On Wednesday, May 17, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce is scheduled to review 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. Last week, U.S. Representatives Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) introduced the bill with the goal of helping more students gain the knowledge, skills and experience they need for success in careers and in higher education.
H.R. 2353 is similar to legislation for CTE reauthorization that the House of Representatives passed last September by a vote of 405 to 5. The following changes from last year's legislation, however, are to address program effectiveness and other areas. H.R. 2353 includes 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.
Along with organizations such as the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), NSBA is examining the proposed changes in H.R. 2353 and will work with stakeholders to address any concerns. NSBA is advocating for passage of a CTE reauthorization that supports a strong academic component and credentialing programs to help our nation's school districts advance programs of study that meet the needs of both students and employers, and provide practical training through apprenticeships and other opportunities. Additional details are available here. Also, research findings from the Center for Public Education report on Career and Technical Education: Building New Pathways into the Labor Market are posted online.