Build Back Better Act approved by House has millions for CTE, teacher training

Bill makes 'historic down payments on the very things working families rely on most,' AFT leader says
By: | November 19, 2021
House-approved Build Back Better Act includes $600 million for CTE programs among other education spending initiatives.The House-approved Build Back Better Act includes $600 million for CTE programs among other education spending initiatives.

The $1.7 trillion Build Back Better Act social spending bill passed by the House Friday includes funding for several education-related programs over the next several years.

House Democrats lauded the bill’s education and childcare provisions. “The bill makes child-care affordable and secures universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, lowering the costs of working families, and boosting our economy by helping parents re-enter the workforce,” said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., during debate on the bill on Nov. 18. “It also allows 9 million more children to receive healthy school meals.”

However, Republicans warned the bill will lead to government overreach in education and exceed its spending limits.

“This bill will impose federal control over pre-K, limit parental choice, increase the cost of child care, punish job creators, reward far-left special interests, and deepen our debt crisis,” said House Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx, R-N.C. “This bill recklessly sets aside $400 billion for universal pre-K and childcare, but in reality, there is no telling how much this provision will cost the American people.”

As passed by the House, the bill includes $112 million each for school leadership development and teacher development grants, funding for child care and universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-old children, and expanding free school meals.

House passage moves the bill to the Senate for further consideration, where it is likely to see changes from its current form. If amended and passed by the Senate, it would return to the House for a vote on final passage.

“Today’s passage by the House of the Build Back Better Framework represents a resounding vote of confidence in America’s future and an unprecedented investment in our democracy,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “The impact of this proposal on educational equity, excellence and opportunity — from cradle to college and career — will be nothing short of transformative.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten praised the bill’s passage, saying it makes “historic down payments on the very things working families rely on most, [including] prekindergarten, so kids can access learning at a young age, which we know leads to long-lasting, multigenerational economic benefits.”

NEA President Becky Pringle also applauded the House action, calling the bill a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to take meaningful action on long-ignored challenges ranging from how we educate our youngest generation, ensure no child goes hungry, care for those who are ill or have fallen on hard times, or securing protections for immigrants.”

Following are key education-related provisions of the Build Back Better Act, H.R. 5376:

  • Grow Your Own programs: Nearly $113 million through FY 2025 to support Grow Your Own programs authorized by the Higher Education Act to address teacher or school leader shortages in high-need areas and also encourage increased diversity in the education workforce.
  • Teacher residencies: $112 million for grants through FY 2025 to develop and support high-quality teacher residency programs that pair new teaching candidates with experienced classroom educators who serve as mentors.
  • Support school principals: $112 million for grants through FY 2025 to develop and support school leadership programs.
  • Career and technical education: $600 million for grants through FY 2027 for CTE programs and $100 million over the same time period to carry out an innovation and modernization program.
  • Universal preschool: $4 billion in FY 2022, $6 billion in FY 2023, and $8 billion in FY 2024 to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide to states for universal preschool services for 3- and 4-year-old children. It would provide a total of $10 billion from FY 2023 through FY 2027 for preschool grants to localities, a total of $10 billion from FY 2023 through FY 2027 for expansion of Head Start programs in nonparticipating states, and a total of $15 billion through FY 2027 to improve compensation for Head Start staff.
  • Healthy food incentives: $250 million for a competitive grant program activities that support healthy food and lifestyles, including improving nutritional quality for meals and snacks, scratch cooking, nutrition education, purchasing locally grown or culturally appropriate food.
  • School kitchen equipment grants: $30 million for schools to purchase equipment for kitchens that allow for healthier meals, improve food safety, and increase the amount of “scratch cooking.”
  • IDEA, Part D personnel development: $161 million for grants through FY 2025 for the personnel development program authorized under IDEA Section 662.
  • Grants for Native American language teachers and educators: $200 million for grants through FY 2031 to prepare, train, and provide professional development to Native American language teachers and early childhood educators to preserve Native American languages.

Charles Hendrix covers education funding and other Title I issues for LRP Publications.