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Senate Passes Update to Perkins CTE Law

July 24, 2018

The Senate on Monday unanimously passed an update to the Perkins Career and Technical Education Law.

The House passed its own version of the bill more than a year ago, but negotiations in the Senate had been in a stalemate for months. Business groups and the White House had recently made updating the work-force training bill a priority, though -- presidential adviser Ivanka Trump visited Capitol Hill last month to press senators on the legislation.

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate education committee reached a bipartisan deal to move the bill forward late last month. The agreement will allow states to set benchmarks for career and technical education using grants from the $1.2 billion program, a departure from existing law.

“The reauthorization passed by the Senate today makes important updates to current law, including limiting the role of the Department of Education so states don’t have to ask, ‘Mother, may I?’ when they want to make changes to do what is best for their students and increases expectations that states will hold themselves accountable for student achievement," said Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander, the GOP chairman of the education committee.

The Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE, which advocates for quality work-force training, said in a joint statement that the bill falls short of their legislative priorities and includes some troubling provisions.

"Should the Senate-passed bill be adopted by the House and signed by the president, we look forward to working with the committees in both chambers to clarify the legislative language to ensure that there are no unintended consequences that result in setting unambitious performance targets, lower academic standards for CTE students, or force states and programs to meet onerous administrative requirements instead of focusing on providing high-quality CTE programs," the groups said.

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Andrew Kreighbaum

Andrew Kreighbaum joins Inside Higher Ed as our federal policy reporter. Andrew comes to us from The Investigative Reporting Workshop. He received his master's in data journalism at the University of Missouri, and has interned at USA Today and a national journalism institute in Columbia, MO. Before getting his master's, Andrew spent three years covering government and education at local papers in El Paso, McAllen and Laredo, Texas. He graduated in 2010 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in history and was news editor at The Daily Texan.

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