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Progress on the New Career-Education Law | Michael G. Sheppard
Progress on the new
MICHAEL G. SHEPPARD
PERKINS CAREER AND TECHNICAL
Senate lawmakers are currently working on improvements in the Perkins
Career and Technical Education Law, a law that provides for federal
spending for technical education in the United States. This re-
authorization of the Perkins Law will now give states and local
educational facilities more flexibility in determining where their funding
should be directed to reach career goals.
Negotiations on this bill stalled for
months because of disagreements
that revolved primarily on the
restrictions to the authority of the
Secretary of Education in
determining the manner in which
states should use federal funds to
achieve the goals of their career
training. This updated Perkins Law
would allow states more
autonomy in meeting career-
educational goals. The Senate
agreement also requires that if
states do not achieve their goals,
the federal Education secretary
could then assert more authority.
This conditional empowerment of
the states in determining their
specific educational objectives
differs from the proposal of the
House of Representatives.
In contrast to the Senate bill, The
Strengthening Career and
Technical Education for the 21st
Century Act proposed by the
House of Representatives offers a
more simplified application
process for states and local
educational facilities requesting
federal funds. It also requires that
employers in the states have more
input into the goals of career-
education programs. Further, the
House legislation eliminates the
present requirement that states
receive approval by the Secretary
of Education for program goals. It
does, however, set performance
benchmarks. One of these is a
measurement of postsecondary
programs based on the median
earnings of graduates.
The proposed measures of both the Senate and the House of Representatives
have been praised by the director of federal policy at the National Skills
Coalition, Kermit Kaliba, because they are similar to those contained in
legislation that passed last year. However, while the Coalition believes that
both the Senate and the House bills are well directed, it is disappointed that
career education grants are still receiving less funding than historical funding
levels in the past for the Carl D.Perkins Career and Education Act. Kaleb
observed that priorities are created in part by the spending levels that are set.
Advance Career Technical Education (Advance CTE), another organization that
strives to connect learning to work, praised the efforts of the Senate to
improve the bill. But, the American Association of School Superintendents
found it to be “unrealistic and too prescriptive.”
Micahel G. Sheppard describes the most recent progress on the new career-education law.