Posts Tagged ‘Carl D. Perkins Act’

Legislative Update: Congress Struggles to Find Agreement on Funding

Friday, September 15th, 2023

Both the House and the Senate were in session this week as lawmakers struggled to find consensus on a pathway forward on federal fiscal year 2024 (FY24) funding. With only a few legislative days left on the Congressional calendar until the start of FY24, the status of federal funding is currently uncertain. 

FY24 Funding Remains in Focus

On Tuesday, the House formally reconvened after Congress’ annual August recess. The Senate has been in session since last week and is working to advance a “minibus” funding legislation– a measure containing three of the 12 individual spending bills that compose the federal budget. As a reminder, the Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced each of the 12 FY24 spending bills out of committee for full consideration by the Senate just before the August recess. These measures included a proposed $40 million in increased funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s (Perkins V*) basic state grant program. 

These efforts stand in stark contrast to the House, where Republican lawmakers have struggled to find consensus on a much broader swath of their FY24 spending proposals. Broadly, the Chamber remains much further behind than the Senate. More importantly, Republican lawmakers in the House are advancing spending proposals that cut federal funding, including for other significant education and workforce development efforts, by significant amounts beyond the requirements of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) approved earlier this year.

The Senate’s and House’s respective visions for FY24 funding remain dramatically far apart. With only a few legislative days left before the next fiscal year begins on October 1, legislation that would extend current funding levels for a specified period of time (known as a Continuing Resolution or “CR”) will be needed. However, conservative factions in the House have indicated that they will not support a CR without steep spending cuts and a number of other policy concessions, including consideration of the impeachment of President Biden. These demands are not supported by the White House or party leadership in the Senate, leaving all three at an impasse during this critical juncture of the appropriations process.

The extreme distance between the House and Senate FY24 spending proposals and the positions currently taken by the House, Senate, and the White House mean that negotiations in the coming weeks are likely to be contentious and the potential for a government shutdown remains elevated. As these negotiations take place, The National School Boards Association (NSBA) will continue to advocate continued government operations without disruption and for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the K-12 community.

As these talks move forward, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the CTE community. Be sure to let your Senators and Representatives know how important CTE funding is by clicking here

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Returns from August Recess to Busy Fall Agenda

Friday, September 8th, 2023

The Senate returned to Capitol Hill this past Tuesday following its annual August recess while lawmakers in the House are expected to return next week. Elsewhere, policymakers have started to collect ideas regarding how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact education and workforce development, while the U.S. Secretary of Education launches a back-to-school bus tour, announces educator diversity efforts and issues new guidance related to teaching and learning in schools. 

Senate Reconvenes for New Work Period

The Senate reconvened this week following its annual August recess. Lawmakers in the House are due back to Capitol Hill next week. On their return to Washington, D.C., the Senate has focused primarily on addressing Congress’s failure to complete work on the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) budget before the new fiscal year begins on October 1. Just before August recess, the Senate appropriations committee successfully advanced all 12 of the individual appropriations bills that compose the federal budget on a bipartisan basis but these proposals have yet to be approved by the full chamber and reconciled with forthcoming proposals in the House. 

Lawmakers in the House, meanwhile, have been unable to similarly advance their own spending proposals, including legislation providing funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) via the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*). More importantly, the House and Senate’s proposed funding levels for FY24 differ substantially, with lawmakers in the lower chamber proposing significant cuts to federal spending which do not conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA)—a legislative agreement reached earlier this year that prevented a default on the nation’s debt obligations.

Stopgap legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), will likely be needed to avert a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins later this month. Federal lawmakers are continuing to negotiate a path forward. Conservative lawmakers in the House recently issued a series of policy and spending demands in exchange for their support for any CR, including prioritizing spending levels that fall well below those required by the FRA. House Republicans, led by Speaker McCarthy (R-CA), have further indicated that they want a shorter-term CR rather than one lasting through the end of the year while the Senate and the Biden Administration want a temporary funding extension lasting until the holiday season to provide more time to negotiate a full-year appropriations package.

Given the significant differences between the House and Senate FY24 spending proposals and the positions currently taken by the House, Senate, and the White House, negotiations are expected to be extremely contentious in the coming weeks and months ahead. As these talks move forward, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for robust funding for critical funding streams important to the CTE community. Be sure to let your Senators and Representatives know how important CTE funding is by clicking here

Ranking Member Cassidy Issues Request for Information on AI

On September 6, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) published a new white paper on artificial intelligence and the potential implications for policy areas falling under the HELP Committee’s jurisdiction. AI is still an emerging topic for Congress with two hearings scheduled next week in the Senate within the Judiciary and Commerce Committees.

Ranking Member Cassidy has requested feedback from the public and stakeholders regarding several issues likely to arise in the coming years as AI is further deployed and leveraged in different facets of daily life, including in education and workforce development. Specifically, the Ranking Member seeks feedback on whether and how AI can be used in educational settings, how education leaders promote a better understanding of AI, both among students and their peers, and how these technologies can be used to improve student learning while not diminishing learners’ critical thinking skills. Notably, the white paper includes several questions related to whether and how CTE systems and programs can leverage AI and provide learners more opportunities to pursue pathways in related fields. 

ED Launches Back to School Bus Tour

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has been on a “Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar”—a week-long multi-state trip across the nation to highlight the work schools, districts, institutions, and states are doing to support students as they collectively return to classrooms over the next few weeks. The tour includes stops in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and features priorities and initiatives that the agency has been promoting throughout the Biden Administration, including its “Career Connected High School” efforts which are intended to promote key pillars of high-quality CTE. More information about the tour can be accessed here. In addition, the Department also recently published a factsheet highlighting the Biden Administration’s ongoing efforts to support learners as they return to school this fall. 

ED Announces Educator Diversity Efforts

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has announced that it will host two convenings in late October to find, promote and encourage wider educator diversity efforts. The first of these national meetings will be a Conference on Equity in Opportunity and will be held in Denver October 26-27. The second meeting, the Teach to Lead Summit, will take place in Denver on October 27. The announcement also highlighted recent ED efforts to prioritize teacher diversity including through investments in teacher quality partnership grants, August Hawkins Centers of Excellence programs, and the Supporting Effective Educator Development. More information can be found here

Office of Civil Rights Issues New Guidance on Race and School Programming

Late last month, ED’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued new guidance regarding how and in what ways schools may include programming aimed at fostering racially inclusive communities. The guidance updates OCR’s legal interpretation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which provides further clarity regarding under what circumstances schools may develop curricula and provide programs that promote racially inclusive school communities. “Today’s resource shares with school communities practical guidance about whether and when federal civil rights laws permit – and in some cases require – schools to take actions related to race, as well as whether and when these same laws may require that schools not act based on race,” said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon during the release of this guidance. The full letter can be accessed here

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Funding Career Technical Education: Secondary CTE Funding Basics

Monday, August 21st, 2023

Providing high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) requires robust, sustained funding designed to be responsive to the evolving and diverse needs of industry and learners. State leaders make decisions every day on how to direct funding where it is needed most and having knowledge about how other states are funding secondary CTE will help with decision making. Adequate and equitable funding allows learners to engage in a cohesive, flexible and responsive career preparation system as described in Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Eduction (CTE Without Limits). This blog provides a background on CTE funding and describes various models and approaches states use to fund secondary CTE.

States rely on a mix of federal, state and local policies to provide funding sources for secondary CTE.1 The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) is the primary federal investment in secondary and postsecondary CTE. A state’s share of funding is determined by a statutory formula based on the age distribution of the state’s population and its per-capita income. The remaining 15 percent of allocations are used to support state leadership and administration activities.2 States have flexibility in determining how funds are allocated between secondary and postsecondary CTE, with an average of 62 percent of funding going to secondary programs and 38 percent supporting postsecondary programs for fiscal year 2022 (FY22).3

CTE programs can be costly to run because of the need for specialized equipment/facilities, smaller class sizes and additional staffing.4 Federal funding through Perkins V alone cannot meet those costs, so many states make a financial commitment to support CTE. Local and philanthropic partners also support CTE at the district level. Funding at the state level for secondary CTE is varied and complex.

However, there are distinct processes that can be organized into several state models. To categorize state funding models for FY22, Advance CTE used the definitions of foundational and categorical funding and the respective approaches found in State Strategies for Financing Career and Technical Education5; additionally, a new definition of hybrid funding was developed.

Foundational funding finances programs out of general state aid formulas. Local administrators must decide how funds should be distributed across educational priorities (which may or may not include CTE).6

Categorical funding is dedicated funding for CTE programs that is distributed to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to support CTE. These approaches — which may include cost-based, student-based and/or unit-based formulas — typically target state funding for the use of CTE programming.7 There are three approaches to how LEAs receive this funding: 

Hybrid funding is a new funding model formulated by Advance CTE that reflects states that implement components of multiple categorical funding approaches. 

States may also direct funding specifically for area technical centers (ATCs) to deliver CTE programming. This funding is often in addition to one of the previously stated models, which fund secondary CTE programs more broadly across a state. More information about ATCs can be found in Advance CTE’s website: A 50-State Analysis of Area Technical Centers.11

Advance CTE recognizes that state leaders desire more in-depth information about secondary state CTE funding to maximize current models or to pursue reforms towards more effective and equitable funding models. To meet this need, stay tuned for the release of our 2023 State of CTE: An Analysis of State Secondary CTE Funding Models in late August! The research report and accompanying website provide insights into current national trends in state secondary CTE funding and recommendations to enhance equity in the design and delivery of funding. 

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act 

Dr. Laura Maldonado, Senior Research Associate

By Layla Alagic in CTE Without Limits
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Advancing Equity in CTE: Administrative Policy Review – An Assessment of Equitable Practices

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

This is the final blog in a four-part series on the Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation (The Fellowship)

Overview  

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) includes provisions focused on providing access to and success in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for members of special populations and subgroups, including major racial ethnic groups in each state. States are fulfilling these requirements in various ways. Below are a few examples of how states are applying an equity-minded lens to administrative policies and practices to improve CTE ecosystems by emphasizing equitable access to and learner performance in CTE programs. 

Ohio

Administration of a CTE program with an equity lens begins with ensuring all learners have meaningful access to and substantial engagement in high-quality CTE programming which requires making these actions a priority. Ohio has created and applied equity-minded leadership principles within several initiatives, leveraging funds and resources to provide local administrators with supports to develop and sustain equitable practices and policies. 

Indiana 

The application of equity-minded principles isn’t a one-time occurrence. It requires an ongoing systematic review of policies, practices and data to determine the effectiveness of the mitigating or transformational strategies being applied. Indiana engaged in this process by conducting a review of the CTE equity labs being offered in their state and using additional resources to measure goal attainment and to provide additional supports to local leaders. 

The state’s CTE team participated in equity lab debriefing sessions to improve their messaging on equity and access, awareness of using inclusive language and overall effectiveness of equity labs currently being offered with the assistance of the Great Lakes Equity Center. This work coincided with Indiana’s participation in the CTE Opportunity Gap Analysis Train-the-Trainer Workshop offered by Advance CTE. The workshop’s six months of community of practice monthly sessions conducted with nine states included completing one in-state workshop with workshop specific resources designed to support state leaders in examining their current policies and practices.

What’s Next

This blog series is a precursor to a forthcoming state CTE leadership pipeline toolkit due to be released in Fall 2023. The toolkit will provide a “plug and play” roadmap for states to use to create their own initiative to strengthen and diversify an equity-minded state leadership pipeline. The toolkit will draw upon Advance CTE’s experiences with facilitating the Fellowship and lift up vetted resources and techniques for states to apply. 

For additional support, check out Advance CTE’s resource Engaging Representatives of Learners with Special Population Status Through Perkins V.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Dr. Kevin Johnson, Senior Advisor 

View previous blogs in this series:

Blog 1: Advancing Equity in CTE: Making the Case for Diverse Leadership Pipelines in Career Technical Education

Blog 2: Advancing Equity in CTE: A Review on the Current State of CTE Leadership Programs

Blog 3: Advancing Equity in CTE: The Equity-Minded Leadership Framework

 

By Layla Alagic in Advancing Equity in CTE
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Increasing Demographic Diversity in CTE Leadership

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

Career Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for rewarding careers and strengthening our workforce. Through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V*) CTE programs around the country continue to work towards building equitable access for every learner. 

However, it is essential to acknowledge that the representation of Black leadership in CTE programs has been disproportionately low – just 13% of CTE leaders identify as non-white. Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education (CTE Without Limits) states that learners should feel welcome and supported in their career preparation ecosystem. Part of creating this environment is ensuring that learners can see themselves represented in their CTE leaders. 

How can we increase the demographic diversity, specifically of Black leadership, in CTE? This deep-level work will require states to confront and dismantle biases and systemic barriers that currently hinder career advancement for Black professionals. State lawmakers must be encouraged to allocate resources for research and initiatives focused on increasing Black leadership. Collectively, lawmakers and educational leaders will need to publicly support the implementation of policies that address racial disparities in education and foster an environment where Black professionals can thrive. Hiring practices should be assessed and revised in order to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates with intentionality while ensuring the selection process is transparent and unbiased.

Mentorship and sponsorship programs can have a significant, positive impact on the career trajectories of educators and professionals in CTE, especially aspiring Black leaders. The creation of formal mentorship programs that pair aspiring leaders with experienced mentors who can offer guidance, support and networking opportunities can help overcome some systemic barriers that hinder career advancement for historically marginalized populations. Black professionals need senior leaders in CTE to become their sponsors and to actively advocate for their career advancement. Fellowships, such as The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE – Sponsored by ECMC Foundation, serve as additional pathways to train and elevate aspiring leaders.

State Directors in CTE, hold the power to affect meaningful change and create an inclusive and diverse landscape for all learners and professionals. By addressing biases, implementing mentorship programs, providing professional development opportunities and advocating for policy changes, states can uplift and empower Black leadership in CTE. Together, we can foster an environment that recognizes and values the talents and contributions of all individuals, regardless of their race or background. Commitment to this endeavor benefits all learners, communities, and the future workforce.

For more information on creating a leadership pipeline that reflects the diverse demographics of learners, see the Advancing Equity in CTE blog series:

Blog 1: Advancing Equity in CTE: Making the Case for Diverse Leadership Pipelines in Career Technical Education

Blog 2: Advancing Equity in CTE: A Review on the Current State of CTE Leadership Programs

Blog 3: Advancing Equity in CTE: The Equity-Minded Leadership Framework

Blog 4: Advancing Equity in CTE: Administrative Policy Review an Equitable Practices Assessment [COMING SOON]

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Brice Thomas, Former Policy Associate

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Implementing Equity-Centered Program of Study Reviews

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

This blog explores an evaluation conducted by the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) into the strategies that the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is leveraging as part of its internal program of study review process.

Overview 

The ICCB is the governing body for Illinois’ 48 community colleges and works in concert with the Illinois State Board of Education to administer the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins V*) program. They have applied a hyper-local lens to the program review process to support learner-centered, equity-minded, and evidence-driven change across the Illinois community college system.

ICCB’s Program Review Manual lists the requirements for institutions completing a program review and instructions for how data should be used to inform program design if gaps are identified. Colleges are asked to evaluate the quality and cost-effectiveness of all student and academic support services, including Career Techincal Education (CTE) programs.

Some of the criteria outlined by the ICCB to complete this program of study review are:

With significant and recent changes taking place to ICCB’s Program Review Manual, the OCCRL’s study, Advancing Program Review Evaluating and Envisioning the Future of Program Review at Illinois Community Colleges, sought to provide feedback that can improve the efficacy of the manual and supporting practices. The OCCRL framed the study around the concept of program review process as a tool for institutions to support learner-centered, equity-guided and evidence-driven improvements. The intent of the review process is to support colleges in making campus-level planning and decision-making related to the quality, cost-effectiveness, assessment and improvement of programs. While these goals are similar to the process that local entities go through to complete their Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA), this approach offers an opportunity to facilitate greater consistency and communication across institutions to improve outcomes for every learner.

 

Methods

Through the study, OCCRL attempted to answer three evaluation questions:

  1. What institutional and environmental factors within the context of program review affect institutions’ culture of evidence (using data to inform program design) and how do these factors vary across institutions in the state?
  2. What substantive challenges influence the design, implementation and impact of the program review in Illinois and how might these challenges be remedied?
  3. What are critical design considerations for advancing the future of program review processes at community colleges in Illinois?

 

In order to complete their evaluation, OCCRL noted that their approach had to reflect the high level of variation that exists among Illinois community colleges and the programs nested within them. To meet this need, they focused on working closely with individuals within the field who were currently engaged in the work and who had developed expertise working within the system, allowing them to suggest improvements and envision its future. Evaluation data was collected through a series of focus groups composed of representatives from the 49 community colleges, including community college practitioners, faculty, institutional researchers and chief information officers. The topics of the focus groups covered environmental and institutional factors influencing program review, colleges’ procedures for managing and using evidence produced from program reviews, and finally, challenges related to program reviews.

 

Evaluation 

In their report, OCCRL identified seven factors that affect an institution’s ability to successfully foster a culture of evidence and support equity-minded use of the resulting findings:

 

Resulting Supports 

As a result of requests from study participants, OCCRL developed an equity-centered rubric as a standardized tool that could be used to advance learning and support for institutions across Illinois in their CTE program review process. This self-assessment tool is intended to support practitioners in completing high-quality reviews and enables them to more closely examine the demographic groups within CTE programs. 

In addition to the rubric, participants shared high-level reflections on the solutions to common program review challenges that were discussed during the third focus group:

Additionally, the authors of the study suggest strategies that state leaders might consider incorporating into their own CLNA processes. 

Visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Resource Center to access additional resources for state leaders looking to integrate equity-guided and data-driven strategies into their state plans.

Amy Hodge, Membership & Policy Associate

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

By Layla Alagic in Achieving Equitable and Inclusive CTE
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Legislative Update: House Advances FY24 Appropriations With Steep Cuts to Domestic Programs

Monday, July 17th, 2023

This week, lawmakers in the House advanced newly proposed funding legislation for the upcoming 2024 federal fiscal year (FY24). Elsewhere, Senators have introduced new data and research legislation that would improve career readiness opportunities for learners. 

House Appropriators Advance FY24 Labor-HHS-ED Legislation

Lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill recently for a busy three-week work period ahead of Congress’ annual August recess. Topping the agenda is the need to address annual appropriations legislation for FY24 . The recent passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), which outlines topline spending caps for FY24 and FY25 that aim to roughly freeze federal funding at current FY23 levels, was widely expected to provide lawmakers greater clarity regarding how to move forward with this process.

Shortly after the passage of the FRA, however, House Republican leadership announced plans to move forward with a series of spending bills that further reduce federal spending to FY22 funding levels, rather than FY23 levels of investment as required by the FRA. Shortly after this announcement, Senate leaders outlined plans for FY24 which align much more closely with the requirements of the FRA. In practical terms, these divergent approaches to FY24 appropriations are putting Congress on a likely path towards conflict over the direction of federal spending later this year.

In recent weeks, the House and Senate appropriations committees have advanced legislation for roughly half of the dozen individual spending bills that compose the federal budget. Late last week, Republican leaders on the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (Labor-HHS-ED) Appropriations Subcommittee unveiled the text of their proposed FY24 Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill–annual legislation which provides funding for programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V).* This legislation proposes an overall cut of 28 percent to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) budget when factoring existing appropriations that would be rescinded under the proposal and a 29 percent reduction in funding for the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) budget. Despite these significant proposed reductions in funding, the legislation proposes to level-fund Perkins V’s basic state formula grant program at existing FY23 levels. 

Concerningly, however, the bill would dramatically reduce and in some cases entirely eliminate a slew of education and workforce development programs overseen by ED and DOL that intersect with or otherwise complement CTE. For instance, Title I funding from the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) would be reduced by 80 percent, while core Title I funding for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would be reduced by more than half of current funding levels. While Advance CTE appreciates Congress’ recognition of continuing to invest in Career Technical Education (CTE), these proposals would significantly disrupt the ability of schools, districts, and institutions to provide high quality learning opportunities for all students. In light of this, Advance CTE and partners issued a statement opposing this proposal and calling on the House to reverse course on this approach to FY24 funding. 

On Friday, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Subcommittee marked up and advanced this legislation along party lines. Timing for comparable appropriations efforts in the Senate regarding their Labor-HHS-ED bill are still forthcoming. Regardless, both chambers will need to reconcile differences between these visions for FY24 funding in the coming weeks and months, before the formal start of FY24 on October 1. As these efforts continue to move forward, Advance CTE is closely monitoring the process and engaging with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the CTE community are realized as part of the ongoing budget and appropriations process for FY24.

*As amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Senators Introduce CTE Data Bill 

Last Thursday, Senators Baldwin (D-WI), Young (R-IN), and Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Data for American Jobs Act (S. 2290). This legislation would make a series of updates to the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) to increase the law’s focus on CTE and more closely align state data systems and related federal investments to increase data transparency and quality. “Achieving career success for every learner through CTE requires actionable, transparent and trustworthy data. Advance CTE is pleased to support the Data for American Jobs Act, which takes important steps to leverage national research efforts and resources to promote a better understanding of CTE and advances modernized and interconnected data infrastructure for states,” said Kate Kreamer, Advance CTE’s Executive Director, upon the introduction of the legislation. The legislation comes ahead of potential consideration of ESRA by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee expected later this Congress. 

P3 Pilot Applications Announced

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) issued a notice inviting applications for selection as a Performance Partnership Pilots for disconnected youth (P3). This pilot authority has been authorized by Congress since 2014 and is aimed at better supporting disconnected youth populations by allowing ED and other federal agencies to waive certain requirements of existing federal funding streams like ESSA, Perkins V, and other similar investments. In doing so, recipients of these funds can braid and blend federal resources more easily, allowing for greater coordination of services for these populations. More on the announcement, including how to apply, can be found here

Energy Department Announces School Infrastructure Funding

In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy announced $178 million in new grant funding it has made available to local school districts in 22 states via the Renew America’s Schools grant program. This grant program was created as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden. The program aims to help schools and districts make improvements to facilities that improve energy efficiency and foster healthier learning environments. More information about the grants can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: FY24 Funding Continues to Take Shape

Friday, June 16th, 2023

This week, congressional leaders continued to look ahead to next steps for the 2024 federal budget and appropriations process ahead of important deadlines this fall and early next year. Elsewhere, lawmakers in the House examined innovative approaches to postsecondary education.

House Republicans Propose Significant Cuts to Domestic Spending

After months of on-and-off again negotiations, congressional leaders and President Biden recently reached a deal to suspend the debt ceiling and avert a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt obligations. The agreement, known as the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), extends the nation’s borrowing authority for the next two years and, importantly for the Career and Technical Education (CTE) community, establishes new spending caps for that same period of time for federal fiscal years 2024 (FY24) and 2025 (FY25). The FRA was signed into law by President Biden on June 3, following intense negotiations between Democrats and Republicans. Upon the release of the agreement, House Republican leadership touted the FRA saying, in part, “The Fiscal Responsibility Act does what is responsible for our children, what is possible in divided government, and what is required by our principles and promises.”

More recently, however, House Republicans have signaled that they intend to move forward with FY24 spending bills that do not conform to the spending cap requirements contained in the FRA. In a recent development earlier this week, the top House Republican appropriator, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), announced that she plans to move forward with a series of spending bills that reduce federal spending to FY22 levels, rather than FY23 as required by the FRA. Recent press reports have indicated that the committee is planning to advance spending legislation for the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education spending bill, where the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins V) and other education programs derive funding from. The bill could potentially include an up to $60 billion cut to funding for this portion of the federal budget—a nearly one-third reduction in funding over current levels of investment.

In the Senate, Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME) have indicated that they plan to move forward with FY24 spending proposals in the coming weeks that do conform to the FRA. This puts Congress on a likely path towards another future disagreement over federal spending later this fall, with the chambers potentially moving forward with spending proposals that are dramatically different. This will have the practical effect of making reconciling the differences between the chambers’ proposals even more challenging ahead of the start of FY24, set to begin on October 1. As a reminder, a mandatory, across-the-board sequester cut of one percent to all federal spending would be applied should Congress not reach agreement on full-year FY24 funding  by January 1 of next year. As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will be closely monitoring these developments and engaging with partners on Capitol Hill to ensure the funding needs of the CTE community are realized as part of this ongoing budget and appropriations process for FY24. 

House Examines Postsecondary Innovation

On Wednesday, June 14, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing titled “Postsecondary Innovation: Preparing Students for Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” The hearing focused on the need to fundamentally rethink many aspects of postsecondary education, with witnesses and lawmakers discussing at length the important role career development and planning has both before, during, and after postsecondary experiences to ensure learner success. In addition, the importance of dual and concurrent enrollment opportunities was highlighted extensively during the hearing as was the need to fully invest earlier on in the educational continuum—a key strategy emphasized during the hearing to prepare students earlier on for their future endeavors. A webcast archive of the hearing, including witness testimony, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Congress Looks Ahead on Funding

Friday, June 9th, 2023

This week, Congress plans next steps on appropriations while lawmakers examine the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent budget request. Elsewhere, federal officials have announced the availability of new grant funding for school infrastructure projects.

Congress Looks to Next Steps for Funding

As shared previously, lawmakers recently advanced and President Biden signed into law the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA)—legislation that suspends the debt limit through 2025 and establishes new spending caps for that same two-year period of time. A summary of the FRA can be found here. The spending caps contained in the bill will freeze current federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding levels for the upcoming FY24 appropriations process and will allow for a one percent increase in domestic discretionary programs, like federal investments in Career Technical Education (CTE), for FY25. In addition, the FRA includes a provision that strongly encourages Congress to pass all 12 federal appropriations bills before the end of the calendar year. If lawmakers are unable to reach that goal, an automatic spending reduction would be applied to the entire federal budget until full-year appropriations legislation has been passed.

With the new appropriations framework now signed into law, Congress is expected to begin marking up individual spending bills in the coming weeks and months. However, less than a week after passage, recent reports indicate that House Republicans may attempt to move forward with spending bills that use lower spending caps than those contained in the FRA. A specific timeline for lawmakers in both the House and Senate to advance Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related Agencies (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations legislation, which provides funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V; as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act), has yet to be determined. 

As these efforts continue to take shape, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has provided additional clarity regarding nearly $400 million in rescinded pandemic aid funds that were also included as part of the FRA. In a recent letter to Education Stabilization Fund grantees, ED has made clear that K-12 education funds that have already been obligated and sent to states will not be included in these amounts. Advance CTE is monitoring these developments closely and will continue to engage with partners in Congress to secure needed investments in CTE as part of the upcoming FY24 budget and appropriations process and beyond.   

House Education Committee Examines Department of Labor FY24 Budget

On Wednesday, June 7, the House Education and the Workforce Committee (E&W) held a hearing examining the policies and priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and, relatedly, its recent FY24 budget request to Congress. Acting Secretary of Labor, Julie Su, was the sole witness at the hearing whose confirmation is currently stalled in the Senate. The over three-hour-long hearing focused on a wide array of topics including how to align and coordinate CTE and workforce development systems and related programs, extensive discussion on apprenticeship programs, including ways to expand and grow these models into nontraditional fields such as teaching, and a host of other issues related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) which is due for reauthorization. A webcast archive of the hearing, including statements and testimony, can be found here

ED Announces School Infrastructure Grants

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued a notice inviting K-12 schools and districts to apply for roughly $40 million in new funding to support school building and related infrastructure improvement projects. ED anticipates making 8-13 awards, between $3 and $5 million each, to support these efforts. In addition, ED is planning to set aside an additional $2 million for the creation of a National Center on School Infrastructure to provide technical assistance and best practices to states and schools as part of this wider initiative. More information about the grants, including how to apply, can be accessed here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Layla Alagic in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: New House CTE Caucus Leader Announced As Congress Nears Funding Deal

Friday, December 16th, 2022

This week the House CTE Caucus announced a new co-chair to lead the caucus in the upcoming 118th Congress. Meanwhile, lawmakers have continued to make progress on federal fiscal year 2023 (FY23) funding in the hopes of completing work before the end of the year. 

House CTE Caucus Leadership Announcement

This morning longtime House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) announced that Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) will succeed Langevin in the upcoming 118th Congress as the new Democratic co-chair of this bipartisan caucus. Alongside his colleague Rep. Thompson, Rep. Langevin led the House CTE Caucus for over a decade. He is set to retire at the end of the current 117th Congress. “Representative Langevin’s leadership as co-chair of the House CTE Caucus culminates over two decades of dedication to increase the awareness of and support for CTE and its learners,” said Advance CTE’s Executive Director Kimberly Green when this news was announced. “Advance CTE is incredibly grateful for his partnership and dedication, and we wish him the very best in his next chapter. We look forward to working with Representative Bonamici in the next Congress to secure the necessary resources for state leaders to build high-quality, equitable CTE systems for every learner.” 

Our organization is appreciative of Rep. Langevin’s many years of service in support of high-quality CTE programs and the millions of learners they serve across the country. We look forward to continuing this work in the next Congress in collaboration with Rep. Bonamici in this new capacity. 

Lawmakers Near Agreement on FY23 Funding

Congress stayed in session this week as part of a busy lame duck session to attend to a number of “must-pass” items still left on lawmakers’ agendas. Top among this list is the need to pass full-year funding legislation for FY23 . Current stopgap legislation, known as a continuing resolution (CR), extended FY22 funding through December 16 (today) of this year for all federal operations and programs like the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins V). 

For weeks, lawmakers have struggled to find consensus on topline spending figures for defense and non-defense spending. On Tuesday evening, Congressional leaders announced that they had reached a tentative agreement on the overall size of an FY23 package—an important first step in the wider process of developing a full-year FY23 funding package. At present, this “framework” agreement will reportedly total approximately $1.7 trillion, but specific details regarding this emerging deal have yet to be made public. In the interim, lawmakers passed an additional CR last night, lasting through December 23, to provide themselves with more time as they continue to negotiate the specific program-level spending details underlying this forthcoming funding package. 

As these efforts continue, Advance CTE will continue to work with partners on Capitol Hill to advocate for full-year FY23 funding and to encourage greater investments in CTE as part of this wider process.

ED Hosts STEM Summit

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) hosted a “YOU Belong in STEM” summit at its Washington, D.C. headquarters to support and promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education across the nation. The convening brought together stakeholders to discuss strategies and best practices for how to implement, at scale, high-quality STEM education opportunities, particularly for learners from marginalized backgrounds. More on the effort can be found here

Steve Voytek, Policy Advisor

By Stacy Whitehouse in Public Policy
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