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Editorial Note: The following is only intended to recap issues that were discussed at the hearing related to CTE. You can read a more comprehensive recap of the hearing from EdWeek here, or watch the hearing in its entirety here.
Last week, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, appeared before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP). Like all nomination hearings, Mrs. DeVos began with a prepared statement. In it, she briefly touched on her support for “all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools, and community colleges.”
Following the opening remarks, each Senator had an opportunity to ask questions, and CTE issues were raised by two of the committee members. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) highlighted the value of CTE in his question time. He used the hearing to explain how the Perkins funding formula discourages some rural schools in Wyoming from applying because the amount of funding they would receive would not justify the time and effort it takes to apply.
During Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) questioning, he stated that CTE doesn’t get enough “good attention.” He also spoke of what he called the “bachelor’s addiction” in today’s education ecosystem and the need to tackle the stigma associated with CTE. Senator Scott also expressed support for giving technical schools additional flexibility to align marketplace needs with program offerings. Mrs. DeVos reaffirmed her belief in the importance of having a variety of alternative pathways for students, but did not offer any specific comments on CTE.
While Senators Enzi and Scott were the only committee members to speak directly about CTE, other issues of importance to ACTE were also raised, such as federal funding, the implementation of ESSA, and both the Higher Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. For example, in response to a variety of questions, Mrs. DeVos would not commit to protecting funding for public schools or to continuing to implement recent ESSA accountability regulations or gainful employment rules. Few specifics were offered by Mrs. DeVos on any of the issues raised.
Parts of the hearing were particularly contentious, with numerous disagreements about both policy and procedure, as well as potential conflicts of interest. Sensitive topics such as guns in schools and sexual assault on college campuses were also raised, and you can find more details in the editorial note above.
The HELP Committee was originally scheduled to vote on Mrs. DeVos’ nomination on Tuesday, January 24, but that vote has been delayed until January 31. If approved, her nomination will then be considered by the full Senate.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 01/23/2017 at 05:02 PM in Executive Branch, In the News | Permalink
CTE, DeVos, ED, HELP, Trump
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