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Legislative Update: House Postpones Markup of Perkins Funding Bill

July 26th, 2013

House Postpones Markup of Perkins Funding BillCapitol

A markup that was scheduled this week for the House of Representatives’ FY 2014 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-Education) appropriations bill, which includes Perkins funding, has been postponed by the House Appropriations Committee until further notice.

Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Labor-HHS-Ed bill, which would restore Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins) funding to pre-sequestration levels. The Senate bill provides a $3.52 billion, or 5.4 percent, increase for discretionary education spending compared to FY 2013. In stark contrast, the overall funding level for the approved House Labor-HHS-Ed bill is 19 percent below current funding levels and is expected to contain deep cuts to many programs.

Experts project that, due to disparate proposals from each chamber, the FY 2014 appropriations process will not be easily resolved. Congress is required to pass a funding measure by the end of September. Please take the opportunity to contact your Representative to let them know why Perkins funding needs to be maintained and how it would impact Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across your state and district.

Senate Introduces Bipartisan WIA Legislation

This week, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) officially introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The Workforce Investment Act of 2013, or S.1356, contains some positive elements for CTE, including prioritization of career pathways and programs that lead to industry-recognized credential and high-demand jobs. Unfortunately, the bill also proposed to fund One-Stop infrastructure and other activities from state allocations of One-Stop partners.

While only postsecondary Perkins programs offer training services as partners in the One-Stop system under WIA, Perkins funding supports both secondary and postsecondary CTE programs with individuals deciding how to split overall funding between secondary and postsecondary CTE. The bill proposes a 1.5 percent contribution, or $17 million overall, that would come from Perkins administrative funds, and would result in a 30 percent cut to the administrative funds that are available to most states. This has been a longstanding issue and will likely continue to be a sticking point as WIA reauthorization progresses.

NASDCTEc provided input to the committee on this issue prior to the release of the bill, and we will continue to work with committee staff to address this significant issue. Please contact your Senators to let them know how the One-Stop infrastructure proposal would negatively impact CTE in your state. Ask them to oppose this method for supporting WIA infrastructure and, instead, to carve out administrative funding in WIA to pay for its own infrastructure.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions has scheduled a markup of the WIA bill next Wednesday.

Senate Passes Bill on Student Loans

The Senate passed a bill this week that would allow students to lock in currently low interest rates on student loans. In future years, fixed rates would depend on current market conditions. The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, or S.1334, passed by a vote of 81 to 18 and will next go to the House for approval.

Of interest for CTE stakeholders, Senators Patty Murray and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced an amendment that would, in part, restore the Ability to Benefit provisions of the Higher Education Act for certain students enrolled in evidence-based career pathways programs. While the amendment was not included in the final version of the Senate bill, there is opportunity for it to resurface in the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Senate Confirms New Labor Secretary

Last week, the Senate voted to confirm President Obama’s pick for labor secretary, Thomas Perez, on a party-line vote of 54-46. Prior to this role, Perez served as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. As labor secretary, Perez replaces Hilda Solis, who held the position from 2009 through January 2013.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: House Passes Republican ESEA Reauthorization Bill

July 19th, 2013

House Passes Republican ESEA Reauthorization BillCapitol

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Student Success Act (H.R.5), the Republican measure to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), by a vote of 221-207. Twenty-six amendments were offered; 18 passed, 4 were defeated, and 4 were withdrawn.

Representative Dan Benishek (R-MI) offered an amendment that encourage each state to include in its annual state report card the number of students attaining Career Technical Education (CTE) proficiencies enrolled in public secondary schools. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act already requires collection of this information and inclusion of the data in ESEA would help streamline reporting.

Overall, the Student Success Act would provide states and school districts much more flexibility on federal spending and improving low-achieving schools. Importantly, the bill does not require states to set specific goals for student achievement including sub-groups that are currently reported, which Democrats see as a major problem for maintaining accountability that improves equitable education for all students. It would also maintain cuts from sequestration, and remove the ESEA maintenance of effort requirement that requires districts and states to contribute specified levels of funding in order to receive federal funds. We will continue to provide updates as both the House and Senate seek to move forward their disparate ESEA reauthorization bills.

Senator Merkley Introduces BUILD CTE Act

Senator Merkley (D-OR) recently introduced the Building Understanding, Investment, Learning and Direction in CTE Act (BUILD CTE Act) that would help states restore CTE programs that have been scaled back or eliminated.

In his press release, Senator Merkley noted that, “As shop classes and electives disappear across Oregon, our students are getting shortchanged. I went to the same high school that my own kids attend today. I was fortunate then to receive a public education that exposed me to different skills and career paths. I’ve heard from manufacturers across Oregon that our state’s economy would be stronger if more kids were graduating with technical skills, so that’s what this bill aims to do.”

The BUILD CTE Act would provide $20 million in federal funds for the creation of a 2-year pilot grant fund. The grants, which would support CTE programs in middle schools and high schools, would allow school districts to make spending decisions resulting in upgraded, high-quality CTE programs that lead students to high-demand careers. We have provided input on this bill and will continue work with Senator Merkley’s office to move the bill forward.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: Senate Releases WIA Discussion Draft

June 28th, 2013

CapitolClarification on ESEA Title I Supplement Not Supplant

This week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) sent a letter to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) state Title I directors to clarify concerns around funding with regards to sequestration. ED noted that beginning July 1, 2013, many states and local education agencies (LEAs) will experience funding decreases due to sequestration and other budgetary factors.

The letter stated that, “ED understands that some LEAs have indicated a willingness to make up the difference in whole or in part with local funds in order to continue to provide a high-quality Title I program. However, many LEAs are concerned that they might violate the prohibition against supplanting if they replace the local contribution with Title I, Part A funds in a subsequent year.”

ED confirmed that LEAs taking this approach will not be considered in violation of the “Supplement Not Supplant” requirement.  The acceptance of this approach is relevant for Career Technical Education (CTE) because it could set a precedent for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as states and locals seek to continue funding CTE programs despite any decreases in federal funding.

Senate WIA Discussion Draft

After holding a hearing on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) last week, the Senate released this week its first discussion draft for reauthorization of the legislation. While NASDCTEc was pleased with many components of the draft, such as its inclusion of career pathways throughout the bill and the removal of the sequence of services provision, we were concerned with a proposal to fund One Stop infrastructure and other activites directly from the state allocations of One Stop partner programs.

While only postsecondary Perkins programs offer training services as partners in the One Stop system under WIA, Perkins funding supports both secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, with the decision of how to split overall funding between secondary and postsecondary CTE made by each individual state. The 1.5 percent contribution proposed in the WIA draft would mean a loss of nearly $17 million overall that would then come from Perkins’ administrative funds, resulting in a 30 percent cut to the administrative funds that are available to most states.

This issue has been a longstanding one within WIA legislation and will likely continue to be a sticking point as Congress proceeds with WIA reauthorization. The Senate WIA proposal is only currently in draft form, and staff provided comments on the draft legislation and will continue to work with Senate staff on this issue.

Bill for Grant to Address Skills Gap Through Community Colleges and Businesses

Yesterday, Representative George Miller (D-CA) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) announced that they will soon introduce legislation intended to close the skills gap by developing and strengthening partnerships between community and technical colleges and business and industry.

The Community College to Career Fund Act would create a competitive grant program to encourage partnerships between two-year postsecondary institutions and business and industry. Partnerships would focus on creating job experiences, such as apprenticeships and on-the-job training, that allow participants to receive college credit while gaining hands-on experience. By preparing individuals with high-demand skills, the bill aims for businesses to locate and invest in the U.S. and for communities to maintain their local talent. Additional highlights of the Community College to Career Fund include:

  • The fund will support pathways entrepreneurship for 5 million small business owners over three years including a six-week online training course on entrepreneurship and an intensive six-month training program resulting in entrepreneurship certification for 100,000 small business owners.
  • The fund will help partnerships between two-year colleges and businesses train two million Americans for jobs in high-demand industries such as health care, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology.

Representative Miller stated that, “Community colleges are essential in today’s economy to educate the workforce of the future – the registered nurses; the experts in the alternative energy sector; and the IT and cyber-security workers. This legislation will make critical investments in community colleges that will strengthen the middle class and enable America’s workforce to better compete in the global economy.” This bill appears to be similar to an initiative proposed by the Obama Administration early last year.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: House Ed Committee Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill

June 21st, 2013

CapitolHouse Education Committee Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill

The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed this week the Student Success Act, or H.R. 5, as amended by a substitute from Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN). The Republican ESEA reauthorization measure passed on a party line vote of 24-15. Overall, the bill aims to eliminate more than 70 federal education programs and consolidate funding into a larger stream with more flexible uses. The bill would also eliminate the federal maintenance of effort requirement to give states more funding flexibility.

The Student Success Act would also keep current testing requirements in place but would allow states to make decisions on school improvement. Some opponents are concerned that the bill’s allowance of alternative assessments for many students in special education would result in an inequitable system.

Representative Rokita’s substitute, which was accepted as part of the overall bill this week, prohibits the Secretary of Education from requiring that states adopt the Common Core State Standards.

Read more about the ESEA reauthorization proposal on the Senate side. Due to stark differences between the House and Senate bills, conference on a final bill is unlikely to occur until the end of this year.

Senate Holds WIA Hearing

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing this week to begin its long overdue reauthorization process for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and the rest of the committee heard testimonies from local and state workforce leaders on how federal policy can better support the workforce through WIA.

One panelist, a CEO from a company that connects employers with workforce talent, spoke about the importance of counselors and how the stigma around jobs requiring technical skills is inaccurate and needs to change. Overall, the panelists encouraged greater collaboration between workforce development agencies and businesses, and updated federal legislation to support the increasingly diverse individuals needing workforce services.

Senate Budget Committee Hearing on President’s FY 14 Budget for Education

Secretary Duncan testified this week in front of the Senate Budget Committee on the President’s FY14 budget request for education. The request proposed funding the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) at its pre-sequestration level of $1.1 billion.

During the hearing, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) discussed her disapproval of the House budget proposal and the need to replace sequestration cuts, which have resulted in a $58 million decrease to Perkins. Secretary Duncan also indicated that the House FY 14 proposal would reduce total federal education funding by 18 percent in addition to the sequestration cuts.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a proponent of Career Technical Education (CTE), expressed concern to Duncan over the lack of focus on CTE and the exclusion of certificates and apprenticeships from college completion statistics.

U.S. Department of Education Announces Flexibility Waivers

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced this week two flexibility waivers for which states can apply. The first waives a component of the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers, permitting states to delay until the 2016-2017 school year the use of student growth data in making personnel decisions. This change impacts the 34 states and the District of Columbia that had approved waivers before the summer of 2012 by delaying implementation for one year. States without ESEA waivers will not be impacted.

The second flexibility waiver announced by the Department is focused on “double-testing flexibility.” The testing consortia PARCC and Smarter Balanced will begin field testing their assessments next school year. To avoid administering two similar tests to some students in the same year – the field test and the state’s current assessment – the Department is accepting requests from states that would like to administer a single assessment (either assessment is permitted) to students in the 2013 – 2014 school year. Accountability expectations would remain the same for the school year.

FY14 Appropriations

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved its FY 2014 302(b) allocations by a party line vote of 15-14. The overall funding level was set at $1.058 trillion, $91 billion higher than the House’s $967 billion level. The allocation for the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) is $164.33 billion compared to the $121.8 billion Labor-HHS-ED allocation proposed by the House.

The Senate Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill is scheduled for markup on July 9, 2013 in subcommittee and on July 11, 2013 in full committee.

Wyden Amendment on Occupational Coding of UI Wage Records

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced this week an amendment to improve the collection and use of labor market information by amending the new immigration bill being considered by the Senate. The amendment would require employers to add occupational codes to the employee reports they send to their state UI agency. Part of the amendments intent is to create a public record of the number of people employed in technical jobs to assess the availability of qualified applicants from the U.S. before hiring individuals on an H1-B visa.

The CTE community would benefit from this information because it would allow us to observe whether or not individuals are employed in their area of study and to see how individuals move along a career path.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

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

June 14th, 2013

Rep. Langevin Op-Ed and Announcement of Counseling Legislation

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

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

Rep. McNerney  Introduces GREEN Act

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

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

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

ESEA Update:

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

Senate Approves Democrat ESEA Bill

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

Ten amendments to the bill were adopted including:

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

Thirteen amendments were offered but not passed including:

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

House ESEA Proposal Markup Set

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

FY 2014 Appropriations :

House Appropriations

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

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

Senate Appropriations

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

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: ESEA Proposals Introduced in House and Senate

June 7th, 2013

ESEA Update

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently enacted through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), expired at the end of FY 2008 and has since been eligible for reauthorization. This week, several ESEA reauthorization proposals were introduced in Congress.

Senate Democratic ESEA Proposal

Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee introduced an amendment to ESEA entitled the Strengthening America’s Schools Act. Highlights of the bill include:

  • A new section in Title I called “Pathways to College” focuses on improving secondary schools through a competitive grant process, Advanced Placement courses, and other means.
  • An overall focus on college and career readiness with emphasis on college readiness.
  • District requirements to create teacher evaluation systems based on student achievement with results used for professional development and equitable distribution of teachers.
  • Expansion of early childhood initiatives.
  • State accountability systems that build on the current waiver systems and allow states already participating to continue with this work.
  • States without accountability systems would be required to develop systems to increase student achievement and turn around the lowest-performing schools.

Though parts of the bill focus on college and career readiness and include opportunities relevant to Career Technical Education (CTE) such as dual enrollment and career academies, NASDCTEc believes that there is greater opportunity to focus on career readiness within the bill. We have sent a joint letter to Senator Harkin with the Association for Career and Technical Education to indicate areas of the bill where more components of CTE would be beneficial to all students.

The Senate HELP Committee is scheduled to begin markup of the bill next Tuesday, June 11, 2013.

A summary of the bill is available here.

Senate Republican ESEA Proposal

Republicans from the Senate HELP Committee, under the leadership of Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced this week their own proposal for ESEA reauthorization called the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2013.

The Republican proposal is similar to a previous bill introduced by Senator Alexander in the last Congress. The newer version, however, removes key aspects with possible bipartisan support including:

  • Continuation of the School Improvement Grants.
  • Keeping the Maintenance of Effort in place.
  • Continuation of the Race to the Top initiative.

Like the Senate HELP Democrats’ bill, the Republican bill moves away from the strict federal accountability system put in place through NCLB. However, the Alexander bill would eliminate the highly-qualified teacher provision and allow, but not require, states to use Title II to develop teacher evaluation systems that take into account student performance.

The Senate Republican proposal would not allow the U.S. Secretary of Education to require districts to adopt certain tests, standards, or accountability systems, and would give more priority to school choice.

The Democratic and Republican bills are even less similar than those presented in the previous Congress. As such, a compromise on ESEA reauthorization seems less likely and, at the least, the removal of common elements from the proposals may slow the progress of ESEA reauthorization.

House Republican ESEA Proposal

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced this week the Student Success Act (H.R.5), a companion piece to the Republicans’ ESEA bill.

The bill combines three ESEA bills introduced during the last Congress with a few changes.

Of note, the proposal would eliminate the federal Adequate Yearly Progress metric and replace it with state-developed accountability systems. The bill would also repeal the highly qualified teacher provision.  A summary of the bill is available here.

The bill is scheduled for markup on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

Staff will continue to monitor and share any developments related to these proposals and ESEA reauthorization.

CRS Releases Report on ESEA/HEA Teacher Issues

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a timely report on teacher-related issues that Congress should consider during the reauthorization of ESEA and the Higher Education Act (HEA).

The report, Elementary and Secondary School Teachers: Policy Context, Federal Programs, and ESEA Reauthorization Issues, describes ESEA and HEA provisions related to teachers and the evolution of the teaching field since NCLB was instated. The report laid out key areas of consideration for Congress as they reauthorize ESEA and HEA including the following questions:

Teacher and Principal Effectiveness:

  • Are value-added measures for effectiveness of individual teachers, principals, schools or districts currently feasible across grades and subject areas, and should they be required through federal policy?

Compensation and High-Stakes Decision-Making:

  • Can successful reforms in a limited set of school districts be replicated by scaling up the federal investment?

Equitable Distribution of Teachers:

  • Should federal policy require states, districts, and/or schools to distinguish multiple levels of teacher quality and/or effectiveness in order to better examine questions of equity?

Preparation and Certification:

  • Should current support for traditional teacher preparation programs under HEA (Title II, A) be reworked in light of the development of alternative routes to certification?

Professional Development:         

  • Should the current lengthy definition of “professional development” be amended and should mechanisms be created to enforce the practices described in the definition?

We will share the full report when it becomes publicly available.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: House Releases Draft 302(b) Allocations for FY14

May 20th, 2013

House Draft 302(b) Allocations for FY14

The House Appropriations Committee this week released their draft FY14 302(b) allocations which suggest devastating cuts for programs with funding allocated under the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) including Career Technical Education (CTE). Each Committee receives a single 302(a) allocation and divides it up among its subcommittees through 302(b) allocations. The 302(b) allocations establish a cap on spending for each of the appropriations bills.

The House draft 302(b) allocation would cut funding 18.6 percent below the FY13 sequestration levels for Labor-HHS-Education, leaving the U.S. Department of Education with an overall cut of more than $12 billion. It is unclear at this time how the proposed cuts would impact individual programs including CTE.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, is strongly opposed to the cuts and has called on Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) to hold a full committee markup of the subcommittee’s draft FY14 bill.

While the Senate is unlikely to agree to the levels proposed by the House, our staff will continue to monitor the bill. We are working closely with the Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of education advocacy groups including NASDCTEc, to urge the House Appropriations Committee to reject these proposed cuts.

Senator Merkley Introduces STEM Bill Including CTE Grants

We previously reported that Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has been working on a bill, the STEM Education for the Global Economy Act, that would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to help improve instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

Senator Merkley recently introduced the bill which would also provide grants for CTE in middle schools and high schools. Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Al Franken (D-MN) co-sponsored the bill. The CTE grants would seek to:

  • Increase collaboration between education institutions and employers
  • Develop and enhance programs of study
  • Assess how well CTE programs meet workforce needs

Access the text of the bill here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: FY14 Perkins Estimates, FY14 Budget, ESEA Hearing

May 10th, 2013

FY 2014 Perkins Estimates

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education shared state-by-state budget tables for all programs under its jurisdiction. This includes estimates for both FY13 and FY14.  At the time of the release, the tables included incorrect information for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). The tables have now been updated and can be found here. Perkins information can be found on page 21.

The FY13 estimates reflect sequestration reductions. It is important to note that the estimates for FY14 assume the President’s budget request is approved, which restores funds to pre-sequestration levels and for Perkins, assumes enactment of the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education. This proposal withholds $100 million in funds from the states to create an innovation fund managed by the federal government. The authority to withhold these funds and create the innovation fund would have to be enacted into law before it could occur; therefore, NASDCTEc recommends against using the FY14 estimates for planning purposes.

For more information on the President’s FY14 budget proposal and its potential impact on CTE, revisit this blog post and this blog post.

FY 2014 Budget Update

Last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called for the creation of a budget conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets. As reported in previous blog posts, the House budget would lead to an 11.7 percent reduction in nondefense discretionary spending for FY14 which would result in significant reductions to Perkins funding. The Senate budget would repeal the sequester and restore funding to Perkins and other nondefense programs.

This week, Senators Reid and Patty Murray (D-WA) attempted again on the Senate floor to appoint conferees on the Budget Resolution. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected. Staff will continue to monitor any progress made on the FY14 budget.

House ESEA Hearing Discusses CTE

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has been eligible for reauthorization for more than six years, and members of Congress are again looking at how the expired law can be updated and improved. This week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing called “Raising the Bar: Exploring State and Local Efforts to Improve Accountability” to discuss the federal role in accountability for education.

CTE became part of the discussion when Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) highlighted the importance of preparing students who are both college and career ready by aligning CTE and academic courses. Education stakeholders who provided testimony at the hearing included Louisiana State Superintendent of Education, John White, and Superintendent of Northfield, Minnesota Public Schools, Chris Richardson. White and Richardson agreed that better alignment between CTE and traditional academic courses is necessary. White described Louisiana’s efforts to include more measures – including dual enrollment credit, employment attainment, and Advanced Placement scores – in addition to using proficiency and graduation rates.

Another panelist, Eric Gordon of Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Ohio, discussed his district’s commitment to preparing students for postsecondary education and careers through CTE.

The discussion at this hearing on academic and technical skill integration illustrates the need for greater alignment between ESEA and Perkins. Some Members of Congress have indicated that ESEA reauthorization will begin in late summer, and staff will continue to provide details as they become available.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: Global Economy Act; Workforce Data Quality Campaign; CAREER Act

May 6th, 2013

STEM Education for the Global Economy Act

Last week, Senator Merkley (D-OR) announced details for his STEM Education for the Global Economy Act. The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and would help improve instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects by:

  • Improving student engagement in and increasing student access to courses in STEM subjects.
  • Recruiting, training and supporting highly effective teachers in STEM subjects and providing robust tools and supports for students and teachers.
  • Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be on track for college and career readiness.

Many of the provisions in the bill link to our vision for CTE, especially in regard to our aim to ensure that the United States leads in global competitiveness. The bill would direct more money towards STEM, strives to prepare more students to be career ready, and increases professional development opportunities for teachers.

Inaugural Workforce Data Quality Campaign Meeting

Last week, NASDCTEc took part in the inaugural meeting of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).  NASDCTEc is an inaugural partner in the WDQC, in addition to the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Data Quality Campaign, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, the National Skills Coalition, and the New America Foundation. The WDQC promotes inclusive, aligned and market-relevant education and workforce data systems supported by state and federal policies. Some of the issues being examined by the WDQC include:

  • Promoting data systems that capture individual achievement in postsecondary degrees and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Expanding the use of information on individual participant outcomes and ensuring it is linked with the changing structure of the labor market.
  • Making data expectations clear and consistent across the pending reauthorizations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), the Workforce Investment Act, the Higher Education Act, and ESEA.

This exciting initiative will shape the future of CTE data and accountability, and regular updates on progress will be shared with members. The aims of the WDQC initiative link very closely with our vision, through our support of federal policies that make the collection of nationally comparable, valid and reliable data possible and efficient; and our support of aligning data requirements and accountability measures among federal education and workforce preparation programs.

CAREER Act

Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Portman (R-OH) last week reintroduced the Career Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act S.804. According to the bill summary, S. 804 aims to make federal job training programs more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with highly paid jobs by:

1.      Reorganizing the Federal Government’s training programs to make them more efficient, by working with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to produce a report detailing how to decrease the number of federal job training programs without decreasing services or accessibility, using a 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report as a template.The GAO report lists Perkins as one of the funds that could be consolidated.

2.      Giving community colleges, CTE institutions, and other key educators priority access for funding that equips workers with the credentials that are in demand by industry.

3.      Introducing accountability to job training through a pay-for-performance pilot program.

4.      Providing states and local stakeholders with access to the data they need to track the impact of their programs.

The bill would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). A reauthorized version of WIA was recently passed in the House, and the Senate is currently working on their proposal to reauthorize the Act. As such, it is not clear how the CAREER Act will fit into this reauthorization process. Watch for more updates on the NASDCTEc blog as the CAREER Act progresses to Committee and more details are available.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Legislative Update: Democratic Summit; FAA Funding Flexibility; Conference Committee Blocked

April 29th, 2013

Senate Democratic Rural Summit

NASDCTEc was invited to attend an April 25, 2013 convening of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, led by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), focused on issues affecting rural communities. Though the event primarily focused on agriculture and nutrition issues, rural schools and districts were also part of the discussion. Topics relevant to Career Technical Education (CTE) included increased flexibility in rural school districts and issues with rural areas qualifying for competitive grant funding. These issues are reflected in our Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) recommendations for reauthorization.

Given Senator Begich’s support of rural education, which we covered in a previous blog post we plan to meet with his staff to share our Perkins recommendations and to discuss how CTE can fit into the priorities of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.

Congressional Action to End FY13 Sequester for FAA Thwarted in Favor of Funding Flexibility

At the end of last week, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives both passed legislation, S. 788 and H.R. 1765 respectively, that provides the Secretary of Transportation with the flexibility to redirect funds within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so that air traffic controllers furloughed due to sequestration could return to work. The measure is on its way to the President, who is expected to sign it.

Originally this measure was expected to be a repeal of the FAA sequester, which provided a hopeful moment that Congress might begin to eliminate the impact of sequester on targeted programs. However, the compromise simply provides the FAA the authority move funds under its jurisdiction from one account to another.

Providing Cabinet Secretaries the flexibility to move funds within their agency to achieve sequestration targets is how sequestration will be implemented in future years. This is in contrast to the first year of sequestration, FY13, which required across-the-board cuts to all programs within an agency. It is important for our members to contact their Congressional offices to let them know that the entire sequester should be replaced or repealed. CTE is just as important as delays at the airport.

FY14 Budget Conference Committee Blocked

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called last week for the creation of a budget conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets. As reported in previous blog posts, the House budget would lead to an 11.7 percent reduction in nondefense discretionary spending for FY14, which would result in significant reductions to Perkins funding. The Senate budget would repeal the sequester and restore funding to Perkins and other nondefense programs.

Last Tuesday, Senate Republicans rejected Senator Reid’s call to appoint conference committee members. NASDCTEc will continue to share any updates on the FY14 budget negotiations.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

 

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