What local school leaders need to know about the new federal CTE law (Part 2)

Federal legislation reauthorizing and renaming the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (a/k/a/ “Perkins V”) will take effect on July 1, 2019..

Here’s more of what local school leaders need to know about this new law, which we’ll refer to as “Perkins V” to save time and space.

State Plan Development — Under the new law, state plans will now cover a period of four years rather than six. The new law expands upon the current law list of entities with which the state agency developing the plan must consult, to include, among others, the state governor.   Now included are the following:

  • representatives of secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, including eligible recipients and representatives of two-year minority-serving institutions and tribally controlled colleges or universities, adult CTE providers, and charter school representatives, which shall include teachers, faculty, school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel career and academic guidance counselors, and paraprofessionals;
  • interested community representatives, including parents, students and community organizations;
  • representatives of the state workforce development board established under section 101 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act;
  • representatives of business and industry (including representatives of small business), which must include representatives of industry and sector partnerships in the state, as appropriate, and representatives of labor organizations in the state;
  • representatives of agencies serving out-of-school youth, homeless children and youth, and at-risk youth, including the State Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths established or designated under section 722(d)(3) of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;
  • representatives of Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations located in, or providing services in, the state;
  • individuals with disabilities, and
  • members and representatives of special populations.

The state agency developing the plan must meet with officials from the governor’s office during the development of the state plan and prior to the submitting the state plan, and must deliver a copy to the governor for signature 30 days before submitting it to the Secretary of Education. If the governor does not sign the plan within 30 days of receiving it, the agency must submit the plan without the governor’s signature.

Perkins V maintains the requirement to hold public hearings on the state plan, and now specifies that the public comment period must last at least 30 days. Responses to the public comments must be incorporated into the state plan.  The state agency developing the plan still determines the “split” of the state’s Perkins grant between secondary, postsecondary and adult CTE.

Local Uses of Funds — Perkins V makes some significant changes to the local uses of funds section of the new law.

One change requires that the allocation of resources be aligned with the results of newly required local needs assessments.  Specifically, funds must be spent “to develop, coordinate, implement, or improve career and technical education programs to meet the needs identified in the comprehensive needs assessment.”

Another significant change is to streamline the uses of funds.  Most current uses of funds remain covered, although some have fewer explicit provisions attached. There are no longer discrete “required” and “permissive” uses of funds subsections. Instead, many of the former “permissive” uses are included as options under required activities.

In addition to the overall requirement that local funds must be used to support CTE programs of sufficient size, scope and quality to be effective, the law includes six new “required” activities:

  1. provide career exploration and career development activities through an organized, systematic framework;
  2. provide professional development for a wide variety of CTE professionals;
  3. within CTE provide the skills necessary to pursue high-skill, high-wage or in-demand industry sectors or occupations;
  4. support integration of academic skills into CTE programs;
  5. plan and carry out elements that support the implementation of CTE programs and programs of study and that result in increased student achievement; and
  6. develop and implement evaluations of the activities funded by Perkins V.

A number of activities such as purchasing equipment, supporting career and technical student organizations (CTSOs), work-based learning, and dual and concurrent enrollment, among 20 others, are included under the elements that support implementation of programs and programs of study.

The existing option for local recipients to pool funds with other recipients is kept in Perkins V, but is limited to professional development activities. In line with current law, the five (5) percent limit on administrative costs at the local level has been carried over in Perkins V.

We’ll have more on changes made by Perkins V in an additional post.