Advance CTE Legislative Update: CTE Presidential Scholars Announced as ESSA Implementation Continues and Obama Administration Makes Skills Announcements

May 5th, 2016

United States CapitalYesterday the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) announced the 52nd class of U.S. Presidential Scholars that, for the first time since the program’s inception, now counts Career Technical Education (CTE) students among the nation’s highest achievers.

“We’ve added 20 more slots to honor our highest achieving students in career and technical education, reflecting the Department’s belief that a quality education must be a well-rounded education that prepares students for college, careers and any other civic service,” USDE Secretary John King said in a statement yesterday.

As we have shared previously, President Obama signed Executive Order 11155 last June— a move that expanded the existing Presidential Scholars program to include up to 20 CTE students as part of the program. Created in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson, the U.S. Presidential Scholars program identifies the nation’s highest-achieving students and honors them at an annual award ceremony in D.C. Advance CTE applauded the CTE expansion of this program and will continue to urge policymakers to raise the profile of CTE through efforts and initiatives such as this.

More info can be found here and a full list of Presidential scholars can be found here.

ESSA Implementation Continues

Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)— a law that replaced No Child Left Behind and reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act— states, districts, USDE, and other stakeholders have been busy figuring out the best way forward for implementing the new law.

While the defining theme of ESSA has been a devolution of policymaking authority from the federal level to the jurisdictions of states and local districts, USDE is still responsible for facilitating the development of a limited set of regulations to assist in the law’s ongoing roll-out. Known as “negotiated rulemaking”, this is a collaborative process by which a panel of stakeholders and USDE negotiate the terms of specific regulations required for ESSA implementation.

The panel was tasked with coming to consensus on issues affecting student assessments and the law’s “supplement, not supplant” requirement— a provision that requires that federal funds from ESSA not take the place of existing state and local spending, but rather supplement those efforts.

The panel was able to reach consensus on the issues related to assessment, but unfortunately not on supplement, not supplant rules. As a result, USDE will now write its own regulations on this issue setting up a likely fight with Congressional Republicans who have been vocally opposed to USDE’s proposals for the rule to date. Before publishing these rules for public comment, ESSA requires a fifteen day Congressional review period where these disagreements will likely be highlighted further.

Separate from the formal rulemaking process, USDE is also planning to develop non-regulatory guidance to further assist states, districts, and other stakeholders in implementing the new law. Although ESSA makes clear that such guidance cannot be “legally binding”, USDE hopes that this guidance can help the public understand the law better, provide a window into how the department interprets ESSA, and to provide examples of best practices to support implementation. The department is asking for input from the field on what topics this guidance should cover and recommendations can be submitted to essa.guidance@ed.gov. Comments must be submitted by May 25, 2016.

Advance CTE will continue to monitor and engage with implementation of ESSA in the coming year. A helpful timeline for that process can be found here.

White House Announces $100 Million in Free Community College Grants

On April 25, Vice President Joe Biden announced a plan to expand upon their America’s College Promise initiative with a $100 million competitive grant. The effort, which President Obama first proposed during his 2015 State of the Union address, aims to provide two years of free community college to eligible students — an ambition that has already spurred some 27 free community college programs across 15 states. Details about the timing and process for awarding grants are forthcoming, though the White House did release a fact sheet with information about its investments in postsecondary education and its wider skills agenda.

Department of Labor Launches $90 Million ApprenticeshipUSA Program

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) announced that it is now accepting applications for ApprenticeshipUSA, a $90 million grant competition to increase “job-driven” apprenticeships in the U.S. The first competition, which closes on May 15, makes available $9.5 million for State Accelerator Grants — state-level grants to expand access to and diversify participation in Registered Apprenticeships. States wishing to apply for an Accelerator Grant can find information such as the timeline and process for awarding grants here. USDOL plans to make an additional $50 million available to states later this spring and will invest the remaining $30 million to help employers launch and grow apprenticeship programs.

Odds & Ends

  • Recently, USDE circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter outlining various available funding streams that can be leveraged to support STEM education. The letter was sent to states, districts, schools, and other stakeholders and references the several permissible used of funds within the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins) that can be used to support STEM education.
  • USDE also released a guidance letter that further clarifies its position on higher education accreditation following an executive action by President Obama last November that sought to improve upon current accreditation practices. The letter encourages accreditors to use standards that are based on student outcomes such as graduation, retention, and employment rates.
  • USDE announced the second round of its “Performance Pilot Partnerships” (P3), an initiative that waives certain requirements for some federal programs, such as the Perkins Act, to allow entities to braid funding and test innovative strategies targeted at disconnected youth. State and local governments, along with other stakeholders, are encouraged to express their intent to apply by May 26, 2016 and applications are due June 27, 2016. The full application announcement can be found here and USDE plans an informational webinar May 9th.
  • In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, USDE announced $5.7 million in new grants aimed at providing CTE programs, reentry services, and training opportunities for students involved in the criminal justice system. USDE has also released a new toolkit for educators to support successful reentry of these students.

 Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager and Austin Estes, Policy Associate 

How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update

May 3rd, 2016

In May 2014, Achieve and Advance CTE (as NASDCTEc) released Making Career Readiness Count, the first analysis of the ccrcoveruse of career-focused indicators in states’ reporting and accountability systems to increase understanding and catalyze action through guidance and recommendations for states to take steps to ensure that the “career” in their CCR accountability and public reporting system is not an afterthought but rather a powerful lever for success.

This report was timely and influential, cited in the Career Ready Act of 2015, introduced by Senator Kaine, which then became an amendment to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), as well as the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Career Readiness Task Force report, Options and Opportunities: Making Career Preparation Work for Students, which was endorsed by 41 states.

Since the original release of Making Career Readiness Count, two significant events have occurred that are pushing states to take a closer look at their accountability systems to better capture a broader range of college and career readiness outcomes for students: the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as ESSA) and the launch of the New Skills for Youth initiative, a competitive grant program, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co, which requires participating states to transform their systems – including state accountability systems –to support high-quality career-focused education for all students.

It is within this environment that Achieve and Advance CTE have partnered again to release How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update. This new report provides state-by-state information on how and which career-ready indicators states are including in their reporting and accountability systems, and highlights promising practices in several states at the forefront of this work. It also raises some important areas for consideration as states begin or refine their focus on career readiness.

Findings in Brief

  • Thirty-four states publicly report and/or include career-focused indicators in their accountability systems, an increase from the 29 states reported in 2014
  • Thirty-two states currently publicly report on at least one indicator of career readiness for high school students, the majority of which report on dual enrollment participation or success or postsecondary enrollment.
  • Twenty states, include some measure of career readiness in their accountability formulas or as bonus points, with dual enrollment participation or success and industry-recognized credentials the most common indicators.
  • Over half of states with career-ready indicators in their accountability systems utilize “meta-indicators” or composite measure of college and career readiness or career readiness that may include components such as AP, IB, or dual enrollment. As a result, it can be very difficult to ascertain how much weight or value career-ready indicators have within states’ accountability systems.

Read How States are Making Career Readiness Count: A 2016 Update and read Making Career Readiness Count for critical background information.

Kate Blosveren, Deputy Executive Director

CompTIA: The IT Industry Trade Association

May 3rd, 2016

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association, weCompTIA_Logo_Pantone (1) advance the global interests of IT professionals and IT channel organizations and enable them to be more successful with industry-leading certifications and business credentials, education, resources and the ability to connect with like-minded, leading industry experts.

Learn about our focus areas and find out who we are and what we do.

Membership
Becoming a CompTIA member indicates a commitment to learning, growing and personal and business success in the IT channel. All of our benefits are aimed at providing our members with a wealth of resources that, when leveraged, result in measurable impact to the member organization.

Education
You can’t get a job or successfully run a business without all the right tools. In the ever-changing IT industry, education is essential. CompTIA’s educational efforts include a comprehensive suite of channel training, a variety of events and meetings and a steady stream of research and market intelligence studies. Everything is designed to help you succeed.

Certifications
It all started with A+. Back in 1993, we developed a revolutionary IT certification that was not tied to a particular manufacturer, but vendor-neutral. The concept took off and today CompTIA offers four IT certification series that test different knowledge standards, from entry-level to expert.

Public Advocacy
TechAmerica, the public sector and public policy department of CompTIA, champions member-driven business and policy priorities that impact the entire continuum of technology companies – from small IT service providers and software developers to large equipment manufacturers and communications service providers.

Philanthropy
The shortage of IT workers in the U.S. stands at about 300,000 and there continues to be high demand for motivated and capable employees. It’s the job of CompTIA’s philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, to help unemployed individuals and populations under-represented in the field obtain the right training for an IT role; not just a job, but a foothold into a career. In order to help supply the IT worker pipeline, Creating IT Futures is exploring ways to nudge more youth in the direction of tech careers.

This blog was written by CompTIA, a sponsor of the 2016 Spring Meeting. Learn more about CompTIA here, and be sure to meet them at the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.!

CCI Learning

May 2nd, 2016

cci

We have to now focus on the 21st Century student. The student experience has changed and instruction must also, to promote equity in learning. Schools are not all brick and mortar, they also thrive in online learning, which is now a graduation requirement.  Classroom practices must evolve to provide the best learning opportunities for all students.

In Education Secretary John King’s letter on goals for 2016 he writes,

“Our work in 2016 must be measured by the progress we make toward educational opportunity for all … My first priority is to build on this Administration’s strong focus on equity and excellence at every level of our education system, in every school.”

All students must have the same educational opportunity to succeed. CCI Learning has developed a solution called Jasperactive that teaches one of the top three skills required for jobs today, Microsoft Office.[1] Jasperactive addresses individualized learning for each student within a diverse classroom setting by instantly measuring the individual’s understbloganding of Microsoft Office desktop applications, and prescribing a personalized course.

With a five step Prescriptive Learning Pathway, Jasperactive provides a human centered experience that stimulates excellence in the acquisition of understanding. This begins with a Benchmark test that determines the student’s skill level and builds a prescribed course using only the lessons the student requires. This is not a simulation, students learn directly within the Microsoft Office environment. This provides the best possible learning experience.

CCI Learning’s Vice President of US Education Strategy Jana Hambruch speaks to this,

“We absolutely need to promote equity in the classroom, Jasperactive creates an individualized learning plan for each student with comprehension based learning, enabling every student to achieve a measurable 21st century global Microsoft Office Specialist certification.”

Jasperactive is an homage to all teachers who continue to inspire their students to master and maximize their learning potential and reach for their greatness. In Education Secretary John King’s letter he also writes,

“I want us to focus on ways to lift up the teaching profession and to ensure that our teachers are prepared for the realities of today’s diverse classrooms and supported once they’re on the job.”

With Jasperactive, teachers are in control as they can build their own tests and isolate lessons and apply them to learning objectives. They have the ability to choose how much they want to intervene in the learning process. Teachers can adjust question parameters allowing for infinite variations of the same learning objective.

Jasperactive embraces what learners know so they can focus on what they don’t. It is the world’s first kinesthetic Microsoft Office learning and validation system mapped to the Microsoft Office Specialist Global Standard.

CCI Learning strives to celebrate uniqueness and set each student up for educational success through comprehension based learning. With Jasperactive, students of all levels can work through their individualized learning plan because we recognize that no two students learn the same.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

– Benjamin Franklin

[1] IDC Study: Top Skills Comparison 2013

This blog was written by CCI Learning, a sponsor of the 2016 Spring Meeting. For more information about CCI Learning, be sure to meet them at the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.!

This Week in CTE: The Skills Gap

April 29th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

EVENT OF THE WEEK

Next week, companies from across the nation will meet in Seattle to host a job fair for 16-24 year olds. This is part of the 100,000 Opportunities Initiate, a coalition of 40 U.S. companies who are working to employee the 5.5 million young Americans out of work or school.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

In another investment to address the skills gap, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and USA Funds partnered to pilot a program with the goal of closing the skills gap. Talent Pipeline Management put employers at the lead of education partnerships in seven communities across the country. A number of policy changes, programs and partnership have followed in states such as Virginia, Michigan and Arizona.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Three States’ Approaches to Removing Legal Barriers around Work-based Learning

April 28th, 2016

In our continuing series, “Connecting the Classroom to Careers,” we look at an issue that is often a stumbling block for K-12 work-based learning – ensuring these experiences are safe and legal for students.
In “Removing Legal Barriers around Work-based Learning“, we feature New Jersey, Kentucky and California and their approaches to dismantling work-based learning’s legal barriers, including:

  • Training teachers to understand the state and federal legal, health and safety requirements for work-based learning
  • Mitigating work-based learning liability concerns for schools and employers

Debunking these myths is critical to scaling work-based learning. Starting with educating themselves, states can and should play an instrumental role in helping correct misconceptions about students under the age of 18 in the workplace.

Be sure to check out our first installment in this series – “Setting a Statewide Vision for Work-based Learning.”

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate 

State Policy Update: Virginia, Idaho pass major CTE legislation

April 27th, 2016

Back in January, we shared highlights from this year’s State of the State addresses, particularly in Virginia and Idaho where the states’ governors made Career Technical Education (CTE) a key part of their 2016 legislative agendas. Three months later, some of those proposals have made their way through the legislative process to be signed into law earlier this month.

Virginia

In his State of the Commonwealth address earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe outlined a new vision for the state’s education and workforce development systems to equip students with the skills needed to be successful in today’s labor market, and called for increased collaboration among government, business and education. To do this, McAuliffe pointed to industry-recognized credentials and competency-based education, saying, “you cannot build an economy for 2050 with a 1950s approach to education.”

Since then, Mcauliffe has signed a host of education and workforce bills, which will strengthen articulation agreements and establish a grant fund to help students cover two-thirds of the cost for a noncredit workforce training program. Of particular relevance is SB336, which intends to restructure the high school experience for Virginia students starting in the 2018-19 school year to be based on mastery rather than seat-time and includes work-based learning opportunities for all students, regardless of their graduation pathway. The final plan will be determined by the State Board of Education, but broadly, the bill instructs the state board to:

  • Collaborate with K-12, higher education, and private industry stakeholders to identify the skills that students need upon graduation;
  • Shift high school instruction to teach core competencies during the first two years of high school;
  • Establish graduation pathways of a student’s choosing that provide opportunities for internships, externships, and credentialing; and
  • Allow districts to substitute industry certification and state licensure exams for the state’s end-of-course assessments.

Idaho

For its part, Idaho has also been hard at work to expand CTE since Gov. Butch Otter made CTE a priority in his State of the State address in January. Among other things, Otter proposed to increase funding for technical colleges, career counseling and STEM education.

Since then, the Idaho legislature passed SCR134, which supported Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s postsecondary attainment goal for 60 percent of residents age 25-34 to have a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. The resolution also urged public and private sectors to collaborate on programs to support postsecondary pathways for young Idahoans. Separately, the legislature also allocated $3.8 million to expand capacity for CTE programs at Idaho’s six technical colleges and graduate more students into high-demand fields such as health care, information technology, mechatronics and transportation.

Other highlights from Idaho (we know, there are a lot!) include:

  • A language amendment in SB1210 that changes “professional-technical education” to “career technical education”;
  • Increased funding for CTE instructors that hold a specialist certificate (HB630);
  • A budget increase of 10.4 percent for the state’s Division of Career Technical Education (HB625); and
  • An additional $5 million to improve college and career counseling for high school students.

While the Virginia and Idaho legislatures have both adjourned for the year, 25 states remain in session. We will continue to keep a close eye on these remaining states in the coming months and share major CTE policy changes as they happen. Stay tuned.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

Welcome to Ronald Roveri, South Carolina’s State CTE Director!

April 25th, 2016

Ronald Roveri, South Carolina’s Newest State CTE Director, has spent nearly his entire career in Career Technical Education (CTE). Roveri medium_Roveri2worked as an automotive maintenance and repair technician for Shell, and after lobbying hard for his father to co-sign a loan to open his own service station, his father suggested college instead, where Roveri minored in Education. An advisor at Kent State University suggested Roveri look into becoming an educator, thus launching his career in CTE.

“I loved every minute of my time in the classroom,” said Roveri, who taught industrial technology and Project Lead the Way. In the early 1990s, he transitioned from a classroom teacher into administration, first as an assistant principal and then working his way up to a career center director, a position he held for 13 years.

As State CTE Director, Roveri is working hard to develop a strong state-level advisory committee to bring together education, human resources and workforce representatives to improve career pathways throughout the state. Last year, 44 districts in South Carolina reported that zero dual credits were earned, demonstrating an unsupported transition between secondary and postsecondary education for students. Roveri knows that in order to have a solid pipeline from secondary to postsecondary to workforce, all CTE programs must include articulation agreements and industry credentials to mirror what the workforce needs.

Roveri hopes this leadership team will work hard to elevate CTE saying, “I love networking with people who are so passionate and dedicated to providing quality CTE to the students of South Carolina.” He can certainly count himself among that dedicated cohort, and we are looking forward to seeing the work Roveri accomplishes in the state.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Last Week in CTE

April 25th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

AWARD(S) OF THE WEEK

The Association for Career and Technical Education announced their 2016 Excellence Award Winners with accompanying interviews about each award recipient. Learn more about these inspirational CTE leaders.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

Laura Arnold, Associate Commissioner of the Office of Career and Technical Education in Kentucky was awarded the 2016 Kevin M. Noland Award for providing significant service and inspirational education to Kentucky’s public schools. Congratulations Laura!

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The United States Department of Labor announced $90 million through the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative in an effort to double the amount of apprenticeships by 2018.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

NOCTI: The Right Credentials

April 18th, 2016

As a longstanding member of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community, NOCTI has seen the pendulum swing many NOCTI--Navy--Med--Web-Usetimes regarding technical training. Sometimes the pendulum swings in favor of the CTE community while other times it does not. At least from a current media perspective, it certainly appears the pendulum is in CTE’s favor and CTE is enjoying some time in the “spotlight.” From most perspectives, being in the spotlight provides a positive opportunity to broaden public support. Because the spotlight moves from issue to issue quickly, it generally forces those who are under it to focus their message quickly. Sometimes that message can become generalized and lose its specificity. We fear this generalization may be happening within the area of credentialing.

Most readers of this blog know that NOCTI spent its early days as part of the “vocational” teacher certification process. They may also be aware that through its current foci on leadership in the areas of technical data-driven instructional improvement, credentialing, and digital badging, NOCTI continues to be proud to be a contributing member of the CTE community. As a non-profit entity lead by a board elected by the 56 state directors of CTE across the country and in US territories , NOCTI is determined to stay ahead of the needs of the field it serves. Since NOCTI’s primary focus links to credentialing and the assessment associated with it, we’d like to share a few of our observations. Aside from obvious issues of cost and delivery, the focus will be on five areas NOCTI believes every CTE program should consider during the credential selection process.

1. Proprietary vs. Non-Proprietary Credentials: Simply put, assess the motive of the credential provider. Is the ultimate goal of the credentialing assessment to focus on a particular product line or service? Is it to establish a lifelong pattern of acquiring certificates by the learner as a revenue generator for the providing organization? Can an administrator access the technical manual (this provides statistical data on test construction and performance) on which the assessment is based?

2. Quality: Does the credentialing assessment meet accepted national and international standards? There are thousands of credentials that claim to meet legally defensible standards but do they? Nationally accepted standards are the American Psychological Association (APA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) and international standards for credentialing bodies are found in ISO 17024.

3. Program of Study Alignment: Does the credential assessment provide an outline of what is measured in the assessment? More importantly, do the credential and your program of study align? Are you setting your students up for failure by assessing information they have never been taught?

4. Instructional Improvement Value: A credential that provides a simple pass/fail score provides no ability to improve a teacher’s instruction for succeeding cohorts of students. It is like shooting at a target wearing a blindfold. Does the credential provider offer meaningful data to continuously improve your instruction?

5. Relevant Information for Employers: Credentials and certifications can be seen as a “shorthand” for the skills and knowledge a learner has acquired, but a certificate alone may not provide enough detail for the employer during the hiring process. Does the credential identify specific skills obtained that can be compared against an individual employer’s needs? Detail is key!

This blog was written by NOCTI, a sponsor of the 2016 Spring Meeting. For more information about NOCTI, reach out to nocti@nocti.org or be sure to meet them at the Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.! 

 

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