ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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Today, ACTE released its reauthorization priorities for the Higher Education Act (HEA).
Originally enacted in 1965, the HEA’s main purpose is to ensure postsecondary education is accessible and affordable to low-income and disadvantaged students through programs such as student loans and grants and institutional aid. The act also provides aid for teacher preparation programs to produce high quality teachers for K-12 education.
ACTE’s priorities for reauthorization include:
In developing these priorities, we wanted to ensure that a reauthorized HEA considers CTE programs at sub-baccalaureate institutions as an equal postsecondary option to four-year institutions. Building on that, the priorities seek to include the students of those institutions equally in consideration of financial aid and data collection.
You can find more specifics about these priorities here.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 08/30/2013 at 05:12 PM in HEA | Permalink
This week, the National Education Association (NEA) released a report that shows the cuts in federal education funding, including Perkins, state-by-state in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013. Based on the most recent estimates from the U.S. Department of Education, these tables illustrate the significant reductions in federal support to states in the wake of sequestration.
In FY 2013 most federal education programs were cut by 5.2 percent below the previous year. This is the result of a combination of the 5 percent sequester cut that went into effect on March 1, 2013 and an additional across-the-board reduction of .2 percent in the final FY 2013 Continuing Resolution that will fund the federal government through the end of September. For CTE, this means $58 million cut in Perkins funding for the 2013-14 school year!
It is important to point out that an individual state’s Perkins allocation may not be cut by exactly 5.2 percent. Some states are cut by more, while others are not cut at all. This happens because of a “hold harmless” provision that is part of the current Perkins Act. The hold harmless ensures that a state will receive, at minimum, the amount of Perkins funding that it received in 1998. With many states at or near the 1998 level, the additional burden of these cuts is shifted to other states.
Tell Congress that it is time to stop the cuts and fix sequestration!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/30/2013 at 01:31 PM in Action Alerts, Data and Research, Federal Funding, In the News, Perkins, State and Local Issues | Permalink
As the deadline for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation approaches, more questions are being asked about the development and requirements of the Standards. The Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE) has produced a publication titled "Common Core State Standards 101," which may be the best documentation of the CCSS movement and what the standards do. It also directly addresses some of the false criticism the CCSS have received.
This document can be used to answer your own or others' questions about the CCSS. Some mischaracterizations of the Standards have appeared in blogs and other media as opponents are working to oppose the CCSS. It's important to know the facts.
ACTE became an endorsing partner of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2009. We signed on because, even though the Common Core State Standards are focused on English language arts and mathematics, a foundation of academic knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge is critical for career readiness. The fact that CCSS was and remains a state-led movement emphasizing "real world" application has been an important part of our support along the way.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 08/29/2013 at 03:05 PM in Standards and Assessments | Permalink
Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced $28 million in grants have been awarded to 42 states to cover the costs of Advanced Placement (AP) exams for low-income students.
The AP Test Fee Program was created under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to encourage low-income students to earn college credits by subsidizing their AP exam fees. The funds awarded are able to cover all but $10 of the cost of each exam.
While the program is intended to help more students earn college credit, the grants are limited by law to only reimburse schools for assessments developed for AP, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge International courses. This restriction limits the programs application to academic credit, and leaves out other types of exams that may lead to technical skills in addition to college credit, such as those linked with CTE courses.
Because of current federal statute, the department does not have the authority to broaden the types of exams covered to include technical skill assessments for college credit. This issue must be resolved through the ESEA reauthorization process.
ACTE has lobbied for this change in our ESEA campaign to help legislators truly understand the term ‘college and career ready,’ which goes beyond academics to include employability and technical skills.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 08/29/2013 at 09:47 AM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
The number of high school students taking CTE courses at community and technical colleges in Kansas increased by about 50 percent in the 2012-2013 school year, the first year of new legislation that places the responsibility for paying for those credits on the state, according to Celia Llopis-Jepsen of CJOnline.com.
Senate Bill 155 also includes a CTE incentive program that awards $1,000, subject to appropriation, to a school district for each high school student who graduates from that district with an industry-recognized credential in a high-need occupation. In addition, the bill requires the State Board of Regents to develop a statewide articulation agreement for CTE programs among high schools, community colleges, technical colleges and the Institute of Technology at Washburn University.
Llopis-Jepsen reports that the tuition-free college credit program cost $12 million in the first year, but education leaders believe it to be worth the investment.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 08/27/2013 at 10:34 AM in State and Local Issues | Permalink
In a press release this morning, President Barack Obama announced his plan to improve postsecondary education access and affordability. Over the past few years, the President has continually professed his support for community colleges and ensuring access to higher education for low-income students, and this new proposal looks to build on those efforts through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
The proposal focuses on three main points for restructuring higher education — pay colleges and students for performance, promote Institutional innovation and competition and ensure student debt remains affordable and manageable for graduates. The specific details of these points, if enacted, would have an impact on CTE programs in postsecondary institutions.
The plan calls for a new college ratings system, incorporated into the current “College Scorecard,” which would compare institutions with similar missions based on access, affordability and outcomes. The President proposes that ratings generated by this system would then be used to transform federal aid, allowing colleges with better ratings to offer larger Pell grants and more affordable loans to students. The new rating system can be enacted by the Department of Education immediately. However, changing any requirements for federal aid will require congressional approval.
Concerns with this type of system include comparing smaller institutions with fewer resources to large institutions with a more diverse population and greater program offerings, as well as how to control for differences in incoming students’ qualifications and goals. There are also numerous data collection and quality issues that must be addressed before any such ratings could be considered valid and reliable.
In another section on encouraging innovation in higher education, the proposal would encourage institutions to recognize prior learning, specifically dual enrollment opportunities and skills of returning veterans. Additionally, the proposal calls for a broader use of competency-based learning, which would award class credits based on knowledge instead of the traditional seat time measure. ACTE has continually supported these opportunities for students, and we encourage institutions to partner with secondary schools to offer more skill-based college credit earning opportunities to students beyond the traditional Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.
While the President’s proposal leaves many questions for CTE programs in community and technical colleges and other public, non-degree granting institutions like area CTE centers, there is plenty of time for discussion. It is unlikely that the plan, or any of its components, will actually be adopted into law in the near future due to the timeframe of discussions on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and continued congressional gridlock.
ACTE has submitted its own recommendations for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Our recommendations suggest better utilizing short-term postsecondary programs to make the higher education system more accessible, efficient and beneficial for students.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 08/22/2013 at 05:16 PM in Executive Branch | Permalink
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education approved Pennsylvania’s application to waive key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. Pennsylvania’s waiver was the 41st approved since the department began issuing waiver in 2011.
In the face of congressional gridlock on the reauthorization of ESEA, the department began issuing waivers from provisions in the law, such as adequate yearly progress (AYP), in exchange for state-developed plans to “prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teachers and leadership.”
Pennsylvania’s waiver takes into account the work the state has done in developing CTE programs of study, and will now include industry standards-based competency assessments in the accountability system when calculating school performance. Additionally, the accountability system will give schools credit for all courses resulting in college credit for students – not just Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. This may include CTE dual enrollment or articulated courses.
Accountability systems that include career readiness standards, like the one proposed in Pennsylvania’s plan, will help to encourage schools to promote CTE courses to more students and to align them with industry standards and college-level learning. These efforts will be very interesting to watch as the system is implemented.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 08/22/2013 at 05:14 PM in Career Readiness, ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
ACTE has launched the first in our new Sector Sheet series, CTE: The Key to Economic Development in Advanced Manufacturing, which explores advanced manufacturing career opportunities and describes CTE's role in growing the qualified workforce for advanced manufacturing.
Despite media attention on manufacturing job losses, 2 million job openings in manufacturing are expected through 2018 and the industry remains a major player in the U.S. economy. The manufacturing sector has also been vulnerable to skills gaps. According to a survey of U.S. manufacturers, 67 percent reported a moderate to severe shortage of talent.
As you'll read in the Sector Sheet, careers in advanced manufacturing not only encompass technical occupations such as machinists, but also many other occupations such as business administrators and computer technicians. CTE prepares high school, postsecondary and adult students for these careers through a variety of courses in Career Clusters® and pathways such as manufacturing, STEM and business management and administration; work-based learning experiences such as school-based businesses as well as apprenticeships on-site at manufacturing facilities; career and technical student organization experiences; and opportunities to earn stackable credentials, such as those available under the National Association of Manufacturers-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.
Future Sector Sheets will be released later this year for industry sectors such as health care and energy. We encourage you to share these advocacy tools with industry, policymakers and education leaders to illustrate how CTE supports specific industries.
In related news, the Manufacturing Institute has begun recognizing excellence in manufacturing education. The M-List distinguishes U.S. schools that are preparing workers up to industry standards in advanced manufacturing.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 08/19/2013 at 10:35 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
This week, AASA: The School Superintendents Association released a new report about the effects of the across-the-board sequester cuts on school districts around the country. A survey of 541 responses from 48 states yielded some interesting results on how districts are dealing with reductions in federal funding, including Perkins, as the 2013-14 school year begins.
The report notes that the federal share of a school district’s budget will vary. Those districts that receive a larger share of federal funds—often in high-poverty areas or more rural parts of the country—will see a bigger hole in their budgets as a result of cuts in federal funds. Though the impacts of the cuts are not the same for all districts, 86 percent of those surveyed by AASA reported that their districts will not be able to absorb the cuts. These schools will have to make reductions in staff, services, maintenance or find other saving in their shrinking budgets to offset the reductions in funding.
Over half of the respondents (53 percent) indicated that their districts have already been forced to incorporate a 5 percent reduction (the amount of the across-the-board sequester cut) into their 2013-14 school year budget. More alarmingly, 22 percent reported that their districts could not build in a 5 percent cut for the upcoming school year because their budgets are stretched too far already.
When asked specifically how sequester cuts would impact their districts, over half (53 percent) of those surveyed reported teacher layoffs or the elimination of teaching positions at their schools. Other highly reported impacts of sequestration include fewer professional development opportunities, increases in class size, deferring technology purchases and cuts in non-instructional personnel. Reductions in elective course offerings and cut backs in extra-curricular activities were reported by 19 percent of respondents, while 8 percent indicated that “occupational education” courses would have to be reduced as well.
How are cuts affecting your school? Is your district experiencing teacher layoffs, reducing CTE course offerings, putting off the purchasing of new equipment or reducing other services that benefit CTE students? Help us to show the importance of funding CTE by sharing your story!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/16/2013 at 10:57 AM in Action Alerts, Data and Research, Federal Funding, Perkins, State and Local Issues | Permalink
This week, the U.S. Department of Education approved Maine’s waiver for flexibility from key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
In the face of congressional gridlock on the reauthorization of ESEA, the department began issuing waivers from provisions in the law, such as adequate yearly progress (AYP), in exchange for state-developed plans to “prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teachers and leadership.” To date, the department has approved waivers for 40 states and the District of Columbia.
Maine’s approved waiver did not include career readiness or other CTE measures in its new school accountability system, but the state has made other efforts in the waiver process to bolster CTE opportunities for all students in the state, including:
Other states and territories still awaiting a decision on their submitted waiver applications are Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming, Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education. States who have not submitted an application are welcome to do so at any time.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 08/14/2013 at 05:17 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
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