POTUS to Sign Landmark Career and Technical Education Bill

President Donald Trump on Wednesday will sign a bipartisan overhaul the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, a $1.1 billion program that provides state grant funding for job training and related programs for high school students, many of whom may be seeking postsecondary options other than a four-year college degree.

H.R. 2353 – Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act was passed unanimously by both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

The legislation supports innovative learning opportunities by promoting work-based learning and evaluating CTE providers on their ability to effectively prepare students for the workforce. State leaders are encouraged to better integrate their CTE services with other state-led programs. The bill encourages stronger engagement with employers by ensuring local business leaders are involved in the development of CTE and the performance goals set at the state and local levels, while at the same time empowering state leaders with more flexibility to direct federal resources to CTE programs that provide students with the skills necessary to fill available jobs in their state and communities.

Grant recipients will partner with local stakeholders to perform biennial reviews to help career and technical education (CTE) programs meet the needs of local communities. Furthermore, the bill increases from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of federal funds that states can set aside to assist CTE programs in rural areas or areas with a significant number of CTE students and use federal funds to support CTE programs focused on a state’s unique education and economic needs or state-based innovation.

To increase transparency and accountability, H.R. 2353 streamlines the number of performance measures used to evaluate CTE programs and aligns these performance measures with those set by each state under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The “technical skill proficiency” indicator is replaced with a state determined indicator to help ensure taxpayer dollars are supporting CTE programs that prepare students to continue their education or start their careers.

At the postsecondary level, the bill streamlines the number of performance measures and aligns these with the performance indicators in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, and encourages states to set targeted levels of performance through an open process that includes input from local education leaders, parents, students, workforce development boards, community and business representatives, and others.

Finally, the legislation ensures a limited federal role by repealing the requirement that states must negotiate their targeted levels of performance with the Secretary of Education, and prevents the Secretary from withholding funds from a state that does not meet certain performance targets. Instead, the bill empowers state leaders to develop an improvement plan that works best for the needs and circumstances in their states. The bill also requires the federal plan for research, development, dissemination, and evaluation to be carried out by an independent entity, rather than the Secretary of Education, and requires that future demonstration projects focus on enhancing performance and student success.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education is working to create an instructional system that includes a career and college ready standard set to a global standard that most students are expected to meet by the end of grade 10 and all students are expected to meet by the end of high school. The plan will incorporate CTE pathways that lead directly into aligned postsecondary technical degrees as well as industry credentials.

Useful Links

H.R.2353 – Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

Previous Conduit Street Coverage: Kirwan Commission, Take Two

The Commission is expected to complete its work in time for the 2019 session of the General Assembly, and has recently sharpened its focus on education formulas — including the pattern and role of county funding. At this year’s MACo Summer Conference, attend this general session to learn how county governments could be affected by the Commission’s final report.

Angling for Educational Excellence: Kirwan 2.0

Description: The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should the state revise current education funding formulas? And what major new education policies must be enacted to put Maryland public schools on par with the best in the world? The Commission released preliminary policy recommendations earlier this year, and has recently sharpened its focus on education formulas — including the pattern and role of county funding. Spending formulas, systematic accountability, and resource equity are all hot topics. How will the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations affect county governments? This session focuses on education funding and accountability, and how to best ensure that Maryland students receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education.


  • Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Chair, Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education
  • The Honorable Craig Rice, Council Member, Montgomery County
  • The Honorable William Valentine, Commissioner, Allegany County

Moderator: The Honorable Maggie McIntosh, Maryland House of Delegates

Date/Time: Saturday, August 18, 2018; 10:15 am – 11:15 am

MACo’s 2018 Summer Conference will be held Aug. 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, MD.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: