ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
This week in Washington, D.C., a panel of negotiators working to develop rules to govern certain provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) met for the final time. The negotiators, including teachers, administrators, parents and other education stakeholders, were tasked with regulating on issues affecting student assessments and the “supplement, not supplant” funding requirement—a provision intended to ensure that federal dollars are not used to replace state and local funding—in the new ESSA law. While they were able to come to an agreement on the testing and assessment issues, the more controversial supplement, not supplant proposal put forward by the U.S. Department of Education was rejected by the negotiators, and no agreement was ultimately reached. It will now be left to the department to regulate the issue through its normal rulemaking process. For more on ESSA implementation, the group Whiteboard Advisors has put together a 2016-2017 implementation timeline, available here. You can also check back to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for all the latest ESSA updates.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/22/2016 at 04:43 PM in ESEA | Permalink
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education provided guidance to states and school districts on available federal funding that can support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs. The letter issued by the department outlines opportunities within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Perkins Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to use federal funds to supplement STEM education efforts. Specifically, the letter addresses ways to:
For example, the department notes that Perkins funds can be used to support collaborations with business and industry to offer work-based learning opportunities for careers in STEM fields. Additionally, funds provided through Title II of ESSA can be used for educator professional development on incorporating technology into STEM instruction. The full letter is available here.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/14/2016 at 11:36 AM in ESEA, Executive Branch, Federal Funding, Perkins, STEM | Permalink
Negotiators working to develop rules governing certain provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will convene later this week in Washington. As we previously reported, ESSA requires that the department engage in “negotiated rulemaking” with respect to regulations affecting student assessments and “supplement, not supplant” funding provisions in the law. The negotiators, who were selected from among teachers, administrators, parents and other education stakeholders nationwide, met for the first time last month. In this second session, the negotiators will consider the draft regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Education. The text of the proposed regulations and other supporting materials for this rulemaking session are available here. Additionally, the department has stated that it will soon begin the regulatory process on state accountability systems and the submission of state plans, which will both have important implications for expanding the role of CTE in ESSA. You can follow the latest updates on ESSA implementation on the CTE Policy Watch Blog.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/04/2016 at 02:59 PM in ESEA | Permalink
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced the names of negotiators who will be tasked with determining how the department will implement certain provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA requires that the department engage in “negotiated rulemaking” with respect to regulations affecting student assessments and “supplement, not supplant” funding provisions in the law. The negotiators were selected from among teachers, administrators, parents and other education stakeholders from around the country. The department will host public negotiating sessions in March and April. More information is available online.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 03/07/2016 at 05:10 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
On February 26, the Department of Education posted a new set of “Frequently Asked Questions” regarding the implementation of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act. The document is designed “to support States and LEAs in understanding expectations during the transition to full implementation of the ESSA.”
As with any new legislation, there are many questions that must be answered to ensure policies and programs are implemented at the state and local level in a way that matches congressional intent, and to ensure an orderly transition from the prior Act to the new one. This document includes questions and answers organized around five topics, including:
The new document clarifies several elements related to the upcoming school year specifically, including what data must be submitted, how funds should be allocated and how waivers policies will be treated. All the Departments guidance on ESSA can be found on its online resource page at http://www.ed.gov/essa, and this document will be continually updated as new information about the implementation process becomes available.
Along with the release of this new information, the Department also expressed interest in hearing more from those working to implement the law. The following instructions were provided for asking additional questions or making comments:
If you are interested in commenting on this guidance, or if you have further questions that are not answered here, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject “ESSA Transition Question". You can also write to us at the following address: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 03/01/2016 at 12:40 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
This week, Acting Secretary of Education John King appeared in multiple congressional hearings to discuss the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request, implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and his own formal confirmation to the top job at the U.S. Department of Education—a position he has filled on a temporary basis since December.
He began with an appearance before the House Education and the Workforce Committee to outline the department’s education priorities in the President Obama’s final budget request to Congress. As we previously reported, the budget proposes to level fund the Perkins Basic State Grant program at $1.118 billion. The Administration has requested an additional $75 million for Perkins; however, the additional funds would support the proposed American Technical Training Fund (ATTF) that would provide competitive grants to support short-term or accelerated job training programs in high-demand fields. However, Chairman John Kline (R-MN) questioned the Administration’s decision to include so many new grant programs in the budget request while continuing to underfund existing programs. Kline argued that such programs are “untested” and would contribute to “chronic underfunding” across education, citing proposed funding for a number of new efforts, including the America’s College Promise initiative that would provide two years of free community college.
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chair of the House CTE Caucus, echoed the chairman’s concerns, but specifically questioned the wisdom of the funding ATTF without an increase in the Perkins Basic State Grant. He noted the department’s estimate that the ATTF would provide for only 5-25 new grant awards as proposed for FY 2017, despite the growing need to expand access to CTE across the country. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) also expressed concerns about funding for ATTF, particularly the challenges faced by low-income communities in pursuing competitive grants.
On Thursday, King started the day back at the Education and the Workforce Committee, this time for a hearing on ESSA implementation. As we have reported, ESSA includes some key CTE provisions to promote activities that integrate academic and CTE content in the classroom—including specialized professional development opportunities, expanded college and career guidance programs, improved availability of CTE student performance information, and recognition of CTE as a core component of a well-rounded education. He broadly discussed the department’s efforts to roll out the new law and resources for states and school districts in the coming months and years—including a new FAQ document was published on ESSA transition on Friday.
Later that day, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee considered King’s nomination to serve as secretary of education for the final year of the Obama Administration. King highlighted his experience as New York commissioner of education in expanding CTE for his state. He also urged reauthorization of the Perkins Act this year. “Just as No Child Left Behind was overdue for a rewrite, so too is the Perkins Act,” said King. “Let’s make 2016 the year we transform career and technical education for the 21st century by driving innovation and quality.” The committee will vote on the nomination later this month before it is taken up by the full Senate.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 02/29/2016 at 01:49 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch, Federal Funding | Permalink
Recently, the U.S. Department of Education sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to states with some new guidance on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The department sent a similar letter in December that provided initial guidance on a range of issues, including the fate of existing state flexibility waivers. This most recent letter outlines the department’s intent to administer ESSA programs consistent with current rules and practices for the upcoming 2016-17 school year, which will serve as a transition period from the old No Child Left Behind Act, with a few exceptions. Notably, states will not have to meet the existing requirement that all teachers of academic subjects must be “highly qualified” (having at least a bachelor’s degree and a state certification or license). This provision, which was eliminated in ESSA, has long been a source of consternation for CTE programs that can be credited toward students’ academic course requirements, but must have an instructor that meets the threshold for highly qualified.
Additionally, the department solicited comments from education stakeholders and the public on areas of ESSA where there is a need for greater clarity and guidance from the federal government to help states and school districts implement the new law. ACTE and the National Association of State Directors of CTE Consortium provided comments that are available here.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 02/01/2016 at 03:22 PM in ESEA | Permalink
With the presidential and congressional election in full swing, the second half of the 114th Congress will be dominated by campaign politics. Despite the election-year partisanship, there are some outstanding education policy issues that may make an appearance in 2016.
The implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will be an important issue in K-12 education. The U.S. Department of Education has already put out a formal request for information for stakeholder input and recommendations on implementation of ESSA’s Title I regulations and issued a letter notifying states of several initial steps regarding ESSA implementation and transition. Expect a flurry of regulations and guidance on ESSA, including its CTE provisions, from the feds in the coming year.
As for education legislation, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) will be a continued priority in the House and Senate. Simplifying student financial aid programs and reducing the cost of higher education will be key themes in forthcoming reauthorization bills. Congressional Republicans will continue to oppose the department’s gainful employment regulations and other higher education regulations, and will likely use HEA reauthorization to block those efforts. The Senate, in particular, may follow a similar path on HEA as it did with ESSA—crafting a bipartisan proposal to gain support from both sides of the aisle.
It is unclear when Congress may begin to seriously consider the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. Both chambers have been working toward Perkins reauthorization over the past year, but other issues may still take priority in 2016. The passage of ESSA and WIOA does increase the possibility of reauthorization legislation this year, particularly if progress stalls (or moves very quickly) on HEA.
With the passage of the two-year budget deal and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, Congress will be able to focus its attention on funding for FY 2017 in the coming months, with hopes of more regular order in the budget and appropriations process. The new budget cycle will again begin with the release of the President Obama’s FY 2017 budget request on February 9, which will be the last budget of his Administration. The House and Senate will unveil their own funding proposals throughout the spring and summer. Despite a slight increase in discretionary spending levels, the Republican majorities in both chambers will likely push for greater fiscal austerity. The CTE community will continue to advocate for a greater investment in Perkins!
Be sure check out the CTE Policy Watch Blog for regular updates on all the policy activity to come in 2016. We also invite you to join us in Washington on February 29-March 2, at this year’s National Policy Seminar!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/08/2016 at 11:42 AM in Advocacy Resources, ESEA, Executive Branch, Federal Funding, HEA, NPS, Perkins | Permalink
As Congress prepares to take its holiday recess, work is just beginning on implementation of the groundbreaking Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). When President Obama signed the bill into law last week, it reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in more than a decade and ushered in a new era for K-12 education – and the federal regulations that will shape this new landscape.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) today published a notification in the Federal Register of a formal Request for Information for stakeholder input and recommendations on implementation of ESSA’s Title I regulations. ED also issued a Dear Colleague Letter notifying states of several initial steps regarding ESSA implementation, including regarding transitions related to its ESEA flexibility waivers. The letter states that ED will make additional information (including formal regulatory actions and notifications) available on its official ESSA page, here. Stakeholders are invited to send their questions about ESSA implementation to ED at email@example.com.
As previously reported in the Policy Watch Blog, ACTE supported ESSA for its unprecedented emphasis on the role of CTE in preparing all students for college and careers (to learn more about the CTE provisions in the law, click here to read our previous coverage, as well as Ed Week’s blogs on the bill overall and CTE provisions). ACTE is planning to develop additional in-depth resources for our members as implementation begins to ensure that they are prepared for these changes and can maximize the new law’s potential for their students.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/18/2015 at 12:19 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
Today, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), after the measure received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. ACTE proudly endorses ESSA and its strong emphasis on the role of CTE in preparing every student for college- and career-success. As we previously reported, ESSA includes key provisions to advance and strengthen CTE in secondary schools nationwide. "Through the work of CTE advocates and their champions on Capitol Hill, we've begun a new chapter under ESSA that will foster a public education system that empowers students through high-quality CTE,” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. "We look forward to supporting ESSA's implementation and helping to maximize the opportunities presented in this new law to strengthen the linkages between academics and CTE." A press release from ACTE and our partners at NASDCTEc is available here.
In applauding ESSA’s CTE provisions, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus and the original sponsor of many of these reforms, said, “CTE is an important pathway for students to prepare for the workforce by integrating practical applied purposes with work-based knowledge and a hands-on learning experience.” Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, highlighted their support for work-based learning and career counseling in ESSA. “Education is about preparing young people for the future, and career readiness is a crucial piece of the puzzle,” said Langevin. “We must ensure that our schools are equipped with the resources necessary to inform students about workforce demands so they can make the best decisions about their futures.”
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), one of the bipartisan negotiators of ESSA, said of this effort, “We created an environment that will unleash a flood of excellence in student achievement state by state and community by community.” He further noted that ESSA is the largest overhaul of federal K-12 education policy since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.
In his remarks at the bill signing ceremony, President Obama lauded the bill for its focus on ensuring that “every student is prepared to succeed in the 21st Century.” He goes on to say, “In today’s economy, a high-quality education is a prerequisite for success.” You can watch his full remarks here.
We will continue to provide updates on ESSA through the CTE Policy Watch Blog, and will be preparing new resources to help CTE stakeholders get involved in the law’s implementation.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/10/2015 at 02:17 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
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