House Committee Set to Advance Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize Carl Perkins Career and Technical Education Program

Tomorrow morning (Wednesday, May 17), the House Committee on Education and the Workforce has scheduled a committee markup session to review and vote on H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.”   The Committee meeting can be viewed online via live webcast at 10:00 am (EDT)/9:00 am (CDT). 

This bipartisan legislation was introduced last week by U.S. Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) with the goal of helping more students gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need for success in careers and in higher education.  

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the federal law providing federal support to state and local career and technical education, or CTE, programs was first enacted in 1984.  It has not been updated in more than a decade. School districts working to expand CTE programs and to create and broaden sustainable partnerships with business, industry, technical colleges and other institutions of higher education, have recognized the need to modernize our CTE framework to help ensure students are prepared to succeed in the workforce and are prepared for in-demand jobs.

The new CTE reauthorization bill—H.R. 2353—is  largely identical to CTE reauthorization legislation that the U.S. House of Representatives passed last September by an overwhelming vote of 405 to 5.   

According to the National School Boards Association (NSBA), this year’s version of the bill makes the following changes from last year’s legislation, including provisions to:

  • Clarify that states are to set their performance targets based on the process described in their state plan;
  • Restrict the secondary “non-traditional” and “program quality” indicators to only CTE concentrators who have taken two sequential CTE courses. (A CTE “concentrator” is a student who has taken three courses across programs or two courses in the same program.);
  • Clarify that states are to consult with state-level stakeholders when revising ineffective performance improvement plans;
  • Reaffirm the responsibility of the U.S. Secretary of Education to provide technical assistance, monitoring, and oversight related to the implementation of revised performance improvement plans;
  • Revise the maintenance of effort (MOE) language to allow states to reestablish state CTE funding allocations in the program year immediately following implementation. (States would be allowed some flexibility for MOE to “reset” their baselines one time to help those that have faced challenges with compliance. The limit on that reset is that the new state funding level would be at least 90 percent of the current funding level.); and,
  • Extend the deadline for the Secretary to review state plans from 90 to 120 days.

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