Perkins CTE Act Reauthorized; House Democrats Introduce Aim Higher Act
Perkins CTE Act Reauthorized; House Democrats Introduce Aim Higher Act

August 2018

Perkins Reauthorization Signed Into Law

President Donald Trump signed the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the first comprehensive education bill of his presidency, on July 31. The law modernizes policy aspects of career and technical education (CTE). Beginning in July 2019, the law is authorized for six years.

As it pertains to education research, the law requires the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to conduct research, data collection, and evaluation for CTE programs supported by the law, in consultation with the Secretary of the Department of Education. IES will also award grants or contracts for activities that include:

  • Research and evaluation to develop, improve, and identify the most successful methods for eliminating inequities  and addressing the education, employment, and training needs of CTE participants
  • Research on the impact of changes made in the new Perkins law
  • Longitudinal information on career and technical education programs and programs of study and student achievement

The new Perkins Act also requires the Department of Education to develop a research plan and submit a report to Congress that summarizes evaluation and research activities on CTE. The act authorizes $7.65 million to carry out these activities in the 2019 fiscal year.

Additional details on the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act are available in a summary from Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Aim Higher Act Introduced

On July 24, Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee released the Aim Higher Act, their bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA). The bill stands in stark contrast to the Republican PROSPER Act, which the committee passed on a party-line vote in December 2017 but is unlikely to receive a full House vote.

The Aim Higher Act would repeal the student unit record ban. As noted in the December 2017 AERA Highlights, the PROSPER Act would maintain the ban, despite efforts during the markup hearing to amend the bill to repeal it and bipartisan support in both chambers for the College Transparency Act.

The Aim Higher Act would also maintain Title II funding for the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant program, which would be eliminated under the PROSPER Act. In addition, the bill would authorize grants for programs aiming to diversify the teacher workforce, increase programs that provide for dual certifications for special education and English-language instruction with general education, and offer graduate fellowships to doctoral students pursuing careers to advance high-quality instruction on pedagogy for high-need fields.

Meanwhile, despite initial bipartisan efforts to reauthorize HEA in the Senate, action has stalled on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Senate HELP Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced in June that the committee is unlikely to produce a reauthorization bill before the end of the year.

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