WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s unanimous approval of H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act:
“As a longtime champion of career and technical education, we are thrilled with the unanimous approval of the Perkins reauthorization bill in the House Education and the Workforce Committee and hope that it moves as smoothly and quickly to final approval. Even in an election year when Congress is deadlocked on many issues, this commonsense bill is something everyone can and should agree on. It would be a victory for students and educators across the country and an accomplishment that members of Congress can be proud of when they return home to their constituents.
“High-quality CTE programs are a very important part of a public education system that provides multiple pathways and opportunities for students to prepare for life, career and college. This generation’s CTE has the potential to equip a new generation of workers with the skills and knowledge required for the jobs of today and tomorrow. They offer practical and multiple pathways to further education and well-paying, marketable jobs.
“The AFT has dedicated significant time and resources to expanding CTE across the country. The AFT Innovation Fund has invested in a multicity initiative to support our affiliates’ work with local partners in school districts, community colleges, city governments and business groups.
“H.R. 5587 reflects many of our recommendations for reauthorization. It incorporates a commitment to meaningful professional development for educators, encourages supportive partnerships that link school districts and teachers with industry partners, and promotes industry-recognized credentials and certificates for specific occupational areas. The bill could be strengthened, though, by eliminating the proposed innovation competitive grant program. As with all competitive programs, this program will help very few, while the funding could be better used for providing states with technical assistance and rigorous research of their innovative practices.
“We applaud the cooperation and commitment of Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to move this important bill to final passage.”