Major employers who have been supportive of CTE also contributed to the discussion, including IBM and Siemens.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Perkins Reauthorization Top of Mind for House Reps After Hearing on CTE

February 28th, 2017

Earlier this morning, the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education held a hearing on secondary CTE, kicking off renewed efforts to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). A recording of the hearing is available here.

Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) in his opening remarks shared examples of CTE’s impact in his home district and charged his fellow committee members to complete its work to reauthorize the Perkins Act, which hasn’t been updated in more than ten years. He recognized the committee’s success in the previous session, during which the committee unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that later sailed through the House with a 405-5 vote. That bill was stalled in the Senate, and the Committee is expected to introduce a similar piece of legislation in the coming weeks.

In his opening statement, Ranking Member, Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) stated “ Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act presents this Committee with an opportunity to ensure that CTE programs are of high quality, emphasize equity, align with academic and labor market demands, and provide opportunities for all students – especially those historically underserved – to receive credentials that lead to high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career opportunities.”

Witnesses representing both workforce and education organizations praised the important role Career Technical Education (CTE) has played in increasing access to opportunity and closing the skills gap and urged the committee to renew support for CTE programs nationwide.

Mr. Glenn Johnson, representing multi-national manufacturing company BASF shared about the educational programs and supports his organization provides in various communities across the states, but expressed alarm about the growing skills gap and challenges recruiting individuals into the manufacturing sector. According to Mr. Johnson, 11,000 baby boomers turn 70 every day, contributing to the growing need to prepare the future workforce to fill critical jobs.

The conversation in the hearing then turned to two core issues: ensuring all students have access to high-quality CTE and addressing the public stigma that a four-year degree is superior to technical training.

To the former point, Mimi Lufkin of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity urged the committee to focus on underserved students in its reauthorization efforts, specifically to encourage students to pursue nontraditional fields. She shared examples from Douglas County, Oregon and Morgan County, Ohio where efforts to reach nontraditional students led more girls to enroll in a welding program and increased participation of boys in a health science course. Janet Goble, Board member of ACTE and CTE Director in Canyon County, UT, shared a story from her own school district, where a program aimed at introducing middle school girls to non-traditional occupations increased the participation rate of non-traditional high school students from 26 percent to 53 percent.

Finally, Mike Rowe, television personality of “Dirty Jobs” fame and CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, argued that participation in CTE would stagnate without a concerted effort to address the stigma around vocational education. He argued that promotion of four-year postsecondary education programs comes at the expense of two-year, technical and apprenticeship opportunities that may better equip students with relevant skills and connect them to a high-wage job.

In the question period, which was well attended by committee members from both the subcommittee and full committee, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle spoke to the need to change the image of CTE and applauded the witnesses’ inclusion of data in their testimony.

Today’s event comes at a critical point in time, when the Trump administration has signaled potentially dramatic cuts to domestic programs including education. If there is any takeaway from this morning’s hearing however, it is that CTE enjoys broad support, not only from members of Congress in both parties  but also the education and employer community as well.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

As Dust Settles from Presidential Transition, A Path for Perkins Emerges

February 22nd, 2017

Transition Update from the Trump Administration

After a contentious confirmation hearing and an unprecedented vote requiring Vice President Mike Pence to break a Senate tie, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education on February 7. In her first weeks on the job, Secretary DeVos reassured state education officials they should move forward with implementing the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) as planned, despite moves from the 115th Congress to eliminate Obama-era regulations on ESSA accountability and teacher preparation. Barring further changes from the administration, state ESSA plans are due on either April 3 or September 18 this year.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted by a narrow 51-49 margin to confirm former congressman Mick Mulvaney to head President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget. It is unclear at the moment exactly how Mulvaney will influence the budget and appropriations process moving forward, though he has advocated widespread cuts to federal spending. Mulvaney’s first task will be releasing the administration’s budget priorities for fiscal year 2017 and 2018. While FY18 begins in October this year, the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires on April 28. Congress will need to either pass a new CR or put together an omnibus budget bill by that date to keep the government running through the fall. Advance CTE has been closely monitoring budget and appropriations efforts and will report back as more information comes available.

Buzz on the Hill around CTE Month

This year’s CTE Month – an annual celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) – coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act. On the Hill, there is growing enthusiasm and recognition of the progress CTE has made over the past century. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution praising CTE for helping students develop the skills and abilities they need to be successful in the workforce. The resolution garnered a record 31 co-sponsors before it was passed.

Also, a Valentine’s-Day CTE Caucus event celebrating the past, present and future of CTE drew a crowd. Advance CTE’s very own Kimberly Green spoke on the panel, sharing the history of federal involvement in CTE from Smith-Hughes through today. A video of the event is available here.

Perkins Reauthorization A Top Priority for 115th Congress

Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee are coalescing around a possible springtime reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). In an op-ed for Real Clear Education, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote that passing an updated Perkins Act was a top priority for her committee, one she aims to “finish … in the coming months.” The Committee has scheduled a hearing on strengthening CTE at the secondary level for February 28 and is rumored to be planning to reintroduce a bill that is in close proximity to last year’s H.R. 5587 shortly thereafter. That bill passed the House in September on a 405-5 margin but stalled in the Senate.

Perkins reauthorization is top of mind for the nascent Trump administration as well. Speaking at the 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos remarked:

I know that there are many items on your legislative agenda, from reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Act, to ways community colleges can help transform the nation’s infrastructure, to allowing Pell Grants to have flexibility in supporting students working to graduate more quickly. And in the days ahead, I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts and working with you as President Trump’s vision continues taking shape.

As always, subscribe to our Legislative Update blog series for the latest updates on Perkins and other federal activities related to CTE.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

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