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Policy and Advocacy

Carl D. Perkins Act



Key Information

  • The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was last authorized on August 12, 2006, as Public Law 109-270.
  • It is currently scheduled for reauthorization, with the original authorization period ending on June 30, 2013 (although the program will continue with congressional funding).
  • The latest updates can be found on the Perkins section of the CTE Policy Watch blog.


ACTE Guiding Principles

ACTE Reauthorization Priorities

2006 Perkins Act Implementation


The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) was most recently reauthorized in August 2006. The purpose of Perkins is to provide individuals with the academic and technical skills needed to succeed in a knowledge- and skills-based economy. Perkins supports career and technical education that prepares its students both for postsecondary education and the careers of their choice.

Federal resources help ensure that career and technical programs are academically rigorous and up-to-date with the needs of business and industry. The federal contribution to career and technical education, about $1.3 billion annually, supports innovation and expands access to quality programs. State and local funding supports the career and technical education infrastructure and pays teachers' salaries and other operating expenses. Federal funds provide the principal source for innovation and program improvement, and help to drive state support through a "maintenance-of-effort" provision in the federal law.

Who Receives Funding
Perkins Basic State Grant funds are provided to states that, in turn, allocate funds by formula to secondary school districts and postsecondary institutions. States have control over the split of funds between secondary and postsecondary levels. After this decision is made, states must distribute at least 85 percent of the Basic State Grant funds to local programs using either the needs-based formula included in the law or an alternate formula that targets resources to disadvantaged schools and students. States may reserve up to ten percent for leadership activities and five percent (or $250,000, whichever is greater) for administrative activities. States also receive a Tech Prep grant that can be folded into Basic State Grant funds or used to provide grants to consortia of secondary and postsecondary partners that develop articulated pathways.

Types of Activities Supported
State and local funds generally are to be used for the following types of activities:

  • serving as a catalyst for change by driving program improvement
  • developing a strong accountability system that ensures quality and results
  • strengthening the integration of academic and career and technical education
  • ensuring access to career and technical education for special populations, including students with disabilities
  • developing and improving curricula
  • purchasing equipment to ensure that the classrooms have the latest technology
  • providing career guidance and academic counseling services
  • providing professional development and technical assistance for teachers, counselors and administrators
  • supporting career and technical education student organizations

Current Perkins law allows for more state and local flexibility and raises expectations for students participating in career and technical education by holding them to the specific, valid and reliable accountability standards. States and localities are working within the updated accountability system to develop effective methods to improve programs and measure student progress and success.

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Policy and Advocacy

Data Quality Initiatives

With a growing national focus on data and accountability to help students succeed in education and careers, collecting high-quality data and sharing it across different agencies is more important than ever. For CTE, data quality and access issues include appropriately measuring student achievement, including the attainment of high-quality credentials; ensuring the quality of Perkins-funded CTE programs; and providing data to consumers on the connection between education and labor market outcomes.

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