Communicating CTE: The Get There Florida Initiative

November 24th, 2020

This post is the first in a series that will highlight innovative efforts by states to communicate the benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE) to key stakeholders including learners, families, policymakers and employers. Today’s post will dive into the Get There Florida campaign that launched in September 2020. 

Changing the CTE Narrative 

The Get There Florida initiative strives to increase enrollment in Florida’s 48 technical schools and 28 state colleges, specifically in high-value, short-term CTE programs that lead to a meaningful credential. The initiative is a statewide marketing campaign through earned, paid, and organic digital media led by the Florida Department of Education focused on changing the narrative on how students view state and technical colleges, and illustrating the quality and value of Florida’s short-term CTE programs for sustainable career pathways. The campaign is funded in part by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) grants through the CARES Act, aiming to assist postsecondary institutions in helping students enroll in and complete high-value, short-term CTE programs. 

Statewide and Personalized Approach 

Get There takes a two-pronged approach to enhance the CTE brand statewide while also providing students easy access to information at the institution level. The two main elements of the campaign are a customizable communications toolkit and a targeted digital campaign. 

Prior to the campaign launch, the Florida Department of Education established a working group of marketing and communications professionals from 12 technical and state colleges throughout the state to ensure messages and tools met the needs of their target audiences. 

The Get There communications toolkit provides a variety of materials produced by the Florida Department of Education that are ready-made for postsecondary institutions, but also provides files that allow institutions to customize the materials to meet their unique needs. The toolkit was made with small schools in mind that may not have the staff or resources to develop a large-scale marketing campaign. The full toolkit includes social media graphics, 15 and 30 second video clips, fliers and one pagers, press release and presentation templates, and logo files personalized for each school. 

On a statewide level, the Department is executing a hyper-targeted digital campaign targeted to prospective learners in areas close to a technical or state college. The Get There website www.GetThereFL.com serves as a central hub for users to explore Florida’s 17 Career ClustersⓇ, read student testimonials, and locate a convenient school on an interactive statewide map. 

A System-Wide Partnership 

One of the priorities of the Get There campaign is to connect with a population where the need for reskilling and upskilling is highest – displaced workers. Department staff developed a strong partnership with CareerSource Florida, the state’s workforce development agency that launched a Help is Here campaign in the spring focused on connecting displaced workers to career counseling and workforce training programs. The partnership has allowed the two campaigns to complement each other and provide much-needed support for students to overcome traditional barriers to accessing and completing postsecondary education. 

Henry Mack, Chancellor, Division of Career, Technical and Adult Education at the Florida Department of Education, believes Get There breaks new ground as a system-wide media campaign to advance shared goals. “Perhaps the most novel thing about the Get There Florida campaign is that it has never been done before, namely, there has never been a time where the state of Florida attempted a system-wide, integrated digital media outreach and recruitment campaign, said Mack. “Additionally, the development of a statewide resource toolkit, designed to provide materials to ALL colleges, has really transformed the way the state looks at marketing CTE, because for the first time we have a consistent brand and message that everyone has access to.” 

An Eye Towards Equity and Transformative Change 

While increasing enrollment at community and technical colleges is the primary goal, Get There is also the first step of a larger movement to raise awareness and build more connective pathways among K-12 programs, credentialing, apprenticeships and postsecondary institutions. 

Subsequent campaign phases launching this winter will focus on reaching more targeted audiences through toolkits with messages and materials that meet the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations, particularly individuals with disabilities and veterans. These toolkits were developed through partnerships with Florida’s Division of Blind Services, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, employU, Veterans Florida, and others. 

For more information, visit www.GetThereFL.com . If your state is interested in being featured in a future post, please contact Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement Stacy Whitehouse.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

Welcome Christina Koch to Advance CTE

November 23rd, 2020

Hello! I’m Christina and I’m excited to be joining the state policy team at Advance CTE where I will be supporting the New Skills ready network project and collaborating on a new shared vision for Career Technical Education (CTE) and Advance CTE’s equity initiatives. I’m excited to work towards dismantling historical barriers to CTE and expanding high-quality opportunities for learners. 

I recently graduated with a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore with a macro (social policy) concentration. Here, I spent one year providing direct social services to students and their families in a Title I school and one year as a Policy Fellow for an organization that provides restorative practices and racial equity trainings to schools and districts. I was also very honored to receive the Julee Cryder-Coe Award for Advocacy and Social Action presented by faculty at graduation. 

Before receiving my Master of Social Work, I was the Professional Relations Manager for the National Association of School Psychologists for about four years, supporting their public policy agenda. Here is where I first became interested in societal and community factors that affect student mental health and inhibit their ability to learn, such as access to housing, jobs and health care. 

I also hold a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication from American University, where I interned for several education-focused organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, The National Geographic Channel, Capital Partners for Education, and completed a year of classroom service with AmeriCorps.

I’m passionate about community-led solutions to reduce barriers to educational opportunities, investing in historically-disinvested neighborhoods and engaging those directly affected by social problems in the legislative process.

Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, I also enjoy going to the beach, drawing and my dog, Carlos.

Christina Koch, Policy Associate

Legislation Update: National Apprenticeship Act Reauthorization and New Data Tool from ED

November 20th, 2020

News this Week:

This week, the House passed a bill to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act. Read below to learn more about this bill, as well as a new online portal to track education stimulus funding, a summary from a convening on work-based learning and Advance CTE’s priorities for the new administration. 

House Passes National Apprenticeship Act 

The House passed a bill earlier today, mainly on party lines, that would reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act (H.R. 8294). This bill would: 

  • Authorize $400 million for FY21, increasing by $100 million every year up to $800 million in FY25; 
  • Codify and streamline standards for registered apprenticeships, youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships; 
  • Codify existing regulations and practices for equitable participation and increased diversity in apprenticeship programs; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the DOL’s Office of Apprenticeship; 
  • Codify the roles and responsibilities of the State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs); and
  • Strengthen the connection between the DOL and U.S. Department of Education (ED). 

There were many amendments that were adopted into this bill, including one from Co-Chair of the Congressional Career Technical Education (CTE) Caucus Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) that would provide stipends to those in a pre-apprenticeship program. 

It is unlikely that this bill will move in the Senate during the remainder of this Congress. 

Advance CTE is pleased to endorse the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020.

ED Releases Virtual Platform to Track CARES Act Funding 

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced a new online portal to track if and how states, local education agencies and institutions of higher education are using funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The interactive data map shows how funding through the Education Stabilization Fund of the CARES Act was allocated to each state, as well as a breakdown by state of money for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund. All data included in the portal was reported by September 30, 2020. 

ED Holds Event on Rethinking Work-Based Learning

Last week the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office for Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) convened education, workforce and business leaders for a “Rethink Work-Based Learning” discussion. OCTAE Assistant Secretary Scott Stump moderated the event and encouraged increasing work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities. A full readout from the event can be found here

Advance CTE Shares Priorities for the Administration 

This week Advance CTE published transition priorities for the Biden-Harris Administration. These priorities respond to the short and long term needs of the CTE community.

In order to achieve a full, equitable economic recovery and ensure that every learner has access to high-quality Career Technical Education, the next Administration must:

  • Embrace and promote CTE as a valued pathway for learners.
  • Make CTE a central part of the Administration’s economic recovery strategy.
  • Promote inter-connected education and workforce development systems.
  • Eliminate structures that embed systemic racism in education and workforce programs.
  • Ensure that states are fully supported in the implementation of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act during COVID-19, including CTE-designated funding and statutory flexibility and waivers.
  • Attend to CTE-related challenges and supports during COVID-19 response and recovery.
  • Double the federal investment in CTE to respond to the need and demand for high-quality CTE.
  • Expand Pell Grant eligibility.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team. 

The full recommendations can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Welcome Stacy Whitehouse to Advance CTE

November 20th, 2020

I am a Virginia girl born and raised in Richmond, and I love the state and its beauty. My career has been built around Virginia government and politics, and I have served as support and campaign staff at the local, state and federal level. It was on Capitol Hill that I first encountered Career Technical Education (CTE) policy and the local programs in Virginia, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to empower CTE leaders nationwide to help every learner find their passion and excel in a learning path and career. 

I graduated from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2011 with a bachelor of arts in political science. Prior to joining Advance CTE, I worked on community engagement with historically underrepresented populations in Loudoun County as a Project Manager for 2020 Census outreach. I loved the opportunity to bring unheard perspectives to the table and elevate voices through communication tools and outreach events to populations historically undercounted in the census. In particular, my lessons learned from working with the local school system and family advocates cultivated a passion about improving equity and access for English Language Learners that will shape my work as Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement. As Senior Associate I will be responsible for helping states and local communities communicate about the value and benefit of CTE to learners and families, supporting media engagement efforts and leading components of Advance CTE’s communications strategy to advance its mission and vision.  

My favorite things include sweet tea, pizza, reading, hiking, community service (I am a member of Kiwanis) and writing a blog on Virginia wineries.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

Challenges & Opportunities to Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Reflections from the PAYA Data Work Group

November 17th, 2020

Apprenticeship in the United States is an under-utilized but promising education and employment strategy — particularly for youth whose connections to college and paid work are even more tenuous due to the COVID-19 economic crisis. In 2018, New America launched the Partnership to Advance Youth Apprenticeship (PAYA), a national network of partners (including Advance CTE), states, local intermediaries and philanthropies to define and scale up high-quality youth apprenticeships nationwide. In just a couple short years, the network has made incredible progress, sowing the seeds for future programs.

But through all of this work, data quality has emerged as a persistent challenge for states as well as local intermediaries. Improving the quality and availability of youth apprenticeship data can help PAYA network partners evaluate program quality, address gaps in equitable access and outcomes, and make the case for further investment in youth apprenticeship. But building the infrastructure to collect, validate, warehouse and analyze youth apprenticeship data can be costly and time intensive. 

To dig deeper into this challenge, Advance CTE and New America organized a practitioner workgroup on youth apprenticeship data quality in early 2020. The workgroup met several times throughout 2020 to discuss the following questions: 

  • What common challenges do states and intermediaries face in collecting, validating and using youth apprenticeship data? 
  • What are effective strategies to build a high-quality youth apprenticeship data infrastructure at the state and local level? 

The workgroup’s conclusions are summarized in a new report, Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities. The report addresses five challenges with improving youth apprenticeship data quality and several promising strategies to mitigate data roadblocks: 

  1. Determining what to measure: Some states have taken the guesswork out of data collection by establishing statewide business rules for collecting youth apprenticeship information. But in others, local intermediaries are left to their own devices, leading to inconsistencies in how youth apprenticeship data is collected. State and local leaders should work to develop and adopt consistent definitions and business rules for collecting for youth apprenticeship data. 
  2. Clarifying roles and responsibilities: Another challenge is clarifying who is collecting what data in the first place. Because youth apprenticeship involves partnerships across the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems — with state agencies, intermediary organizations and employers in the mix — clarifying roles and responsibilities for collecting and sharing data early on is important. Local intermediaries can coordinate this process, ensuring all partners are aware of their responsibilities. 
  3. Building the infrastructure: Collecting and warehousing data can require costly technology. Building out an entire data system before launching a new youth apprenticeship program might not be feasible, but state and local leaders should establish systems and processes at the beginning that can be scaled easily. They can also leverage existing systems — such as student information systems housed at the school district or college — or develop new tools to minimize the data collection burden on educators and employers. 
  4. Accessing data: Privacy rules, data transfer limitations and incompatible data systems can, at times, limit access to data for youth apprenticeship participants. To ensure that all relevant partners can access the data they need, intermediary organizations should establish data sharing agreements that specify what information will be shared and in what format as well as the process and frequency for sharing this information. States can facilitate this process by developing local data sharing templates and demystifying rules and regulations for data sharing. 
  5. Scaling and sustaining: Finally, the workgroup elevated challenges with bringing data collection processes to scale as youth apprenticeship programs expand statewide. State leaders play an important role in supporting the sustainability and scale of youth apprenticeship programs by streamlining data collection processes, integrating youth apprenticeship data into existing state databases, providing sustainable funding, and offering professional development opportunities to build the capacity of frontline actors. 

 

Data is rarely among the first priorities in setting up a new youth apprenticeship program, but it should be. With reliable and valid youth apprenticeship data, states and local intermediaries can help scale quality programs that expand college and career options for high school students and meet the training needs of employers and industry.. The report Improving Youth Apprenticeship Data Quality: Challenges and Opportunities outlines the most common barriers to improving youth apprenticeship data quality and provides actionable recommendations for states and local intermediaries to strengthen the reliability, validity and use of their data. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

Welcome Ruth Durkee to Advance CTE!

November 16th, 2020

Ruth Durkee – Vermont’s newest State CTE Director – has a robust background in education in various roles at the local and state levels. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Ruth previously worked as the state’s Agency of Education’s Civil Rights Coordinator in the early 2000s. Ruth then worked as a career technical center administrator for 15 years, giving her valuable experience to bring to her new role. Ruth will now serve in dual roles for the Vermont Agency of Education as the State CTE Director and Methods of Administration (MOA) Coordinator.

In Vermont’s state plan for the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the state focuses on defining credentials of value and increasing industry-recognized credential attainment. While looking towards Perkins V implementation, Ruth plans to focus deeply on the state’s work in improving program quality as well as attending to equity and access for each learner. Her impressive background will lend itself well in
strengthening Vermont’s state and local systems through developing and implementing effective policy.

Another area that Ruth plans to lean in on is aligning Vermont’s CTE programs to state recommended graduation proficiencies, which currently vary at the local level. The goal is to ensure that every learner in each region of the state has their CTE work equitably and consistently transcripted and credited as meeting graduation requirements.

Ruth loves to travel, but while that is not possible, she is channeling her wanderlust desire by getting lost in mysteries and historical fiction novels. Her favorite places to be at the moment are nestled by the fire with a great read in hand or walking through the woods and fields near her home.

Welcome Ruth!

Learn more about Vermont’s state CTE system here.

Legislative Update: Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills and Panel with Federal CTE Leadership

November 13th, 2020

This week, the Senate introduced Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. Read below to learn more about what this means for education and workforce funding, as well as a panel discussion about the history and future outlook of Career Technical Education (CTE) and the start of administration transition planning. 

Senate Introduces Fiscal Year 2021 Funding Bills

Written by Michael Matthews, Government Relations Manager, Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Full post can be found here.
As Congress returned this week for the lame duck session, one of the most critical items on the agenda before the end of the year is the passage of Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) appropriations bills. As one step toward finalizing these bills, on November 10, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee released its long-awaited draft FY21 appropriations bill. According to the Committee’s highlights document, the proposal includes $184.47 billion in overall funding, with $73.2 billion of the proposed discretionary spending for the Department of Education, which would be an increase of $433 million or 0.9% over FY20 enacted levels. 

Even with this very modest overall increase, there was some very good news for CTE in the bill! The bill proposes an $75 million, or 5.8% increase for the Perkins Basic State Grant over the FY20 enacted levels, bringing its total proposed funding level to approximately $1.36 billion. This is $57 million more than the funding level included in the appropriations bill passed by the House in July. 

Below are some additional funding levels proposed in the bill: 

  • CTE National programs: $7.42 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Federal Work-Study: $1.18 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Adult Education: $671 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • DoL Training and Employment Services programs: $3.585 billion, a decrease from $3.611 billion in FY20 
  • Career Pathways for Youth Grants: $10 million, level funded from FY20 level 
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2.132 billion, level funded from FY20 level 
  • ESSA Title IVA Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: $1.25 billion, an increase of $40 million from FY20 level 
  • Pell Grants: $6,495 for the maximum award, an increase of $150 from FY20 level 

The bill is not expected to have a markup or be considered individually on the Senate floor, but it will serve as a negotiating position for the Senate with the House. In order to prevent a government shutdown, Congress needs to pass FY21 appropriations bills or a new continuing resolution (CR) prior to the December 11 expiration of the current CR.  

While the Perkins increase in the bill doesn’t come close to meeting the funding needs for CTE, it is a solid step in this process considering restrictive budget caps and urgent needs created by the pandemic. We will continue to work with Congress on appropriations bills and on the next COVID-19 relief package to advocate for more resources to ensure all students have access to high-quality CTE programs and encourage you to reach out to your Members of Congress to ask them to support the higher Perkins funding level included in the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.   

Federal Leadership Speaks on Advance CTE Panel 

On Tuesday, November 10, Advance CTE was joined by an esteemed panel of current and former Assistant Secretaries for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE), including:

  • Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for OCTAE, 2018 – Present; 
  • Brenda Dann-Messier, 2009 – 2014; 
  • Carol D’Amico, 2001 – 2003; 
  • Trish McNeil, 1996 – 2001; and
  • Betsy Brand, 1989 – 1993. 

Panelists shared memories over the 100 years of Advance CTE’s work, including work on the federal investment in CTE and the advancement of federal CTE Policy. The group as a whole expressed great pride in changing the national narrative of CTE to a program of value for each learner, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender or where they live. 

Former Assistant Secretary Dann-Messier complimented current Assistant Secretary Stump, noting that “for a long time, CTE was a dumping ground…based on race and ethnicity. It has been a long haul. Scott [Stump], you’ve done a phenomenal job to change that trajectory.”

Looking ahead to the next 100 years with the CTE community, Advance CTE is excited to continue to push forward in order to grow and transform CTE into a system that prepares each learner for a lifetime of success. 

A full recording of our 100 year celebration can be found here.

President-Elect Begins Transition Planning

On Saturday November 7, it was announced the former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) received the electoral votes required to win the presidential election. In the days since, President Elect Biden has begun to share his plans for the transition between administration.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team.

At this time, the Biden-Harris Transition Team has put out a public website: https://buildbackbetter.com. This includes priorities for COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. President-Elect Biden outlines four national efforts as part of an economic recovery strategy:

  • Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America;
  • Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future;
  • Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce; and
  • Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America.

In addition, Linda Darling-Hammond was named as the head of the education transition team. Darling-Hammond has an extensive career in the education field, including Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford School of Education, past President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond also ran the education transition team for former President Barack Obama in 2008.

Darling-Hammond will lead the Department of Education Review Team of volunteers, comprised of the following individuals:

  • Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
  • Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jim Brown, United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
  • Norma Cantu, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
  • Jessica Cardichon, Learning Policy Institute
  • Keia Cole, MassMutual
  • Lindsay Dworkin, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association
  • Kristina Ishmael, Open Education Global
  • Bob Kim, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • James Kvaal, The Institute for College Access & Success
  • Peggy McLeod, UnidosUS
  • Paul Monteiro, Howard University
  • Pedro Rivera, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Roberto Rodríguez, Teach Plus, Inc.
  • Shital Shah, American Federation of Teachers
  • Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, American Federation of Teachers
  • Emma Vadehra, The Century Foundation

Full information on the Biden-Harris campaign platform pertaining to education and workforce development can be found here.

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

How States Are Pushing the Envelope on Postsecondary CTE Data Quality

November 12th, 2020

Advance CTE Announces New State-led Initiative

Even before the passage of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) in 2018, nearly every State CTE Director said that improving the quality and use of CTE data was a top priority in their state. Now, with Perkins V implementation fully underway and COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting education delivery, it is more important than ever for states to have access to high-quality, actionable CTE data. 

In this environment, Advance CTE is excited to announce the Advancing Postsecondary CTE Data Quality Initiative (PDI), generously supported by the ECMC Foundation. Through the initiative, five grantees will receive grant funding, technical assistance and access to a national peer learning network to examine critical problems of practice and implement innovative solutions to improve the quality and use of postsecondary CTE data. Participating states and agencies include: 

  • Alabama Community College System 
  • Delaware Department of Education
  • University of the District of Columbia Community College
  • Florida Department of Education
  • Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission

Each of the five grantees is well positioned to either accelerate existing work around CTE data quality or push the envelope in new and creative ways. Alabama aims to improve the accuracy of postsecondary CTE enrollment data through the use of its new P20W data system. Delaware strives to implement a new performance accountability model to enhance data linkages and expand access to postsecondary career pathways statewide. Florida is focusing on developing new data models and collection procedures for postsecondary work-based learning programs. The District of Columbia will maximize peer and specialist support to advance its postsecondary CTE data system, which is in its early stages. Oregon will focus on improving data collection and sharing to monitor outcomes for learners in short-term credentialing programs, particularly groups severely impacted by the Coronavirus.  

Over the next two years, grantees will work together as a peer learning network to develop, test and scale innovative strategies. Throughout the initiative, Advance CTE will share promising practices and lessons learned with the field through a series of blogs, webinars, presentations, publications and tools. 

Data is a powerful tool to improve equity and access and strengthen program quality. But it takes leadership and a coordinated strategy to make data work for learners. Advance CTE is excited to work with these states through the PDI to push the envelope on postsecondary CTE data quality. To learn more about the PDI, visit https://careertech.org/initiatives

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research 

Biden-Harris Administration: Transition Team Gets Started

November 11th, 2020

On Saturday November 7, it was announced the former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) received the electoral votes required to win the presidential election. In the days since, President Elect Biden has begun to share his plans for the transition between administration.

It is important to note that this transition planning is technically still informal, as the General Services Administration (GSA) has not begun the formal transfer of power or authorized transition funding to be used by the Biden-Harris team.

At this time, the Biden-Harris Transition Team has put out a public website: https://buildbackbetter.com. This includes priorities for COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. President-Elect Biden outlines four national efforts as part of an economic recovery strategy: 

  • Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America; 
  • Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future; 
  • Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce; and 
  • Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America. 

In addition, Linda Darling-Hammond was named as the head of the education transition team. Darling-Hammond has an extensive career in the education field, including Professor of Education Emeritus at the Stanford School of Education, past President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education. Darling-Hammond also ran the education transition team for former President Barack Obama in 2008.

Darling-Hammond will lead the Department of Education Review Team of volunteers, comprised of the following individuals: 

  • Ary Amerikaner, The Education Trust
  • Beth Antunez, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jim Brown, United States Senate, Office of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (Retired)
  • Norma Cantu, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law
  • Jessica Cardichon, Learning Policy Institute
  • Keia Cole, MassMutual
  • Lindsay Dworkin, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, National Education Association
  • Kristina Ishmael, Open Education Global
  • Bob Kim, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • James Kvaal, The Institute for College Access & Success
  • Peggy McLeod, UnidosUS
  • Paul Monteiro, Howard University
  • Pedro Rivera, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology
  • Roberto Rodríguez, Teach Plus, Inc.
  • Shital Shah, American Federation of Teachers
  • Marla Ucelli-Kashyap, American Federation of Teachers
  • Emma Vadehra, The Century Foundation

Full information on the Biden-Harris campaign platform pertaining to education and workforce development can be found here

Meredith Hills, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Beyond the Numbers: Tools and Strategies for Effective CTE Data Reporting 

November 10th, 2020

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes once famously said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Without access to reliable, high-quality and timely data, it is impossible for learners, families, industry representatives, practitioners and policymakers to make informed decisions about CTE program development, improvement or participation. 

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) pushes states to improve the public accessibility of Career Technical Education (CTE) data. According to the law, state agencies, as well as local recipients, must share data on the performance of all CTE students, and subgroups of learners, and make this information available widely and through a variety of user-friendly formats.

But judging by the current state of CTE reporting, states have a lot of work to do to make CTE data accessible and actionable to a broad audience. Some of the challenges of state CTE reporting include: 

  • Burying CTE data deep in an agency website or behind a firewall
  • Reporting out static data in tables with little to no interpretation
  • Using CTE jargon that is meaningless to members of the public 

Many of the current CTE reporting challenges result from a lack of time and intentionality, but the good news is that Perkins V gives states an opportunity to hit restart and reimagine their approach to public reporting and communication with a focus on accessibility and understanding. In March, Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) convened a Shared Solutions Workgroup of state and national experts to explore strategies for effective CTE data reporting and communication. Over a series of meetings, the workgroup co-designed a set of tools and resources to help states improve their CTE data reporting. 

CTE Reporting Tools Should Draw From Best Practices for Design and Usability

State leaders can look to best practices in data visualization and accessibility to ensure their CTE reporting tools are widely accessible and equip users to make the most of the data. 

The report Beyond the Numbers: Design Principles for CTE Data Reporting provides nine principles for developing effective and accessible CTE data reporting tools: 

  1. Clarify the purposes for sharing data
  2. Make data easy to find
  3. Make data visually appealing
  4. Clearly and consistently label and describe data
  5. Make data accessible
  6. Disaggregate data to highlight equity
  7. Provide context to add meaning
  8. Enable interactivity and customization for key audiences
  9. Help users interpret data and take action

State and local leaders can use these design principles as a blueprint to inform the early design and development of CTE data reporting tools or as a checklist to ensure their final reports align with best practices for access and usability. 

States Should Develop a Plan to Communicate CTE Data

Effective data reporting, however, requires not just well-designed and accessible reports but also a strategy to build understanding among the general public and key stakeholders. What good is data if it isn’t used? Yet state CTE offices are asked to attend to multiple priorities — from program review to professional development to equity monitoring — and communicating CTE data all too often is moved to the backburner. 

Beyond the Numbers: A Toolkit for Communicating CTE Data is designed to build state capacity for communicating CTE data and integrating compelling CTE statistics into a broader CTE communications plan. The toolkit breaks down six steps for communicating CTE data, from identifying a strategic goal and audience, to creating materials, to building an action plan. The toolkit also includes models and templates states can use to build engaging infographics, presentations and other materials to communicate their data. 

Effective Data Reporting Takes Time — States Should Plan Ahead 

States have a long runway to prepare for Perkins V reporting. They are not required to submit data on CTE performance to the U.S. Department of Education until next year, and many states will not publicly report Perkins V data to stakeholders until after that time. 

Still, it takes time to design, develop and invest in high-quality and effective CTE data reports and tools. State leaders should be thinking about their approach to CTE data reporting now so they have the tools and resources ready to share with key stakeholders when the time comes. Until then, states can refer to the design principles and communications toolkit to draw on best practices for their CTE reporting and communications strategies. 

Advance CTE would like to acknowledge the support of ACTE, Next Chapter Communications and the CTE Data Reporting and Visualization Shared Solutions Workgroup in the development of these materials. These resources were produced with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research, Advance CTE

 

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