Senate Committee Talks Career Readiness in ESEA Waiver Hearing
February 8, 2013
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
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
The HELP committee has provided a video
archive of the hearing on its Web site, along with the full testimony from