ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
« September 2013 |
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In today’s funding spotlight we bring you the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, sponsored by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association (TSA), Samsung and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. The app challenge is a nationwide competition where teams of five to seven students work with a faculty advisor to develop an original concept for a mobile app that incorporates sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles and content to address a real need in their school or community. Teams that create the best app concept for their state will go on to compete for a regional prize that includes a $5,000 grant to enhance STEM education at their school and a chance to become one of eight national prize winners. National winners will work with professionals at Verizon and the MIT Media Lab to bring their app concept to life.
Teams must submit a three-minute video describing the app concept and an essay that demonstrates the team’s understanding of the design process, the app’s functionality and its potential real-world applications. Previous national winners include an app that allows individuals with food allergies to scan the bar codes on food items for a full list of ingredients and nutritional facts to determine if those foods are safe to eat.
This is a great opportunity for students to work as a team and develop skills for in-demand, high-tech career fields, while competing to win grant money to support STEM education in their school. The deadline to submit an app concept is December 3, 2013. Faculty advisors can visit the Verizon Innovative App Challenge website for more information.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 10/31/2013 at 04:13 PM in Action Alerts | Permalink
The co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding proposed federal regulations that will require all foods sold in schools to meet strict new nutritional standards. The Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act of 2010 gave the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to create national nutritional requirements for “competitive” foods—those foods sold outside the school breakfast and lunch programs—that will be implemented at the beginning of 2014-15 school year. Though intended by Congress to target snack foods sold in vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores, these regulations could have a harmful effect on students in CTE culinary programs that operate student-run cafés, bakeries and catering businesses.
Reps. Thompson and Langevin are joined by a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives who are requesting that Sec. Vilsack provide a special exemption for CTE culinary programs. They write, “In order to secure gainful employment following graduation, students must be trained in all aspects of food preparation and service, including safe preparation guidelines, local health department requirements and the technical skills associated with the culinary arts, along with every part of working in a commercial kitchen.” The letter goes on to say, “Recognizing these programs as a unique category and granting them a very limited exception would in no way undermine the intent of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids act of 2010 or the National School Lunch Act.” A copy of the letter is available here.
ACTE has also provided comments to the USDA on the proposed regulations as part of our ongoing effort to address the concerns of the CTE community on this important issue. Our letter requests that the USDA offer an exemption for CTE programs and provides comments on other parts of the proposed regulations. Read ACTE’s comments here.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 10/31/2013 at 10:26 AM in CTE Caucus, School Nutrition, Standards and Assessments | Permalink
Yesterday, Senator Chris Coons (D-CT) announced the Senate Democrat’s new “Manufacturing Jobs for America” initiative. Hoping to break through the partisan gridlock in Congress to create a “manufacturing revival,” the initiative is a collaboration of more than a dozen Senators and consists of 40 bills centered on four themes:
The “Strengthening America’s 21st Century Workforce” theme includes several bills that ACTE has been involved with that would provide support for additional career and technical education in manufacturing and other STEM fields. CTE’s inclusion in this initiative is a smart step and we encourage the Senate to continue utilizing CTE as an effective and efficient method to prepare students for the in-demand career fields of today and tomorrow.
Local business and industry have already recognized to ability of CTE to prepare students for careers in advanced manufacturing and have been partnering with schools like the new Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy (GWAMA) which opened this fall.
GWAMA opened its doors to high school juniors and seniors in Waco, TX, interested in intensively exploring careers in advanced manufacturing. Students at GWAMA are enrolled in rigorous manufacturing coursework, such as manufacturing engineering, flexible manufacturing, precision metal manufacturing and welding. Students also have the opportunity to practice their knowledge and skills in real-world surroundings during internships with the school’s local business partners.
GWAMA graduates will leave the school with industry-recognized certifications and dual-credit college hours transferrable to Texas State Technical College and, if they enter the workforce, can expect starting wages of $13/hour. The academy is supported by many local manufacturing businesses that offer curriculum support, mentorships, internships and equipment.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/30/2013 at 03:07 PM in In the News | Permalink
President Barack Obama visited Brooklyn’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) last Friday to tour the school and deliver remarks on the “Next Generation of Middle Class American Workers and Entrepreneurs.”
P-Tech High School opened in 2011 and is a collaboration between New York City’s Department of Education, the City University of New York and IBM. Students attend the school for six years—grades 9-14—and graduate with an associate degree in computer science. Those graduates then have an inside track for entry-level careers at IBM and are able to move on to further postsecondary education.
Though P-Tech has only been open for a couple of years, the model is being used to open additional schools in New York City and in other cities across the country.
In his speech, the president viewed the opportunities provided by P-Tech as a way for students to get a leg up in their lives. By graduating from high school with an associate degree students have “already paid for half of their college education,” so when they start working they’ll “have less of a debt burden from student loans.”
He also addressed the ongoing budget battles in Congress stating that “Congress needs to pass a budget that reflects the need to invest in young people” and that the conversations should not be “about what we can cut but about how many more schools like P-Tech we can create.”
Beyond the budget, the president laid out his view of what we need to do as a country to ensure every child receives a great education, which includes:
It is encouraging that the president is addressing the need to graduate high school students college and career ready with the technical skills and academic knowledge needed to succeed in both the workplace and in higher education. Currently, the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act supports high-quality CTE programs around the country that are graduating students with industry-recognized credentials and college credits, and funding should be increased to reach additional students and spread its mission.
Take a minute to tell the president and your Members of Congress to support and invest in CTE and the Perkins Act with the CTE Action Center.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/28/2013 at 03:08 PM in Executive Branch, Federal Funding, In the News, Perkins | Permalink
Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan toured the new nanotechnology lab at Wheeling High School in Wheeling, IL, before sitting down for a panel on STEM education with Wheeling students and teachers.
While Secretary Duncan’s visit was spurred by the official opening of the nanotechnology lab, the panel discussion focused on the importance of STEM education and preparing students with skills for today’s jobs. Participating in the discussion with the Secretary were students from Wheeling’s other career and technical education programs—health sciences and industrial, manufacturing and engineering systems.
According to Associate Superintendent Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Wheeling’s focus through its CTE programs are to have every student set career goals to work toward during high school, provide a sequential pathway of courses following those career goals that leads students beyond high school, and to have students graduate with a diploma plus an industry certification and/or postsecondary credits.
Following this mission, the school has worked to integrate academic and technical coursework to help students apply knowledge across disciplines. A student on the panel stated that the technical reading done in the nurse assistant program improved her vocabulary and literacy skills beyond what her academic courses could and impressed her supervisor during her nurse assistant clinical at a nearby nursing home. Another student told that the topics she’s learning in her physics and calculus classes overlap with those she’s already covered in her engineering coursework, and have helped her improve her performance and problem-solving skills.
Career and technical education programs like those at Wheeling High School are essential to preparing today’s students for the high-skill, high-wage jobs of today and the future. As Secretary Duncan said during the panel discussion, we must continue to build on and expand these types of programs.
Tell your Members of Congress to invest in CTE using the ACTE Action Center, and share your personal stories of how CTE at your school has been impacted by federal policy through our new “Share Your Story” feature on our website.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/25/2013 at 03:09 PM in Executive Branch, In the News | Permalink
The STEM shortage is real and profound, according to recent findings published by Bayer, and is particularly relevant for occupations requiring two- and four-year degrees.
The report findings are based on interviews with talent recruiters at Fortune 1000 companies, including both STEM and non-STEM firms across a number of industries. Here are some of the highlights:
The report was launched at an event this week featuring Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space, who related examples of the breadth of STEM careers. For instance, Dr. Jemison described how, when preparing for a mission, her life depended on the STEM literacy of her suit technician at NASA, a person who held a high school diploma as her highest credential. Dr. Jemison also described exemplary programs such as Andrews Aviation Academy in North Carolina, where high school students can earn college credit and credentials in aviation fields.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 10/24/2013 at 11:42 AM in Data and Research, Postsecondary Issues, STEM | Permalink
ACTE’s Public Policy Department has launched a new award to recognize those ACTE members whose advocacy actions are making a positive impact for CTE on Capitol Hill.
ACTE’s public policy staff is always working to build relationships on Capitol Hill to garner support and introduce beneficial legislation for CTE, and we rely on our members to supply a local perspective and personal stories about CTE in every congressional district.
Our work with legislators this year has resulted in the introduction and amending of legislation on topics such as career counseling, middle school career exploration, CTE innovation and CTE funding. These accomplishments are supported by the engaged, local advocacy efforts of ACTE members.
The new Baird-English Advocate of the Year award will be presented annually to recognize those ACTE members who have worked to enhance CTE in federal policy over the past year through their advocacy efforts. Advocacy activities may include meeting with federal policymakers or their staff, conducting program visits for Members of Congress, or writing op-eds or letters to the editor for local media.
To qualify for the award, individuals must be an active ACTE member and have advocated for CTE issues to federal policymakers within the past calendar year. Nominations may come from ACTE’s Public Policy Department, Board of Directors, state associations or individual members. Additionally, individuals may nominate themselves.
For additional information on the award, please visit the award web page. To nominate yourself or another ACTE member, please visit the ACTE awards portal by January 1.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/23/2013 at 03:32 PM | Permalink
The nomination process for the 2013 Policymaker of the Year is now open. Nominations can be made through the ACTE awards portal by ACTE members, state associations or the Board of Directors.
The award is presented annually to national policymakers who have made the most significant impact on national policy related to career and technical education either during the past year or over an extended career of public service.
Submitted nominations must include:
Individual ACTE members submitting a nomination must have the endorsement of an association, agency, group, several individuals or a combination these.
Award winners will be selected by the ACTE Public Policy Department in conjunction with the Board Directors, and will be presented at the 2014 National Policy Seminar in Washington, DC.
For additional information on the award, please visit the award webpage. To nominate a policymaker, please visit the ACTE awards portal. The nomination process will close onJanuary 1, 2014.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/22/2013 at 05:05 PM | Permalink
Back in August, ACTE launched its “Share Your CTE Story” web page to allow CTE teachers, administrators and counselors to share with us personal stories about their CTE programs, including how federal policies are impacting their students and classrooms.
Currently, we’re looking for stories that tell how recent reductions in Perkins CTE funding have impacted your program and students. How significant are the cuts your program has experienced? Have you had to cut back on course offerings, enrollment slots, staffing or student support services? Are you able to keep your program equipment, textbooks and infrastructure up-to-date and relevant for today's in-demand career fields—or have you delayed purchases or upgrades?
Stories submitted through the “Share Your CTE Story” page will be used on Capitol Hill to show policymakers how their actions in Congress affect constituents back home and to garner their support for CTE.
If you don’t have a story on funding cuts, we would love to hear other stories about your program. Other types of stories we’re looking for include:
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/21/2013 at 05:07 PM in Advocacy Resources, Federal Funding, State and Local Issues | Permalink
After a 16-day government shutdown, the Senate and House of Representatives agreed on Wednesday night to a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling and fund the federal government through a continuing resolution (CR).
While the majority of focus has been on the end of the shutdown, the deal reached also extended a provision to allow teachers participating in an alternative certification program to be considered “highly qualified” under the Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) section of the 2001 authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
While teachers who have gained certification through alternative routes have always been considered highly qualified, this provision allows that status to be extended to those who are teaching while concurrently enrolled in an alternative certification program.
As originally written, HQT requires all teachers of core academics, including CTE teachers whose courses may qualify for academic credit, to have a bachelor’s degree and a state-recognized teaching certification. At times, these requirements have proven stumbling blocks to implementing CTE academic integration programs.
The provision in the CR only addresses the issue of how alternative certification programs are considered; it does not change the bachelor’s degree requirement.
Originally, the extension was included in a 2010 spending bill to cover affected teachers through this school year, and was again extended again for the 2014-15 school year in a 2012 spending bill. Because Congress this year has again not been able to reauthorize ESEA, Wednesday night’s provision would extend the designation through the 2015-16 school year.
For ACTE, maintaining alternative pathways to the classroom has been a priority during Congress’ many reauthorization attempts of ESEA, and we were encouraged to see HQT removed from the latest House version, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5). While ACTE is heartened by Congress’ interest in alternative pathways to the teaching profession, we encourage lawmakers to undertake a full reauthorization of ESEA, including a permanent fix to HQT and alternative pathways to teaching.
Posted by Brendan Desetti on 10/18/2013 at 05:08 PM in ESEA, Federal Funding | Permalink
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