Summary: H.R.2353 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (06/22/2017)

Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

(Sec. 4) The effective date for this bill is July 1, 2018.

(Sec. 7) This bill amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to revise and introduce definitions, including common definitions for terms already defined in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The bill divides career and technical education (CTE) students into CTE concentrators and CTE participants.

The term "CTE concentrators" means:

  • at the secondary school level, a student served by an eligible recipient specified in this Act, who has completed three or more CTE courses or completed at least two courses in a single CTE program or program of study;
  • or at the postsecondary level, such an enrolled student who has earned at least 12 cumulative credits within a CTE program or program of study, or completed such a program if it encompasses fewer than 12 credits or the equivalent in total.

The term "CTE participant" means an individual who completes at least one course or earns at least one credit in an eligible recipient's CTE program or program of study.

(Sec. 9) The federal government may not condition grant funding on the adoption of specific curricula or content, including Common Core State Standardsor mandate the use of specific curricula or content through such grants.

(Sec. 10) The bill reauthorizes the Act through FY2023.

TITLE I--CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION ASSISTANCE TO THE STATES

Part A--Allotment and Allocation

(Sec. 110) This bill makes the following revisions to requirements for reservations and state allotment and within-state funding allocations:

  • for FY2018-FY2020, no state shall receive an allotment for a fiscal year that is less than its allotment received for FY1998;
  • for FY2021 and each succeeding fiscal year, no state shall receive less than 90% of its allotment received for the preceding fiscal year;
  • states are allowed to reserve up to 15% (currently, 10%) of their within-state allocations for current uses; and
  • states may reserve 2% (currently, 1%) of their allocations for leadership activities that serve individuals in juvenile justice facilities and educational institutions that serve individuals with disabilities.

The use of such reserve funds are revised:

  • to include areas with high percentages of CTE concentrators or CTE participants and areas with high numbers of either of them; and
  • in order to foster innovation through the identification and promotion of promising and proven CTE programs, practices, and strategies, which may include practices and strategies that prepare individuals for nontraditional fields, or promote the development, implementation, and adoption of programs of study or career pathways aligned with state-identified in-demand occupation or industries.

(Sec. 112) The bill also revises requirements for core indicators of performance, including state adjusted levels of performance, to differentiate those for CTE concentrators who graduate from high school and for CTE concentrators at the postsecondary level.

(Sec. 113) The Institute for Education Sciences shall act for the Department of Education (ED) to appoint the independent advisory panel on the evaluation of CTE programs. The bill revises requirements for the contents of an evaluation.

ED shall (currently, may) carry out research, development, capacity building, and technical assistance with regard to career and technical education programs.

ED may award grants to eligible entities, including local educational agencies and area CTE schools, to:

  • create, develop, implement, or take to scale evidence-based, field initiated innovations, including through a pay for success initiative to improve CTE student outcomes; and
  • evaluate such innovations rigorously.

Grant priority shall be given to eligible entities that predominantly serve low-income students.

(Sec. 114) The bill revises specified funding-related provisions regarding Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau.

(Sec.115) The bill reauthorizes through FY2023 grants for tribally controlled CTE institutions and repeals the authorization for assistance for certain occupational and information activities.

Part B--State Provisions

(Sec. 121) State plans shall be for four years instead of six years.

The bill revises requirements for:

  • such plans, as well as state program improvement plans and state leadership activities;
  • local applications for CTE programs, including a comprehensive CTE needs assessment, and local uses of funds; and
  • state maintenance of efforts, including administrative penalties for failure to meet maintenance requirements.

The bill permits a state, in order to receive its full fiscal year CTE funding allotment, to: (1) continue to use its existing fiscal effort per student or aggregate expenditure in determining qualifying expenditure levels, or (2) establish a new level of fiscal effort per student or aggregate expenditure.

Part C--Local Provisions

(Sec. 131) The bill revises requirements for local eligible recipients to receive funding for CTE programs, including: (1) submitting an application instead of an improvement plan to the eligible agency, (2) conducting a special comprehensive CTE needs assessment, and (3) the use of such funds.

TITLE II--GENERAL PROVISIONS

(Sec. 201) In order for a state to receive its full allotment of funds for any fiscal year, ED must find that the state's fiscal effort per student or its aggregate expenditures for CTE programs for the preceding fiscal year was at least the fiscal year per student or its aggregate expenditures for the second preceding fiscal year.

A state may:

  • continue to use its fiscal effort per student or aggregate expenditures for CTE that was in effect before enactment of this bill, or
  • establish a new level of such effort or expenditures that is at least 90% of the effort or expenditure for CTE for the preceding fiscal year.

ED shall reduce the amount of a state's allotment of funds for any fiscal year in the exact portion by which the state fails to meet such requirement by falling below its fiscal effort per student or aggregate expenditures for one or more of the five immediately preceding fiscal years.

The bill authorizes an eligible recipient to use CTE program and activities funding to allow participation in such programs and activities by secondary school students attending nonprofit private schools located in or near the geographical area served by the eligible recipient. (Currently, the students must reside in such area.)

(Sec. 219) The Government Accountability Office shall evaluate:

  • the strategies, components, policies, and practices used successfully by eligible agencies or eligible recipients receiving funding to assist all students in pursuing and completing programs of study aligned to high-skill, high-wage occupations, as well as any specific underrepresented subgroup of students; and
  • any challenges associated with replication of such strategies, components, policies, and practices.

TITLE III--AMENDMENTS TO THE WAGNER-PEYSER ACT

(Sec. 301) The Wagner-Peyser Act is amended to revise the duties of a state agency receiving federal assistance for participation in the nationwide employment statistics system of workforce and labor market information.