ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
Elections do have consequences, and this election will have a major impact on the policies that are created, the legislation that becomes law and funding decisions that affect CTE programs nationwide. For CTE advocates, election season provides an important opportunity to further our advocacy goals and spread awareness about CTE’s important role in addressing employment, economic growth and other critical issues facing our country. ACTE is committed to providing the tools necessary for our members and the CTE community to actively engage in the electoral process.
As part of ACTE’s efforts to deliver information and resources during this crucial election cycle, we are pleased to announce the new Election Watch 2016 page on our website. Through our partnership with the national organization Nonprofit VOTE, ACTE is able to provide voter education tools as well as grassroots voter registration and mobilization information for CTE supporters. Additionally, we will offer regular updates on the state of the race with our Election Watch 2016 series available on the CTE Policy Watch Blog now through November 8!
ACTE is a nonpartisan organization that does not support or oppose any candidate for public office.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/09/2016 at 10:52 AM in Advocacy Resources, Election Watch | Permalink
When applied technical learning is integrated with rigorous academics, students develop the skills necessary for success, according to results from the latest ACTE-My College Options® nationwide survey of CTE students and educators. Click the image below, or share this link, to let others in your network know about the value of CTE!
Below are additional findings:
We thank respondents for taking the time to participate in the survey, which was conducted in fall 2015 by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®), operator of the My College Options® college planning program. This information helps ACTE capture a nationwide perspective on CTE student and educator attitudes and experiences so that we can advocate more effectively in support of CTE.
In addition, you can advocate specifically for increased investment in CTE with our latest funding infographic.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 05/16/2016 at 11:30 AM in Advocacy Resources, Data and Research | Permalink
With the presidential and congressional election in full swing, the second half of the 114th Congress will be dominated by campaign politics. Despite the election-year partisanship, there are some outstanding education policy issues that may make an appearance in 2016.
The implementation of the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will be an important issue in K-12 education. The U.S. Department of Education has already put out a formal request for information for stakeholder input and recommendations on implementation of ESSA’s Title I regulations and issued a letter notifying states of several initial steps regarding ESSA implementation and transition. Expect a flurry of regulations and guidance on ESSA, including its CTE provisions, from the feds in the coming year.
As for education legislation, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) will be a continued priority in the House and Senate. Simplifying student financial aid programs and reducing the cost of higher education will be key themes in forthcoming reauthorization bills. Congressional Republicans will continue to oppose the department’s gainful employment regulations and other higher education regulations, and will likely use HEA reauthorization to block those efforts. The Senate, in particular, may follow a similar path on HEA as it did with ESSA—crafting a bipartisan proposal to gain support from both sides of the aisle.
It is unclear when Congress may begin to seriously consider the reauthorization of the Perkins Act. Both chambers have been working toward Perkins reauthorization over the past year, but other issues may still take priority in 2016. The passage of ESSA and WIOA does increase the possibility of reauthorization legislation this year, particularly if progress stalls (or moves very quickly) on HEA.
With the passage of the two-year budget deal and the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, Congress will be able to focus its attention on funding for FY 2017 in the coming months, with hopes of more regular order in the budget and appropriations process. The new budget cycle will again begin with the release of the President Obama’s FY 2017 budget request on February 9, which will be the last budget of his Administration. The House and Senate will unveil their own funding proposals throughout the spring and summer. Despite a slight increase in discretionary spending levels, the Republican majorities in both chambers will likely push for greater fiscal austerity. The CTE community will continue to advocate for a greater investment in Perkins!
Be sure check out the CTE Policy Watch Blog for regular updates on all the policy activity to come in 2016. We also invite you to join us in Washington on February 29-March 2, at this year’s National Policy Seminar!
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/08/2016 at 11:42 AM in Advocacy Resources, ESEA, Executive Branch, Federal Funding, HEA, NPS, 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
As ACTE is preparing for the National Policy Seminar (to be held February 29-March 2), we are pleased to announce that the nominations process for our national public policy awards is now officially open! These awards recognize policymakers and leaders among ACTE’s membership who have gone above and beyond to advocate for public policies impacting CTE in the past year. Applications for all ACTE public policy awards must be received by January 1, through the ACTE Awards Portal.
ACTE’s Policymaker of the Year award is presented annually to nationally recognized policymakers that have made a significant contribution to CTE through their work, such as Senate CTE Caucus Co-chairs Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) who received the award last year. Submissions should include a cover letter stating the nominee’s qualifications, as well as information about their accomplishments related to CTE and policies affecting CTE. For additional information on the award or to submit a nomination, click here.
In addition, ACTE members can submit nominations for the Baird-English Advocate of the Year Award, presented annually by ACTE to a member who has worked to advance CTE in federal policy through advocacy. This award provides a great opportunity for ACTE members to recognize the contributions of their colleagues through advocacy actions, such as contacting federal policymakers and their staff or working with the media to raise awareness of CTE topics. Applications can be submitted by the nominee themselves, another ACTE member, ACTE staff member or the Board of Directors, and should include a letter of introduction summarizing the applicant’s background and contributions to CTE advocacy, as well as necessary supporting documents. To learn more about the award or submit a nomination, click here.
To learn more about the ACTE public policy awards or ask additional questions, please contact Sean Lynch.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 12/01/2015 at 05:09 PM in Advocacy Resources, NPS | Permalink
This spring, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee held a hearing on the Improving Opportunity in America Welfare Reauthorization Act of 2015, a discussion draft that signals many of the ideas the Committee would like to see implemented in a reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Because of the TANF program’s effects on many postsecondary CTE institutions ability to serve adult learners in poverty, ACTE has solicited feedback from members on how the legislation can be strengthened in future iterations and incorporated these ideas into our association’s Reauthorization Priorities document. It can be accessed on ACTE’s Policy Agenda page, or directly here.
TANF provides needed educational opportunities to individuals struggling to support themselves and their families, which advances their career potential and economic independence by equipping them with the skills they will need for careers in high wage, in-demand sectors. These opportunities are a critical component in federal strategies to reduce poverty nationwide.
ACTE’s TANF priorities are targeted to specifically address the existing barriers to education and skills training within the program, and to ensure that federally administered workforce development systems are aligned and coordinated. These include steps to:
These priorities reflect the principals articulated in ACTE comments on the draft legislation, which were submitted to the committee in early July. ACTE will continue to advocate for these priorities in reauthorization of the TANF program and other measures to strengthen CTE learning opportunities for all students!
Posted by Sean Lynch on 09/18/2015 at 02:54 PM in Advocacy Resources, Postsecondary Issues | Permalink
The congressional August recess is nearly half over, leaving just a few weeks for ACTE members to get involved with their policymakers during this crucial opportunity for outreach! This annual five-week break provides legislators with a chance to return to their districts and connect with constituents while preparing for their work in the fall, which is shaping up to be a busy season for CTE advocates and education policy.
There’s still time to get involved during this August recess! A great way to have a big impact on both policymakers and members of your community is to write an op-ed or letter to the editor for a newspaper or other publication. ACTE member Sally Downey, the superintendent at the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, AZ, recently wrote a piece in the East Valley Tribune to raise awareness about tenets of high-quality CTE and questions parents can ask to learn about programs in their community. Downey’s article states that:
“Quality CTE trains students in the skills necessary to earn a professional, industry-recognized credential or college credit or both. It provides opportunities for hands-on, real-world experience in the form of job shadowing or internships. It teaches students the so-called ‘soft skills,’ such as being able to communicate effectively, that employers say are all too often missing in today’s job candidates. And it accomplishes all this because the program works closely with business and industry to ensure that students are being trained to meet current industry standards.”
Sharing messages that are supportive of CTE is always beneficial, and can be an effective strategy for building awareness even without being tied to a specific legislative issue. Policymakers often strive to stay in the loop about what issues their constituents are interested in, and working with the media gives you a chance to make your voice heard. For ideas of how you can get involved during this August recess, click here, and to learn more about writing for the media click here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 08/17/2015 at 04:55 PM in Advocacy Resources, In the News | Permalink
Every August, Members of Congress pack up to return to their districts for a five-week recess to spend time connecting with their constituents and preparing for the fall legislative season. This provides a critical opportunity for outreach to your senators and representatives while they are back home for an extended period, and a great chance to help build awareness among policymakers of CTE. With a busy legislative schedule ahead to finalize reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, begin consideration of the Higher Education Act and complete work on the FY 2016 education funding bill, it’s critical that ACTE can look to our members to get involved this August!
To assist in your advocacy efforts, ACTE has created a Congressional Recess Packet with information and ideas for engaging with your policymakers and illustrating the value of CTE. You can get involved this August by:
We hope we can count on you to advocate for support among policymakers this August recess! To learn more about strategies for grassroots advocacy that you can use, click here.
Posted by Sean Lynch on 08/06/2015 at 03:06 PM in Advocacy Resources, ESEA, Federal Funding, HEA | Permalink
This week, ACTE Research Manager Catherine Imperatore, Legislative and Public Affairs Manager Sean Lynch, and Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Manager Mitch Coppes spoke at a special briefing on Capitol Hill about ACTE’s new high-quality CTE research project. The event, hosted by the Senate CTE Caucus, was provided for congressional staff to introduce them to the recently release Defining High-quality CTE: Contemporary Perspectives on CTE Quality, the first publication in a multi-phase research project that seeks to identify and share best practices in high-quality CTE. ACTE staff discussed key findings from the paper and highlighted the policy implications of these findings for the reauthorization of the Perkins Act, as well as the Higher Education Act and Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ACTE will continue to update policymakers and education stakeholders on the progress of this project, and utilize this research to guide our advocacy efforts.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 08/05/2015 at 01:15 PM in Advocacy Resources, CTE Caucus, Data and Research | Permalink
ACTE today released Defining High-quality CTE: Contemporary Perspectives on CTE Quality, the first publication in a multi-phase research project that seeks to identify and share best practices in high-quality CTE.
“High-quality career and technical education” has become a national catchphrase—in use by policymakers, practitioners and a wide variety of influential education and workforce development stakeholders. But what is high-quality CTE? To help synthesize the myriad voices that are a part of the dialogue on high-quality CTE, ACTE is embarking on a multi-step project to identify a comprehensive, research-based quality CTE program of study framework, test the framework and integrate it into our efforts to recognize and disseminate information on best practices within CTE.
Defining High-quality CTE: Contemporary Perspectives on CTE Quality examines a broad range of documents from a variety of sources, ranging from white papers and national organization positions to organizational standards and rubrics. Findings from the research indicate that these guiding frameworks mirror ongoing trends in successful CTE programs, while still containing a broad diversity of tactics for implementing high-quality CTE programs of study. This diversity of scope and structure among frameworks sets the stage for conversations to establish clarity and consistency related to high-quality CTE.
Learn more about ACTE’s high-quality CTE project at www.acteonline.org/high-qualityCTE.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 07/28/2015 at 10:58 AM in Advocacy Resources, Data and Research | Permalink
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