WASHINGTON, DC—Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, President Trump on July 31 signed a bill to rewrite the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. In support of the bill, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise today offered the following statement:
“Both common sense and the science of learning show that students learn best by doing; quality career and technical education (CTE) engages students’ interests while preparing them for meaningful careers.
“The economic success of the nation depends on a qualified and competent workforce that demonstrates advanced levels of knowledge and skill along the education continuum. Ensuring that all students are prepared for both college and a career to meet these demands comes by giving all students access to high-quality CTE programs that are integrated with rigorous academics and real-world learning experiences.
“By emphasizing quality and equity, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act provides state and district leaders with an important array of tools to ensure students graduate from high school ready for college and a career while demonstrating the nation’s commitment to elevating the quality of local CTE programs and addressing the performance of individual groups of students.
“The new law broadens accountability at the secondary school level to measure students who have attained postsecondary credit, a recognized postsecondary credential, or a work-based learning experience upon graduating from high school. It also provides support for state and school district work underway across the country to provide students with the chance to achieve their full potential through pathways that integrate CTE and academics, work-based learning, and opportunities to earn credit toward a college degree through dual or concurrent enrollment.
“In California, for example, 300,000 students attend high schools that offer Linked Learning, which has been found to increase high school graduation rates and prepare students for college. This new law will support these and similar efforts nationwide by placing a greater emphasis on the quality of students’ CTE experience and prioritizing partnerships with postsecondary institutions and employers.
“Just as important, the new law targets high-quality opportunities toward historically underserved students by specifically including their performance in state systems of accountability and improvement. This comes at a critical time, when students of color comprise a majority of students enrolled in public school, and two-thirds of the nation’s jobs require a postsecondary credential.
“By updating the federal law supporting career and technical education, Congress completed an important summer homework assignment. I applaud their bipartisan work and I look forward to supporting states, school districts, institutions of higher education, and employers, as they implement this new law.”
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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org