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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®

Policy and Advocacy

Elementary and Secondary Education Act

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Key Information:

  • The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was last reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 as Public Law 107-110.
  • It was originally scheduled for reauthorization in 2007, but has been delayed numerous times (the program continues under the prior law with congressional funding).
  • The latest updates can be found on the ESEA section of the CTE Policy Watch blog.

Reauthorization:
ACTE Positions & Statements Other Groups' Positions

Background:

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was originally passed 1965. Recent reauthorizations include the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981 and Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994. No Child Left Behind, the current reauthorization, passed in 2002. This Act, which funds primary and secondary education, made significant changes in education policy to close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that “no child is left behind.” Key components of the law include increased accountability for states, school districts, and schools; teacher quality provisions; greater choice for parents and students, particularly those attending low-performing schools; more flexibility for states and local educational agencies in the use of federal education dollars; and a stronger emphasis on what has been proven to work through scientifically based research. The titles of the Act include:

Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged
Title II—Preparing, Training and Recruiting High Quality Teachers and Principals
Title III—Language Instruction of Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students
Title IV—21st Century Schools
Title V—Promoting Informed Parental Choice and Innovative Programs
Title VI—Flexibility and Accountability
Title VII—Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native Education
Title VIII—Impact Aid Program
Title IX—General Provisions

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act is also tied in closely with Perkins. Specifically, under Perkins, the success of CTE programs is determined by several pieces of the No Child Left Behind adequate yearly progress system. Specific indicators include student attainment of challenging academic content standards and student academic achievement standards, and student graduation rates.

In the years since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act came due for reauthorization, congressional gridlock has prevented Congress from updating the antiquated law. In order to avoid states and schools from falling victim to the unachievable ideals of AYP, the Obama Administration bypassed Congress to relieve states from current ESEA accountability standards. In September 2011, the Department of Education invited states to apply for a waiver of flexibility from certain provisions in ESEA, including AYP. In exchange, states had to submit a rigorous and comprehensive state-developed plan to improve education outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, increase equity and improve the quality of instruction. Since that time, almost all states have been involved in the waiver process, and each is operating under different plans and parameters.

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Policy and Advocacy

CTE Support Fund

The Career and Technical Education Support Fund promotes the advancement of CTE through a broad array of activities, including developing research-based materials focusing on the value of CTE; building and sustaining a national coalition of CTE leaders, administrators, organizations and businesses that support CTE awareness; and organizing public awareness campaigns to support CTE. These efforts are critical to supporting and advancing the cause of CTE and donations to this purpose are tax-deductible. Your contributions to the CTE Support Fund enable ACTE to carry out vital work on your behalf.

Hosting a Site Visit for Policymakers

Techniques Advert Events Partners You have a superb CTE program. NOW is the time to show it off for your public officials. Your policymakers’ understanding will go a long way with an up-close and personal tour of programs. These are the people who can help you EXPAND and IMPROVE your program by ensuring funding and effective policies. A successful tour needs meticulous planning. ACTE has developed 10 STEPS to help you conduct a successful legislative tour of your school: GET PERMISSION Before you begin any planning, get permission from school officials. Keep everyone informed.   DETERMINE GOALS What type of impression do you want the policymaker to have of your school? What programs do you want to highlight? Brainstorm and select the most important features you want to show off.   DEVELOP A DRAFT AGENDA Most importantly, make sure school is in session for the tour. Plan a short and concise introductory presentation about the school and programs the policymaker will see. Following the brief presentation, schedule an organized tour.   INVITE POLICYMAKERS Now that you have your agenda, the next step is to invite your targeted policymakers. Fax or mail a brief letter to the policymaker at his or her local office at least six weeks before the scheduled date (you can find contact information for your federal Members of Congress by visiting ACTE’s Legislative Action Center). Briefly introduce yourself, your program, and state the purpose of the letter. Explain why you would like the official to visit your program (to see how an example of a CTE program can work in the community, the importance of supporting such initiatives, etc.). Include specific information about the visit (date, time, location, others who may be invited, whether the media will be invited, what activities are planned for the visit). Public officials have very busy schedules, so you’ll need to be as flexible and accommodating as possible.   FOLLOW UP WITH THE SCHEDULER The policymakers’s scheduler should be contacted seven to 10 days after you have mailed the letter. You should keep in mind that you need to be flexible with the date and tour arrangements. You should take every step to accommodate the policymaker. NOTE: Federal legislators will most likely be in their home districts Mondays, Fridays, and on the weekends.   DETERMINE PRESS ACTIVITIES Work with the policymaker’s press secretary, if they have one, to determine appropriate press activities. Send a press release to the local media inviting them to attend the tour. In addition to giving the policymaker publicity, it will increase the community’s interest in your program. Be sure to follow up with the media to make sure that they attend since the policymaker will be expecting them! Take plenty of photographs. If you are unable to have the media present during the tour, send the local reporters a follow-up summary and a photograph for their use. (ACTE can help you with your media activities! Please visit the "Targeting the Media" section of ACTE's Action Center.   CONDUCT THE TOUR The day has finally arrived! When the policymaker and his or her staff arrive, distribute descriptions of your programs, success stories about students and any other relevant information you feel promotes your program. Make sure that your name, address and phone number are on every document so staff can contact you later. Let the policymaker know the scope of the program: how many people you serve and what impacts the program has on families, the community, local businesses and the local economy. Explain why continued funding for CTE is important to students, jobseekers and businesses in the state or district. Encourage interaction between the policymaker and students. It is helpful for policymakers to make connections with those who benefit from the program and see the changes in people’s lives that good CTE programs make.   INCLUDE SUPPORTERS Have a few supporters present, such as parents, students and business partners, to help you make the case.   MAKE YOUR PITCH Emphasize how additional resources could benefit students. While you have the policymaker’s undivided attention, make a pitch for support. Ask the lpolicymaker to support your programs through increased funding and effective policies. Remember to be specific if current legislation is pending.   FOLLOW UP Congratulations! You conducted a successful tour, but you have another important step to take. Before you do anything else, make sure you: Send thank you letters to the policymaker and any staff who attended, reiterating the need for additional funding and more effective policies for your program. Include copies of press coverage. Include a photo of the policymakers with your students and supporters to remind them how important CTE is to your community.

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