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CTE Policy Watch

Senate Committee Talks Career Readiness in ESEA Waiver Hearing


February 8, 2013

By: Brendan

Starting the discussion early, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held its first hearing of the 113th Congress yesterday to discuss the Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility waivers.

The hearing was broken into two panels of witnesses. The first panel consisted solely of Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education. He provided an overview of the department’s processes and reasoning behind issuing waivers outside of congressional reauthorization of the ESEA and the effects waivers could have on the upcoming reauthorization process.

The second panel was comprised of two state commissioners of education as well as two education policy advocates.

Unlike Secretary Duncan’s testimony, these witnesses provided testimony on some positive and negative aspects of the flexibility waivers that should be considered during the reauthorization process. The commissioners in particular, provided great supporting testimony on the importance of both college readiness and career readiness for students graduating from high school, as well as including all subject teachers in the development of teacher effectiveness systems, including CTE educators.

The support for a greater emphasis on developing career readiness indicators also came from the committee members. Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) spoke about the importance of developing those indicators in partnership with both higher education and the business community. Their support of career readiness could mean a greater role for career and technical education in reauthorization attempts of the ESEA this Congress.

The HELP committee has provided a video archive of the hearing on its Web site, along with the full testimony from each witness.

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