Senate education bill includes provisions of Kaine’s career, technical education, safe relationships measures

kaine new2Following today’s announcement of the final conference report on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to replace No Child Left Behind, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine welcomed the bill’s inclusion of key provisions he authored to help prevent sexual assault and strengthen career and technical education (CTE) in schools across the country.

A key provision of the Teach Safe Relationships Act, legislation Kaine introduced with U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill last February, was included in the final bill. For the first time, elementary and secondary schools will be allowed to use Title IV education funding specifically for instruction and training on safe relationship behavior among students. Numerous CTE provisions Kaine authored were also included in the bill, including amendments to expand career counseling, modernize high schools with work-based learning opportunities and designate CTE as a part of a well-rounded education along with traditional subjects including English, math and science.

“This final compromise bill will help ensure access to high-quality education for all students and take steps to close the achievement gaps that persist in our education system,” said Kaine. “My provisions to improve access to K-12 career and technical education programs will help students build skills that prepare them for in-demand career industries ranging from computer coding to welding. I’m very pleased that the conference committee recognized the importance of teaching safe relationship behavior to help prevent sexual assault and dating violence. I had hoped that the final conference bill would require that public high school health education courses address this important public safety issue which disproportionately affects 16-24 year old young adults. Instead, the conference report allows schools to use federal Title IV monies to instruct students about consent, coercion, healthy relationships and where to seek help to stop sexual assault. I will keep working with students, educators and my colleagues to make sure that young people get this information at the time when it would be most helpful.”

Below is a full list of provisions authored by Kaine that were included in the bill:

  • Teaching safe relationship behavior – Instruction and training on safe relationship behavior among students is included as an allowable use of funds under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants in Title IV. Kaine introduced the Teach Safe Relationships Act in February of 2015 following a discussion with University of Virginia student advocates who recommended improved K-12 education as one method to prevent campus sexual assault.
  • Career counseling – Includes career and guidance counseling programs as well as training on local workforce needs and various options for postsecondary and career pathways as an allowable use of funds under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants in Title IV. Kaine introduced theCareer Ready Act in February 2015 with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that would help ensure students are ready for postsecondary education and the workforce by encouraging states to implement career guidance programs in schools and keep track of career readiness factors implemented in school districts.
  • CTE integration and professional development – Adds a new allowable use of funds to Title II of ESSA to allow states to develop strategies for integrating academic and career and technical education content and supporting professional development for CTE teachers.
  • Adding CTE as a core academic subject – Includes career and technical education in the definition of a ‘well-rounded education’ along with traditional academic subjects like math and English.
  • Career readiness indicators – Encourages states to use more career readiness indicators in their accountability system and state report cards, so states will have the opportunity to recognize schools that are successfully preparing students for postsecondary education and the workforce through tools like technical skills and college credits. These provisions build on Kaine’s Career Ready Act.
  • CTE teachers – Allows Title II professional development funds to be used for career and technical educators to help improve the quality of CTE courses.
  • Early childhood education – Authorizes the Preschool Development Grant program which will provide competitive grants to support states to improve and expand access to high-quality early childhood programs. The program will be administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly with the U.S. Department of Education. Kaine introduced the Providing Resources Early for Kids (PRE-K) Act in January 2015 to create a similar federal-state partnership to improve state preschool programs and expand current programs to serve more children in need. Kaine has been a long-time champion of access to quality early learning programs. As Governor, he expanded the Virginia Preschool Initiative by increasing Pre-K enrollment by 40 percent in the Commonwealth.

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which is the primary source of federal aid for K-12 education in the United States. A bipartisan conference committee comprised of House and Senate lawmakers has approved the legislation, which will now head back to the House and Senate floors for votes on final passage.

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