ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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As the Policy Watch Blog heads into the holidays, we wanted to share a series of National Public Radio stories following the recipients of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence that examines the ways community colleges are uniquely approaching education to ensure their students are ready for the 21st century workforce and personal success. The awards program’s goals, according to Josh Wyner, the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, are twofold – first, to elevate the sector to help shift public perceptions around community colleges as a viable, leading form of postsecondary education; and second, to identify strategies and programs that are achieving excellence to encourage other schools to follow.
These postsecondary education stories come from across the country and tackle issues that relate specifically to their communities. However, a common thread runs throughout their stories – the students consistently cite their motivation to build their skills to achieve their career goals, and understand how their local community college fit into that pathway. From careers in fields from winemaking to law, these students have found an educational pathway through CTE at their community college that helps them achieve their goals.
The programs can be streamed online here:
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/24/2015 at 12:21 PM in In the News, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced Monday that it will provide additional guidance to schools about its dual and concurrent enrollment experiment, which seeks to examine the effectiveness of such programs in encouraging students to pursue postsecondary education. The pilot program, as previously reported on the Policy Watch Blog, will expand eligibility for Pell Grants to students enrolled in dual enrollment programs that couple their regular high school courses with participation in classes at partnering postsecondary institutions. ED is now in the process of identifying eligible partnerships of secondary schools/ local education agencies and postsecondary institutions that will participate in the experiment.
ED will host a webinar on Wednesday, January 13, at 1:30 pm that will provide additional information about the experiment to postsecondary institutions considering participation. Interested parties are encouraged to register for the webinar here. The February 1 submission deadline for priority consideration of letters of interest to ED is fast approaching, so institutions should act quickly to learn whether they are interested in the project.
ACTE will continue to monitor the experiment as it progresses and report additional information on the Policy Watch Blog as it becomes available.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/22/2015 at 11:27 AM in Executive Branch, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
On Friday, December 18, the American Federation of Teachers and IBM company published an op/ed in U.S. News and World Report that calls for greater recognition of CTE’s potential to prepare students for college and career success, as well as reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) to strengthen federal support for CTE nationwide.
“Career and technical education, properly delivered, can provide a powerful link between school, college and career,” the piece states. “Our nation's challenge is to support and expand these juggernauts of opportunity to help many more students finish college and prepare for middle-class careers.”
The authors note that while CTE has grown far beyond the outdated stereotypes associated with vocational education, there is still room to grow. To allow CTE classrooms to achieve that full potential, however, Congress must consider and reauthorize Perkins to incorporate common-sense strategies such as a stronger emphasis on labor market information, partnerships between secondary and postsecondary institutions, professional development for all CTE professionals and more effective reporting metrics. ACTE has long advocated for many of these same principles and goals in its priorities for Perkins reauthorization, which are available here.
As Congress begins a new legislative session in January, now is an important time for policymakers to consider its goals and agenda for the upcoming year. ACTE will continue to work with Congress to voice support for a reauthorized Perkins that will meet the needs of all students and professionals!
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/21/2015 at 01:12 PM in In the News, Perkins | Permalink
As Congress prepares to take its holiday recess, work is just beginning on implementation of the groundbreaking Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). When President Obama signed the bill into law last week, it reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for the first time in more than a decade and ushered in a new era for K-12 education – and the federal regulations that will shape this new landscape.
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) today published a notification in the Federal Register of a formal Request for Information for stakeholder input and recommendations on implementation of ESSA’s Title I regulations. ED also issued a Dear Colleague Letter notifying states of several initial steps regarding ESSA implementation, including regarding transitions related to its ESEA flexibility waivers. The letter states that ED will make additional information (including formal regulatory actions and notifications) available on its official ESSA page, here. Stakeholders are invited to send their questions about ESSA implementation to ED at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As previously reported in the Policy Watch Blog, ACTE supported ESSA for its unprecedented emphasis on the role of CTE in preparing all students for college and careers (to learn more about the CTE provisions in the law, click here to read our previous coverage, as well as Ed Week’s blogs on the bill overall and CTE provisions). ACTE is planning to develop additional in-depth resources for our members as implementation begins to ensure that they are prepared for these changes and can maximize the new law’s potential for their students.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/18/2015 at 12:19 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
On Wednesday, December 16, Members of Congress finalized and released an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government for the rest of FY 2016. Thanks to a budget agreement reached earlier in the fall, the new funding bill will restore many of the threatened cuts to education and workforce development programs that would have occurred under lower budget caps, and provide small increases overall to both the Departments of Education and Labor.
In a victory for CTE, the omnibus provides level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant, ensuring funds will continue to flow to programs next school year! In addition, the bill proposes level funding for the Perkins National Programs line item, which provides critical research and technical assistance projects benefitting the field. Earlier this year, Congress had proposed cutting the National Programs section of Perkins, so the fact that these funds were restored is a testament to the value of CTE!
You can access a chart showing other education program funding levels here. Both the House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill on Friday. To ensure there is time for this to occur, Congress has passed another continuing resolution through December 22 that will keep funds flowing and avoids the potential of a government shutdown.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 12/17/2015 at 02:07 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
Today, the Technical Education and Career Help (TEACH) Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Alex Mooney (R-WV), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Rod Blum (R-IA), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), Ami Bera (D-CA), Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) and Congressional CTE Caucus Co-Chair Jim Langevin (D-RI), is a companion to the Creating Quality Technical Educators Act previously introduced in the Senate.
ACTE has endorsed the legislation, which would help to promote recruitment and training for new CTE educators and stem the growing tide of teacher shortages that pose challenges to administrators and students alike. It expands eligibility to the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant program under the Higher Education Act to partnerships between local educational agencies and postsecondary teacher preparation programs to encourage the recruitment and training of future CTE teachers, and provides them with ongoing mentorship and professional development once they enter the classroom.
“It is critical that we encourage new professionals to enter the CTE teaching field and provide them with the support they need to succeed in their role,” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson in a statement on the bill. To learn more about ACTE’s work on HEA reauthorization and priorities for the bill, click here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/16/2015 at 02:51 PM in Educator Development, HEA | Permalink
Incoming U.S. Secretary of Education John King made a visit to Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, PA on Monday to tour the school’s CTE programs and learn more about the ways students today are preparing for college and career success. The programs, which are a part of the American Federation of Teachers Promising Pathways initiative to expand CTE offerings in key cities nationwide, included a wide variety of fields including health care, cosmetology and culinary arts.
“The students I talked to today, they are clear on the connection between what they are learning, their plans for after high school, the relationship between what they are learning and their ability to compete in the 21st century economy,” King said of the visit to the local CBS network. The visit also included a stop at the school’s newest program focused on careers in public safety, including police officers, firefighters and EMTs.
King will assume the top post at the U.S. Department of Education in January after current Secretary Arne Duncan steps down as reported in the ACTE Policy Watch Blog here. To learn how you can engage policymakers and invite them to tour your own CTE programs, click here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/15/2015 at 02:02 PM in Executive Branch, In the News | Permalink
The U.S. House of Representatives today unanimously passed a continuing resolution (CR) to authorize five days of continued government funding past the current December 11, deadline. This stopgap measure is intended to buy more time for ongoing negotiations among lawmakers on a long-term, comprehensive omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The Senate passed the measure on Thursday afternoon, and the CR will now head to the President’s desk for his signature. The White House has previously stated that Obama will sign the measure into law to avert a government shutdown – however, congressional leaders will still need to reach an agreement before the new December 16, deadline, or pass additional stopgap measures to keep the government open.
The CR is the latest in a series of temporary patches Congress has employed as it attempts to reach an agreement on a FY16 omnibus funding package, which will include appropriations levels for a variety of federal programs across policy areas (including the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill that directs Perkins funding levels). During this time, ACTE and its partners are continuing to call for a restoration of pre-sequestration funding levels for Perkins of $1.123 billion as a part of the larger omnibus bill. We encourage members to stay tuned to the CTE Policy Watch Blog for additional reports from the federal funding debate, and to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to build our national investment in CTE.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/11/2015 at 02:43 PM in Federal Funding, In the News, Perkins | Permalink
A new report from The Aspen Institute’s Education & Society Program provides education advocates with information and insight about how they can get involved with policymaking at the state level. As gridlock continues to limit legislative progress at the federal level, states are becoming increasingly active in all aspects of policymaking, including education. By learning more about the stakeholders and circumstances affecting education policy in your state, you can help to ensure that CTE has a voice in these decisions and that your students and programs have the support they need.
The report notes that while major pieces of federal legislation and funding issues are often the most talked about aspects of education policy, states hold significant sway over the implementation of these issues and provide the largest portion of investment in education funding. State investments constitute roughly 45.6 percent of the total national investment – and state policymakers consider it their responsibility to ensure that this investment is creating opportunity for their constituents as well as strong return on that investment in the labor market. While federal authority preempts that of states when the law prescribes specific actions, states are often left to interpret specific provisions of federal law and decide from themselves on issues of implementation, including on issues like accountability, which was a major point of emphasis in the recent debate over the Every Student Succeeds Act. For these reasons, it is important to work with your state legislators to educate them about CTE and highlight its importance in preparing all students for college- and career-success.
Key differences in advocacy at the state level include significantly shorter or more infrequent legislative sessions, higher rates of turnover in elected positions, and shorter tenure in administration positions (such as chief state school officers). All of these contribute to a need for more detailed explanation of CTE-related issues and the policies that would most benefit your students. However, many of the same principles of effective advocacy at the federal level hold true in working with state counterparts, including working to establish ongoing relationships with policymakers, sharing success stories and offering to show them examples of your programs and issues firsthand through experiences such as school visits.
To access the report, click here – and to learn more about strategies for working with your policymakers and becoming a CTE advocate, click here!
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/10/2015 at 02:51 PM in Advocacy Resources, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Today, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), after the measure received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. ACTE proudly endorses ESSA and its strong emphasis on the role of CTE in preparing every student for college- and career-success. As we previously reported, ESSA includes key provisions to advance and strengthen CTE in secondary schools nationwide. "Through the work of CTE advocates and their champions on Capitol Hill, we've begun a new chapter under ESSA that will foster a public education system that empowers students through high-quality CTE,” said ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson. "We look forward to supporting ESSA's implementation and helping to maximize the opportunities presented in this new law to strengthen the linkages between academics and CTE." A press release from ACTE and our partners at NASDCTEc is available here.
In applauding ESSA’s CTE provisions, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus and the original sponsor of many of these reforms, said, “CTE is an important pathway for students to prepare for the workforce by integrating practical applied purposes with work-based knowledge and a hands-on learning experience.” Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, highlighted their support for work-based learning and career counseling in ESSA. “Education is about preparing young people for the future, and career readiness is a crucial piece of the puzzle,” said Langevin. “We must ensure that our schools are equipped with the resources necessary to inform students about workforce demands so they can make the best decisions about their futures.”
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), one of the bipartisan negotiators of ESSA, said of this effort, “We created an environment that will unleash a flood of excellence in student achievement state by state and community by community.” He further noted that ESSA is the largest overhaul of federal K-12 education policy since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.
In his remarks at the bill signing ceremony, President Obama lauded the bill for its focus on ensuring that “every student is prepared to succeed in the 21st Century.” He goes on to say, “In today’s economy, a high-quality education is a prerequisite for success.” You can watch his full remarks here.
We will continue to provide updates on ESSA through the CTE Policy Watch Blog, and will be preparing new resources to help CTE stakeholders get involved in the law’s implementation.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/10/2015 at 02:17 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
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