The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, co-authored and championed by our own Sen. Bob Casey, received bipartisan support and was signed into law on July 31, 2018 making it a solid win for students and businesses across the country.
The National Education Association (NEA), and the Association for Career & Technical Education, were instrumental in getting bipartisan support for the overhaul of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act which is critical for the state’s school districts. The funds from this source contributed $41M to Pennsylvania alone during the past school year.
According to Sen. Casey, “Reauthorizing and updating the Perkins program is critical to creating jobs, growing wages and ensuring our workers have the tools to out-compete anyone in the world.” He added, “We were able to work together in a bipartisan manner on legislation that will strengthen career pathways, foster innovation and improve access for traditionally underrepresented populations, including students with disabilities, and ensure better outcomes for all students, educators and our economy. I am particularly proud that we secured a change to the funding formula that will ensure Pennsylvania gets a fair share of allocations going forward.”
Highlights of the bill include:
- States set their own goals and the U.S. Education Secretary is not be permitted to dictate the standards or assessments of CTE.
- States will be required to make “meaningful progress” in meeting their own goals.
- “Core indicators” will be used to assess the performance of CTE students. These include their rate of graduation and the percentage who, within a designated time frame, continue to postsecondary education or advanced training.
- Schools are required to align career and technical education programs with the needs of local communities or the state.
This the first time that the Perkins CTE Act has been reauthorized since 2006, and “this legislation would encourage states, schools and local CTE providers to update education and job training to meet the needs of the local economies, ensuring students have the skills needed to remain competitive,” said Sen. Casey. It would also … “promote collaboration between stakeholders so that local businesses can communicate their needs to states and educators as strategies and programs are developed.”
According to Alan M. Malachowski, a representative of the Council for the Advancement of Public Schools (CAPS), “We are grateful for Sen. Casey’s leadership on this issue which greatly impacts students and businesses in our community.” He added, “Bucks and Montgomery counties boast seven CTE schools and we are proud of the phenomenal opportunities they provide for students to be trained for in-demand jobs, earn college credits while still in high school, and be prepared for the military.”