This Week in CTE: Happy 100 Years!

February 24th, 2017

HAPPY CTE MONTH!
Thursday marked the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act, the foundation for today’s Career Technical Education! As we reflect on this important milestone for CTE, we’re excited to share how states, districts, schools, educators, students, parents and employers have lifted up powerful CTE success stories throughout the month, demonstrating how far CTE has come in the last century. Below are some innovative ways they have raised awareness about the value of CTE through a variety of channels.

 

RAISING AWARENESS & MYTH BUSTING
Social media has been an incredible way to raise awareness and share stories about Career Technical Education. A number of advocates used social media to dispel common myths about CTE, such as it is a program for ‘other kids’ or doesn’t prepare students for the breadth of educational and career opportunities. To combat these negative stereotypes, many states and schools focused on fact-based infographics to get the word about what CTE looks like today highlighting how CTE leads to higher graduation rates, postsecondary education, and higher earnings.

Orange Tech College infographic

29 Oregon districts with approved programs of study had CTE concentrator graduation rates of at least 95%

 

SHARING STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES
A number of CTE Month advocates have used Twitter as a platform to share what CTE means to them and their preparation for the future.

The Technology Center of Dupage shared the importance of CTE to their students through their “TCD is…” photo campaign with testimonies from students themselves highlighting things that make CTE unique like the opportunity for career exploration, hands-on learning and dual enrollment. Milton Hershey School and McMinnville School also ran similar campaigns sharing students experiences in CTE programs.

 

 

 

 

 

 
MAKING THE CASE TO POLICYMAKERS
A critical audience during CTE Month is policymakers. A number of states, cities and towns have recognized CTE Month through proclamations voicing their support for CTE in their communities. Local and state leaders including city councils, mayors, governors, and members of Congress have used CTE Month to demonstrate their commitment to CTE.
For policymakers who may not be convinced, students, as part of a variety of Career Technical Student Organizations have used CTE Month as a way to make the case for CTE, and its role in their success. Additionally schools across the nation invited their local policymakers for site visits and career fairs to demonstrate CTE programs in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Looking Towards the Next 100 Years of CTE

February 23rd, 2017

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act, the foundation of today’s Career Technical Education (CTE). As we celebrate this important milestone it’s important to recognize how radically different today’s CTE looks compared to 100 years ago. Today’ CTE programs prepare students for both college and career; support all sectors of the economy; combine academic and technical coursework; encourage hands on learning that prepares students for the real world; provide learners with the ability to explore their interests; and ignites their passion for the future.

Today’s CTE is innovative and engaging and truly prepares students for their future, however there is still work to be done to ensure that all learners have access to these incredible CTE programs, and that all programs are truly high-quality. While it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come, it’s critical that we look towards the future of CTE.

To that end, we encourage you to explore Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, which establishes a bold vision for the transformation of education, and CTE’s role in that transformation. Supported by 12 national organizations and over 35 states, this vision challenges our community to continue on the path of fierce dedication to quality and equity, while providing the leadership necessary to continue to re-examine, grow and transform CTE into a system that prepares all students for a lifetime of success.

State leaders, educators, administrators and CTE stakeholders are already leading this charge in a variety of ways:

I will support Putting Learner Success First by increasing exposure to as many elements of the career spectrum as are possible. Looking for ways to expand upon the foundations of Manufacturing Day, Field Experiences in Healthcare, exposure to the full range of Engineering possibilities, and experiencing technology careers that are just emerging. – Illinois

By making sure that our CTE programs are of the highest quality and rigor. – Florida

It has been presented to the CTE stakeholders in Arizona and will be crosswalked with our Arizona CTE Strategic Plan. – Arizona

Develop and deliver rigorous, engaging CTE curriculum which drives high levels of student engagement and achievement. – Connecticut

I will be sharing the ‘Putting Learner Success First ” information with all of my constituents during conferences, academy’s and workshops. – Michigan

I will support Putting Learners Success First by encouraging my students to be thoughtful and proactive in making decisions about their future. My goal is to expose them to the many careers and pathways available. – Texas

I’d like to work on accountability for high quality CTE programs and certification for CTE instructors, especially at the post-secondary level. – Illinois

 I fully support the vision and action steps. One example of our support is to have begun the process of aligning CTE programming from middle through post secondary. We will use this as our guiding light. – Florida

As you celebrate CTE Month and a century of CTE, I encourage you to let us know how you plan to support the next 100 years of CTE here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

As Dust Settles from Presidential Transition, A Path for Perkins Emerges

February 22nd, 2017

Transition Update from the Trump Administration

After a contentious confirmation hearing and an unprecedented vote requiring Vice President Mike Pence to break a Senate tie, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education on February 7. In her first weeks on the job, Secretary DeVos reassured state education officials they should move forward with implementing the Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) as planned, despite moves from the 115th Congress to eliminate Obama-era regulations on ESSA accountability and teacher preparation. Barring further changes from the administration, state ESSA plans are due on either April 3 or September 18 this year.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted by a narrow 51-49 margin to confirm former congressman Mick Mulvaney to head President Trump’s Office of Management and Budget. It is unclear at the moment exactly how Mulvaney will influence the budget and appropriations process moving forward, though he has advocated widespread cuts to federal spending. Mulvaney’s first task will be releasing the administration’s budget priorities for fiscal year 2017 and 2018. While FY18 begins in October this year, the federal government is operating under a continuing resolution (CR) that expires on April 28. Congress will need to either pass a new CR or put together an omnibus budget bill by that date to keep the government running through the fall. Advance CTE has been closely monitoring budget and appropriations efforts and will report back as more information comes available.

Buzz on the Hill around CTE Month

This year’s CTE Month – an annual celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) – coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act. On the Hill, there is growing enthusiasm and recognition of the progress CTE has made over the past century. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution praising CTE for helping students develop the skills and abilities they need to be successful in the workforce. The resolution garnered a record 31 co-sponsors before it was passed.

Also, a Valentine’s-Day CTE Caucus event celebrating the past, present and future of CTE drew a crowd. Advance CTE’s very own Kimberly Green spoke on the panel, sharing the history of federal involvement in CTE from Smith-Hughes through today. A video of the event is available here.

Perkins Reauthorization A Top Priority for 115th Congress

Members of the House Education and Workforce Committee are coalescing around a possible springtime reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). In an op-ed for Real Clear Education, Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) wrote that passing an updated Perkins Act was a top priority for her committee, one she aims to “finish … in the coming months.” The Committee has scheduled a hearing on strengthening CTE at the secondary level for February 28 and is rumored to be planning to reintroduce a bill that is in close proximity to last year’s H.R. 5587 shortly thereafter. That bill passed the House in September on a 405-5 margin but stalled in the Senate.

Perkins reauthorization is top of mind for the nascent Trump administration as well. Speaking at the 2017 Community College National Legislative Summit, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos remarked:

I know that there are many items on your legislative agenda, from reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and the Perkins Act, to ways community colleges can help transform the nation’s infrastructure, to allowing Pell Grants to have flexibility in supporting students working to graduate more quickly. And in the days ahead, I’ll look forward to hearing your thoughts and working with you as President Trump’s vision continues taking shape.

As always, subscribe to our Legislative Update blog series for the latest updates on Perkins and other federal activities related to CTE.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

State Research Shows Positive Outcomes for CTE Students

February 20th, 2017

In 2015, the most recent year data are available, CTE students nationwide graduated at a rate of 93 percent — approximately 10 percentage points higher than the average. Now, new research from Wisconsin and Washington adds to the growing body of evidence that secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) leads to positive postsecondary outcomes.

State Research Shows Positive Outcomes for CTE Students

The Public Policy Forum, a research organization based out of Milwaukee, recently published a report examining the CTE system in both Wisconsin and the local Milwaukee region. The study draws upon Wisconsin’s CTE Enrollment Reporting System (CTEERS) and district-level surveys of CTE graduates and finds that two-thirds of students in Wisconsin enroll in CTE courses. The most popular area of focus for these students was Business & Information Technology. The study also revealed positive outcomes for CTE students, including:

  • CTE Concentrators were six percentage points more likely to graduate from high school than non-participants.
  • Approximately 74 percent of CTE Concentrators went on to pursue further education, with about one-third attending a 2-year school and two-thirds attending a 4-year school.
  • Of those attending higher education, 72 percent reported pursuing fields of study related to their high school CTE courses.

However, the data revealed inconclusive results related to performance on academic assessments. Additionally, the report identified a 6.3 percent statewide decrease in CTE teaching assignments from 2009 to 2016 — a trend the state has been working to reverse through recent legislation making it easier for CTE teachers to get certified in the state.

Washington Audit Highlights CTE Student Achievement

A report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office examines outcomes data for students in both the 2012 and 2013 graduating high school classes and finds that secondary CTE students demonstrated high post-high school achievement. The study was commissioned to examine the impact of Washington state’s $400 million investment in CTE — a system that reaches 300,000 high school students statewide.

The study finds that, within the population of students that did not go on to a four-year degree, CTE students were 11 percent more likely to “achieve” than non-CTE students. According to the study, “achievement” is measured as persistence in apprenticeship programs, persistence in community and technical colleges, employment and certificate attainment. Additionally, CTE programs accommodated a higher proportion of students receiving free and reduced price lunch and students with disabilities than other non-CTE programs, indicating that CTE could be a strategy for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and abilities to acquire the skills needed for high-demand, high-wage careers.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: States Support #CTEMonth

February 17th, 2017

We’re over halfway through #CTEMonth and states, employers, districts, schools, educators, parents and students have honored and celebrated CTE in a number of ways already. States have been critical in supporting this effort throughout the country, from providing resources to the local level, to meeting with policymakers.

States Develop Coordinated Approach to Support Local Schools 

Alabama Department of Education developed a CTE Month communications plan with tips on how to get positive media coverage, sample social media posts, blog ideas featuring educators and students, and a sample press release. Additionally, they provided their network with a sample proclamation, calendar and sample announcements to help schools in Alabama get the word out, and raise awareness about their CTE programs.

In Mississippi, Mississippi State University created a toolkit that districts can use to promote their local programs and CTE overall. In
the toolkit, they provided a templated poster to announce events, CTE Month-branded press kit with letter head, a state profile and pathway specific flyers, and CTE-fact graphics, one for each day of the month, providing a coordinate set of messages and branding to use at the local level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

States and Students Engage Policymakers 

In Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education’s office of Career and Technical Education met with Career and Technical Student Organization presidents and Commonwealth officials as Governor McAuliffe signed the Proclamation designating February as Career and Technical Education Month.  The Governor spoke at length with the students about Virginia’s initiative: Profile of a Virginia Graduate, which focuses on skills and attributes such as critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship, to be successful in life.  The Governor identified Career and Technical Education students as a perfect example of what the initiative hopes to achieve.

 

 

 

 

 

In Kentucky, the Department of Education held an event where State Officers from each of the Career and Technical Student Organizations gathered for training on the legislative process including a debate of current issue and role plays of actual legislative visits.  The following day, State Officers visited legislative leaders to share more the value and impact of CTE.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Highlights from Advance CTE’s 2016 Annual Report

February 15th, 2017

Advance CTE is excited to release our 2016 Annual Report, sharing our major accomplishments, partnerships and initiatives from the last year.

There’s no question 2016 was an incredible year for the field and for our organization!

Just consider:

 

Some of our major highlights include:

  • Launching a new organizational rebrand – Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work
  • In partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group, and with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co.,  launching the New Skills for Youth initiative.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives passing a bill reauthorizing The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
  • Advance CTE directly engaging our members in all 50 states through our events, technical assistance and resources.

We hope you enjoy reading about Advance CTE’s major accomplishments of 2016, none of which could have been possible without our members, partners and the greater CTE community!

Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

Welcome to Laura Arnold, Kentucky’s new State CTE Director

February 15th, 2017

In September, Laura Arnold was named Kentucky’s State CTE Director, and her path to becoming State Director can be drawn directly back to the many Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers, role models and advisers who encouraged and supported her along the way.

“The CTE world is like a family and really supports students,” Arnold said. “It just shows the importance of teachers in the lives of kids and how they shape students not only in high school but also professionally.”

As a high school student in Kentucky, Arnold served as the state president of the Future Homemakers of America, now known as the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. After graduation, she earned a home economics degree from the University of Kentucky and soon after, took her first job teaching middle school Family and Consumer Science. Six years later, Arnold received an education leadership certificate and served as a principal at one of the state’s area technology centers for about five years.

In 2011, one of her fellow principals, Dale Winkler, became the State Director and asked Arnold to join him at the Kentucky Department of Education. From 2011-2015, Arnold worked in a variety of roles including, as a curriculum manager and Division director for the 53 state-operated area technology centers.

When Winkler left the state in 2015, Arnold was tapped to serve as the interim State Director, and continued in that role until being officially named to the position in September 2016.

Arnold is a key player in the state’s New Skills for Youth initiative. Kentucky was recently awarded $2 million to continue its efforts to strengthen and expand career education pathways for students. Check out this snapshot of the state’s initial work.

Moving forward, the state is examining how it might shift its delivery of K-12 CTE to a regional approach that lets school districts and area technology centers collaborate in order to provide more access to quality programs. This major shift would also require new partnerships and approaches to funding.

“I think we have to think outside of the box, and do things differently than we ever have before,” Arnold said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Explore major trends in student engagement at the 2017 Spring Meeting

February 14th, 2017

Advance CTE Keynote Will Explore Student Engagement

For years, Gallup has polled high school and college students, recent graduates and their parents to gauge their perceptions, aspirations and experiences within the U.S. education system. In this session, hear from Tim Hodges, Ph.D., Director of Research for Gallup’s Education Practice, as he leans on years of research to share what students, parents and employers want.

Early bird registration for the 2017 Spring Meeting ends in two weeks! Register today to save $100.

In case you missed it last week, we released an agenda packed with informative panels, engaging breakout sessions and impactful small-group discussions exploring the latest in federal policy and trends in CTE. Register today to save $100 on your registration!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Getting to Know… Virginia

February 13th, 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: Virginia

State CTE Director: Lolita Hall, State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education

About Virginia: Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Virginia has for years benefited from strong enthusiasm in the state legislature as well as sustained support and commitment from the Office of the Governor. Just this year, Gov. Terry McAuliffe in his State of the Commonwealth speech said that Virginia is “transforming our K-12 system to prepare students for the jobs of the 21st Century, with a particular emphasis on modernizing the [Standards of Learning] and how we deliver high school education.” This effort to modernize the Standards of Learning was initiated by major legislation passed in 2016. The law directs the Board of Education to identify a “Profile” for a Virginia graduate and adopt a more flexible high school experience. Currently, the Board is working with various state agencies to identify opportunities for a new high school graduation system, which is scheduled to be implemented in 2018.

A more seasoned initiative under way in Virginia is the Governor’s STEM and Health Sciences Academy network, which was launched and expanded under McAuliffe’s predecessors, Governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell. The network, which includes 22 STEM Academies and 8 health science academies, are embedded within comprehensive high schools and CTE centers. Through partnerships with business leaders and local institutions of higher education, these academies expose students to a rigorous education with pathways to postsecondary opportunities. Each program includes at least two pathways and undergoes an intensive review process before qualifying for an official Governor’s Academy endorsement.

Programs of Study: Virginia students can also access CTE through 132 school divisions, approximately 350 comprehensive high schools, 10 regional technical centers and 47 local technical centers. Using local labor market information, Virginia identifies and funds programs aligned to priority high-wage, high-demand industries in each region. These programs are aligned with the 16 Clusters and 79 Pathways in the national Career Clusters framework.

A current priority in the Commonwealth is developing a rigorous curriculum in computer science to meet the rapid rate of growth in that sector. This work began in the 2013-14 school year and included cybercamps that provided students with project-based learning opportunities and guest lectures from industry experts through an intensive summer program. In 2016, Virginia held 32 cybercamps, reaching approximately 700 students across the Commonwealth. Moving forward, the Department of Education aims to finalize and launch cyber security curricula to be piloted in the 2017-18 school year.

Cross-Sector Partnerships: Although 85 percent of Virginia’s Perkins allocation is distributed at the secondary level, the Commonwealth has strong, collaborative partnerships across various agencies and sectors. One example is Gov. McAuliffe’s goal to help Virginia students and jobseekers attain 50,000 credentials, a primary objective of the Commonwealth’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) plan. This goal is now shared across 24 state and federally funded workforce programs, each working through various means to increase credential attainment in the Commonwealth. The New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program, for example, is a performance-based grant passed last year that covers up to two-thirds of the cost of tuition for noncredit workforce training programs that culminate in a credential. The initiative is administered by the Council of Higher Education, in partnership with several higher education institutions, and draws on a list of credentials identified and reviewed by the Board of Workforce Development.

On the Horizon: After a busy legislative session in 2016 that culminated in eight CTE-related laws and substantial increases in funding for credentials and CTE equipment, Virginia is fully engaged in implementing and expanding new programs. Even still, the legislature is eying new policies related to apprenticeships and CTE teacher licensure. Additionally, the Office of Career and Technical Education recently merged with the Office of Adult Education in order to streamline programs and facilitate more efficient program and service delivery under WIOA. The office, under Lolita Hall’s leadership, is engaged with integrating both the CTE and adult education portfolios in order to strengthen workforce preparation services for individuals all across the Commonwealth.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Increased State Investments in CTE Highlighted by Governors

February 7th, 2017

The beginning of the new year means governors are giving their annual state of the state addresses, celebrating accomplishments and outlining priorities in their states for the coming year. Speeches are scheduled to continue over the next few months, but some governors have already made bold statements to advance CTE.

Indiana’s Governor Eric J. Holcomb vowed to re-configure and align existing workforce development programs with new initiatives in order to develop a skilled and ready 21st century workforce. This includes a promise to invest $2 million in a regional “Jobs Ready Grants” program to help current workers complete credentials in high-demand, high-wage fields. Additionally the governor plans to invest $1 million each year to better coordinate STEM education across the state.

In South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard applauded his state’s recent efforts related to CTE and dual enrollment. In 2016 the state awarded workforce education grants to help transform high school CTE programs, which resulted in new auto mechanic, precision agriculture and nursing programs. The state’s postsecondary Build Dakota program provided full-ride scholarships to approximately 300 students for a second year. Students in the program attend a technical institute in a high-need program and promise to work in that field in South Dakota upon graduation. Governor Daugaard celebrated the fact that while enrollment in two-year institutions is down nationally by 17 percent, enrollment in Build Dakota programs has increased by 10 percent.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker discussed multiple workforce development initiatives his state has undertaken in recent years, including investments in the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, a grant program supporting employer-led programs for training workers. The state has also doubled enrollment in the Youth Apprenticeship program. Another investment has been Project SEARCH, which provides students with disabilities with targeted classroom support and internships. There are currently 18 Project SEARCH sites, and the state aims to increase that number to 27 by the next school year. Additionally the state has increased investment in the Wisconsin Technical College System, opening 5,000 more slots for students in high-demand areas. At the secondary level, the state has focused in the last year on investing more in college and career readiness planning and increasing access to dual enrollment options.

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas made quite a few statements regarding education in his address. Among more general promises to continue to build high-quality CTE programs and improving the state accountability system, he also encouraged the state’s postsecondary institutions to provide bachelor’s degree options for $15,000 or less. Additionally he announced plans to reform the state teacher certification and salary systems to attract more teachers to the state.

In Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper celebrated programs like Skillful and CareerWise Colorado, which help students develop new skills for new careers and have received over $15 million in grant funding over the last 18 months. He also held up the state’s work specifically in cybersecurity training, and the growing demand for more skills-based training. The state is facing a $170 million drop in education funding from property taxes this summer, which Governor Hickenlooper vowed to address.

Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect were major features in Governor Bill Haslam’s address. Through Tennessee Promise, students attend community and technical colleges tuition free, and Tennessee Reconnect offers that same opportunity for adults already in the workforce. The governor also addressed plans to fully fund the Basic Education Program, which would provide an additional $15 million for CTE equipment.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

 

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