Community colleges are heaving a sigh of relief now that Congress has extended through 2012 the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. Inside Higher Ed reports that although President Bush has slashed funds for the law in last several budgets, Congress, in a rare bipartisan move, has acted to extend it. President Bush is likely to sign the bill into law.
“We’re very happy,” said Janice Friedel, director of the Iowa Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation. “It’s been a hard, long struggle, but the votes on the legislation clearly indicate that career and technical education is important for our country and our citizens.”
Under the new law, there will be increased collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions, as well as requesting that high schools and community colleges work on “programs of study” that specify career paths from secondary through postsecondary education and into the work force.
New accountability measures are also an important aspect of the bill which would require institutions to report their own performance indicators and give states the power to withhold funds from institutions that fall significantly short of their goals.