From the Editor

CTE Reauthorization

Despite all the drama in Washington, Congress actually continued to work on real issues. On Wednesday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee passed its Perkins reauthorization bill, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. The markup process proceeded smoothly and only a few changes were made to the introduced version of the bill through amendments. The bill was approved by unanimous voice vote. It's now up to the Senate and there is no set timeline in place for any Senate action.

The guiding principles of the House legislation were much like those that guided the development of ESSA—a smaller federal role and increased flexibility and authority for the states. The bill also seeks to better align the program to address in-demand jobs and ensure that students leave CTE programs equipped with the skills they need to be successful in the workplace.

HR 2353 simplifies the requirements states have to follow when applying for federal funds and streamlines the application process to better align it with the process for submitting the state workforce development plan. The bill increases the amount of federal funds states can set aside to assist eligible students in rural areas or areas with a significant number of CTE students from 10% to 15%. It also gives states more flexibility to use federal funds to support CTE programs that are focused on unique and changing education and economic needs or state-based innovation.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) enjoys wide bipartisan support. That's interesting in light of information published in the Washington Post this week. The Post has obtained budget documents that it claims are a "near-final version" of the budget expected to be released next week. You'll remember that back in March the White House released a "skinny budget" for FY 2018, a document that did not contain a lot of detailed information. In that document there was no mention of CTE funding. The Post claims that the final FY 2018 budget will include a $168 million cut for CTE, a 15% reduction from FY 2017. It seems like an odd time to cut CTE funding, especially on the part of a president who has talked a lot about jobs. But he's not talked a lot about training or offered much vision about next-generation jobs, so maybe it's all of a piece. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 held CTE funding level with that of 2016, at $1.1 billion, so Congress may have other ideas about FY 2018 funding.

The complete FY 2018 budget request is expected to be made public next week.