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CTE Bill Hits Road Bump Over Restrictions on Education Secretary’s Authority

CTE Bill Hits Road Bump Over Restrictions on Education Secretary’s Authority

Chairman of the Senate education committee and one of the main architects behind the Every Student Succeeds Act, Lamar Alexander, has continually expressed his disappointment with the involvement of the federal government in implementing the new education legislation.

As a result, he’s being far more cautious before passing legislation and has consequentially stalled the passing of a bipartisan rewrite of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a measure that was passed in the House last week.

"I'm not going to bring it before the committee until I can be assured that the education secretary will follow the law instead of rewriting it in the way he is trying to do with the law we passed to fix No Child Left Behind,” Alexander said to Politico’s Morning Education.

While improving Career and Technical Education has become a bipartisan issue as lawmakers from both sides understand the importance of providing students with a well-rounded curriculum, not just one that assumes all students are destined for college, it’s becoming more and more unlikely that legislation to do so will be passed in a timely manner. 

The legislation, despite passing in the House by a 405-5 vote, is now less likely to pass in the Senate because Democrats are unlikely to agree with "a range of new restrictions on the education secretary’s authority to approve state plans for spending the money under the law on career and technical education programs,” said Politico.

Specifically, the new restrictions not included in the House bill repeal "the requirement that states must negotiate their targeted levels of performance with the secretary of education” as well as prevent "the secretary of education from withholding funds from a state that does not meet certain performance targets.”

Under the extensive restrictions, a federal plan for research must be carried out by an independent entity and not the secretary of education under the legislation.

Further, the "bill . . . requires that future demonstration projects focus on enhancing performance and student success, restricting the secretary’s ability to pick winners and losers based on politics.”

According to The National Law Review, it is unlikely the Senate will introduce a bill until next Congress, something CTE advocates had hoped against

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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