Posts Tagged ‘Carl D. Perkins Act’

Legislative Update: Senate Confirms OCTAE Leadership and Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

Friday, June 10th, 2022

This week the Senate confirmed Dr. Amy Loyd to be the next head of the federal office overseeing Career Technical Education (CTE) while U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified about the Administration’s federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request as his Department convened an event on learner pathways.

Senate Confirms New OCTAE Leader

On Wednesday, June 8,  the Senate voted 57-42 to confirm Dr. Amy Loyd to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education. In this position Dr. Loyd will lead the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) within the U.S. Department of Education (ED)—a posting that oversees CTE, including the implementation of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). Following the vote, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement saying, in part, “I am thrilled by the Senate’s confirmation of Amy Loyd, whose expertise in the intersection between education and workforce development will make her an excellent assistant secretary [of OCTAE].” Following the confirmation vote Wednesday evening, Advance CTE and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) published a joint statement of support

“As key legislation and funding negotiations with implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development persist in Congress, it is crucial for leaders at the intersection of education and work to have a seat at the table. Dr. Loyd’s confirmation as OCTAE Assistant Secretary provides the field with an exceptional advocate for equitable access to high-quality CTE and an experienced leader with a deep understanding of not only the needs of local, regional and state CTE leaders, but also historically marginalized communities through her work at JFF and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in Alaska. Her leadership at OCTAE will be instrumental in preparing our nation’s workforce to obtain and advance in high-skill, high-wage and in-demand careers. We congratulate Assistant Secretary Loyd on her confirmation, and look forward to working with her to ensure federal policy fully leverages CTE programs and career pathways as high-quality, equitable avenues for each learner to achieve success in the jobs of the future.”

Advance CTE looks forward to working with Assistant Secretary Loyd in this capacity to advance the organization’s federal policy priorities and ensure strong CTE leadership within ED moving forward.   

Cardona Testifies on Budget as FY23 Funding Efforts Move Forward

On Tuesday, June 7, the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to testify about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. The hearing focused on a wide range of issues, including CTE which was touched on by both Senators Braun (R-IN) and Baldwin (D-WI) during questioning. Sen. Baldwin in particular noted that the Administration’s proposed “career connected high schools” initiative would serve only a small subset of communities throughout the nation and asked how ED planned to ensure that support for high-quality CTE programs would be made available to a greater number of states by supplementing, rather than supplanting, existing federal support for CTE. Cardona answered, in part, that ED plans to “. . . continue to advocate and find ways to support [CTE] programs and find ways to make whatever new money is available eligible to those who are already doing this work.” An archived webcast of the hearing, including Secretary Cardona’s testimony, can be accessed here

In other FY23 funding news, Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Baldwin (D-WI), and Kaine (D-VA) recently led a Dear Colleague letter in support of robust funding for Perkins V’s basic state grant program. This letter garnered the support of 38 Senators and was shared with Senate appropriations leadership as the FY23 funding process gets underway in the chamber. Meanwhile, lawmakers in the House advanced a key procedural measure this week to begin debate on the 12 individual appropriations bills that compose the federal discretionary budget. This measure sets an overall $1.6 trillion budget limit for FY23—the same amount that was requested in President Biden’s most recent budget request—which will allow appropriators to begin to allocate this proposed amount among forthcoming spending bills. Advance CTE expects this work to begin later this month, likely beginning next week, ahead of the July 4th Congressional recess. As these efforts get underway, we will continue to advocate for a robust investment in Perkins V’s basic state grant program to meet the significant funding needs of the CTE community. 

Career Connected Learning Event 

Last week, June 1, ED convened a virtual event with U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to discuss the Department’s new “career connected high schools” initiative proposed as part of the Administration’s FY23 budget request. The event also featured remarks from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, who shared  the Administration’s wider career connected learning strategy moving forward which will focus on five core pillars: 

  1. An overarching belief that every student should have a pathway to college and the preparation they need to get a head start while still in high school;
  2. Work-based learning to help students gain real-world knowledge, skills, exposure, and learning experience they’ll need to enter and succeed in careers; 
  3. Industry credentials to help students make progress to earning in-demand, industry-recognized credentials that can give them a leg up in today’s workforce and launch careers more quickly; 
  4. College and career advising and navigation to equip students with better information to make thoughtful decisions and lay groundwork for what comes after high school; and
  5. Systems, strategies, and capacity building to create a system that eliminates transition barriers and creates new capacities to support student success. 

An archive of the event, including additional information, can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Examines FY23 Budget and Teacher Shortages 

Friday, May 27th, 2022

This week Congress made progress on several U.S. Department of Education (ED) nominations, while also examining ways to address nationwide teacher shortages and ED’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request. In addition, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona offered support to a community in Texas in the wake of tragedy while the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  distributed additional connectivity funding and ED hosted a summit on mental health. 

Secretary Cardona Issues Statement Regarding the Tragedy in Texas

On Tuesday, May 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a statement in the wake of the tragic shooting that occurred at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. He shared, in part, “My heart is aching for all the families in Uvalde, Texas who are living through every parent’s greatest fear and worst nightmare: a shooting in their children’s school . . . My team at the Department of Education is offering every available federal resource—including through our Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence) program and on-the-ground support—to help the families, educators, staff, and greater Robb Elementary School community recover from this trauma and loss.”

House Holds Teacher Shortage Hearing

On Wednesday, May 25, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held a hearing examining the persistent issue of educator shortages throughout the nation. Witnesses included representatives from think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Learning Policy Institute, as well as American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. Witnesses and lawmakers discussed the causes of teacher shortages and debated best-practice solutions to address them. These strategies included efforts to reduce certification requirements for teachers as one way to reduce barriers to entry into the classroom. As a reminder, Advance CTE recently endorsed the RAISE Act recently– a proposal that would provide tax credits for K-12 instructors– as one way to begin to address these persistent challenges. An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

Senate Advances ED Nominees

Also on Wednesday, May 25, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held an executive session meeting to consider several Biden Administration nominees. These nominations included LaWanda Toney to be the next Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as well as Nasser Paydar to be Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the Department. During the session, Senators advanced each of these nominees out of committee for further consideration by the full chamber in the future. 

In addition to this committee-level activity, the full Senate took an important procedural step to advance Amy Loyd’s nomination to be the next Assistant Secretary for Career, Adult, and Technical Education at ED—an action that implies that Ms. Loyd will likely be confirmed sometime soon.

Cardona Testifies on FY23 Budget

Yesterday, May 26, the House Education and Labor Committee hosted U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona who testified about the Administration’s fiscal year 2023 (FY23) budget request for the U.S. Department of Education. As a reminder, the Administration’s FY23 budget was created prior to FY22 funding levels being finalized by Congress. As a consequence, the Biden Administration proposed an “artificial cut” to the Carl D. Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) questioned Secretary Cardona about this issue, asking why the Department appeared to propose less funding for this program for the upcoming fiscal year. Secretary Cardona responded, in part, that “. . . we totally support the funding for that . . . in fact we really believe a big part of the work moving forward at the Department of Education is to really engage in career connected high schools and making sure that the through lines between our high schools and two year schools and workforce partners or four year schools is tighter across the country.”  An archived webcast of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

ED Hosts Virtual Mental Health Summit

On Monday, May 23, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) hosted a virtual summit titled “From Recovery to Thriving: Supporting Mental Health and Students With Disabilities.” The summit highlighted the Department’s ongoing work to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and shared resources aimed at students to support their mental health. In particular, the event examined ways in which states and local communities can better develop and support more inclusive pathways programs for learners struggling with mental health challenges or disabilities. More information on the summit can be found here

FCC Announces $2.8 billion in New Funding

On Wednesday, May 25, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had received $2.8 billion in funding requests as part of its third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program. Funding for the ECF as part of the American Rescue Plan was one of Advance CTE’s legislative priorities during the pandemic as a key strategy to help close the “homework gap.” This latest round of funding will support 5,120,453 connected devices and 4,285,794 broadband connections for eligible schools and libraries. However, with only an estimated $1.5 billion remaining in the program the FCC anticipates it will need to prioritize applicants with the greatest need first, particularly those in rural communities. 

June Meeting Series Registration Deadline Extended

On June 22nd, Advance CTE will be joined by partners from the Association for Career and Technical Education and Association of Community College Trustees to provide a federal policy update as part of Advance CTE’s Equip, Empower, Elevate: June Meeting Series. The series consists of three, three-hour events on June 8, 15, and 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. ET.  Those interested in attending one or more sessions can register here by June 2, 2022. 

Be Sure to Encourage Lawmakers to Join CTE Caucuses 

The House and Senate CTE Caucuses, Advance CTE and ACTE are currently working to encourage Senators and Representatives to join their respective CTE Caucuses, if they have not done so already. To find out if your Members of Congress have joined their respective Caucus, you can review House and Senate membership lists. Membership in these caucuses is an important way for lawmakers to signal their support for CTE and the millions of learners across the country who enroll in these programs. To encourage your Senator or member of Congress to join, click here and scroll down to the request form corresponding to your needs.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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114th Congressional Wrap-Up and Perkins Outlook

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

United States CapitalFollowing the November elections, lawmakers have been on Capitol Hill for the final phase of the 114th Congress. This lame duck session was formally scheduled to come to an end this upcoming Friday, but the last-minute passage of a continuing resolution (CR) last week allowed lawmakers to adjourn the 114th Congress a week early after the bill cleared the Senate.

With policymakers digesting the results of the elections and planning ahead for 2017, there were not too many education or workforce-related highlights from this final session of Congress to speak of. The dearth of legislative activity did make room for the composition of the respective House (HEW) and Senate (HELP) education committees to become clearer.

In the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his leadership role of the HELP Committee. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) will also keep her slot going into next year. This year this duo, along with Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA), came close to passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, but unfortunately these efforts stalled as the year wore on. The root cause of this delay were continued disagreements related to the oversight authority of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

With the retirement of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House education committee recently named a new Chairwoman—Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)— to lead HEW in the 115th Congress. Rep. Foxx recently won her seventh term in Congress, and has been the Chairwoman for HEW’s subcommittee on higher education since 2010. Prior to her tenure in Congress, she was a professor and administrator at several postsecondary institutions in North Carolina. On the Democratic side of the aisle Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) will retain his leadership position on the committee.

Earlier this year the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5587—comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Perkins Act. While there were some remaining items that needed to be addressed as the bill made its way over to the Senate (primarily a fix for the proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator), Advance CTE endorsed and supported this legislation’s passage. Unfortunately due to the reasons cited above, the bill lost momentum when it arrived in the Senate.

As we look ahead to the next Congress, lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in taking up Perkins reauthorization. However, a specific timeline for the law’s consideration is still unclear and it will be competing with other education priorities such as a renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). In the coming year, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a thoughtful reauthorization process for Perkins in this new environment and will urge lawmakers to build upon the strong foundation laid with H.R. 5587 to support high-quality CTE for years to come.

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth look at what else is in store in the 115th Congress in coming week.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Uncategorized
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Congress Averts Government Shutdown with Stopgap Funding Legislation

Monday, December 12th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Friday the House and Senate successfully passed a second “continuing resolution” (CR)— short-term stopgap funding legislation that temporarily extends current Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels through April 28th, 2017. The legislation provides funding for the federal government until this date or until a separate full-year appropriations bill is enacted into law. The current 2016 fiscal year began this past October and the federal government has been operating under the auspices of an earlier CR passed by Congress just before this deadline.

While it had seemed likely that Congress would pass comprehensive spending legislation for the full fiscal year during the current lame duck session of Congress, as they have several times in years past, incoming President-Elect Donald Trump requested that these critical funding decisions be further delayed until next spring.

This decision leaves the outlook for funding for important federal programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Act, uncertain in the interim. This year’s earlier CR required a 0.496 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary federal programs, including the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Due to the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) sequester caps, which significantly restrict the amount of funding available for programs like Perkins each year through the next decade, this reduction translated into $5.5 million in fewer funding for Perkins, students, and the CTE programs the law supports.

At that time, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) revised states’ Perkins allocations in October and 30 states received reduced grants amounts due to the passage of this temporary legislation.

This most recent CR re-adjusts this half percent reduction somewhat to 0.19 percent to stay within the BCA caps. However, USDE is not likely to reimburse states for the difference between these two spending cuts until a full-year spending bill is successfully enacted.

The ongoing uncertainty caused by the current series of stopgap funding measures from Congress is already creating uncertainty for states and local school districts who need to prepare budgets for the upcoming academic year. Moreover, the budget process for the next federal fiscal year (2018) will begin in late winter of 2017 further complicating matters as efforts to fund federal programs like Perkins increasingly overlap.

Advance CTE encourages the CTE community to let their members of Congress know how important it is to restore cuts to Perkins in the coming months and pass comprehensive legislation that replaces these counterproductive CRs moving forward. To do so click here. Be sure to check back as the outlook for Perkins funding continues to evolve.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Legislative Update: Senate Efforts on Perkins Reauthorization Stall

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

United States CapitalLast week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (405-5) in favor of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587)— comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

Upon last week’s passage, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) applauded the vast showing of bipartisan support in the House, while still noting that the legislation’s proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator must still be fixed as the process moved forward.

With attention turning to the Senate, the leaders of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee scheduled a markup of their forthcoming Perkins reauthorization bill for September 21st. Unfortunately as committee members worked towards a final draft, bipartisan negotiations stalled and the markup was postponed.

The main reason cited for this delay was attributed to continued disagreements over “secretarial authority” and proposed prohibitions language that would limit the U.S. Secretary of Education’s oversight of Perkins.

This week HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a statement saying, in part, that he believes “Congress should be able to finish its work on Perkins this year,” while reiterating his concerns related to secretarial authority. A spokesperson for Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) released a similar statement saying that, “Senator Murray has been working with Democrats and Republicans toward a bipartisan bill to reauthorize Perkins CTE, and she is hopeful that this can continue and get done as quickly as possible.”

Yesterday, Advance CTE and ACTE issued a statement of their own encouraging the Senate to move forward with Perkins reauthorization in a bipartisan manner. As Congressional consideration of Perkins continues, Advance CTE will continue to work with staff on the Hill to ensure the best possible bill is produced from this process.

Be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Uncategorized
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Education, Business and Workforce Groups Call on the House to Pass Perkins Reauthorization

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Congress is back in session, and chatter on Capitol Hill returns to reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins), with a chamber-wide vote on comprehensive reauthorization legislation scheduled for tomorrow in the House. The bill, H.R. 5587, would reauthorize Perkins for six years and make a number of changes within the existing structure of the law, encouraging alignment with other federal legislation and streamlining the law’s requirements. You can read our analysis of the bill here.

Before lawmakers in the House vote on H.R. 5587, it is worth revisiting statements of support from members of the education, workforce development and business communities. By and large, there is cross-sector, bipartisan support for Perkins reauthorization. Yet as the 114th Congress heads into its final months, many organizations – Advance CTE included – have urged Congress to complete their work on Perkins this year. Here is a sample of statements of support from a cross-section of organizations and businesses, primarily related to the House Perkins bill as well as the reauthorization effort more generally.

Words of Support from the Education Community

“The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act builds on current law by emphasizing the importance of CTE programs of study, while maintaining the flexibility of states and local recipients to develop and implement program models that best suit their needs and available resources.” – Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education

“As states work to align education programs with current workforce needs, this legislation to update the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act will provide critical supports to state and local educators preparing students to succeed in 21st century careers.” – Council of Chief State School Officers

“H.R. 5587 reflects many of our recommendations for reauthorization. It incorporates a commitment to meaningful professional development for educators, encourages supportive partnerships that link school districts and teachers with industry partners, and promotes industry-recognized credentials and certificates for specific occupational areas.” – American Federation of Teachers

“There is much to like in the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Act… The House bill addresses the paperwork burden by allowing districts to fill out a simple, easy-to-complete local application.” – AASA, The School Superintendents Association

“We are pleased that H.R. 5587 [supports programs closely aligned with the needs of business and industry] by encouraging states and local recipients to better coordinate activities supported by the Perkins Act with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and by requiring needs assessments to guide the expenditure of Perkins funding at the local level.” – American Association of Community Colleges and Association of Community College Trustees

“H.R. 5587 recognizes and includes educators in CTE planning and decision-making. This approach strengthens collaboration among the education, business, labor, employment, and economic sectors; improves program effectiveness; and helps ensure that the needs of both students and employers are met.” – National Education Association

Business and Industry Leaders Weigh in on Perkins Reauthorization

“H.R. 5587 would be an improvement over current law. In particular, the Chamber supports the provisions of this bill that would … authorize innovation grants to improve CTE and align workforce skills with labor market needs … integrate industry-recognized credentials; and increase support for work-based learning activities through innovation grants and state leadership activities.” – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

“There is no issue more connected to U.S. competitiveness than equipping our nation’s youth with the academic and workplace skills needed for 21st century jobs. By updating and reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, Congress has an opportunity to ensure our students achieve strong academic and career preparation in the nation’s fastest growing industries.” – IBM

“We know more can be done to help educational institutions better prepare young people for today’s jobs. A modernized career and technical education (CTE) system, designed with input from employers and responsive to the needs identified by labor market data, is central to accomplishing that test.” – Toyota

“By reauthorizing the Perkins Act and reinforcing CTE programs, educators and their partners in the business community can improve student outcomes and provide the skills required to be successful in the workforce … We urge the House to swiftly pass H.R. 5587 and for the Senate to consider companion legislation in the near future with the goal of sending a Perkins Act reauthorization bill to the president’s desk in 2016.” – Associated Equipment Distributors

“[H.R. 5587] would provide agriculture education programs the funding assistance needed to create a well-rounded practical approach to learning through classroom education.” – American Farm Bureau Federation

“Among the provisions we believe will be particularly effective in driving improvements in career education: the incentives for CTE programs to incorporate work-based learning and recognition of the value of industry-driven occupational certifications. Both work-based learning and industry credentials are indispensable elements of effective career and technical education.” – Opportunity America

Workforce Development Organizations Consider the Value of New Bill

“The bill makes substantial improvements in the federal CTE law: encouraging the development of high quality programs of study; emphasizing the importance of work-based learning; encouraging the expansion of dual enrollment, concurrent enrollment, and early college high school opportunities; requiring that CTE programs are aligned with the skill needs of employers in in-demand industries and occupations; and better aligning CTE with innovations and programming established in the newly implemented Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).” – Jobs for the Future

Op-Eds on Perkins

“The revised Perkins bill now must pass the full House and Senate. Passage of the legislation will be critical to the future of American education and our economic competitiveness. We are hopeful that the House committee’s unanimous, bipartisan approval signals that Republicans and Democrats, supported by business and labor, educators, community leaders, parents and students who are united behind common-sense solutions will result in an update of our education system, leading to a stronger economy and more opportunities for our young people.” – Stanley Litow

“The proposed reauthorization will strengthen connections between CTE programs and business and industry. Doing so will help more precisely identify the career fields, along with the skills and credentials, needed regionally.” – Mark MacCarthy

“If passed, the new Perkins Act would be a small but important step toward making sure that students get on the pathway to prosperity that’s right for them.” – Charles Sahm

“[H.R. 5587] stressed educational partnerships that align secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and career and technical education programs to meet local and regional labor needs now and in the future, meaning students can pursue a career path equipped with the knowledge of where job opportunities exist in their local community.” – Jim Postl

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By admin in Legislation, Public Policy
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Ask Your Members of Congress to Support Perkins Reauthorization!

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Tuesday, Congress returned from its annual summer recess to begin the final stretch of the 114th Congress. Lawmakers have been out of session since mid-July, but that doesn’t mean everyone s has been away from the Capitol. In fact, work has continued in both the House and the Senate to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins).

As we shared earlier this summer, the House Education and the Workforce Committee unanimously approved the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act—the first comprehensive Perkins reauthorization legislation to be considered by Congress since the current law’s passage in 2006. This month the House chamber has the opportunity to build on this strong showing of bipartisan support by voting on this bill.

Ahead of further consideration of Perkins in the House, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a statement of support urging both Chambers of Congress to move forward with its efforts to renew Perkins before the end of the year.

In order to make sure this legislation gets across the finish line, we need your help! Please take a few minutes to contact your member(s) of Congress and let them know how important Perkins reauthorization is to your community, your state, and our country.

You can find your member of Congress by visiting here. By visiting ACTE’s CTE Action Center you can contact your Senators and Representative directly to express your support for moving the Perkins reauthorization process forward. We also encourage you to take to social media to make the case for Perkins and CTE. Sample tweets are available here.

As Perkins reauthorization continues, be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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Election 2016: From Governors Mansions to the Senate, the Democratic Ticket Boasts Years of CTE Experience

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

This is the second part of a series exploring the 2016 presidential candidates positions, records and statements about Career Technical Education (CTE). This post examines the Democratic ticket. A previous post covering the Republican ticket is accessible here.

An Advocate for Children and Families, Clinton Sees Opportunity in Free College

With decades in the public eye, Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton has had ample opportunity to define and hone her position on education, which she says should be the great door-opener. Her campaign aims to knock down barriers to the middle class through apprenticeships, career technical education (CTE) and debt-free college.

Clinton’s work in public education dates back to 1983 when, in her role as First Lady of Arkansas, she led an initiative to develop more rigorous standards for public schools in the state. Years later, as New York’s junior Senator, she went on to serve on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. There, she worked on two foundational pieces of education legislation: the No Child Left Behind Act and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

Clinton’s education policy platform for the 2016 election aims to expand access to the middle class by removing barriers to higher education. She has proposed a plan to make community colleges free and to cover the cost of tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities for families making less than $125,000. These proposals are loosely based on similar efforts in Tennessee and other states that have seen increased enrollment and higher retention rates at community and technical colleges.

As crucial as college is, Clinton asserted in her Democratic National Convention speech in July that, a four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job. She went on to say we’re going to help more people learn a skill or practice a trade and make a good living doing it. To do this, her campaign has proposed a tax credit of up to $1,500 for businesses hosting apprentices and is considering options to incentivize CTE programs and help provide grants to train workers for the 21st century economy.

Tim Kaine’s Support for CTE Dates Back to His Work as a Teacher in Honduras

Perhaps the lengthiest CTE resume this cycle goes to Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Tim Kaine. His education record, which includes broad initiatives as Virginia Governor and tireless support for CTE in the Senate, dates all the way back to his childhood.

The son of a welder, Kaine briefly helped manage a technical school in Honduras before returning to complete his law degree at Harvard University. Kaine’s interest in CTE followed him to the Virginia Governor’s mansion where, in 2008, he announced an initiative to create six Career and Technical Academies across the state. The initiative, which was launched with a grant from the National Governor’s Association, aimed to align K-12 instruction in STEM fields with workforce and postsecondary expectations, while equipping more students with marketable skills that lead to high-demand, high-wage careers.

In Virginia, Kaine also launched the Governor’s CTE Exemplary Standards Awards Program, which recognizes CTE programs that align with industry standards, effectively engage local partners, provide relevant and integrated academic and technical instruction, and more.

In the Senate, Kaine co-founded the bipartisan CTE Caucus along with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) in 2014, stating that career and technical programs can strengthen the links between the classroom and the workplace, helping students acquire the education and skills that will help them find employment and enjoy productive, successful lives after graduation. His work with this caucus has led to the introduction of a number of CTE-related legislation, including the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, which would establish a formal definition for CTE programs of study within the Perkins Act.

His persistent advocacy for high-quality CTE in the Senate led to a number of legislative victories, most recently in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). With Kaine’s support, ESSA now includes provisions to fund career counseling programs, help teachers integrate academic and technical instruction, add CTE to the definition of a well-rounded education, encourage states to use career readiness indicators in their accountability systems, and fund professional development for CTE teachers.

CTE has long benefited from bipartisan support, and the 2016 election is no exception. With mere months until the election, we look forward to the candidates continuing to elevate high-quality CTE as an effective educational strategy in their platforms, in their speeches and in the debates later this fall.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

By admin in News, Uncategorized
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Advance CTE Legislative Update: Summer Round-Up

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

United States CapitalPerkins Reauthorization Wrap-Up

With Congress adjourned for an extended summer recess, it’s important to take stock of what’s been happening on Capitol Hill these past few months, particularly with regards to Career Technical Education (CTE). Before their break, Congress took formal steps to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins), continued to oversee ESSA implementation, and has made efforts to advance funding legislation for the coming federal fiscal year (FY).

On June 28th, the House Education and the Workforce Committee released a much anticipated bill to reauthorize Perkins—the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587). Sponsored by Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the bipartisan legislation was marked up by the full committee on July 7th and subsequently approved by a margin of 37-0.

“We are encouraged by this important step towards reauthorizing Perkins,” said Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director, at the time the bill was introduced. “We appreciate the bipartisan efforts that went into drafting this bill and look forward to working to ensure the reauthorized bill helps increase access to and success in high-quality CTE programs.”

The bill seeks to align Perkins to other federal legislation such as ESSA and WIOA while streamlining the requirements of the law to more effectively support high-quality CTE. Many elements of Advance CTE’s Perkins priorities can be found in H.R. 5587 and the organization supported the advancement of this legislation through committee. Advance CTE’s letter of support for H.R. 5587 can be found here.

We expect the full House to consider this legislation when Congress reconvenes later this autumn. In the meantime, Advance CTE and the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE) have developed a comprehensive summary and analysis of H.R. 5587 which can be accessed here.

Many additional resources including the archived webcast of committee markup, members’ written statements, and considered amendments can be found here.

While this bipartisan effort in the House to reauthorize Perkins is encouraging, there is still much that must be done for the legislation to make its way across the finish line before the end of the 114th Congress. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee has continued behind-the-scenes discussions on its own Perkins legislation. It is therefore still possible to see additional Perkins-related activity later this year, but with a limited number of legislative days left on the calendar full Perkins reauthorization will still require a concerted effort from lawmakers in both chambers. As these efforts continue to take shape be sure to check back here for more updates and analysis.

Congressional Appropriations Committees Approve FY 2017 Spending Bills

Lawmakers overseeing federal funding bills have also been working on legislation to fund federal programs, including the Perkins Act. In June the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHSED) appropriations bill on a party-line vote. The legislation would level-fund the Perkins basic state grant program at $1.118 billion. However, this result for Perkins is important to keep in context—this year saw the return of budget caps mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). These tight caps resulted in $220 million in cuts to education programs in the LHHSED bill making the maintenance of existing Perkins funding an important achievement for the CTE community. Notably, the bill would also restore year-round Pell grants which is a key Advance CTE postsecondary priority.

Following suit, the House Appropriations committee approved its own LHHSED FY 2017 funding bill. This legislation would also provide level funding for Perkins’ basic state grant program. However, much like with the Senate, the committee’s decision to maintain Perkins funding is best understood in context— other education programs under this bill were cut by even more than in the House proposal. Unlike with the Senate, the House bill does not restore year-round Pell grants although it would increase the maximum Pell award to $5,935 annually (a move that is also mirrored in the Senate proposal).

Despite these efforts, it is unlikely that either of these LHHSED bills will be advanced individually any further prior to the start of 2017 federal fiscal year set to begin on September 30th. It is therefore highly likely that Congress, as it has done for the past several years, will pass a “continuing resolution” (CR) which would temporarily extend current funding levels into the next fiscal year. Be sure to check back as efforts to fund federal programs, including Perkins, continue to firm up.

ESSA Implementation

As we have shared previously, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has been developing rules and regulations to govern the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In the spring, the law’s mandated negotiated rulemaking committee met to determine how to regulate ESSA’s “supplement, not supplant” and assessment provisions. These efforts brought about a great degree of disagreement between USDE, which ultimately made a series of proposals on these issues, and Congressional Republicans, who viewed these proposals as being outside the allowable scope of ESSA.

Disagreements over how to appropriately implement ESSA’s provisions have continued to chew away at the bipartisan consensus that helped move ESSA across the finish line late last year. This has become even more apparent in a series of congressional hearings where Republican lawmakers and U.S. Secretary of Education John King have increasingly been at odds over these issues (more on that here, here, and here).

In June, USDE released additional draft regulations—known as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)—on the law’s accountability, public reporting, and state plan provisions. Of particular note are how the draft rules address ESSA’s newly required state accountability indicators of “school quality and student success” which allow states the opportunity to measure and value indicators of student postsecondary and career readiness. Advance CTE and ACTE provided comments to USDE on these aspects of the regulations which can be viewed here.

USDE has continued to update its own resource page with helpful materials to support the law’s ongoing implementation process. Recently the department circulated a Dear Colleague letter highlighting ways in which states and communities can support a “well-rounded education”—a key concept of the new law that now includes CTE. Additionally, the Council of Chief State School Officers has produced an extremely useful guide for engaging stakeholders during ESSA plan development and the Collaborative for Student Success, a new website, collects state-specific information on states’ efforts to implement the new K-12 law.

Odds & Ends

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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National CTE Organizations Weigh In on House Perkins Reauthorization Efforts

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE today commended the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s release of the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act,” a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

“We applaud our partners in Congress for their work to begin the Perkins reauthorization process in releasing this bill, as well as the spirit of bipartisanship that has made that work possible,” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. “We can now turn our attentions to carefully examining the legislative language to ensure that the priorities of CTE students and professionals will be supported throughout the new law. We look forward to continuing to work with committee leaders as the reauthorization process unfolds, as America’s students, workforce and economy deserve nothing less than a thoughtful new bill.”

“We are encouraged by this important step towards reauthorizing Perkins,” said Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director. “Helping all learners successfully navigate pathways to post secondary education and careers is a national priority shared by state leaders, educators, employers and Congress and Perkins has a critical role in achieving this goal. We appreciate the bipartisan efforts that went into drafting this bill and look forward to working to ensure the reauthorized bill helps increase access to and success in high-quality CTE programs.”

Both organizations remain committed to working with the House Education and the Workforce Committee, as well as their partners in the U.S. Senate, to find a path forward for Perkins.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By admin in Advance CTE Announcements
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