WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate agreed today to add an amendment authored by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that focuses on career and technical education to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The reauthorization bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, passed the Senate by a vote of 81-17.
“The ESEA reauthorization is a good step toward expanding state and local control over education. This is the proper way for education decisions to be handled, not a one-size fits all policy forced from Washington,” Boozman said.
Boozman’s amendment integrates rigorous academic coursework with career and technical education (CTE) and real-world skills based on industry needs and contexts.
Several states including New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida, and California are already successfully implementing similar models grounded in problem-based learning that organizes academic and CTE learning around problem-based curricula developed in partnership with business and industry.
“Eighty-one percent of students who drop out of high school consistently report that real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in school.” Boozman said, “This is an effort to capture the best practices some states have in place so we can increase graduation rates and prepare career ready students by partnering with industry.”
Boozman’s amendment focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education without authorizing new funds or programs.
“Developing coursework to provide the appropriate training for today’s jobs allows students to find employment that matches their skills and provides businesses the workforce they need to operate. Arkansas economic officials say education is the key to future prosperity in our state. Programs that promote STEM help create a pipeline for the future and should be an integral component of our education policy,” Boozman said.
In keeping with the bill’s focus on state and local control, Boozman’s amendment does not force states to partner with industries to have CTE programs.