Legislative Updates: House Committee Passes HEA Reauthorization Bill

December 15th, 2017

As Congress wraps up its final weeks in session before the winter recess, there has been a flurry of activity. Read below to find out more about the postsecondary education legislation that advanced out of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the next step in the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) and an update on the tax reform legislation moving through Congress.

Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization Proposal Passes House Committee on Education and the Workforce 

As we shared in our Legislative Update, on December 1, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, introduced H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER) Act. This bill would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008, and would make significant changes to a number of provisions within the current law. The bill and related materials from the Committee can be found online here. Advance CTE analyzed the bill based on our board-approved HEA Reauthorization Recommendations and submitted a letter expressing our views to the Committee in advance of the Committee’s markup on December 12. During the markup, Committee members offered 63 amendments on a wide range of topics. Eighteen of these amendments were adopted, but the proposal’s architecture was largely maintained. The PROSPER Act passed out of Committee on a party line vote (23-17) and the bill is expected to go before the full U.S. House of Representatives for a vote in early 2018. It is likely that the U.S. Senate will unveil its own proposal in early 2018.

Congress Passes Short-Term Funding Measure

On December 7, Congress passed a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to keep the government open at the current funding levels, beyond December 8, when the previous CR was set to expire. The current CR expires on December 22, meaning Congress will likely need to pass another CR by this date to allow time for Congress to come to an agreement on budget caps for defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending (which will provide appropriators with the top-line numbers they need to advance Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bills).

House and Senate Tax Reform Bills Go to Conference Committee

In November, both the House and Senate passed tax reform bills. House and Senate leadership have named 29 Members of Congress to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between these bills. The conference committee is expected to come to an agreement on the legislation soon and it is likely that both chambers of Congress will vote on the legislation next week. Advance CTE had concerns about a number of provisions in each bill, including the elimination of: the deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), the educator expense deduction, student loan interest tax deductions, the lifetime learning credit and tax benefits for employer tuition reimbursement programs. In addition, the overall cost of tax reform is likely to put pressure on appropriators to cut spending in other areas going forward. This means there could be an adverse impact on education spending, including for Perkins Basic State Grants, which have remained relatively flat funded since 1991. To learn more about each of these concerns, check out this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Advance CTE partnered with ACTE to send a letter  to the conference committee expressing these concerns.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

 

Recapping the 2017 ACTE CareerTech VISION Conference (Part 2)

December 15th, 2017

Note: Once again this year, Advance CTE attended the CareerTech VISION conference hosted by our partners, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). What follows are our staff’s highlights and favorite moments. You can read Part 1 here.

Advance CTE members Charisse Childers and Heather Justice featured during Friday’s opening session

At Advance CTE, we are thankful for our members across the country and the multitude of partnerships with national organizations and groups. In this blog post, we want to celebrate the richness that our members and partners bring to the work we do as Advance CTE. 

Partner Highlights: Association for Career and Technical Education and Asia Society

Our partnership with ACTE, in fact, has allowed us to incorporate the successful Career Clusters Institute into the annual Careertech VISION conference. Also this year, we are celebrating the fifth installment of our joint publication, Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE.

Here’s an anecdote from our colleague, Austin Estes:

One key takeaway for me from this year’s ACTE VISION conference is the importance of communication and collaboration between state and local actors. At the conference, I shared some early trends from our annual Year in Review report, which we plan to publish in partnership with ACTE in January, and discussed some notable policies states passed over the year. Towards the end of my session, one of the conference attendees stood up and said that, despite her state legislature’s best intentions, a new program that was launched a few years ago had not achieved its desired goal, and that much of the money destined for teachers had been lost along the way. Sadly, stories like this are all too common.

It’s important that states identify promising practices at the local level and adopt policies that allow their success to flourish. Take Oakland High School, just outside of Nashville, for example. Oakland’s mechatronics program, which was one of our 2017 Excellence in Action award winners, was formed out of a partnership with local industry leaders who identified a workforce need and reached out to the school. And, while Tennessee is a state with high standards for program design and quality, state policies allowed the program to grow and flourish, helping students earn valuable credentials and earn dual credit. Today many students in the program graduate with up to 29 postsecondary credits that articulate directly to a postsecondary degree.

Joint session for State CTE Directors and ACTE Executive Directors

For the second year in a row, Advance CTE and ACTE worked together to create a space for State CTE Directors and ACTE state executive directors to meet and collaborate. This year’s session attracted nearly 50 state leaders from 20 states. Throughout the session, the state leaders worked to strengthen their partnerships to further advance high-quality CTE. State leaders shared the multitude of ways in which they partner — from collaborating on teacher professional development to providing a common front to the state legislature to secure more funding and quality policies.

Global CTE Toolkit

For the past three years, Advance CTE has been partnering with the Asia Society and ACTE to support the development and release of The Global CTE Toolkit, a set of resources designed to address three main objectives:

  • Educate and engage with CTE stakeholders on the need for global competence in order to prepare students to meet the demands of careers in a global 21st century.
  • Educate CTE teachers and students about the global career opportunities that exist in CTE pathways.
  • Build educator capacity to integrate global competence and project management into CTE career exploration and classroom projects.

During CareerTech VISION, Asia Society, ACTE and Advance CTE convened an advisory committee of state and local leaders and partners to reflect on the current Global CTE Toolkit, the Global Competency Through CTE course (hosted on ACTE’s CTE Learn Platform), and provide input into the next professional development resources, which will focus on global STEM projects. Look forward for more information on both projects in coming months!

Advance CTE’s Members

It’s always a treat to see our Advance CTE members at ACTE’s annual conference, and we were delighted to see how many of our state leaders were sharing best practices during sessions.

Friday morning’s opening general session was a panel featuring state leaders from across the country, including Advance CTE members Charisse Childers from Arkansas and Heather Justice from Tennessee (along with Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education and Steven Partridge, Vice President of Workforce Development from NOVA Community College).

The panel focused on the intersection of policy and practice, and the major trends, challenges and opportunities states are facing.  Some of the highlights included:

  • Childers sharing some great lessons from local, industry-driven efforts to create innovative and regional manufacturing CTE pathways,
  • Justice discussing Tennessee’s efforts for secure a statewide MOU, allowing industry-recognized credentials earned in high school to automatically articulate to postsecondary credit at the state’s colleges of applied technology.
  • Pruitt describing how Kentucky is continuing to value college and career readiness through its Every Student Succeed Act plan (because, as he noted “while education is a way out of poverty, the real way out of poverty is a career.”
  • Partridge sharing Virginia’s innovative postsecondary funding models to support and incent credential attainment not just among “skill builders,” but for under-educated citizens looking for new opportunity.

Other members featured in sessions included:

We look forward to seeing even more of you in San Antonio, Texas, for the 2018 CareerTech VISION conference!

Katie Fitzgerald, Austin Estes, Kate Kreamer, Kimberly Green, and Andrea Zimmermann — Advance CTE staff

ESSA Marks A Watershed Moment for Career Readiness, But States Leave Many Opportunities On the Table

December 14th, 2017

This year marked a pivotal moment for K-12 education. With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, state leaders have spent the last two years reexamining and strategizing they way they deliver K-12 education. Now that the last ESSA plans have been written and submitted, we finally have a national picture of state priorities for education, including how K-12 education systems will support and reinforce career preparation opportunities.

One of the key priorities for ESSA is alignment and conformity across different federal and state systems. ESSA gives states the flexibility to hold schools accountable, measure student outcomes, and provide supports and technical assistance in a way that is aligned with their own priorities. States are encouraged to streamline services across Career Technical Education (CTE), workforce development and higher education and truly support learners to achieve career success.

Today Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group released an update to Career Readiness & the Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Career Readiness in State ESSA Plans. The report examines state plans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to see how states are taking advantage of key opportunities to support career readiness. Overall, two key takeaways rise to the surface:

  • With 49 states including at least one strategy to expand career readiness in their ESSA state plans — and 35 going as far as adopting career readiness indicators in their accountability system — this is a watershed moment for career readiness.
  • However, states left many opportunities on the table, failing to fully leverage all that ESSA has to offer. Nevertheless, a plan is just that — a plan. Given the right vision and commitment, states have considerable leeway to go beyond the letter of their plans and make career readiness a priority, and a promise, for all.

Kentucky’s plan, for example, draws on economic priorities to undergird accountability and supports across each of the different titles in the law. The plan describes the five key industry sectors in the commonwealth of Kentucky and clearly articulates the role that CTE and K-12 education play in preparing learners for success in the modern workforce. Kentucky’s accountability system reinforces this priority by measuring and holding schools accountable for key career readiness metrics, including industry-recognized credential attainment, CTE dual credit completion, apprenticeships and more.

The report also profiles state plans for Title II, Part A funding, which supports the development of teachers and school administrators, and Title IV, which provides critical funding to expand access to opportunities for a “well-rounded education.”

State leaders have completed the tremendous work of engaging stakeholders, identifying priorities and developing strategic action plans to drive education in their states. Now they are tasked with implementing those plans. Given the growing profile of CTE and the elevated role of career readiness in state ESSA plans, the path ahead is promising. But now is the critical time to act, and states should ensure that they fully leverage all of ESSA’s opportunities and follow through on the commitments they made in their plans.  

In addition to the report, a supplemental appendix profiling specific state strategies and an infographic of key takeaways are available to download.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Recapping the 2017 ACTE CareerTech VISION Conference (Part 1)

December 13th, 2017

Note: Once again this year, Advance CTE attended the CareerTech VISION conference hosted by our partners, the Association for Career and Technical Education. What follows are our staff’s highlights and favorite moments.

Career Clusters at CareerTech VISION

Every year, ACTE and Advance CTE join forces to provide attendees with the opportunity to engage in informative sessions featuring best practices in program and policy, lessons learned and innovations within the Career ClustersⓇ, a national framework for organizing quality CTE programs and cultivating collaboration between secondary and postsecondary CTE. This strand, which is curated by Advance CTE, included a number of sessions digging into compelling topics and providing resources that are useful to national, state and local leaders across the country.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Selling CTE to Parents and Students

In the session, “Selling CTE: Strategies to Attract Students to High-quality CTE,” staff presented the results of our research study released earlier this year in, The Value and Promise of Career Technical Education: Results from a National Survey of Parents and Students, providing an overview of the following takeaways:

  • Students and parents involved in CTE are overwhelmingly more satisfied with their education as compared to those not involved in CTE.
  • Finding a career passion was the most important critical selling point for parents and students (over 90 percent) – even surpassing having a career that pays well;
  • The vast majority of parents and students (85 percent) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration;
  • CTE has an awareness challenge;
  • Across the board, CTE programs are most valued for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits related to college and career success; and
  • Counselors, teachers and CTE students and alumni are among the most trusted sources of information for students and parents alike.

The session room was packed with more than 70 teachers and administrators seeking to learn how state and local leaders are tackling the CTE perception challenge. One state example included Maryland, which recently released a social media guide to be used in districts across the state.

Sharing CTE Excellence

Additionally, we were excited to put together a session that highlighted two of the 2017 Excellence in Action award winners, hailing from Tennessee and Mississippi. The award, which recognizes innovative and impactful programs of study across the 16 Career Clusters, provides Advance CTE with the opportunity to highlight exciting programs that serve students with the academic and technical knowledge and skills they need to be successful in careers of their choosing.  

Tyra Pilgrim, CTE Coordinator for Rutherford County Schools, presented on Oakland High School’s Mechatronics program and winner in the Manufacturing Career Cluster. The Mechatronic program, in its fourth year, was developed through collaboration with the school district and employers including Bridgestone and the Manufacturing Leadership Council. Pilgrim cited partnerships with postsecondary education and industry leaders as a key component to a program that provides students with pathways to both college and careers. She backed up the program’s success with compelling data demonstrating student achievement, including all students earning postsecondary credit and graduating high school, and 94 percent enrolling in postsecondary education and earning industry recognized credentials.

Eric Williams, Assistant Director, Emergency Medical Technology, Jones County Junior College (JCJC), followed Pilgrim’s presentation with an overview of Jones County Junior College’s Emergency Medical Technology program, a winner for the Health Sciences Career Cluster. JCJC, a model for rural postsecondary education in the south, requires learners to participate in 500 hours of training under the direct guidance of an industry expert and offers seven industry recognized credentials. Williams boasted that students have a 90 percent first-time pass rate on the professional qualifying exam, which far exceeds the national average of 60 percent.

Williams similarly highlighted partnerships as a critical component, not only with industry and secondary education, but also with community organizations. Throughout the year, he attends events ranging from blood drives to Halloween parades to get the word out about JCJC and more effectively market the program. This has resulted in an increase of participation from two students when Williams took over the program, to a yearly participation rate of 25, the cap for the program of study.

Both award winning programs provided attendees with two examples of exemplary programs and insights into how to effectively build a successful program of study.

Katie Fitzgerald, Austin Estes, Kate Kreamer, Kimberly Green, and Andrea Zimmermann — Advance CTE staff

CTE Leaders Explore German TVET System

December 12th, 2017

This post was authored by Dr. Elaine Perea, CTE State Director, New Mexico and Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, State Director, Iowa based on their recent experiences exploring the German Technical and Vocational Education system. 

The Goethe Institut brought together leaders from education, workforce development, industry, and law makers as delegates to visit Germany and learn about technical and vocational education (TVET), the international name for Career Technical Education (CTE).  Dr. Elaine Perea, CTE State Director, New Mexico and Dr. Pradeep Kotamraju, State Director, Iowa, represented their states as well as Advance CTE.  Over six days, delegates learned about German education and workforce development, with special emphasis on apprenticeships, through visits with students, educators, employers, and government officials.

The program included visits to different education and workforce preparation institutions. TVET is part of the nation’s compulsory education, and the first visit was to a realschule (a lower secondary school).

The most notable difference between the students at the realschule and similarly aged students in the United States is the self-awareness that realschule students possess. Every one of them was able to discuss, in concrete terms, their strengths and preferences as it relates to the world of work. Each student expressed their vision of their future career based primarily on their individual traits, as well as their full access to career guidance and development information, which included real-world experiences through internships at the workplace of their choice.

For example, a young man told us that he wanted to work in the automotive industry because he loves cars and speaks English, German and Italian. The delegates assumed he wanted to be a mechanic, or perhaps even an engineer. He realized our mistake, and corrected it – because he loves automobiles, he is inspired to sell them! In contrast, imagine an American ninth grader proudly expressing his desire to be a car salesman, and the reaction that would likely provoke from teachers.

These self-assured learners are proud of their strengths and see themselves as an important part of the economy. Academics are not forgotten, but students at realschule learn about themselves and the world of work in concrete ways that allow them to make informed decisions about their own future.

In the ninth and tenth grade, students arrange their first work-based learning opportunities via a short, two-week internship. The teachers help students think through options and instructors provide support in technical writing task. However, research about where to intern is up to students, and students must contact employers directly and request to be hosted.

In short, teenage students in Germany own their career choices. Not once during the program did a student express the idea that the primary determinant of preparedness was an adult. Instead, one after another, students demonstrated an impressive level of self-determination about their goals and ambitions.

Employers Play Vital Role

Employers are at the heart of the German workforce preparation and apprenticeship system, and all sizes and types of businesses participate and host students as both interns and apprentices. While a commitment to host an intern only requires a few weeks, accommodating an apprentice is a substantial responsibility that includes two or more years of salary support.

One key takeaway is that the role of industry in the German system is both the heart of the endeavor and the most difficult aspect to replicate in the United States without a full-fledged commitment of time, resources and dedication. Students spend a third of their time on formal, structured training with a set curriculum, and two thirds of their time in on-the-job training, which is also directed by curriculum and weekly learning objectives.

Business and industry are highly involved in job classification and curriculum development. While the government oversees qualifying exams and state certifications, the content is developed with significant input from business.  Regional chambers of commerce serve as the intermediary between education and business.

Instructors Help Learners Find Their Paths

Teachers are not apart from the system; instead, they might be called “learning technicians.” They are asked to deliver state-provided curriculum and prepare students to pass a state-administered certification examination.

In Germany, every single student is on a path to a career, and instructors see it as their job to ensure students find their way. Students believe it is their responsibility to find a match between their skills and the world of work. Germany’s low level of youth unemployment (around 6 percent) suggests that youth are authentically engaged in developing their careers.

German teachers play an oversized role in nurturing student’s self-awareness. Especially at the realschule, the role of educators seems to sit squarely within the realm of socio-emotional development. Finding a path forward precedes skills attainment, and teachers are essential to discovering that path.

Implications for US CTE System

Recognizing the level of business and industry involvement is critically important for understanding the German model. Significant resources are provided: direct financial support to the trainees, staff oversight, training materials and advisement on curriculum development. Any widespread work-based learning initiative in the United States will require similarly significant levels of investment.

After learning of the German model, delegates did not arrive at any sort of “plug and play” ideas that are easy to transport back to the United States. Instead, we developed a deeper and nuanced understanding of the system, with the insight that ownership of what happens within the education system, but more specifically, within the TVET system, seems to “belong” much more to the employers than to the government.

The visit was a catalyst for creative thinking about how to improve work-based learning in the United States. Key suggestions include adequately incentivizing employer participation through tax deductions and direct funding, considering employee training and loyalty as a company asset, running Pell grants and guaranteed student loans through employer training channels, and increasing teacher knowledge of technical careers.

While none of the delegates thought the German model could or should be transported in its exact form, the delegates agreed that American learners would be well-served if they had more work-based learning and real-world experiences.

The outreach program was sponsored by several key partners, include the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Goethe-Institut, Deutsche Bank, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Siemens Corporation. All travel costs were covered by Goethe-Institut and its partners.

New America Releases Recommendations for Connecting Higher Education and Apprenticeships to Improve Both

December 7th, 2017

In conjunction with the release of eight new recommendations regarding the connections between higher education and apprenticeships, New America’s Center on Education and Skills (CESNA) conducted an in-depth discussion on the topic with national experts and state and local practitioners.

The event began with remarks by CESNA director Mary Alice McCarthy and senior policy analyst Iris Palmer, as well as Diane Jones, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary at the US Department of Labor. These presentations examined the current state of apprenticeships in the United States, including the difficulty in knowing how many students enrolled in postsecondary are also enrolled in apprenticeships, as well as conflicting messages given to learners that they must choose either apprenticeship or higher education, rather than choosing both. This is a particular challenge for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, as the experiential learning provided by an apprenticeship can be invaluable for learners enrolled in postsecondary credential programs. They also discussed the eight recommendations for breaking down these barriers to expanding apprenticeships, which include creating definitions for a “student-apprentice” and a “Degree Apprenticeship” which would connect Registered Apprenticeships and postsecondary programs and allow learners a clear pathway option to pursue both an apprenticeship and a postsecondary credential. These programs would be designed with input from multiple stakeholders and funded using H-1B Visa funds and an expansion of the Federal Work-Study program to allow funds to cover “student-apprentices.”

Then began the first of two panels, which featured state-level practitioners from Indiana and Washington, as well as national experts on apprentice programs. Eleni Papadakis, Executive Director at the Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, expanded on the work her state has been doing to connect postsecondary programs and apprenticeships in order to build a system that promotes lifelong learning and development. The panel also discussed how most apprenticeships are traditionally in construction fields, and their efforts to expand the role of apprenticeships in other fields, most notably health care. The topic of equity also featured heavily in this discussion, particularly since apprenticeships tend to be mostly male, and more women are enrolled in postsecondary programs than males.

The second panel featured three women working at the local level in designing and administering apprenticeships in health care and early childhood education. Keisha Powell, Workforce Development Consultant at Fairview Health Services, Carol Austin, Executive Director at the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children and Ta’Mora Jackson, Early Childhood Education Coordinator at District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund spoke about their work on the ground in Minnesota and Pennsylvania. In both industries, having a postsecondary credential is often necessary for employment but not enough to immediately begin work without on-the-job training. Without a structured apprenticeship or similar experience, on-the-job training is likely inconsistent and uncoordinated. These panelists also focused on the other supports that “student-apprentices” would require for success, including bridge courses and advising.

The prospect of “Degree Apprenticeships” is certainly a promising one for connecting these disparate worlds in a way that maximizes the efforts of both.

“State Directors have an exciting role to play in apprenticeship implementation in their states, as they already sit at the intersection of secondary, postsecondary and workforce policies,” said Kimberly Green, Advance CTE Executive Director. “CESNA’s recommendations will allow State Directors to be more informed about the learners and apprentices in their state, and more deliberate in the design of comprehensive programs of study that incorporate postsecondary credentials and Registered Apprenticeships.”

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Reaching Economies of Scale in Rural Communities

December 5th, 2017

Latest Advance CTE resource describes strategies to expand career pathways opportunities to rural learners

Rural communities all too often face scarce funding, instructors and facilities, forcing institutions to choose between offering a variety of introductory courses across a breadth of subjects or providing more narrowly focused, sequenced programs within one or two priority Career Clusters®. Providing learners access to diverse career pathways in rural areas is a persistent challenge for all states.

Today Advance CTE released the latest brief in the CTE on the Frontier series to help states identify promising strategies for expanding the variety of career pathways available in rural areas. The brief profiles how states such as Nebraska, Alaska, North Dakota and Idaho have leveraged strategic partnerships and new technologies to reach economies of scale.

In North Dakota, for example, rural learners are connected remotely to instructors at different campuses by a live broadcast network called Interactive Television, or ITV. Districts and regional technical centers come together to inventory all of the courses available in their region and open up enrollment to remote students. Participating schools receive a 4 percent reimbursement per receiving school to incentivize participation.

Meanwhile, state leaders in Idaho are working to balance virtual instruction through Idaho Digital Learning with work-based learning and Career Technical Student Organization participation to ensure hands-on learning isn’t lost in a virtual classroom. Instead of converting all CTE courses to be offered online, Idaho has adapted a few introductory courses to free up in-school teaching capacity to focus on more advanced coursework. The state is also working to align digital courses with college and career pathways — some Idaho Digital Learning courses are even eligible for dual credit — and requires CTE students taking online classes to engage in hands-on learning.

The latest CTE on the Frontier brief demonstrates how states can leverage partnerships and technology to reach economies of scale and offer a wider breadth of career pathways to rural learners. Earlier briefs in the series examine how states can ensure program quality and connect learners to the world of work.

CTE on the Frontier: Providing Learners Access to Diverse Career Pathways was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

December 1st, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

CTE FRIDAY FACT

76% of Americans say middle or high school is the right time to start exploring career options, compared to just 7% who say college is the right time. CTE helps learners find their passion and prepare for the future before investing in their postsecondary education.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A new article on Education Week, explores the ways in which learners gain critical skills such as communication, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork they need to be successful in a global economy. Read about how CTE and project based learning can be used as a potential strategy to help learners in gaining these skills.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

Join a webinar on December 13 from 1 – 2:15 p.m. ET to learn how state leaders can align labor market efforts with the education pipeline to provide students with the academic, technical, and employability skills they need to be successful in the workplace. Aligning the education-to-workforce pipeline can help increase cost-efficiency, promote coherence, and produce better outcomes for students and workers. This webinar will highlight three forthcoming CCRS Center resources, Developing a College- and Career-Ready Workforce: An Analysis of ESSA, Perkins, and WIOA.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Legislative Update: House Introduces HEA Reauthorization Bill

December 1st, 2017

There has been a lot of legislative action this week in Washington, DC! This week’s news includes the introduction of two pieces of postsecondary legislation, the nomination for a key position at the U.S. Department of Education and details on the school U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited this week – read below to find out more about each of these updates.

Higher Education Act (HEA) Reauthorization Bill Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives

On December 1, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced H.R. 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform” (PROSPER, Act). This bill would reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA), which was last reauthorized in 2008, and would make significant changes to a number of provisions within the current law. The four-page summary from the Committee can be found with additional materials here (with full bill text here). According to the summary, the act “will help more Americans earn a lifetime of success by promoting innovation, access, and completion, simplifying and improving student aid, empowering students and families to make informed decisions and ensuring strong accountability and a limited federal role.” Advance CTE will provide additional analysis of this bill as soon as possible and you can find our recommendations for the reauthorization of HEA here.

Go To High School, Go to College Act Introduced in U.S. House Representatives

On November 16, Representatives John Faso (R-NY) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) along with 11 co-sponsors reintroduced the “Go to High School, Go to College Act.” According to the press release, the bill “would allow Pell grant funding for eligible students to be used for transferable college credits that students complete in an early college program offered by an accredited Institution of Higher Education.” A one-page summary of the bill can be found here. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

President Trump Nominates New Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

On December 1, President Trump sent twelve nominations to the Senate, including Mark Schneider for Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). IES is part of the U.S. Department of Education and is responsible for education statistics, research and evaluations.

Secretary DeVos Visits Oakland High School

On November 29, Secretary DeVos toured Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Oakland High School was a 2017 winner of Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action Award for its Mechatronics program, which prepares students for careers through hands-on experiences, rigorous academic coursework, nationally recognized certifications and dual enrollment opportunities. Beginning through a partnership with Oakland High School, Bridgestone and the Manufacturing Leadership Council, industry led the charge to build a talent pipeline of qualified employees in a highly in-demand sector. Upon completion of this program, students are armed with credits and certifications and poised to enter postsecondary education and the workforce. Learn more about Oakland High School and the 2017 Excellence in Action Award winners here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Getting to Know… Kansas

November 21st, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Kansas

State CTE Director: Connie Beene, Senior Director, Adult & Career Technical Education, Kansas Board of Regents

About Kansas: The Kansas State Board of Regents (KBOR) is the state fiscal agent under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), though Perkins funds are split 50/50 between secondary and postsecondary. Interestingly, many rural districts in Kansas are too small to qualify for the minimum grant award under Perkins, so many partner with regional education service centers to apply as a consortium. This not only allows small districts to qualify for funds, but also fosters greater regional collaboration, with many education service centers providing professional development, resources and networking opportunities for the schools they serve.

Additionally, Kansas is home to a network of 26 community and technical colleges that deliver CTE to college students, adults and dual enrolled high school students.

Programs of Study: At the postsecondary level, CTE programs go through a program alignment process to validate standards, generate employer input and anchor programs in a nationally-recognized industry certification.

Under program alignment, KBOR convenes a business and industry committee specific to each field of study. The committee reviews the program’s standards and credentials and offers recommendations for alignment. Recommendations are reviewed by curriculum experts, approved by institution presidents, and, once approved, put into place across the entire community and technical college network. Programs are updated every five years.

A total of 25 programs have been reviewed, validated and modified through program alignment and are available to students statewide at Kansas community and technical colleges.

At the secondary level, Kansas recognizes the 16 national Career ClustersⓇ. In the 2015-16 academic year, CTE students concentrated in all Clusters but one: Government and Public Administration. Although secondary CTE programs do not go through the same rigorous program alignment process as postsecondary programs, state leaders in the Department of Education are working to better align programs with business and industry needs.

Notable in Kansas – Excel in CTE: One of the biggest successes for Kansas CTE is the Excel in CTE program. Launched in 2012, the program was designed to expand opportunities for CTE students to earn industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary credit in high school. The program includes four components:

  1. An incentive fund to compensate school districts for the cost of credential examinations
  2. Free tuition for high school students enrolled in technical courses
  3. A state-identified list of credentials in high-demand occupations, published annually by the Department of Labor
  4. A statewide articulation agreement to facilitate concurrent enrollment in Kansas community and technical colleges

 

In the 2015-16 school year alone, 10,023 students participated in Excel in CTE, earning a total of 79,488 college credit hours and 1,228 credentials.

Notable in Kansas – Adult Education: This year has seen a renewed focus on integrating adult education and skills training in Kansas. In 2012, Kansas joined the Accelerating Opportunity initiative in partnership with Jobs for the Future to help adult learners earn both high school equivalency diplomas and industry-recognized credentials. According to a program impact evaluation, the likelihood of earning a credential increased by 19 percent for students in the program.

After the success of Accelerating Opportunity, Kansas is working to sustain integrated career and basic education services through a combination of federal (through Perkins and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)) and state funds. Kansas also organized an inaugural conference this year to bring together CTE and adult education teachers from around the state to discuss and share promising practices.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

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