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CTE History of Legislation

1917: Smith-Hughes Act authorized federal funds for the establishment and support of secondary and postsecondary vocational training in agriculture, home economics, and trades and industry

1936: George-Deen Act authorized funds for the vocational areas of distributive occupations and teacher education

1958: National Defense Education Act provided federal support to state and local school systems for strengthening instruction in science, mathematics, and foreign languages and provided funds to support technical programs, vocational guidance, training programs, and training institutes

1963: The Vocational Education Act of 1963 authorized federal funds to support residential vocational schools, vocational work-study programs, research, training, and demonstrations in vocational education as well as business education

1968: The Vocational Education Act of 1968 (Amended) emphasized vocational programs at the postsecondary level and added cooperative education

1972: The Vocational Education Act of 1972 (Amended) introduced special programs to the disadvantaged and included support for industrial art programs

1978: The Vocational Education Act of 1976 (Amended) established the community schools concept and the basic skills program. It aimed at improving student achievement in reading, mathematics, and written and oral communication

1984: The Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act aimed at expanding, improving, modernizing, and developing quality vocational education programs to meet the needs of the workforce and promote economic growth as well as meet the needs of specific populations, including handicapped and disadvantaged individuals

1990: The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (Perkins II) aimed at providing greater vocational opportunities to disadvantaged individuals and assisting states and local school systems in teaching the skills and competencies necessary to work in a technologically advanced society to all students. The act provided funds for the integration of academic and vocational education and Tech Prep programs

1998: The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (Perkins III) gave states and local school agencies greater flexibility to develop CTE programs while making them more accountable for student performance. The act also focused on funding formulas, Tech Prep, school-to-work, gender equity, and students with disabilities

2006: The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins IV) aimed at focusing on the academic achievement of career and technical education students, strengthening the connections between secondary and postsecondary education, and improving state and local accountability


Reference: Scott, J. L., & Sarkees-Wircenski, M. (2004). Overview of Career and Technical Education (3rd ed.). Homewood, IL: American Technical.

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