ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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| February 2015 »
Which states adopted legislation and policies relevant to CTE in 2014? To answer this question, ACTE and NASDCTEc are partnering on our second annual paper tracking CTE state policy changes, State Policies Impacting CTE: 2014 Year in Review.
A majority of states had legislative or regulatory action in the 2014 calendar year related to one or more elements of CTE. The brief will include an overview as well as a state-by-state review of CTE-related policies enacted last year, including key trends across the country. It will be released February 5, along with a webinar that will examine these trends the same day at 3pm ET. Register for this free webinar as an ACTE member or a non-member, and read the paper when it comes out!
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/29/2015 at 03:36 PM in Data and Research, State and Local Issues | Permalink
80 percent of students taking a college preparatory academic curriculum with rigorous CTE met college and career readiness goals, compared to only 63 percent of students taking the same academic core who did not experience rigorous CTE.[i]
As this data point illustrates, high school students who take a curriculum in which rigorous CTE is integrated with academics are more likely to meet college and career readiness goals than those taking an academic curriculum alone. Luckily, federal and state leaders are recognizing that it takes both relevant technical and career-related skills as well as academic skills to prepare students for the future: Learn more with our State CTE Policy Review from 2013 (the 2014 edition is coming soon!).
When sharing this data with policymakers or the media, include information on your students who have achieved in both the academic core and CTE, as well as stories of students who have succeeded through an integrated, aligned and rigorous curriculum.
In addition to this monthly data-focused blog series, you can find CTE data and research at any time with ACTE Fact Sheets.
[i] Southern Regional Education Board, High Schools That Work 2012 Assessment.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/29/2015 at 10:36 AM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
On Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held the first hearing of the 114th Congress on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). During the hearing, the committee examined accountability and testing requirements under the existing law and explored some proposals to reform the current testing schedule. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new HELP committee chairman, recently released a discussion draft of his ESEA reauthorization bill. The draft includes two options for federally required testing. The first would mirror the current testing plan, which includes an annual test in math and reading in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school (an assessment in science is also required once in elementary, middle and high school). The second would give states the authority to design their own schedule in which they could utilize alternative testing models like grade-span tests, portfolio exams and formative assessments.
Several members of the witness panel, as well as Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, expressed support for annual testing as a means to track student progress. However, there was little consensus among members of the committee on the details of the testing issues, and the hearing raised some additional questions that they will have to address. "The accountability system may be more of a problem than the tests, and the state and local tests may be more of a problem than the federal tests. So they all have to be considered at once, and I don't have a solution yet,” said Alexander.
Additionally, Rep. Jon Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, spoke at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday about his priorities in the new Congress, ESEA being first among them. He pressed the urgency of reauthorizing ESEA and spotlighted the committee’s efforts in the 113th Congress to pass the Student Success Act. He criticized the Obama Administration for issuing temporary waivers to provide relief from certain onerous requirements of the law, while placing “new federal mandates” on states. He reasserted his desire to provide states with greater flexibility in the use of federal funding, particularly ESEA Title I funds. He referenced the reauthorization of the Perkins Act and praised high-quality CTE programs in connecting students with the skills needed for success in the workforce.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/23/2015 at 05:22 PM in ESEA | Permalink
On Thursday, January 22, the Senate CTE Caucus organized a briefing for Senate staff titled “Investing in America’s Heartland: The Role of Career and Technical Education in Rural Communities.” The event featured an expert panel to discuss CTE’s role in preparing students from rural communities for college and career success, and highlighted the best practices, challenges and opportunities facing rural CTE programs.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, kicked off the event with remarks about his commitment to serving rural constituents and work on CTE-related legislation, including the recently reintroduced Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act which he has spearheaded with Sens. Portman (R-OH) and Baldwin (D-WI). Upon his remarks’ conclusion, ACTE Deputy Executive Director Steve DeWitt moderated the panel, which highlighted many of the special circumstances that shape rural CTE programs – including challenges around student engagement, connecting students with business and industry for meaningful workplace learning experiences, and technological barriers.
Dr. Alice Davis, an ACTE member and Executive Director of the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center, highlighted in her panel remarks how her experiences serving rural students has shown her the importance of rural CTE programs in readying them for college and career success. In addition to Dr. Davis, Matt Lohr, the Director of the Farm Credit Knowledge Center and a former national FFA officer, spoke on the importance of career and technical student organizations in helping students to engage with their academic studies by providing practical applications. Lohr and Davis were joined by Lucy Johnson, U.S. Department of Education (ED) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, and Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary, with ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, who helped to bring a federal policy perspective to the panel and spoke on the Obama Administration’s efforts to address rural communities’ needs.
In addition to assisting in the event’s coordination, ACTE has also published a new Issue Sheet specifically about the role of CTE in rural communities. ACTE will continue to work with our champions in the Senate to address the needs of rural educators and students, as well as the broader CTE community.
Update: ACTE released a revised version of the Rural Issue Sheet published in August 2015.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 01/23/2015 at 02:22 PM in Career Readiness, CTE Caucus, In the News | Permalink
On Wednesday, January 21, President Barack Obama gave a speech at Boise State University emphasizing the role of federal policy and private sector partnerships in strengthening the middle class and building America’s economy. The speech drew heavily from the themes in his State of the Union Address, given the evening prior, and stressed the importance of bipartisanship and cooperation in Congress to make progress on these issues.
A major component of the speech was the role of postsecondary CTE through community colleges and skills training:
“My administration is connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, or robotics, as well as traditional fields like nursing. And today, we’re partnering with business across the country to “Upskill America” -- to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they don’t have a higher education... We want to recruit more companies to help provide apprenticeships and other pathways so that people can upgrade their skills. We're all going to have to do that in this new economy.”
In a follow-up message to the speech, the Department of Education further detailed several of the specific steps they hope to take in their efforts, including “expanding registered apprenticeships, increasing the use of tuition benefit programs that pay for a worker to complete his or her college education, offering on-the-job training for career progression, and increasing access to technology-enabled learning tools.”
These sentiments were echoed on a fact sheet from the White House, which also included information about the American Technical Training Fund and a sneak peek at the president's FY 16 budget request, which will include more than $2 billion for the expansion of registered apprenticeships. This comes on the heels of the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration's new "playbook" on apprenticeships and innovative uses of federal funds for these programs.
President Obama’s continued attention to postsecondary CTE issues marks an encouraging step in building public support for these and other CTE policy priorities, which will foster a stronger workforce and build a future for America’s students. To learn more about the president’s State of the Union Address, click here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 01/22/2015 at 10:23 AM in Executive Branch, In the News, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
Recent high school graduates surveyed by Achieve report gaps in their preparation for college and career. Both respondents who went onto college and those who did not state that their most significant gaps are in work and study habits, oral communications and public speaking, and science. In addition, students who did not pursue postsecondary education also describe serious gaps in mathematics and in applying what they learned in school to real-world situations.
Findings also indicate that students need and want more opportunities for career exploration and real-world learning: Only 28 percent of respondents report that their school did a very good job encouraging them to explore various professional/career opportunities.* Respondents also cite real-world learning opportunities as the number one thing that would have encouraged them to work harder in high school and be better prepared for the future.
Greater investments in CTE can improve access to the real-world learning and career exploration that students want and need.
* This sentence was corrected on January 23.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/21/2015 at 09:52 AM in Career Readiness, Data and Research | Permalink
Last night, President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address to Congress. In his speech, he unveiled his broad ranging policy goals for the coming year. In addition to addressing tax reform, foreign policy and energy, the president spoke about the Administration’s initiatives on skills training, higher education and CTE. He specifically referenced the recently announced America’s College Promise proposal, which would utilize federal and state funding to cover two years of community college tuition for all students studying at least half-time and maintaining a C+ average or higher. “America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college and trained the best workforce in the world,” said the president. “But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more.” ACTE’s official statement on this new proposal is available here. He also called on business and industry to provide job training and career education opportunities for employees. “Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships—opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education,” said the president.
For the first time in recent history, CTE educators were invited to be on hand in the House chamber to hear the president’s remarks. ACTE member Lisa Barnett, a CTE coordinator at Botetourt Country public school district, was invited by Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chair Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Katrice Mubiru, a CTE teacher for Los Angeles unified school district, attended as a guest of First Lady Michele Obama. "I am honored to represent Botetourt County at the State of the Union Address,” said Ms. Barnett. “It's exciting to be a part of the national discussion on the relevance of career and technical education.”
ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson reacted to the speech. "President Obama's attention to postsecondary education access and skills training issues in his address provides important recognition of our nation's duty to equitably prepare every student for college and career success," said Wilson. "I'm also encouraged by the increased attention that this administration has given CTE as an established mechanism for increasing access to economic opportunity and strengthening the foundation of the American workforce. Hopefully, the president, his Administration and Congress will continue this momentum and recognize the need to build our federal investment in CTE through proven approaches, including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act."
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/21/2015 at 09:22 AM in Executive Branch | Permalink
Today, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, reintroduced the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act (S. 191). The co-chairs introduced a previous version of the bill in July 2014, during the 113th Congress.
The legislation builds on the effectiveness of the programs of study model by including a more rigorous definition requiring alignment with state-identified standards, progression in content specificity, multiple entry and exit points for students and the culmination in the attainment of an industry-recognized credential. Programs of study have proven to be a highly effective method of organizing CTE programs to offer students a sequence of courses leading from secondary school to some form of postsecondary education.
The bill would also introduce a comprehensive, annual needs assessment of program quality elements to allow local eligible recipients to better identify and meet the needs of students and the local or regional labor market. Among the list of elements is professional development for CTE educators, work-based learning opportunities, up-to-date equipment and technology and opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credit in high school.
ACTE proudly endorses the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act and applauds the Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs for their continued leadership. "Senators Kaine, Baldwin and Portman have proven to be steadfast champions of CTE in the past, and their reintroduction of the Educating Tomorrow's Workforce Act further demonstrates their commitment to leading on this critical issue," said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. "This legislation will ensure that federal funding will support important tenets of successful CTE programs so they can function at their highest capacity, and will support students planning to continue their education beyond high school for a career they feel passionately about."
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/20/2015 at 01:33 PM in CTE Caucus, Perkins | Permalink
Last week, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), the new chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released a discussion draft to launch the committee’s consideration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.
The discussion draft is very similar to the senator’s bill introduced during the last Congress, and focused on streamlining the Act and creating more state and local flexibility. In particular, the bill would eliminate requirements for Adequate Yearly Progress and Highly Qualified Teachers, allow states to define their own accountability systems, consolidate (or eliminate) most of the smaller competitive grant programs in the bill, including the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program, and increase flexibility for states to identify and reform low-performing schools.
On the issue of testing, which has become one of the centerpieces of the current ESEA debate, the bill offers two options. Described in an Education Week article, Option A would “Let states choose their own testing adventure, including annual tests, portfolios, grade-span tests (a policy the National Education Association hearts), formative assessments, competency-based education, the whole shebang. Districts could also cook up their own assessment systems to use instead, with permission from their states.” Option B would include “The current NCLB testing regime, which calls for reading and math tests in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. But there's a big twist. Under this option, districts could also go their own way on assessments, with the permission of their states.”
While there are references in the bill to preparing students for both college and career readiness, the streamlining that occurred left little language specifically aligned to career readiness activities or CTE priorities. ACTE will be continuing to work with Members of Congress, including Sen. Alexander, to increase focus on these areas throughout the bill.
The committee plans to hold its first ESEA reauthorization hearing of the year on January 21, focusing on testing and accountability, with several more hearings to follow. Leaders in both chambers of Congress have pledged to move an ESEA bill forward quickly. However, over the weekend, Secretary Duncan responded negatively to many of the provisions in Sen. Alexander’s draft in an op-ed in the Washington Post, setting up the potential for continued disagreement between Congressional leaders and the Administration (along with some congressional Democrats) about the future of the law.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 01/20/2015 at 08:49 AM in ESEA, Executive Branch, Standards and Assessments | Permalink
In a weekend announcement, President Obama outlined his priorities related to simplifying the tax code and raising funds to cover the cost of his recent plan for free community college for all students. While more details are expected to be released in tomorrow’s State of the Union address, streamlining and simplification of current education benefits is a big part of the overall goal. Most of the proposed education changes redirect resources to a more robust American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and away from other tax benefits. Specific suggestions include:
These proposals would all require congressional action to implement, and are likely to be part of broad discussions on reforming the tax code. While several of the individual pieces have gotten bipartisan support in the past, early indications are that the entire package of proposals is not likely to receive support.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 01/19/2015 at 05:17 PM in Executive Branch, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
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