ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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It’s been a full year of research, reports and other publications exploring such CTE-relevant topics as career pathways, middle-skill jobs and the need for education and workforce data sharing. Here are a few interesting publications to close out 2014. Follow the links for further information:
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 12/30/2014 at 04:02 PM in Data and Research, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
On Friday, December 19, the Department of Education published a “framework” for the college ratings system that is under development and intended for launch in the 2015-16 school year. The ratings are intended to help students in assessing the value of an institution of higher education, as well as to establish a means for those institutions to benchmark their own strengths and weaknesses and to be held accountable by policymakers.
The ratings would apply to both two- and four-year institutions offering degrees or certificates; however, they will be grouped separately from one another to allow for more accurate comparisons between institutions. Non-degree granting institutions will not be included in the ratings system as proposed, but the department has not ruled out the possibility of incorporating these institutions in future versions of the system. The department’s release notes that the system will not rank institutions against one another, but rather rate them according to three levels: “high-performing, low-performing and those in the middle.” While the specific metrics that schools will factor into a rating are still under consideration, the release notes that the first ratings will rely on existing federal data systems. Among the metrics under consideration include the percentage of students receiving Pell grants at an institution, average net price of attendance at an institution and labor market success. The department has noted that it will not use a debt-to-earnings ratio as a consideration in the ratings, which will likely draw attention from both those opposed to and supportive of the recent gainful employment regulations.
The department has invited input and comments from the public until mid-February, which it will use to advance the framework into more specific language in future publications. ACTE will continue to monitor the discussions around this issue, and invites members’ feedback on the framework to date.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/23/2014 at 11:46 AM in Executive Branch, In the News, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
Students who report participating in work-based learning during postsecondary education are more likely to be employed after graduation, according to a Gallup-Purdue index.
More than 70 percent of recent graduates who strongly agreed that they had experienced applied jobs or internships as undergraduates are currently working full-time, compared to 56 percent of those who strongly disagreed that they experienced work-based learning. The difference is particularly wide for those who graduated college since 2010; for those who graduated before 2010, graduates who took part in work-based learning are also more likely to be employed, but the gap is not as large.
Previously, I reported about another set of findings from this same poll, which demonstrated that those who participated in work-based learning in postsecondary education are more likely to be engaged employees.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 12/22/2014 at 02:59 PM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
When the House and Senate reconvene in January for the start of the 114th Congress, some new faces will be joining the key committees that oversee education policy and funding. We previously reported on the announcement of some leadership positions on these committees. It was confirmed last week that Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the new ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, succeeding retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) as the senior Democrat on the committee. Sen. Murray was one of the bipartisan sponsors of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and has championed the restoration of the “ability-to-benefit” provision for the federal Pell grant program. Additionally, some rank-and-file committee assignments have been announced. The HELP committee will add Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen.-elect Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
The Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal funding, will add four freshman members, including Sens.-elect Cassidy, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Daines (R-MT). New to the committee onn the minority side, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus.
In the House, the Education and the Workforce Committee will add:
New members of the House Appropriations Committee will include:
Check back to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more updates on the new Congress.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/19/2014 at 11:23 AM in Election Watch | Permalink
On December 3, the Department of Education published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register to implement new rules governing teacher preparation programs nationwide. The regulations are intended to amend existing accountability systems under Title II of the Higher Education Act to incorporate additional measurements of student outcomes as a means to evaluate teacher effectiveness.
The regulation would require that starting October 1, 2017, all teacher education programs at institutions of higher education (IHEs) or alternative teacher certification programs would be required to provide new information to a state report card , which would be made publically available (including on the IHE or program website). This new information would focus more heavily on program outcomes, including student learning outcomes, employment outcomes, survey outcome data and accreditation.
Of particular importance to CTE professionals will be ED’s definition of student growth for non-tested subjects. The NOPR states that:
“Under the definition of `student achievement in non-tested grades and subjects,' for grades and subjects that do not require assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA, student achievement would be determined by measures of student learning and performance, such as students' results on pre-tests and end-of-course-tests, objective performance-based assessments, student learning objectives, student performance on English language proficiency assessments, and other measures of student achievement, that are rigorous and comparable across schools and consistent with State requirements.”
The new regulations provide one year to establish data reporting systems for the program, beginning in the 2015-16 school year, followed by mandatory reporting in the 2016-17 school year. In addition, the regulations mandate that programs will be rated on a scale with at least four categories, including “low-performing,” “at-risk,” “effective” and “exceptional.” Programs that are found to be lower than “effective” in preparing teachers for the classroom will need to develop plans for improvement, and will no longer be eligible for TEACH grants, which provide students with grants to assist with costs associated with their education while pursuing careers as teachers in high-need fields.
ACTE invites feedback from our members on their questions and concerns related to the proposed teacher preparation regulations. All feedback will be considered and factored into our comments to ED on the proposed regulations, which are due on or before February 2, 2015. To learn more, visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/16/2014 at 12:40 PM in Executive Branch, In the News, Postsecondary Issues | 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.
The final day of the ACTE Illinois media tour began in Princeville, Illinois. This small community boasts a great offering of CTE programs in 12 course areas, including fashion, culinary arts and mechanics. We began by visiting a FACS program for 7th and 8th grade students, where the culinary arts curriculum was carefully designed to teach students not only the fundamentals of safe, sanitary and effective food preparation, but also group work and the science of nutrition.
Later, we visited the school’s agricultural mechanics classroom. John Deere donated engines from agricultural equipment for students to examine and work on, which provides them with the basics of engine design and machining as well as advanced literacy skills in parsing advanced technical manuals. Students in the class have gone on to careers in agriculture-related fields, but often also apply their skills in other mechanical settings outside of agricultural equipment.
The local FFA organization has a strong presence at Princeville, which helps the school to align its curriculum in CTE programs to the local workforce needs – 25 percent of Illinois jobs are based in agriculture, and it’s a pervasive part of local culture. Students from FFA and the broader CTE community work to raise and sell plants every year in the school’s greenhouse, which members of the local community can come to purchase. In the last year, this effort raised more than $36,000, all of which was invested in the FFA chapter and general community development.
Later in the day, we visited Manual High School and Woodruff Career and Technical Center. Both located in Peoria, Illinois, they prepare students for careers that are in demand in their communities. Students at Manual High School can pursue courses in health careers, pre-K child development and human services, as well as architectural drafting and metals.
Students in these CTE programs gain valuable insight into how they can apply their academic coursework in college and careers, while also obtaining advanced technical skills. One such example is Manual’s industrial technology program, wherein students work in teams to construct Adirondack chairs with industry-grade technical equipment. The students then use their entrepreneurial skills to develop a sales plan for the chairs, which can be purchased by members of the community. These students complete their education with foundational knowledge in a range of engineering and business topics, which many of them apply in postsecondary educational settings at two- or four-year institutions.
Another theme in successful CTE programs in Peoria is the attainment of industry-recognized, valued credentials or licenses upon completion. One example of such a program is Woodruff’s cosmetology program, which teaches the students advanced STEM curriculum through the lens of cosmetology topics. Students in this class learn everything from the molecular chemistry of hair dye to the levels of matter, and can sit for their state board licensure upon completion of their studies, which enables them to work in a salon or start their own business.
“We have students who go on to college and work in a salon while they obtain additional education after they graduate,” said instructor Demetra Bolden. Through CTE, her students have opened doors to career opportunities that will benefit them throughout their professional lives.
The media tour provided me with a remarkable opportunity to learn more about the diverse courses available in Illinois, and to see firsthand their shared power in preparing students for career success. 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 ACTE’s guide to organizing your own media tour, coming soon!
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/16/2014 at 12:32 PM in In the News | Permalink
On December 11, I attended Achieve’s Annual Meeting for State Leaders and National Partners. The event includes many state personnel and school improvement advocates, and a lot of good information and conversation on topics such as standards, secondary-postsecondary transition and equity.
This year’s program featured an exceptional student panel, and I was pleased to see that SkillsUSA High School President Ahmad Shawwal was part of the discussion. As is usually the case, Ahmad’s remarks made me proud to be a CTE advocate as he discussed the value of SkillsUSA, career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) and CTE more generally. Ahmad and his fellow panelists made a compelling case for the need for multiple pathways and individualized instruction for students.
Ahmad also pointed out that he is taking five AP courses and is fully involved in CTE. His focus on the value of CTE-academic integration was reinforced later in the day by a panel that highlighted the work being performed by high-performing institutions such as Pathways in Technology Early College (P-TECH) High School, which began in Brooklyn, NY and has expanded rapidly across the nation with the support of IBM. These schools provide students with academic and work-based learning and are linked closely to postsecondary options.
The panel included Kate Blosveren Kreamer, who discussed how CTE has evolved and changed. She challenged attendees to visit CTE institutions such as P-TECH to gain a better understanding of CTE as it exists in relationship to challenging academic requirements and secondary-postsecondary opportunity. Stan Litow, IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, said that it is time we stop separating K-12 from higher education and urged that schools and programs better connect with the needs of employers.
Inclusion of CTE in conference agendas and in national discussions about school improvement is becoming more common. I have attended three large meetings of this type within the past month, which have all contained a significant CTE component.
Posted by Steve DeWitt on 12/16/2014 at 12:24 PM | Permalink
Last month, the Council of Chief State School Officers released “Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students,” a report from its recent Task Force on Improving Career Readiness.
The task force was comprised of state school chiefs, postsecondary and career technical education leaders, national education experts and business leaders. Its goal was to bring a renewed focus to the issue of career readiness and develop a set of recommendations for state policy actions to “transform their schools’ approach to career readiness.”
While the report does reference some schools as “doing a very poor job of being responsive” to current workforce needs, and the “pace and scale” of change in CTE programs as insufficient, most of the report’s recommendations align with those of the broader CTE community. Many are even included in ACTE’s recommendations for the next Perkins reauthorization.
The included recommendations are included below, and you can review the report for more details and examples of states that already have such initiatives in place.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 12/16/2014 at 10:18 AM in Career Readiness, State and Local Issues | Permalink
After intense debate and several delays, the FY 15 appropriations “cromnibus” was approved by both chambers of Congress. The House passed the bill by a vote of 219-206 last Thursday evening, and the Senate followed on Saturday night by a vote of 56-40. Both votes were bipartisan, with a number of the most conservative and most liberal members of Congress opposing the bill, albeit for very different reasons.
The House is now adjourned until 2015, but the Senate remains in session in an attempt to complete work on a few more items, including a tax extenders package and several executive nominations.
As we reported last week, the final appropriations bill maintains funding for Perkins for the 2015-16 school year, despite cuts in many areas of the bill. This is the earliest work has been complete on an appropriations bill in a number of years, which provides added security to schools as budgets are being planned. It also sets us up well to begin focusing on FY 16 funding in January, which will once again be a challenge due to low budget caps and conservative focus on cutting domestic spending.
In one other piece of good news, we have heard from sources at the Department of Education that the small across-the-board cut that was included in the first continuing resolution and applied to the Perkins October 1 allocation for some states is likely to be restored. It has not been decided if those funds will be distributed separately to states or rolled into the next scheduled allocation on July 1. We will be following this closely and will report on any further details!
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 12/16/2014 at 08:38 AM in Federal Funding, Perkins | Permalink
The Department of Labor just announced the details of a new $100 million grant competition to “expand registered apprenticeship programs in high-skilled, high-growth industries like healthcare, biotechnology, information technology and advanced manufacturing.”
The American Apprenticeship Grant program, which has been discussed by Administration officials for several months now, is designed to help expand apprenticeships beyond the career fields traditionally served by such programs into more high-tech industries.
Approximately 25 grants will be awarded to partnerships of at least one public and one private entity. The public-entity portion of the partnership may include an organization administering the workforce investment system, a public education or training provider, or a DOL-recognized State Apprenticeship Agency. Other partners may also be included. Grants will range from $2.5 million to $5 million each and will be awarded from H-1B visa fees, a source that has been tapped for innovative job training programs in the past. New apprenticeships must align with other postsecondary education programs and create career pathways for students.
“An apprenticeship is the 'other 4-year degree'. It is a tried and true job training strategy that offers a reliable path to the middle class, with no debt,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez as he announced the grants on December 11 at the Urban Technology Project's Information Technology registered apprenticeship program in Philadelphia. “I encourage everyone to apply for this federal grant so that we can significantly scale apprenticeships opportunities for many more Americans in new industries and occupations.”
Grant applications are due on April 30, 2015. You can access application materials and apply at http://www.grants.gov/view-opportunity.html?oppId=270372, and access more resources for potential grantees at http://www.dol.gov/apprenticeship/.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 12/12/2014 at 06:39 AM in Executive Branch, Federal Funding, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
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