ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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| December 2014 »
Last week, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, formally introduced the Higher Education Affordability Act, an update on the draft bill that was released by the HELP committee over the summer. The bill, a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), focuses on the goals of increasing college affordability, helping struggling borrowers, strengthening accountability and improving transparency.
Among the CTE related highlights in the bill is the restoration of the “ability to benefit” provision that would allow students who do not have a high school diploma, but are enrolled in a career pathway program, to access federal student aid. It would also reinstate “year-round Pell” to enable eligible students to receive additional Pell Grant funding for a summer coursework, which will benefit both full-time and part-time students.
The bill would grant authority to the Department of Education to establish a student unit record system in order to accurately track postsecondary student outcomes. It proposes a new Dual Enrollment and Early College High School Program to provide formula grants to states to increase dual enrollment and early college high school programs, as well as a competitive grant program to support partnerships between community colleges and industry partners for developing and improving educational or career training programs. It also seeks to update reference of postsecondary vocational education to postsecondary career and technical education—modernizing the terminology use in the law to reflect advancements in CTE.
Sen. Harkin is retiring at the end of the year and this bill is seen as one of his final statements on the reauthorization of HEA. The incoming chairman of the HELP committee, expected to be Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will likely produce his own reauthorization bill when the 114th Congress begins in January.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 11/26/2014 at 12:53 PM in HEA | Permalink
80 percent of CTE teachers have Highly Qualified Teacher status.[i]
The majority of secondary CTE teachers, 80 percent, are Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT) as defined by ESEA--teachers with a bachelor’s degree, full state certification and demonstrated competency in their subject area. This compares to 90 percent of academic teachers with HQT status.
In addition, 97 percent of CTE teachers have either a regular state certification or a certification with additional requirements. This data illustrates that CTE teachers are well prepared for the classroom. When sharing with policymakers or the media, supplement this information with stories of particularly effective CTE teachers in your program, school or district. You may also want to talk about the importance of professional development for CTE teachers to continue to grow and develop as teachers and to foster their industry-relevant skills.
Find more CTE data with ACTE fact sheets and other policy and advocacy publications.
[i] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), “Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” 2007–08.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/26/2014 at 11:56 AM in Data and Research, Educator Development | Permalink
The Department of Education recently announced its participation in a new multi-agency effort to better serve “disconnected youth” – 14-24-year-olds in the U.S. who are not enrolled in school or working. The program, Performance Partnership Pilots for Disconnected Youth (P3) initiative invites states, tribes and municipalities to apply with their innovative idea for better connecting with these individuals with outcomes-driven educational and employment opportunities that will enable them to reach the middle class.
Submissions are allowed a unique flexibility under federal statutes and regulations, and not subject to typical reporting requirements. Furthermore, the 10 pilot programs selected will receive up to $700,000 in a start-up grant, and may combine funds received from discretionary grant programs administered by other federal departments. The Department has stated that it will prioritize applicants that demonstrate an emphasis on accountability and a data-driven strategy, and that the administering federal agencies will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the programs’ implementation to build understanding for effective methods to reach disconnected youth.
Pilot submissions will be accepted until March 4, 2015, and the successful applicants will be announced in the spring of 2015.
ACTE has reported on this issue previously in the CTE Policy Watch blog, as well as on the effectiveness of CTE programs in preparing students for college and career success and in preventing at-risk students from dropping out of school. To learn more, visit the grant application page here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 11/26/2014 at 09:43 AM in Federal Funding | Permalink
After the election, Congress returned to Washington to complete unfinished business and begin making preparations for the 114th Congress that will begin in January. While there are still many unanswered questions about the direction policymakers will take on key issues—particularly the wrap up on the FY 15 appropriations bills—there have been several noteworthy developments over the past two weeks:
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 11/21/2014 at 09:31 AM in Federal Funding, HEA, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
States are using a variety of approaches to allocate CTE funding, with the most common being categorical funding for CTE based on student enrollment, according to a new report from the National Center for Innovation in CTE.
The publication used state agency website information, state statutory language and the results from a survey of state CTE directors, conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, about academic year 2011-2012 financing.
According to the report, here is the breakdown of how all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Republic of Palau are using or not using categorical funding, which is funding earmarked exclusively for CTE:
On the postsecondary level, only 5 states of the 37 for which information was available reported categorical funding for postsecondary CTE. Thirty states rely on the foundational funding that supports programming at higher education institutions in general, with no differentiated stream for CTE.
The publication also examines states’ approaches to performance-based funding. On the secondary level, five states reported allocating state funds based on performance and two reported allocating federal Perkins funds based on performance. The funding is typically awarded based on local education agency performance on measures such as CTE completion, postsecondary placement or industry-recognized credential attainment.
No state reported providing federal funds based on performance at the postsecondary level, while four states reported allocating state funds based on performance. Typically this postsecondary performance-based funding was part of a larger push toward accountability for higher education, rather than specifically focused on CTE.
According to the survey, state directors are interested in exploring further use of performance-based funding and, to a lesser extent, private investment models such as Pay for Success initiatives.
The report concludes with an appendix with state financing details. We will be updating our State Profiles soon to reflect this information.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/20/2014 at 02:15 PM in Data and Research, State and Local Issues | Permalink
On November 19, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez provided a passionate speech about the value of CTE and its link to a healthy economy during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION conference in Nashville. The remarks took place during the annual ACTE Awards Dinner recognizing America’s best CTE educators.
“What you are doing is remarkable,” said the Secretary, adding that CTE educators are a grossly underappreciated people who need more respect. He linked the decline in the American middle class to the nation’s lack of focus and appreciation for CTE and expressed his own desire to ensure that CTE pathways are viewed as equal in status to other secondary and postsecondary options.
Despite the challenges of image and support that CTE is facing, the Secretary noted his “unbridled optimism about the future for the U.S.” referencing 56 months of private sector growth, which he said has led to 10.6 million jobs; more than Europe, Japan and any industrialized nations combined.
Secretary Perez discussed the need for dramatic redesign of how we prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow “not only with the skills needed today but with the skills needed tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.” He referenced the Department of Labor’s Youth Career Connect program and a new apprenticeship initiative as evidence of the Obama Administration’s concern and action on these issues, but also said that CTE and workforce issues are not “red issues and blue issues; only red, white and blue issues.”
In closing, the Secretary called on CTE educators’ support, saying, “We need your help. We need your innovation. We need your ideas. We need you to critique. We need you to push us. We need you to help us build an economy that works for everyone. We need you to help us to build these multiple on ramps and off ramps. We need you to help us take career pathways and stackable credentials to scale. We need all of that.”
Secretary Perez’s appearance marked the first time in recent history that an acting Labor Secretary has participated in an ACTE function and underscores the increased attention that CTE is receiving from federal departments and agencies. In particular, several events have been held this year focused on expanding career pathways and on linkages between education and job training systems.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 11/20/2014 at 10:23 AM in Executive Branch | Permalink
The Department of Education is hosting an open-access webinar on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) for CTE stakeholders. Review the invitation below and make plans to attend to learn more about how this law will affect you! The video mentioned in the invite can be accessed directly at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_CskmYy-DY.
We are pleased to invite you to join Acting Assistant Secretary Johan Uvin and key Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) staff for a Webinar to discuss the intersections and opportunities between the newly-authorized Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). The call will be held on Thursday, December 11 from 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm EST. Log-in and call-in information will be posted under "Mark Your Calendar" on the "Home" page of the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN) at www.ed.gov.
In advance of the call, please view the approximate 10 minute "flipped classroom" video, which will be posted under "What's New" on the "Home" page PCRN. On the Webinar, we will provide the latest updates on topics discussed in the video, including combined state plans, regulations, local infrastructure costs for one-stop centers, and timelines for implementation. Please come prepared with your comments and questions which we will then address!
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 11/20/2014 at 09:24 AM in Executive Branch, WIOA | Permalink
A new survey of CTE educators, conducted by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), highlights CTE teachers’ passion for and investment in preparing students for their futures. The survey was sent nationwide, and responses were received from 570 K-12 CTE teachers, more than 40 percent from Florida and New York.
Among the positives found by the survey were a high degree of preparedness by CTE teachers, a high level of commitment and passion for CTE, and strong connections to postsecondary education. Respondents were well prepared to teach CTE, with almost one-half holding bachelor's degrees in the industry field they teach and another 26 percent holding a bachelor's degree in education. Other teachers had associate's degrees and relevant certifications or licenses, and were often highly experienced in their field.
The respondents also expressed themselves as strong supporters of CTE for engaging students, preventing dropout and preparing students for college and career. In addition, almost 80 percent reported that their programs were connected to postsecondary education. Fifty-five percent responded that they work with business advisory boards and offer student internship opportunities, 50 percent cited mentorship by business representatives and almost 40 percent said that businesses donate equipment to their programs.
The challenges respondents reported were primarily related to resources, including equipment, textbooks and space, as well as the funding that supports these. Time was also a major challenge, for professional development and for placing students in work-based learning experiences.
In addition, schools are not always able to offer a wide range of CTE programs to meet student interests and career plans as well as workforce demand. The Career Clusters most often offered in respondents' schools were Business and Administration; Arts, AV and Technology; Health Science; Hospitality and Tourism; Architecture and Construction; and IT.
Finally, respondents noted that building partnerships and facilitating work-based learning can be challenging, particularly in rural communities.
According to AFT, it will continue to advocate for increased funding for CTE, through both the Perkins Act and state legislative activity, to address CTE teachers’ need for current equipment, technology and instructional resources; time to develop partnerships; and smaller class sizes, as well as increasing the diversity of programs offered and securing funding to support CTE programs.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/19/2014 at 10:11 AM in Data and Research, Educator Development | Permalink
Recent reports foster middle-skill STEM pathways, recommend how to improve the manufacturing talent pipeline and describe the potential of digital badges.
A Jobs for the Future/Achieving the Dream publication outlines research on the prevalence and benefits of middle-skill STEM occupations and recommends actions for a middle-skill STEM state policy framework, including:
The Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 steering committee has made recommendations in a Report to the President on how to improve the manufacturing talent pipeline, including:
Finally, if you’re interested in digital badges, check out the Alliance for Excellent Education's publication, Digital Badge Systems: The Promise and Potential. It describes how digital badges are being used by schools to capture a wide range of skills and experiences, such as work-based learning and employability skills, and by after-school/out-of-school environments.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 11/17/2014 at 02:34 PM in Data and Research, STEM | Permalink
As loyal CTE Policy Watch readers may already know, ACTE Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Sean Lynch recently conducted a media tour of programs in central Illinois to raise awareness of successful CTE programs in the area. To learn more about the tour and read our previous coverage, click here.
Day two of ACTE’s media tour took us to Springfield, Illinois, where our day began at the Regional Office of Career and Technical Education’s Creating Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEO) Program. The CEO program is offered to local secondary school students as a one-year course, during which they will hone their business acumen and learn from local business leaders who have established themselves in careers as entrepreneurs. The course requires that students develop their own business ideas and put together a plan for their execution, all under the guidance of local investor and educator Bruce Sumer.
As the class began, the group was examining the business implications and successful strategy for mobile apps. They reviewed financial data from nationally recognized companies and discussed how these organizations can use data to make money from advertising opportunities, as well as the ethical and legal ramifications this sort of work has for companies. Later, the group heard from a gentleman who is currently in the process of developing his own mobile app and working to pitch it to local businesses, and provided their take on how he could most effectively launch his new business.
The CEO program illustrates something that ACTE and its members frequently report – that CTE programs not only engage students by showing them how they can apply their knowledge, but also provide them with employability skills that businesses are looking for. Students in the program must demonstrate a high level of professionalism in their dealings with business leaders, critically examine current events in business to determine their implications for their own business plans, and display advanced problem-solving skills to get their business off the ground. Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence that the program is a success, however, is that several students that completed the program are still working on the businesses they started in class – more than a year after they’ve graduated.
Later, we traveled to New Berlin and Pleasant Plains High Schools. These schools have placed a remarkable emphasis on the integration of STEM education into their CTE curriculum, which employers value and are seeking for careers today. Students at New Berlin told reporters from the State Journal-Register about their coursework, including studying engineering and design using the same computer modeling software that professionals use in the field today. Furthermore, the school has coordinated efforts to engage students at the 7th and 8th grade levels to consider courses and careers in STEM fields, which opens doors for them as they advance.
At Pleasant Plains high school, students in Erik Koning’s Intro to Engineering and Design class were examining how they could use 27 cubes to design a puzzle cube, and using 3D modeling software to bring their work to life. The course is intended to teach engineering and technology skills, of course, but also to pique students’ interest in the topic and show them how they could apply these skills in a profession. Seniors in the program have access to a 3D printer in the classroom, which they can use to design and create their own inventions. For example, during the tour students informed reporters about a plastic attachment they had crafted that reinforced their cell phone’s charger so it would be less apt to break. Later, the students demonstrated their prowess with the technology by programming the printer to create a hair comb – all as television news cameras looked on.
The day’s tour concluded at Pana High School. This small, rural community has big plans for its students, and works to engage them with their STEM curriculum at an early age. Eighth grade students at the school recently concluded a project examining the effects of erosion on the ocean floor, wherein they studied not only college-level geology, but also the mathematical modeling required to project the effects over time. Students in the program told a reporter from the Herald-Review about how they worked in teams to research the issue, and applied their findings to build large-scale models.
The visit also included a stop at Steve Bonser’s industrial technology classroom, where he explained how he uses CTE to help students apply their core academic curriculum. He leads his classes through projects such as canoe construction or designing a functioning robot, and uses the curriculum as an opportunity to prepare them for the workforce or postsecondary education.
These programs provide a fantastic source of advanced education for students in Illinois’ classrooms, and prepare a qualified workforce for employers in the state and across the country equipped with STEM knowledge, employability skills and academic training.
To learn more about how you can organize your own public awareness activities, visit ACTE’s Targeting the Media page in the Action Center – and keep an eye out for more stories from the tour!
Posted by Sean Lynch on 11/17/2014 at 12:47 PM in Career Readiness, In the News | Permalink
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