ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
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| June 2016 »
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December, 2015, ushered in a new era for K-12 education that ensures all students are prepared for college- and career-success. The new law places unprecedented emphasis on the role of CTE in achieving positive outcomes for all students, including through integration of CTE and academics, increased emphasis on career guidance and counseling, and inclusion of career readiness indicators in accountability systems.
The implementation process for the new law is now underway, which the U.S. Department of Education plans to have fully completed by 2017-18 school year. For the roll-out of this new law to provide maximum support to CTE students and professionals, it is important that ACTE members and the CTE community understand the opportunities presented for their programs.
ACTE has assembled several new fact sheets to support our members in learning about ESSA and how it will affect secondary-level CTE. They include information on:
We hope these resources will be helpful in learning more about what this major development means for CTE programs nationwide.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 05/31/2016 at 04:59 PM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
More states are counting career readiness than in 2014, according to this year’s update of Making Career Readiness Count.
A partnership between Achieve and Advance CTE (formerly the National Association of State Directors of CTE Consortium), this publication explores how states are using career readiness indicators. Thirty-four states publicly report and/or include career-ready indicators in their accountability systems, up from 29 states in 2014.
According to the brief, public-facing report cards and similar tools most typically include data on CTE participation (11 states) and concentrator/completer status (8 states). In addition, five states report WorkKeys/Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) results, while four states report attainment of industry credentials. Four states report placement beyond two- and four-year college enrollment, such as employment, military service and other training.
In accountability systems, states are most likely to include measures of dual enrollment (14 states) and industry certification attainment (11 states). Seven states include data on the completion of a program of study or pathway, and five states factor in performance on workplace readiness exams.
Challenges in accessing and validating career readiness data are addressed in the brief, and several states are profiled for their innovative use of career-ready measures: Louisiana, Connecticut, Ohio and South Carolina.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/31/2016 at 02:17 PM in Career Readiness, Data and Research, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Jobs that support our nation’s infrastructure through designing, building and operating transportation, housing, utilities and telecommunications are key to the American economy.
This data point reminds us of a critical cross-section of jobs that sometimes fly under the radar when we’re talking about good careers. Millions of openings are projected in this sector across the country: About 3 million workers will be needed in infrastructure over the next decade. Not only are these jobs available, but they also pay family-sustaining wages, and 93 percent require less than a bachelor’s degree.
When sharing this data point, and others related to the labor market, be prepared with information specific to your local and regional economy and illustrate how your CTE programs prepare students for these careers.
[i] Kane and Tomer, Infrastructure skills: Knowledge, tools, and training to increase opportunity, The Brookings Institution, May 13, 2016.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/30/2016 at 10:29 AM in Data and Research | Permalink
On Thursday, May 26, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF), a coalition of over 100 institutions and organizations committed to advocating for increased federal investments in education programs, will host a Presidential Forum 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET in Washington. ACTE is an active and long-time member of CEF. This event will be moderated by Candy Crowley, award-winning journalist and former chief political correspondent for CNN. The forum will be an opportunity for the presidential campaigns to highlight and discuss their education policy agendas as we move toward the general election in November. Stream the event live online here.
ACTE is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 05/25/2016 at 04:48 PM in Election Watch | Permalink
New research on associate degree holders shows that they have positive employment outcomes and are more interested in their work than individuals with a bachelor's degree.
According to this survey from Gallup-USA Funds:
Finally, almost half of those who have earned an associate degree agree their education was worth the cost—the same percentage as those who earned a baccalaureate.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/25/2016 at 03:32 PM in Data and Research, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
The Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), recently announced a new initiative, Mapping Upward, to help community colleges “broaden their efforts to embed stackable, industry-recognized credentials within technical associate degree programs.”
Technical assistance will be provided to sector-focused networks of community and technical colleges in order to help them advance their work in the stackable credentials space. The assistance will include access to subject matter experts and a dedicated coach who will guide the groups through needs assessment, goal setting and action planning for new or improved credentials. Issues to be covered will include employer engagement, industry certification alignment, faculty collaboration, awarding of credit and credit transfer agreements.
In a recent announcement, OCTAE has extended its call for applications and will consider adding one or two additional networks to the group of colleges who will receive support. According to the announcement:
To apply for participation, please visit the Mapping Upward project web page where you can access the application form, an overview of technical assistance services, and materials from the informational webinar hosted on May 3rd. Applications are due Thursday, June 2, 2016, by 5:00 pm CST.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 05/23/2016 at 03:21 PM in Executive Branch, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
Major gaps exist in our nation’s data on its postsecondary students. It’s difficult to track students across the education pipeline. Little data is available about individuals pursuing noncredit education. And we know less than we’d like about how well students succeed once they are in the workplace.
To develop targeted recommendations on how to improve the national postsecondary data infrastructure, the Institute for Higher Education Policy convened an expert working group that resulted in 11 policy papers. These papers examine overarching issues such as data connectivity, privacy and security as well as specific elements of the postsecondary data ecosystem such as federal student aid data systems, the National Student Clearinghouse and a proposed federal student unit record system.
In particular, Classroom to Career: Leveraging Employment Data to Measure Labor Market Outcomes from Rachel Zinn of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (ACTE is a partner) reviews the available employment data and examines limitations and opportunities for connecting education and workforce data. It also proposes broad solutions and specific federal and state actions around:
The Certification Data Exchange Project, coordinated by ACTE, is testing out a solution to one facet of this problem: determining which students earn industry-recognized certifications and learning how these third-party industry certifications relate to their academic success. Learn more about what we’ve found with this fact sheet.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/23/2016 at 09:42 AM in Data and Research, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
On May 9, the Department of Education released clarifying guidance on changes to the “ability-to-benefit” (ATB) provision in the Higher Education Act that allows students without a high school diploma to enroll in postsecondary education and receive federal financial aid. The letter, titled “Changes to Title IV Eligibility for Students Without a Valid High School Diploma Who Are Enrolled in Eligible Career Pathway Programs” provides additional details related to changes made to this provision in last year’s appropriations bill.
Changes included in the December 2015 bill included:
The definition of a “career pathway program,” in which a student must be enrolled in order to receive funds under ATB, is now aligned to the definition under WIOA, which must include rigorous and high-quality education, training and support services outlined in seven key elements. To be eligible for financial aid, the career pathway program must include a Title IV eligible postsecondary program, as well as a program that allows the student to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent—but aid can only be spent on the portion that represents the postsecondary program. Each institution will determine whether its programs meet the definition and be responsible for appropriate documentation, there will be no federal approval process.
The second change reversed the requirement that students in ATB programs receive a reduced Pell grant, and now students will be eligible for the full award they would have otherwise qualified for. This eliminates the “two-tier” system that had existed for ATB students and will make it easier for institutions to disburse aid. More details about all the changes can be found in the attached Q and A.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 05/21/2016 at 11:21 AM in Executive Branch, HEA, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson today sent a letter to the editor regarding a recent NPR Ed article about CTE. In the letter, Wilson stated:
To The Editor,
I found myself deeply disappointed by NPR Ed’s recent coverage of career and technical education (CTE) (May 14, Career and Technical Education: Boom Or Bust?), an important topic that is too-often left out of conversations about our national education system. Unfortunately, despite a wealth of research that supports CTE’s role in improving student engagement, performance and postsecondary outcomes, the interview fell into many of the same outdated and disproven stereotypes that have undermined the progress of CTE programs and students for years.
High school CTE is not, as the piece stated, “an alternative path for high school graduates who don’t plan to go to college.” In fact, recent survey data indicates that almost 88 percent of CTE students plan to continue on to postsecondary education – which can (and should) include opportunities at two- and four-year institutions, as well as career-specific certification and licensure programs, in high-wage and high-demand fields. This is an important point to underscore, as it fundamentally impacts student and parent perceptions of the opportunities available through CTE.
Furthermore, the interview incorrectly suggested that the updated nomenclature for what was once referred to as “vocational education” was some sort of calculated move to cover up a negative reputation. The switch to CTE was a grassroots movement led by education professionals nationwide who felt it was important that their name reflected the identity of their field, which integrates high-quality technical and employability skills education with academic rigor through contextualized learning—and prepares students for a wide range of career opportunities.
CTE and preparation for postsecondary success are not mutually exclusive – in fact, they are deeply intertwined. I am hopeful that NPR will continue to cover this important issue and more fully underscore the value of CTE for all students.
LeAnn Wilson Executive Director Association for Career and Technical Education
CTE advocates can access resources to contact members of the media, including through letters to the editor, on the ACTE Advocacy Toolkit page here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 05/18/2016 at 03:01 PM in In the News | Permalink
A new national assessment measures eight-graders’ ability to solve real-world technology and engineering scenarios delivered via computer.
The Technology Engineering and Literacy (TEL) assessment examines students’ analytical and problem-solving skills in three content areas: Technology and Society, Design and Systems, and Information and Communication Technology. Sample tasks include developing a safe bike lane and designing content for a website for a teen recreation center.
Overall, 43 percent of eighth-grade students performed at or above the Proficient level in 2014, the first time the assessment was administered. Certain sub-groups performed better than others: Girls did slightly better than boys, and higher-income students scored much better than their lower-income counterparts.
An event that accompanied the release of the results emphasized how students need to learn how to apply their knowledge, to exercise creativity in their problem solving and to work with their hands. As noted by a number of commenters who were watching online, CTE has long been fostering the development of these skills.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/18/2016 at 02:59 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
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