Technical Education Bill Heads to President's Desk

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July 26, 2018—President Donald Trump could sign a bill revamping federal career and technical education law any day now, reported Politico.

The House today will consider Senate changes on H.R 2353, according to the report. The Senate on Monday night passed H.R 2353 after the House passed its version last year. 

The Senate also adopted a substitute amendment from HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to limit the Education Department's role in how the federal government doles out funding.

From Politico:

The law, known as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, governs more than $1 billion in grants to states and hasn’t been updated since 2006. The revamped legislation would eliminate a negotiation process between states crafting goals for their career and technical education programs and the Education secretary, who approves those plans. Instead, states would set their goals and the secretary would approve them, assuming they meet the law’s requirements. The bill would also require states to make “meaningful progress” toward their goals.

Advocates from the Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE said they don’t expect any regulations or non-regulatory guidance to accompany the law, so they’re hoping Hill staff can clear up a few concerns as the bill gets to the finish line. For example, the groups worry the bill is too broad when it comes to how state and local career and technical education dollars can be spent. The groups have told Senate education leaders that those funds should “be tightly focused on the activities that are most closely related to CTE program quality and student achievement.”

The Auto Care Association released a statement on the bill:

The Auto Care Association applauds Congress for passing H.R. 2353, the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act.” The bill reauthorizes the “Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act” and allocates $1.2 billion in state grants to fund vocational training at most schooling levels. With strong support from the Trump administration, the association expects that the president will sign this important legislation.

“Recruiting and training young people to have the skills to work on today’s highly complex, computer-driven vehicles is a major concern of the auto care industry,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “The future of our industry depends on joint efforts like this one that will help ensure a larger pool of qualified job candidates. We particularly thank the bi-partisan sponsors of this legislation for their hard work to get this bill over the finish line, and we look forward to helping our members become a part of this important initiative.”

Under the legislation, high schools, colleges and training centers may apply for these grants in order to train teachers or fund specific training programs for students. Previously, these efforts were managed on the federal level by the Secretary of Education. This bill moves much of the decision-making and implementation to the local level to ensure that the funds are more effectively used, and that the training meets the needs of companies that are located near the schools and training centers. A state must track performance around core indicators, such as graduation rate, and make “meaningful progress” within a two-year period in order to continue to receive federal funding.

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