As we previously reported, both the House and Senate passed their respective bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in late July. The next step for these pieces of legislation to become law is the conference process, wherein leaders from both chambers will work to merge the two bills into a final version that can make its way to the President’s desk.
On Thursday, July 30, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), met with House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) to determine the path forward for the bill. The four released a statement following the meeting that included remarks from Sen. Alexander expressing hope they could reach an agreement on the bill in the fall, as reported here by Education Week.
Overcoming the differences between the two bills will be a challenge, however, particularly if the legislation is to avoid a veto from President Obama. In addition to the CTE-related initiatives that were included in both bills that have bipartisan support, including the integration of academic and CTE content and the inclusion of student CTE achievements on state report cards, politically polarizing components such as portability of Title I funds have drawn a veto threat from the White House.
ACTE will continue to work with our partners on Capitol Hill to advocate for the inclusion of the CTE-related initiatives in the final bill, as well as to report on further developments on the Policy Watch Blog.