This bill would reform career and technical education (CTE) to ensure that programs offered at the middle school, high school, and postsecondary levels of the education system meet the needs of today’s workforce. It would lift burdensome requirements on state and local leaders to ensure that the federal government’s role is limited, while also increasing transparency and accountability.
Requirements that states must abide by when applying for federal funds to use in career and technical education would be simplified so that it’s aligned with the process states have to use when submitting their workforce development plan. Local leadership would be able to submit a simpler application than the lengthy and duplicative plans they’re currently required to provide. Every two years, local leaders would meet with community stakeholders to prepare
States would be able to set aside up to 15 percent of the federal funds they receive for helping eligible students in rural areas or places that have significant numbers of CTE students. Additionally, states would be afforded more flexibility in how they use federal funds to support CTE programs that either focus on unique local education or economic needs, or pursue innovative state-based policies.
To better prepare students for the workforce, work-based learning would be promoted by this bill and CTE providers would be evaluated based on how their students developed their skills. State leaders would be encouraged to integrate their CTE services with other state-led job training programs so that there’s a seamless workforce development system in that state.
Local business leaders would be involved in the development of CTE programs and performance goals that are set at the state and local level. These reforms are intended to ensure that CTE students are prepared for the jobs of the future, rather than those of the past. State and local leaders will be able to direct federal funds to programs that focus on in-demand jobs.
States would develop a metric to use in determining whether or not CTE programs at the high school level are effectively preparing students to continue their education or start their careers. For postsecondary CTE programs, the number of performance measures would be streamlined.
Under this bill states would no longer have to negotiate their performance goals with the Secretary of Education, instead using a process that gets public input from local education leaders, parents, and students — in addition to community and business leaders. These performance measures would be included in each state’s plan, and annual reports would be published with how they fared to give students, taxpayers, and leaders the information they need to hold CTE programs accountable.
The Secretary of Education would be prohibited from withholding funds from a state that doesn’t meet certain performance targets, instead allowing state leaders to develop an improvement plan that would be developed by local stakeholders and overseen by state leaders. The Dept. of Education wouldn’t be responsible for carrying out a plan for research, development, dissemination, and evaluation — as an independent entity would be given that job instead.