From CTE Policy Watch – Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the Department’s draft priorities for competitive grants to be awarded in future years. The Department awards approximately $700 million in competitive grants each year where some discretion can be used (like the recent teacher pipeline grants for CTE programs awarded by OCTAE). Developing a platform of priorities that will supplement any statutory requirements for such grants is routine for each Administration, and the new list reflects this Administration’s priorities.

The priorities proposed in the recent announcement include many ideas and themes related to CTE, including STEM, economic development, skills training and more personalized learning. The proposed priorities include:

  1. Empowering Families to Choose a High-Quality Education that Meets Their Child’s Unique Needs.
  2. Promoting Innovation and Efficiency, Streamlining Education with an Increased Focus on Improving Student Outcomes, and Providing Increased Value to Students and Taxpayers.
  3. Fostering Flexible and Affordable Paths to Obtaining Knowledge and Skills.
  4. Fostering Knowledge and Promoting the Development of Skills that Prepare Students to be Informed, Thoughtful, and Productive Individuals and Citizens.
  5. Meeting the Unique Needs of Students And Children, including those with Disabilities and/or with Unique Gifts and Talents.
  6. Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education, With a Particular Focus on Computer Science.
  7. Promoting Literacy.
  8. Promoting Effective Instruction in Classrooms and Schools.
  9. Promoting Economic Opportunity.
  10. Encouraging Improved School Climate and Safer and More Respectful Interactions in a Positive and Safe Educational Environment.
  11. Ensuring that Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families Have Access to High-Quality Educational Choices.

Public comments on the priorities are due on November 13 and can be submitted at