Despite the education community’s clear polarization over the appointment of Betsy DeVos as the next U.S. secretary of education, there may be a silver lining in her confirmation—specifically, for those in the career and technical education (CTE) community.
CTE, formerly known as vocational education, is a rare area of bipartisan agreement. And the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Act—the largest source of federal funding dedicated to improving the quality of CTE programs in high schools across the U.S., and long overdue for reauthorization—could present a chance for legislators to find some common ground early in the Trump administration.
Democrats like the Perkins Act because it tends to promote inclusive education and provide promising career pathways for students, including those from less advantaged backgrounds. Republicans tend to like it because it frequently cultivates partnerships with small businesses and encourages the development of employable skills that ultimately drive economic growth.
For a Secretary DeVos, an advocate of school choice, the Perkins Act—and CTE in general—may prove particularly appealing in that the CTE delivery models in high schools increasingly integrate school choice options. Recent research, for instance, shows that high school CTE programs are now accessible through traditional public schools, part-time regional...