WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) today that included an amendment authored by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that focuses on career and technical education.
The conference report for the reauthorization bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, passed the Senate by a vote of 85-12 and will be sent to the President to be signed into law.
“As a former school board member, I understand that education decisions should be handled at the state and local level. A one-size-fits-all policy forced on our schools from Washington is not effective. This bill is a good step toward expanding state and local control over education,” Boozman said.
When the Senate first considered this legislation, Boozman offered an amendment that aims to improve career and technical education programs and it remained in the conference report.
“The lack of real-world learning opportunities in our high schools is one reason students drop out. We need to be preparing young Americans for opportunities in the workforce and that will keep more of them in school,” 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 are already successfully implementing CTE curriculum that is grounded in problem-based learning developed with business and industry. 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 said, pointing to effective programs in place in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida and California.
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.