Legislative Update: Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Bills, College Scorecard Expands, Advance CTE Supports New Bills

This week, short-term funding bills were passed in the House and Senate. Read below to learn more about the appropriations process, the newly expanded College Scorecard, new bills on career counseling and postsecondary apprenticeships, Advance CTE’s participation in last week’s Data Quality Institute and how Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos voiced support for connecting education and the workforce. 

Congress Passes Stopgap Funding Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown

Today, the Senate passed a short-term funding bill, or continuing resolution, 74-20 to keep the government funded until December 20. This bill, H.R. 3055, was passed by the House earlier in the week, mainly on party lines. Now, President Donald Trump must sign the bill before the currently enacted short-term funding bill expires at midnight. If the stopgap spending plan is not signed, there will be a government shutdown. 

The next four weeks will be used for Congress to come to an agreement on a full Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. If this agreement is not reached, there could be another continuing resolution. There is risk of a government shutdown should no agreement on either a short-term or long-term plan be reached by December 20. Appropriators have still not come to an agreement on each of the total allocations for the 12 appropriations bills that fund the government (referred to as 302(b) levels).

Department of Education Releases Expanded College Scorecard

On November 21, the U.S. Department of Education released a long awaited redesign and expansion of the College Scorecard to include program level data and more comprehensive graduation rate data. For the first time, data is now available to parents, learners and researchers that include median debt and median earnings by field of study. In the past, this data was only available at the institutional level. This allows for better evaluation, including rate of return of expected earnings for every dollar spent, of specific programs that learners and their families can use to make informed decisions. For researchers, this data provides a better understanding of specific programs within institutions, as well as a more comprehensive picture of graduation data. Previously, students that were not “first time full-time,” like transfer students, were not represented.

Advance CTE is currently evaluating this new data, check back for updates!

House Introduces Bill to Strengthen Career Counseling

Co-Chairs of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, Congressmen Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), introduced the Counseling for Career Choice Act. This bill would amend the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to provide state grants that would support the implementation of a statewide career counseling framework developed in partnership with community stakeholders such as schools and businesses. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill. The press release can be viewed here and the full bill text can be viewed here

Senate Prepares Postsecondary Apprenticeship Bill 

Senator Michael Bennett (D-CO) announced that he is preparing to introduce the Student Apprenticeship Act shortly. This bill would create a new grant program that supports apprenticeships that operate in partnership with institutions of higher education, employers and workforce intermediaries. Participating apprentices would be paid for their work, earn college credit as well as industry credentials. 

Advance CTE is pleased to support this bill. Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE, is quoted in the press release for this proposal, which can be viewed here. The full bill text can be viewed here and a summary here

Advance CTE Presents at Data Quality Institute

Advance CTE attended last week’s annual Data Quality Institute, hosted by the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education and RTI International. At the conference, Advance CTE’s Deputy Executive Director Kate Kreamer shared her observations on implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and urged state leaders to think of their state plans not as a “one and done” but rather “a continuous improvement process.” Participants also shared their definitions and benchmarks for the Perkins V performance indicators and gained insights from other states in attendance. 

Check out resources on Perkins V here

Secretary DeVos Promotes Connecting Education to the Workforce

Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos called for better connecting education and the workforce, both in K-12 and higher education. The remarks were made in a session with President of Western Governors University Scott Pulsipher during the Committee for Economic Development fall policy conference. Secretary DeVos stated that “We have had way too big of walls between education and business and industry, and those walls have got to come down. So I really encourage you to reach out to educators and see how we can partner with them to really meet your students’ and your community’s needs, and ultimately your own workforce needs.” Secretary DeVos also voiced her support for dual enrollment, apprenticeship programs and expanding Pell grant eligibility to short-term programs. 

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

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