Reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act
Congress has made significant progress towards reauthorizing the Perkins Act, which through Basic State Grants and other programs supports the improvement of career and technical education (CTE) programs at high schools and postsecondary institutions. Community colleges urge Congress, particularly the Senate, to take the final steps necessary to complete this reauthorization.
Earlier this year, bipartisan reauthorization legislation – the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) –passed the House by a voice vote. However, to date, a lingering disagreement over the scope of the Secretary of Education’s authority in administering the program has stalled Senate action.
Community colleges’ priorities for the Perkins Act reauthorization are largely reflected in H.R. 2353:
Focus on Quality CTE
Community colleges support further refinement of the Perkins statute to ensure that the funding it provides is focused on high-quality CTE programs. The Perkins Act should contain stronger emphasis on tools such as dual enrollment, work experiences, integrated delivery of basic skills and CTE instruction, and stackable postsecondary credentials. A crucial aspect of establishing a highly effective CTE program, particularly at the postsecondary level, is that it prepares students for available, quality jobs in their local areas. Perkins V should include provisions that ensure that states and local entities are using the tools available to them, including direct consultation with industry and labor market information, to ensure that this is the case.
Increase Investment While Maintaining the Current Funding Focus
At the postsecondary level, funding should continue to focus on the sub-baccalaureate level, because that is where the greatest job growth is occurring and where resources are most needed. Postsecondary eligibility requirements should continue to include only public and private, nonprofit institutions.
Community colleges strongly favor establishing consistent definitions and metrics to enable a clearer picture of the performance of career and technical education at the national and state levels. This starts with more clearly defining the population of students upon which the indicators are based. Accountability measures should be streamlined to focus on key current performance indicators: completion, retention, and employment. In addition, Perkins postsecondary performance indicators should be aligned, wherever possible and appropriate, with other accountability measures, particularly those in the Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Integration with Other Programs
Program integration is vital if community colleges are to succeed in meeting the educational and training needs of their diverse student populations. Congress has the unique opportunity to increase the alignment between Perkins, WIOA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Higher Education Act. Community colleges also support unified state and local plans that address, at a minimum, WIOA Title I, adult basic education (WIOA Title II), and the Perkins Act. This will help bring together individuals who should be working in tandem towards achieving common ends, but are too often working in separate silos, including within our member institutions.
For more information, please contact Jim Hermes, associate vice president of government relations, at 202.416.4501 or firstname.lastname@example.org or David Baime, senior vice president government relations and policy analysis, at 202.416.4500 or email@example.com.