Magazine article Techniques

Celebrate, but Don't Wait

Magazine article Techniques

Celebrate, but Don't Wait

Article excerpt

THE FOLLOWING PHRASE SHOULD BE MUSIC TO the ears of career and technical educators, administrators, state employees, and other partners around the country: The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006.

In late July, Congress reaffirmed its ongoing support for career and technical education (CTE) by passing a bill to reauthorize the Perkins Act. This is a huge victory for CTE educators and for your professional Association.

This reauthorization saw ACTE's top three priorities become reality. Those priorities were updating the terminology from "vocational education" to "career and technical education;" maintaining state administrative funding at 5 percent of a state's allocation; and keeping funding for the Tech Prep program separate from funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants.

These three victories are a testament to the collective engagement of ACTE members in the political and legislative process. Without the support and voice of ACTE members, it is doubtful that these priorities would have been met.

On to Funding and Implementation

As we take a few minutes to bask in these victories, we must also realize that the work is not quite finished.

Without adequate funding, the newly reauthorized Perkins Act will be ineffective. Unfortunately, the federal fiscal reality puts funding for CTE programs at risk. Therefore, the CTE community must relentlessly beat the drum about how federal support for CTE benefits people in Members of Congress' states and districts.

As the fight to at least maintain Perkins funds gears up, states and localities must formally begin the transition process to implement the new law. This means they will have to develop new plans outlining goals for CTE programs and set priorities that will ensure improved performance.

In addition, states, in consultation with local programs, must also develop and implement programs of study that incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements; include academic and career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses; and lead to an associate or bachelor's degree, or an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level.

ACTE will continue to be a resource to its members throughout the implementation process. We will do that by again publishing a complete guide to the new law. …

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