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Trump Priority Gathers Steam as Senate Passes Career-Technical Education Bill


The Senate has passed a bipartisan bill overhauling the nation's career and technical education law, advancing a key issue for the Trump administration when it comes to education. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act breezed through the chamber Monday evening after the Senate education committee advanced the bill late last month. The bill's passage now means that lawmakers from the House and Senate can huddle up and craft a conference version for both chambers to pass and send to the president for his signature—the House passed its own CTE bill (which has the same name as the Senate version) last year.

Click here to read more about what's in the Senate bill, which was co-authored by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. And go here for a run-down of the House's 2017 legislation.

Last reauthorized in 2006, the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is a $1.1 billion program that provides grants to states for help with programs for both the K-12 and at colleges and universities. The Trump administration has pushed for Congress to update the law as part of its broader efforts to boost apprenticeships and job training to aid American industry. Both the House and Senate education spending bills currently under consideration would also boost funding for Perkins in fiscal 2019, the next federal budget year.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the Senate education committee chairman, said the CTE bill his colleagues approved Monday would scale back the U.S. Department of Education's role in such programs. He posted a short video of himself with Trump senior adviser Ivanka Trump, who lobbied the Senate to get the bill done, discussing the issue:

Two advocacy organizations, the Association for Career and Technical Education and Advance CTE, said they have a mixed view of the Senate legislation. They urged lawmakers to make sure that no "unintended consequences" result from states setting ambitious performance goals for CTE programs, for example. 

Image: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., left, and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., right, discuss career and technical education legislation with Trump senior adviser Ivanka Trump. (Image via screen capture of video from Alexander's office)

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