ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
« February 2013 |
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From Track to Field: Trends in Career and Technical Education Across Three Decades tells the story of the growing convergence of CTE and academics.
Researchers from RTI International and MPR Associates analyzed the graduating high school classes of 1982, 1992 and 2004 and compared their coursetaking patterns, achievement and outcomes.
The study finds that CTE is not a vocational track for students unequipped for college but is rather "an exploratory program for an increasing proportion of both academic and general curriculum graduates." This is supported by data on increased academic coursetaking, improved achievement in math and increased involvement in postsecondary education for CTE students.
While the report is chock-full of interesting information, here are key findings. Keep in mind that the paper differentiates between three types of CTE courses: occupation-specific courses, general labor market preparation courses and Family and Consumer Sciences courses.
The report makes it clear that distinctions drawn between academically-focused students and CTE-focused students are increasingly false distinctions. Considering the strides that have been made since 2004 in public recognition of the need for both college and career readiness, we can expect this convergence to continue!
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/28/2013 at 10:40 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
Recently, both the House and Senate approved their respective budget resolutions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. These resolutions set the overall discretionary spending caps for the coming fiscal year and establish the total amount of funding that will be available for programs like Perkins. While both resolutions incorporate lower funding totals—$92 billion below the discretionary cap created under Budget Control Act of 2011—for FY 2014 as a result of sequestration, the two plans offer radically different proposals for funding of important domestic programs that support education, workforce training and CTE.
The House budget resolution, created by budget committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), proposes to reduce funding for domestic programs by $50 billion below what would be required by sequestration in order to protect defense spending from being cut. The Ryan budget sets the goal of achieving a balanced budget in 10 years which it does primarily through reductions in discretionary funding. In his budget blueprint, Rep. Ryan lends support to the SKILLS Act which he argues will “improve accountability by calling for consolidation of duplicative federal job-training programs into a more target career scholarship program.” The House approved the resolution on INSERT DATE by a vote of 221 to 207, with no Democrats voting in favor.
In the Senate, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who took over as chairman of the Budget Committee in January, brought her first budget resolution to the full chamber last week. The Senate plan more evenly distributes funding between defense and non-defense programs. It puts forward various proposals for deficit reduction and economic stimulus to be paid for with a combination of increased tax revenue and targeted reductions in spending. The Murray budget calls for “continued investment in literary, STEM and career and technical education programs.” It also recommends “$10 billion to invest in worker training programs for young people and adults to expand their skills and allow them to move into one of the approximately 3.6 million job opening that businesses across the country are struggling to fill.”
Just after five o’clock in the morning on Saturday, March 23, the Senate passed this budget resolution, its first in four years, with a razor-thin 50 to 49 vote. Though under normal procedure the two chambers would work to create a consensus budget plan, the stark differences between the resolutions passed in the House and Senate make that unlikely. It is now up to House and Senate appropriators to determine funding for individual programs and activities, like Perkins, for FY 2014.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 03/26/2013 at 05:31 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
NRCCTE researchers at FHI 360 recently completed a longitudinal study on Programs of Study (POS)-type initiatives developed prior to the 2006 Perkins IV legislation, and their findings support the link between POS and positive student outcomes.
Researchers Corinne Alfeld and Shakira Bhattacharya began with the desired outcome of POS-colleges awarding industry-recognized credentials or degrees to students who began a POS while in high school-and identified both key components of the programs and how students progressed through the programs to reach this end point. Major findings include:
The researchers found that all 10 components of the OVAE Program of Study framework were evident in the programs, but some were more critical than others. Interviews with high school and college instructors, administrators and counselors revealed what makes POS work, including:
Perkins IV mandated POS that link secondary to postsecondary education, include rigorous and aligned academic and technical content, lead to an industry-recognized degree or credential and possibly include opportunities for dual enrollment. The current legislation does not address issues such as staffing; however, Alfeld and Bhattacharya found it to be critical to POS success, as noted above. ACTE is working with Congressional staff, who are interested in building on POS in Perkins V and possibly ESEA, but only time will tell how the reauthorization process plays out.
You can use research findings such as these to help you tell the CTE story. The report includes a lot more interesting data, and I encourage you to read it in full!
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/26/2013 at 10:41 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
The Senate and House approved a Continuing Resolution (CR) that will provide funding for Perkins and other federal programs for the remaining six months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Though the House had previously voted on its own version of the CR last week, they ultimately adopted the version that was passed with bipartisan support in the Senate.
Like the House version, the final FY 2013 funding package includes a CR for most domestic programs, including Perkins, and a full-year appropriations bill for defense and veterans affairs programs. Senate appropriators also added full-year bills for funding of agriculture; commerce, science, and justice; and homeland security.
The bill lowers the discretionary funding cap for FY 2013 by incorporating the 5 percent sequestration cut. Unlike the House version, the final CR does not add an additional across-the-board cut of .098 percent. However, the 5 percent cut that was included in the bill will reduce Perkins funding by approximately $56 million in FY 2013. The cut will impact CTE programs nationwide in the 2013-14 school year.
Tell Congress it’s time to stop the cuts to vital education and job training programs! Tell your Senators and Representative that it is time for a real investment in CTE!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 03/22/2013 at 05:32 PM in Federal Funding, Perkins | Permalink
By: Sanjay Koduvalli, Iowa TSA Vice President, Johnston High School
I'm sitting here, at the 2013 National Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., with some of the brightest young minds I have ever met. We've been called here for one purpose, to talk to our legislators about the importance of CTE funding to Iowa's well-being.
Throughout the course of this conference, I have increasingly gained a new perspective on education. For as long as I can remember, the plan of action promoted for students has been college. I realize now that a four-year degree is not the best route for everyone, because college may not develop the skills necessary for every career path. A trade school, two-year degree, a junior college or career academy is an excellent path for many students. And of course, nothing provides more valuable experience for the upcoming workforce than participation in the desired career. Students have always been encouraged to postpone their biggest decision, what career to pursue, for a later time. Yet this push can have catastrophic results. Students should experience these career opportunities from a very young age, and focus their efforts on their career interests. Somewhere along the way, a line formed between education and preparation for work. We must eradicate this line using CTE, or we face a future of unprepared, debt-burdened college graduates who are qualified only for the next level of education, and not for the workforce America so desperately needs them to be a part of. Now it is our turn to send out this information to our legislators.
As we tell our stories to policymakers, I see understanding in these amazing people, as they sympathize with our cause. They each let us know that they believe our role is important, and definitely something they will keep in mind in the months to come. We all share a smile, knowing we have fulfilled our role.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/21/2013 at 01:58 PM in NPS | Permalink
On Tuesday, March 19, the Department of Education released a “Dear Colleague” letter reminding higher education institutions that offer competency-based learning opportunities that they may be eligible to participate in the Title IV federal student aid (FSA) program of the Higher Education Act (HEA).
In recent years, programs offering students the flexibility to learn at their own pace have been growing at higher education institutions. These creative, competency-based learning programs, also known as direct assessment programs, are available for degree and non-degree programs, including many CTE programs. While a number are offered in credit or clock hours and can be accommodated under the current title IV, an increasing number of these direct assessment programs are not offered in credit or clock hours.
The letter issued by the department addresses the eligibility of those competency-based programs not offered in credit or clock hours to offer their students Title IV aid, including Pell grants and federal student loans, through a provision in the Higher Education Reconciliation Act of 2005 (HERA). The letter also lays out the application process for institutions to apply for eligibility under HERA.
The department issued regulations for direct assessment programs in November 2006 to determine eligible programs. Under those regulations, the entire program applying for title IV eligibility must be provided by direct assessment. Programs offered partially by direct assessment and partially with credit or clock hours are not eligible. Title IV funds may also not be awarded for learning or mastery obtained prior to enrollment in a direct assessment program.
In addition, programs applying for eligibility must be able to:
You can find step-by-step instructions on how your competency-based learning program can apply for Title IV eligibility directly below the “Dear Colleague” letter.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/21/2013 at 12:16 PM in HEA, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
As part of a package of career and technical education related legislation, Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) introduced two bills aimed at professional development for CTE educators and modernization for CTE facilities.
The Professional Development for Educators Act of 2013 (S. 441) provides additional funding through Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to examine current, and develop new, professional development opportunities for educators. The bill includes a provision that 25 percent of funding for the program be dedicated to professional development activities that involve science, technology, engineering, mathematics and CTE.
The Career and Technical Education Facilities Modernization Act (S. 439) provides $75 million for the modernization, renovation or repair of a facility that will be used to improve the quality and availability of career and technical education. The bill also allows funds to be used to make a one-time repair of serviceable equipment or replacement of equipment at the end of its serviceable lifespan at the facility.
These two bills complete Senator Begich’s CTE legislation package, which also includes the Counseling for Career Choice Act. All three bills would modify the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to enhance CTE and better integrate academic and technical courses.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 03/19/2013 at 04:59 PM in Educator Development | Permalink
By: Timothy Stammeyer, Iowa Student Ambassador and Iowa DECA President
Amidst the scattered snowflakes, animated atmosphere and momentous memorials of Washington, D.C., a small town Iowan embarked on the biggest journey of his life. This young man has always wished to make a tremendous impact in the world. The National Policy Seminar provided the perfect opportunity for him to advocate for the importance of CTE, for the importance of youth in the nation and for the importance of being united towards a common goal. This young man, of course, is me.
Upon embarking on my first day to the capital, I quickly realized that the nation's capital was vastly different from my home town. Public transportation and passing through metal detectors at every public building was a unique new experience. As I sat down to meet with my representatives and senators, however, I felt much more at home. In the modern era, the view of government is unanimously negative. This view, I quickly realized, was incredibly unfounded. After each meeting, I felt a heightened sense of companionship and citizenship. Our elected officials genuinely care for the citizens they represent.
Furthermore, CTE turned out to be a bipartisan issue. Education is the most vital tool in strengthening the economy, creating and filling jobs, and maintaining peaceful relations. I believe we all need to find something to agree on. CTE provides this common ground. We all believe in education and the youth of tomorrow. The National Policy Seminar is the vehicle to bring citizens from across the nation together. We met with different thoughts, from different walks of life and with different stories, but we united with a single mission-to provide needed opportunity to the students of today and of tomorrow. I thank ACTE for this opportunity and hope the seminar is successful in its future endeavors.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/18/2013 at 01:59 PM in NPS | Permalink
The House of Representatives voted this morning to pass the Strengthening Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act. The final bill contains several controversial measures, including consolidating 35 workforce training programs into a single block grant controlled by state governors and eliminating all required representation on workforce boards except for business. The SKILLS Act also allows for the direct contracting of training services with community colleges and establishing common performance measures across the workforce system.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), stated during the final debate “the state of today’s workforce system is unmanageable” and the SKILLS Act would allow state and local leaders and workforce boards to be “much better informed and equipped to serve the needs of local job seekers.”
Before voting on the final bill, Members of the House were allowed to submit final amendments to the bill. Three amendments were adopted by a voice vote, including amendments for advanced manufacturing for veterans; funding set asides for native Americans, Hawaiians and Alaskans; and the addition of an application process for local areas to apply for recognition by the state workforce board.
The House Democrats also submitted an amendment to substitute the entirety of the SKILLS Act with the Democrats Workforce Investment Act reauthorization bill. The substitute was the only amendment to receive a recorded vote, and failed by a vote of 192-227.
Although the SKILLS Act passed the House, it is highly unlikely that it will be brought up for consideration in the Senate . Instead, the Senate may choose to draft its own version of a Workforce Investment Act reauthorization, which, if passed by the Senate, will need to be reconciled with the SKILLS Act to create a compromise bill.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 03/15/2013 at 05:00 PM in WIOA | Permalink
By: Kandy Smitha, ACTE Fellow
The 2013 National Policy Seminar closing session started with greetings and remarks by Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration.
Ms. Oates began with a history of her career starting as a 9th grade teacher in Boston and Philadelphia. She has been an advocate for CTE since the 1970s. She feels it is critical that elected officials and their staff members get involved with CTE and that the staff members we meet with on Capitol Hill communicate with those elected officials. She encouraged us to get personal with our elected officials and put a face on CTE. We want them to provide funding and structure, but not to micromanage, and make sure the law fits for what we need to do. Let them know we, as educators, are happy to be accountable for what we do.
She is convinced that every worker will need some postsecondary education. One example of job openings that will be prevalent in the future is air traffic controllers, where the average age now is 54. According to Ms. Oates, there are currently 86,000 jobs in cyber security and we need programs to get them prepared for this career pathway. In addition, we are importing more welders from other countries than we are training here in the U.S. She admonished us to stay true to our basics but to make them relevant. "CTE teachers are key players in making government work," stated Ms. Oates. "CTE is the difference between a frivolous expense and an investment."
Ms. Oates suggested utilizing career technical student organizations to help develop the soft skills needed by students to be successful. She also suggested we "take the gloves off" and talk about the needs of our schools. Talk about how many students are successful and get rid of the old misconception that CTE students are not college-bound students. She is open to any way her department can help.
Following Ms. Oates, a panel session on the Federal Focus on Career Pathways kicked off with Mary Alice McCarthy from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education and Brendan Kelly of the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Brendan stated that CTE has promise to increase the earning potential of the average worker and that career pathways help to guide students to their goals. He also stated that people are bad at choosing and are often overloaded with choices and make no choice at all. Career pathways help to make those choices. Mary Alice then took the stage with a question. She asked how many of us attending had seen the letter placed on our table that was addressed to their colleagues in Washington. Most of us were unaware of the letter. The purpose of the letter was to bring awareness of the joint Career Pathways Initiative from the Departments of Labor, Education and HHS and to establish a common language for career pathways. Attached to the letter is a layout of how to create a pathway.
Following these presentations, my colleagues and I braved the weather to meet with a legislator on Capitol Hill, and then we were homeward bound!
Kandy Smitha is a 2013 ACTE Fellow from Region III and an instructor of Advanced Life Sciences and Veterinary Assisting at J. Everett Light Career Center in Indianapolis.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 03/15/2013 at 02:00 PM in NPS | Permalink
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