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Lawmakers Support Career and Technical Education, Minus Funding

 A new law supporting Kentucky’s career and technical education programs lacks the proper funding to take effect, but education officials say the legislation shows the state’s support for making students college and career ready. The "career pathways" bill,  Senate Bill 38, is supposed to set new rigorous parameters for the state’s career and technical education (CTE) programs. “The drawback is the state did not provide any money to implement that. That bill has been submitted every year for several years I’m told. This is the first time it’s passed," said Jefferson County Public Schools CTE director Ken Talley. Of the 175 districts in the state, 163 have some form of a CTE program or course, said Dale Winkler, executive director of Kentucky's Office of Career and Technical Education.

"We're moving in the right direction with some of the initiatives that we're doing. We're bringing academic and technical teachers together to develop technical tasks that align to the new common core [standards]," he said. Many districts lack appropriate funding to provide a strong program and the new bill says when funding becomes available, schools will develop pathways for students in career in technical education. Winkler estimates the price tag to make an impact is $25 to $30 million, but he said passing the pathways bill shows lawmaker’s have recognized the importance of career and technical education. Programs like JCPS's career and technical programs are funded by federal, state and local dollars. This operating year, JCPS received $2.1 million from the state, $1.2 million from the federal government and $5 million was invested by the district itself. Talley said the next step is to provide funding for the bill, and said when the state finally does it's likely JCPS will already be in a good position to satisfy many of the initiatives

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