ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
« March 2017 |
States are using program approval and review processes to develop programs of study and career pathways aligned with postsecondary and labor market opportunities, as described in a new brief from Advance CTE, developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative.
Raising the Bar: State Strategies for Developing and Approving High-quality Career Pathways provides a detailed account of Tennessee’s state-driven, multi-faceted course revision initiative, including reviewing existing programs of study, updating standards and identifying industry assessments. This has resulted in the discontinuation of nearly 100 courses in recent years that were determined to be duplicative, low quality and/or not aligned with labor market demand, meaning districts could no longer offer these courses. In their stead, new and revised courses were created, programs of study were organized into four-course sequences and the state developed a list of approved industry certifications. Programs must annually prove their postsecondary and labor market connections to continue.
Alternately, New Jersey, which is locally driven, has used its program of study approval criteria as the basis of a review process in which districts submit information and data on their programs of study through an online application system. And Delaware offers both state-developed and locally driven options.
Additional examples and recommendations can be found at https://careertech.org/resource/raising-the-bar.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 04/27/2017 at 09:44 PM in Data and Research | Permalink
A new report has been released by Advance CTE with the support of the Siemens Foundation. The report, “The Value and Promise of Career and Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students,” sheds light on opinions about CTE by both current and prospective CTE parents and students. “Prospective parents and students” are defined as those not currently involved in CTE but who demonstrated some degree of interest after hearing a description of CTE.
As advocates seek to strengthen the CTE ecosystem and engage with policymakers at all levels, it is important to be armed with data to help support your positions. Below are the top ten takeaways from the report, in no particular order, from an advocacy perspective.
The full report can be read in its entirety here.
1) CTE parents and students were more than two times more likely than prospective parents and students to report being “very satisfied” with their overall school experience.
2) Ninety percent of CTE parents reported being satisfied with their child’s “ability to learn real-world skills” versus roughly half of prospective parents.
3) Over 90 percent of all students (and parents) surveyed agree that it is important to find a career they are passionate about.
4) Eight in ten CTE students are satisfied with their ability to begin preparing for/ get a leg up on a career, while less than half of prospective students report being satisfied.
5) CTE students (and parents) are more satisfied with the quality of their classes and teachers than prospective students and parents.
6) CTE students are more likely than non-CTE students to have a plan after high school.
7) Nearly 90 percent of prospective parents and students have a favorable impression about CTE based on a short description of programs.
8) Prospective students and parents trust guidance counselors the most as a source of information on CTE.
9) Nearly 90 percent of students and parents agree that job experience increases a student’s chance at success.
10) CTE students are more than twice as likely to be satisfied with their opportunities to make connections with employers and obtain internships.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 04/24/2017 at 04:32 PM in Advocacy Resources | Permalink
Advocacy, CTE, Research
ACTE’s take on federal CTE policy—past, present and future—is featured in a new issue of the Peabody Journal of Education dedicated to CTE.
Written by myself and ACTE Public Policy Director Alisha Hyslop, the article traces the history of federal CTE policy throughout the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, demonstrating how federal CTE policy has evolved and responded to changing economic and social needs, while also incorporating flexibility that has led to variation in program implementation on the state and local levels.
If you act quickly, you can read one of 50 free online copies of CTE Policy Past, Present and Future: Driving Forces Behind the Evolution of Federal Priorities at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/Y5am9IBt49wP5eiTyMrE/full. We will provide another update when the print edition of the journal is published.
Additional articles address CTE student achievement, career pathways, work-based learning, career counseling and more.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 04/24/2017 at 11:07 AM in Federal Funding, Perkins, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Policymaker Perspectives: A Discussion with Representative Jim Langevin
Editor's Note: Policymaker Perspectives is a new discussion series between ACTE and federal policymakers. It is intended to allow CTE professionals to hear directly from policymakers about their priorities and the work taking place in Washington to strengthen the CTE ecosystem.
Representative Jim Langevin represents Rhode Island’s Second Congressional District and was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000. Previously, Rep. Langevin served as Rhode Island’s secretary of state and as a member of the state house. He currently serves on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees.
As a member of the Democratic leadership’s senior whip team, Rep. Langevin works with his fellow Democrats to educate them on policy issues and craft his party’s legislative agenda. In addition to his leadership within the Democratic caucus, Rep. Langevin co-chairs the Congressional CTE Caucus, Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, among others.
Representative Langevin is also the first quadriplegic to ever serve in Congress. At the age of 16 he was injured while working with the local police department through the Boy Scout program when a gun accidentally discharged. Following the accident, he graduated from Rhode Island College and received his master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
ACTE spoke with Representative Langevin as part of our Policymaker Perspectives discussion series.
ACTE: As the co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, you are one of CTE’s strongest advocates on Capitol Hill. What led to your interest and involvement in CTE?
Representative Langevin: My interest in career and technical education stems from visits I have made to businesses across Rhode Island. Business leaders repeatedly told me they were unable to find workers with the skills to match their job openings. This skills gap was particularly striking around the time of the Great Recession, when unemployment was at an all-time high but positions continued to go unfilled. Through these interactions, in addition to discussions with educators and other experts in CTE, I became convinced that by expanding CTE at every level, from elementary school to college and beyond, we could turn out highly-skilled and motivated workers. Now, as a co-chair of the CTE Caucus, I am working with my colleagues to achieve these goals by increasing funding for and modernizing CTE programs.
ACTE: In Rhode Island there are nearly 15,000 CTE high school students and 95 percent of CTE concentrators graduated high school in the 2014-15 school year. How important is CTE to both Rhode Island’s education system and the state’s workforce?
Representative Langevin: The skills gap has been a significant drag on Rhode Island’s economy, and the demand for middle-skill jobs in the state continues to exceed the workforce supply. Rhode Island has developed some wonderful examples of partnerships that align workforce training with the needs of employers, including apprenticeship programs, and these programs need to be nurtured and expanded. I’m encouraged by the growing number of credentialed CTE programs and students in the Ocean State, which have strengthened the workforce and stimulated the economy. Through continued investment in CTE programs, I am confident that we can keep shrinking the skills gap.
ACTE: In 2015 you introduced H.R. 1079, the bipartisan Counseling for Career Choice Act. The bill would aid development of comprehensive career counseling programs in an effort to provide high school students with complete information about their postsecondary education and career options. Why do you believe career development professionals are such an integral part of career and technical education?
Representative Langevin: Professional school counselors have a profound impact on students’ postsecondary decisions, and we must ensure they are equipped to inform students of all possible educational and career pathways. For some students, the right path could be a traditional four-year university degree. Other students might benefit the most from a two-year course of study at a community college. Still others will find that a professional certification is the best way to achieve professional success and personal fulfillment. Counselors help provide students with the guidance they need to find the best fit for their skills and interests, and I was pleased that Congressman Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson and I were able to include an amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act encouraging states to provide career counseling services to students. Now we must ensure counselors receive the resources they need to help their students.
ACTE: According to a report published earlier this year, by 2022 there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. As the co-chair of the Congressional Cybsersecurity Caucus, how are workforce shortages impacting the cybersphere? What role do you see for CTE in addressing these workforce shortages?
Representative Langevin: The need for a trained cyber workforce continues to grow. New threats are appearing in cyberspace every day, and without the proper tools in place and a workforce trained to use them, we will remain vulnerable to cyber attacks. CTE programs can help us develop a well-trained workforce to shore up our cyber defenses, but academia, government, and industry must work together to meet this challenge. To inspire these practices, I have encouraged participation in programs like Cyber Patriot, a competition that engages high school students and helps them develop their computer security skills. By building cyber skills early, we can grow a workforce capable of meeting the demands of the Information Age.
ACTE: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is due for reauthorization. Like any other student, students with disabilities can benefit from CTE programs. ACTE has heard from its members that they would like to be more included in the IEP process during the planning stages and that CTE teachers and administrators should be more significantly involved in transition services and planning. As the co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus and the House CTE Caucus, what role does CTE play for students with disabilities? Does the caucus have any CTE-related priorities in IDEA reauthorization or in any other disabilities-focused legislation?
Representative Langevin: Access to CTE for students with disabilities is not only a crucial part of a successful transition into the workforce, it is an educational right. I was pleased that the Perkins reauthorization bill that passed the House last Congress contained provisions to expand access to CTE for students with disabilities, and I am continuing to work with my colleagues in the 115th Congress to further this goal. The IDEA reauthorization presents another opportunity to ensure equal access to CTE, and as a co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, I am always exploring new policy avenues to help individuals with disabilities succeed in school and in the workforce.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 04/24/2017 at 09:58 AM in Advocacy Resources, CTE Caucus | Permalink
CTE Caucus, Langevin, Policymaker Perspectives
While the Trump Administration’s budget request for next year has been the focus of much attention on Capitol Hill in recent weeks, the more immediate concern for lawmakers is figuring out a way to avert a government shutdown when the current-year funding measure expires on April 28. The federal government has been operating on stopgap funding bills since the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 began in October. These short-term continuing resolutions (CR) are intended to put the federal budget on autopilot by continuing existing funding levels for federal programs, including Perkins, until a long-term agreement can be reached. The initial CR was passed by Congress last fall and was only supposed to be in effect until December 9. But when it came time to replace that CR with a full-year appropriations bill, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, at the urging of the incoming Trump Administration, opted to pass a second CR that punted important funding decisions into April.
When lawmakers return to the Capitol Hill next week, they will have just four legislative days to act before the current CR runs out and the federal government is forced to close its doors. Given the limited timeframe, Congress will likely have to roll up all of the 12 unfinished appropriations bills—Perkins funding is part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill—into an omnibus funding measure that can be passed all at once. They may also use a combination of new appropriations for some government functions and CRs for other funding areas where no consensus on funding levels can be reached. To buy extra time to finalize a deal, they may also opt for another short-term CR that would last only a few days or weeks. If negotiations come to an impasse and no bill is able to pass by next Friday, most of the federal government, in a repeat of the shutdown of 2013 that lasted 16 days, will close indefinitely. While a shutdown seems unlikely, it’s an important time to let your Members of Congress know how this ongoing budget dysfunction has negatively impacted CTE programs in your community. Tell your legislators that they need act now to pass a full-year funding bill that supports education and job training.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 04/17/2017 at 04:23 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
At first glance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as “Obamacare,” and efforts by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal and replace it may not seem too relevant to CTE. However, the 2010 health care law and efforts to reverse it can affect CTE by way of state education funding, school districts’ hiring decisions and the cost of employer-based coverage for CTE professionals.
One major aspect of the ACA is federal support for states to expand eligibility for Medicaid to more low-income Americans, people with disabilities, children or other qualifying populations. Medicaid is the largest source of health care coverage in the U.S. and covers 39 percent of children under the age of 18. The ACA also extended mandatory Medicaid coverage to children in households at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. Many of these newly-qualified Medicaid recipients attend public schools, but federal reimbursements to these schools for students’ Medicaid benefits are threatened by a number of the ACA repeal proposals.
Many school districts receive significant amounts of money through Medicaid reimbursements to provide services to students in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Therefore, because Medicaid helps fund schools (including CTE programs) that provide required services to students receiving Medicaid who have Individual Education Plans, cuts or changes to Medicaid could reduce federal funds flowing into a school district’s budget, ultimately requiring state and local funding to fill in those gaps to provide required services. It is estimated that Medicaid provides roughly $3 billion each year in federal funding to schools, making the potential loss extremely significant since schools still must provide the same services under IDEA. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has more on how Medicaid is used in schools and the implications of cuts to the program. The Center for American Progress also has a table showing federal reimbursements for Medicaid spending in schools by state, along with estimated state-by-state losses under a recent health care repeal proposal.
What’s more, lower levels of direct Medicaid spending in schools that could result from cuts or changes to Medicaid and the ACA are not the only way schools could take a funding hit. These changes could also result in state cuts to education funding.
Education spending is a significant discretionary allocation in a state’s budget. When states are effectively required to spend more money on health care to offset lower federal Medicaid funding, they either have to increase revenue or reduce other expenditures. In many cases, states choose to compensate for the loss of funds for other spending priorities by drawing from education spending. In fact, a report from the Brookings Institution has suggested that “each new dollar in state Medicaid spending crowds out higher education appropriations by about six to seven cents.”
Besides federal Medicaid funding, the health care debate could also impact CTE in other ways. One often-discussed issue is the ACA’s “30-hour rule” mandating larger employers offer health care to eligible employees working 30 hours per week or more. Some have contended that this rule has unique effects on school districts since some substitute teachers, janitors, bus drivers, coaches or other school employees work between 30 and 40 hours per week. Opponents of the rule claim school districts should not be required to provide health care coverage to these employees, but not everyone agrees. Supporters claim the rule rightfully grants health care access to the aforementioned employees. Nonetheless, it is more widely acknowledged that at least minor tweaks may be necessary to address some reported instances of school districts circumventing the rule by reducing hours for certain employees.
Another issue that some education groups have asked to be changed in the ACA is the so called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health care plans. Essentially, under the ACA employers are taxed on higher-cost health care plans above a certain price threshold. Though the tax was meant to address the rising cost of care, opponents worry it could be passed on to employees. Moreover, studies have shown that location is a major factor in the cost of a health care plan. Thus, even a plan with average benefits may exceed the national price threshold, be deemed to be of high-cost, and be subjected to a tax. Because teachers are located in every corner of the country, this tax on high-cost plans could arbitrarily penalize some educators, and as a result, groups like the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association have pushed to abolish the tax.
In conclusion, President Trump was correct when he recently called health care “an unbelievably complex subject.” As complicated as it may be, changes to the ACA and Medicaid could have a real impact on CTE programs and professionals across the country. In the past, ACTE has not included health care policy as part of our legislative portfolio. However, as the voice for CTE professionals, we want to hear directly from our members as we explore weighing in on the health care debate on issues that have the potential to affect CTE programs, educators or education funding. Let us know what you think about the health care debate and CTE, particularly how potential cuts to Medicaid could affect your program. Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 04/17/2017 at 02:05 PM in Advocacy Resources, Federal Funding, In the News | Permalink
Education Funding, Health Care
This week, we’re catching up on recent publications in a host of areas related to CTE:
Skills in the Service Sector: Approximately 20 million American workers employed in the service sector lack foundational skills in literacy, numeracy and digital problem solving, as reported by the National Skills Coalition. Yet many positions require basic skills in reading, writing, math and technology, particularly the ability to read instructions. Learn more about how employees in this sector are pursuing additional education and training, and the barriers they face, in the full report.
Presenting Workforce and Education Data: Through data visualization, large amounts of data can be shared interactively with the public, policymakers and other non-expert audiences. This recent Workforce Data Quality Campaign paper shares tips for visually presenting education and workforce data, with examples. Author Christina Lindborg Peña discussed the report findings with attendees at the 2017 ACTE National Policy Seminar.
Helping Adult Learners Transition: Strategies for helping adult learners transition from basic skills education to postsecondary education are examined in this report from Regional Education Laboratory Midwest. Among the approaches examined are industry-aligned curricula and bridge programs in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio.
Community Colleges and WIOA: According to the Education Commission of the States, community colleges can be a primary player in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) initiatives by engaging in sector partnerships; providing programs in high-demand areas, supported by Individual Training Accounts and WIOA-supported training contracts; using state set-aside funds for employer alignment; and serving on state and local Workforce Development Boards.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 04/10/2017 at 12:25 PM in Data and Research, Postsecondary Issues, State and Local Issues, WIOA | Permalink
On April 6, the House Perkins “Dear Colleague” letter was submitted to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee with a total of 140 signatures! That total included 26 Republicans and 114 Democrats from 38 different states or territories. The letter, addressed to Subcommittee Chair Tom Cole (R-OK) and Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) urges “strong support for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act in FY 2018” funding bills.
This record support should help to establish CTE as a priority as Congress moves through the budget and appropriations process. Be sure to reach out to your Members of Congress that have signed on and thank them for their support! We also extend our appreciation to House CTE Caucus Co-chairs Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), who led the effort to collect signatures for the letter. A complete list of Members signing the letter can be found here. If your Representative signed, take a moment to send a message expressing your gratitude using the CTE Action Center.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 04/07/2017 at 02:08 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
On April 4, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee held a hearing to examine federal support for job training programs. The 13-member committee heard testimony from Zoë Baird, CEO and president of the Markle Foundation; Douglas Besharov, professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy; and Demetra Smith Nightingale, fellow at the Urban Institute. The chair of the subcommittee is Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-4), who is also a member of the House CTE Caucus.
The hearing touched on a number of issues, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), apprenticeships, CTE and how federal support for job training programs plays an important role in American economic competitiveness. The committee members’ focus seemed to center on the skilled trades and the more traditional definition of “vocational education.” However, there were still insightful comments that shed light into today’s CTE. For example, in response to a question from Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY-17) regarding “VocEd,” Ms. Nightingale discussed career academies and programs in fields like manufacturing, finance and health care. In addition, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-2) asked a question that highlighted the importance of apprenticeships.
Another interesting moment came when Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR-3) asked about the ideal time for secondary students to pursue a specific pathway, sharing that he believed it to be in the eighth grade when students should choose between pursuing college or a “career and technical path.” While ACTE agrees with Rep. Womack that students should explore careers at an early age, CTE does not have to be a binary choice. While not responding directly to the question, Ms. Baird did underscore the importance of CTE and education that prepares students for career success.
Another member of the subcommittee, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA-5), was the lead Democratic co-sponsor of last year’s Perkins reauthorization bill. Rep. Clark asked an interesting question on the role of the secretary of education in Perkins, alluding to the secretarial authority issue responsible for stalling Perkins reauthorization in the Senate last year.
Lastly, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) used a personal story to illustrate her belief in the “importance of learning a skill… in high school regardless of what path you go into…” She also spoke about technology jobs in her district and how many of those jobs do not require a four-year degree. In fact, national data show that half of all STEM jobs will be open to those with two-year degrees.
The hearing provided a good opportunity to shed light on the need for job training programs, including high-quality CTE, to help meet America’s workforce demands. Parts of the hearing also showed that advocates still have work to do to ensure Congress fully appreciates the diverse opportunities for students in today’s CTE ecosystem. To help spread the word about CTE, make sure your Members of Congress are members of the CTE Caucus. You can ask your senators to join here and representative here.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 04/07/2017 at 12:10 PM in Advocacy Resources, CTE Caucus, Federal Funding, In the News, WIOA | Permalink
Clark, Cole, CTE, job training, Lee, Lowey, Pocan, Womack
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