The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (Perkins Act) was first authorized in 1984 and again in 1998. Its purpose was, and remains, to increase the quality of technical education in the United States. In 2006, the Act was reauthorized as the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. This new Act maintains a federal funding stream designated solely for career and technical education programs, while building upon and strengthening the existing CTE accountability system, and emphasizing activities to ease the transition of students from secondary into postsecondary education programs. Under this Act, local recipients are held accountable for the achievement of individual students in a series of performance indicators, while the previous version of the Perkins Act only held the state accountable for aggregated results.

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) is the principal source of federal funding to states and discretionary grantees for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs across the United States. Perkins IV requires states to report annually on progress in achieving their adjusted performance levels on the core indicators of performance. States are also required to report disaggregated data on the performance of students in special population categories described in the law, as well as gender, race, and ethnicity.

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