Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill, CTE Highlighted in ESSA Discussions

July 19th, 2017

This week, Congress has been busy marking up appropriations bills, the first of many steps toward determining the overall budget and the appropriations for individual programs for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) that begins October 1. In addition, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Advance CTE will also be discussing how states can connect their vision for career readiness with ESSA during a webinar on Thursday, July 20 from 1-2pm ET – please join us!

Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill

On Thursday, July 13, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations subcommittee marked up their FY18 appropriations bill and it passed along party lines 9-6. This bill will be marked up by the full House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 19.

  • The bill proposed funding Perkins at its current level ($1.125 billion, the same as was allocated in FY17) and also proposed the following allocations to education and labor programs:
    • Student Support and Academic Achievement state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of ESSA, receive $500 million. These block grants have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
    • Pell grants remain funded at their FY17 level. However, the bill includes a $3.3 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
    • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would be cut by $85,724,000, or about three percent.
    • Apprenticeship grants funded through the Department of Labor would be zeroed out (they received $95 million in FY17).
  • The House Budget Committee will mark up its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills) on Wednesday, July 19.

Importantly, there are a number of additional steps and decisions that need to be made before a final agreement on the FY18 appropriations is reached and we’ll provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Benefits of CTE Highlighted in ESSA Hearing

On Tuesday, July 18, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled, “ESSA Implementation: Exploring State and Local Reform Efforts.” The witnesses who spoke during the hearing were Jaqueline Nowicki, Director, K-12 Education at the U.S Government Accountability Office, Gail Pletnick, Superintendent at the Dysart Unified School District in Arizona, Phillip Lovell, Vice President of Policy Development and Government Relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Carey Wright, State Superintendent at the Mississippi Department of Education. Over 20 members of the committee asked questions of the witnesses, many of them focused on the flexibility provided in the law, the role of regulations, the stakeholder engagement process, how states selected accountability indicators and how they are using data about the performance of historically underserved groups, feedback received on submitted ESSA plans, and the role of the federal government in education. Notably, several committee members brought up CTE – they were curious about how it fits into states’ ESSA plans and were eager to share how their state’s successful CTE initiatives benefitted students.  

ESSA Webinar this Thursday, July 20

This spring, 16 states and Washington D.C. submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing their strategies to implement ESSA. While more than half of the plans that were submitted during the first window included career readiness accountability indicators, many states missed opportunities to fully leverage ESSA to support a statewide vision for career readiness (read more about how career readiness shows up in the first 17 ESSA plans in our new report here). Please join us Thursday, July 20 from 1-2 p.m. ET to hear from national experts and state leaders about connecting ESSA to your state’s vision for career readiness. Speakers include representatives from Advance CTE, the College & Career Readiness & Success Center, the Connecticut Department of Education and the California Department of Education.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Empowering All Learners

July 13th, 2017

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.

Career exploration and guidance have in the past been considered as services only for CTE students, and particularly for CTE students who are not considering attending a postsecondary institution. Now state leaders are working to change this misconception by promoting career advisement as an integral part of the educational process for all learners.

A comprehensive career advising system must be supported not just by school counselors, but state leaders, local administrators, and employer partners as well.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

  • Develop and implement a career advisement system that allows all learners to be successful in a career pathway of interest;
  • Provide all learners with authentic, real-world experiences linked to a career interest of their choice.

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders focus their attention on career advisement, they have access to multiple resources related to counseling, guided pathways, student supports and career awareness, among others.

Principle in Action

  • Ohio: 2014 Education Reform Bill (HB487)
    • Among many policy changes in HB487, Ohio began requiring districts to provide career exploration CTE courses in grades 7 and 8. Additionally, all districts were required to provide career guidance and advising systems, supported by state-provided implementation models.  
  • Arkansas: College and Career Coaches
    • Launched as a pilot program in 2010 and expanded to 28 counties a few years later, the Arkansas College and Career Coaches program provides career coaching services to students, along with online advising platforms and Career Cluster camps. Between 2009 and 2015, the college-going rate in these districts increased by 22 percentage points. Starting in the 2016-17 school year, career-focused performance metrics such as industry-recognized credential attainment and work-based learning were integrated into the program to better emphasize career planning and preparation.
  • Illinois: STEM Learning Exchanges
    • Launched in 2012, the STEM Learning Exchanges are public-private partnerships that provide connections between employer partners and schools. These partnerships can be leveraged to provide work-based learning opportunities, career exploration and other experiential opportunities.

Relevant Resources

Upcoming Resources

  • State of Career Technical Education: Career Advising and Development
    • In February 2018, Advance CTE will release a report in partnership with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) that examines the national landscape of career advising and development policies. The report will be based on information collected from surveys of state leaders as well as school counselors.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Playbook Offers Upskilling Models to Help Companies, Employees and Communities

July 11th, 2017

UpSkill America, part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, recently released its Upskilling Playbook. This document highlights promising practices and examples of employer upskilling strategies, and offers guidance on how other employers can implement these practices. Through upskilling, an employer can invest in the long-term competitiveness and success by encouraging existing employees to gain new skills and advance through a company. Research shows that upskilling can help company bottom lines, and increase employee retention, as most employees expect some version of upskilling as a benefit of employment.

The playbook offers several models for companies to adopt, including apprenticeship, pre-employment training, as well as providing support and incentives for completion of certifications and postsecondary degrees. One example cited is Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which will pre-pay 95% of tuition and fees for an employee to earn a certificate or associate degree in a high-demand occupation.

Even companies who already provide tuition assistance may not be fully realizing the potential of upskilling, according to recent research carried about by UpSkill America. Many companies see these benefits merely as recruitment tools when looking for new hires. The playbook argues that companies should imbed upskilling as a cornerstone of company culture.

Report Explores Effective Teacher Professional Development Models

A new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) explores the question of effective professional development for teachers through a review of 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. Their research found that effective professional development, including professional learning communities, incorporates the following elements:

  • Is content focused
  • Incorporates active learning
  • Supports collaboration
  • Uses models of effective practice
  • Provides coaching and expert support
  • Offers feedback and reflection
  • Is of sustained duration

Unfortunately, realities within institutions can hinder effective professional development, including insufficient resources (in both time and funding), as well as a poor school climate. LPI recommends evaluating the use and time of school schedules to create more opportunities for professional learning, as well as regularly conducting needs assessments and gathering feedback from educators to determine the areas of highest need for professional learning.

Odds and Ends

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has been creating and compiling resources related to foster, juvenile justice and crossover youth. Included in those resources are several recorded webinars detailing promising practices in providing career pathways for systems-involved youth. While there are many challenges and barriers to success for these youth and the organizations devoted to helping them, several institutions have uncovered some promising strategies worth exploring further.

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) recently released a report about the history and progress of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. While the report covers many topics, there is an entire section devoted to gender disparities Career Technical Education (CTE). The report finds that though progress has been made in CTE, large gaps remain, and there is certainly more work to be done.

Two publications have recently ranked institutions that effectively fight the nation’s skills gap. The first, from The New York Times, describes seven postsecondary institutions that take innovative approaches to supporting students through completion. The second, from Forbes, ranks two-year institutions based on the same “return on investment” focus of their rankings of four-year institutions.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

What a 15 Percent Cut to Perkins Really Means

July 10th, 2017

Advance CTE asked its members and the readership of its Legislative Updates newsletter (sign up to receive it by checking “Advocacy and Federal Policy” here) what a 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant (as proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget) would mean for them. Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, students and educators from across the country wrote to us to let us know how devastating these cuts would be to programs across the country. Unsurprisingly, we heard that these cuts would severely impact every stakeholder involved in a successful CTE system – from students, to teachers, to communities – and their ability to address important issues – from student access to programs, to their ability to develop in-demand skills, to the health of the U.S. economy.

We plan to share these stories with the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees – the key decision makers about Perkins funding. Compelling, real-world stories have great impact on legislators. They pull on their heart strings and highlight the harsh reality that these cuts will result in a loss of opportunities for students and employers.

How Cuts Hurt Learners

“Creating my two games taught me things about computer science and coding that I never knew existed. The computer science classes that I’ve taken have given me a greater appreciation for technology and were so much fun in the process. High school wouldn’t be the same without them.” David, CTE Student in California

“Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of students interested in taking a foundations CTE course rise from 358 to 802.  In a school with around 1200 students, this is a significant increase.  No longer is CTE the place where students go to fill their schedule.  Students interested in engineering, computer science, pharmacy, etc are requesting to take our courses so that they can become better prepared for their future.” Kyle, CTE Professional in Alabama

“Because these funds are used in programs across the schools, it is accurate to say every one of the 1,600+ students in our schools has been supported by instructional materials purchased with Perkins funds.” – Jack, CTE Professional in California

“Next year…there will be three new CTE programs–Engineering, Biomedical, and Computer Science…With the 15 percent cut to [the] Perkins Basic State Grant…these pathways may be in jeopardy.” Linda, CTE Professional in Massachusetts

“While [Perkins funds are] a relatively small percentage of our budget, the funds support critical services that increase students’ likelihood of earning their diploma and a credential.” – Tony, CTE Professional in Ohio

How Cuts Affect Instructors

“We rely on these funds to partially offset the costs of employing the unsung heroes of secondary Career and Technical Education programs – our industry-experienced paraprofessionals.” – Jason, CTE Professional in Michigan

How Cuts Impact Communities

“It’s a local and national economic development issue that strengthens all communities. Critical and long standing Perkins funding for CTE programs should be fully restored and enhanced.” – Aiddy, CTE Professional in Iowa

“We have finally acknowledged the value of CTE and the resources it provides to our communities and youth.  Let’s not, again, go down the path of neglecting the core of our workforce.” – Lex, CTE Professional in California

How Cuts Harm Our Economy

“The lack of these funds would impair the ability of students to find employment in the current job market and affect industries’ ability to fill skilled positions.” – Connie, CTE Professional in Kansas

“[CTE] is the solution to filling a substantial portion of the workforce demand not only in Oklahoma, but nationally. As our nation faces the difficulty of meeting the needs of a skilled workforce, we should be investing in Perkins funding, not cutting resources which are core to educational, and workforce advancements.”  Marcie, CTE Professional in Oklahoma

“The Administration’s plan to cut Perkins funding for Career and Technical Education, will not only hurt career centers, high schools and  adult training centers it will be absolutely devastating  to our overall economic growth. The current shortage of skilled workers is already an issue; this would only intensify the shortage of skilled workers and hurt our nation’s youth and adults who are in desperate need of technical training… We as a country would be making a grave mistake to continue to cut Perkins funding.” – Scott, CTE Professional in Ohio

What can you do?  

Connect with your local press: Tell them about what CTE is doing in your state and how these cuts would impact your state. Here is a great example from Oklahoma.
Contact your members of Congress: Let them know that you oppose these proposed cuts by calling them via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or contacting them through the CTE Action Center, brought to you by our friends at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

July 7th, 2017

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group released a report examining where and how career readiness shows up in the first 17 Every Student Succeeds Act state plans. Find out how states did.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

For the first time, Forbes released the top 30 two-year trade schools ranked according to their return on investment. Here’s the list.

DON’T FORGET

Harbor Freight Teaching Prize applications are open now! Nominate a CTE teacher, or apply by July 24. The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding skilled trades programs at public high schools in the United States.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

New Advance CTE Resources, Increased Focus on Postsecondary

June 30th, 2017

Advance CTE has new resources out on H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (which would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins)) and will release a report on states’ Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans next week. While Congress and the Administration are paying attention to states’ ESSA plans, they’re also turning to issues in postsecondary education. More below on new Advance CTE resources, a webinar we’re hosting on July 20, Pell grants and legislative proposals to address postsecondary education.

H.R. 2353 Resources Now Available 

As we reported, H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, overwhelmingly passed the House last week. You can find our summary of the bill here and the letter we sent in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) to the House here, which commends the Committee for their work on the bill but also reiterates our concerns about how the bill defines a secondary CTE concentrator.

ESSA Webinar on Career Readiness

This spring, sixteen states and Washington D.C. submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing their strategies to implement ESSA. A number of organizations have released their analyses of ESSA state plans (e.g., Bellwether Education Partners and the Alliance for Excellent Education) and Advance CTE will release our analysis next week, which will focus specifically on how the plans address career readiness. Please join us Thursday, July 20 from 1-2 p.m. ET to hear from national experts and state leaders about connecting ESSA to your state’s vision for career readiness.

Year-Round Pell Grants Take Effect July 1 

As we reported in May, Congress approved a Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Omnibus package that included the reinstatement of year-round Pell grants. On June 19, Secretary DeVos officially announced that the change would take effect on July 1, 2017, allowing students “to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning with the 2017-2018 award year.” Find the press release from the U.S. Department of Education here and the “Dear Colleague” Letter issued here.

In Case You Missed It: Postsecondary Legislation Introduced in the House

On June 8, members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee introduced two pieces of legislation as part of the “Aim Higher” initiative. The initiative, which is being led by House Democrats, has a goal of making “quality higher education accessible and affordable to empower America’s working families to succeed in our economy” (find more in the press release here).
The Jumpstart on College Act, sponsored by Rep. Espaillat (D-NY) would create competitive grants that would be awarded to “support dual enrollment and early college high schools that primarily serve low-income students” and “colleges and universities to partner with school districts to support the development of these programs.” Find additional details in the summary here.
The Advancing Competency-Based Education Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Polis (D-CO) would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) “to allow for the voluntary implementation of competency-based education demonstration projects at institutions of higher education,” which would be selected by the Secretary of Education through an application process. The bill would also create “a council to study the ongoing innovation and growth of competency-based education.” Find additional details in the summary here.
Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Reflections on President Trump’s Workforce of Tomorrow Event at the White House

June 28th, 2017

This post was written by John Cech, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner – Academic & Student Affairs, Montana University System.  

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, I joined President Donald Trump and 20 people at the White House for a “Workforce of Tomorrow” meeting to discuss strategies for preparing more Americans to fill nearly six million vacant or soon-to-be-vacant careers.  The White House singled out 10 states as “exemplars,” which are creating new educational and apprenticeship opportunities for our citizens.  I am proud to say Montana was one of the 11 states to receive an invitation from the White House and I was honored to represent Governor Bullock and our great state at this meeting.

The meeting was facilitated by Ivanka Trump, Adviser to the President and included: Secretary Alex Acosta, Department of Labor; Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce; several key White House staff; seven Governors; and representatives of three additional governors.  The President invited the Governors and participants to share some of the best practices and success stories from their states.

In a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room, President Trump signed an executive order nearly doubling taxpayer money spent on learn-and-earn programs under the grant system, ApprenticeshipUSA. The money, totaling $200 million, would come from existing job training programs.

Why is this work important?  States across the nation are facing serious workforce challenges.  In Montana, for example, our population is aging and estimates are that a quarter of the workforce are going to retire in the next ten years.  This, coupled with our strong economy and low unemployment (3.8%), poses significant complications for industries to find the skilled labor needed for 21st century jobs.

I believe our state was chosen to be recognized as a leader in this effort due to our long-standing culture of collaboration and creativity.  Thanks to the support and leadership of Governor Bullock, Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian and Commissioner of Labor Pam Bucy, we are a leading state in the development of new apprenticeship learning opportunities.  The Montana University System and the Montana Department of Labor and Industry have worked together to develop 20 new apprenticeship programs in fields such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, information technology, accounting technology, and culinary services, with another 20 in development. These programs offer courses that result in college credits, work-based learning opportunities, prior learning assessment, industry recognized credentials, and a salary. In other words, students can ‘earn while they learn.’

This work has particularly impacted Montana’s rural and frontier communities with apprenticeship opportunities for fields in in-demand, living-wage industries, in some of Montana’s most remote areas, through innovative and thoughtful programming.

For example, MSU-Billings City College has partnered with a rural fire department employer in Miles City to develop the very first paramedicine apprenticeship program in MT. Cutting edge technology is used to ensure all learners have access to this program. IPad Robots (i.e. MedBots) enable EMT professionals at the rural fire department to complete MSUB City College paramedic coursework, as well participate in labs through real-time class discussions, small group breakouts and medical simulations with fellow students in the Billings-based classroom.

Montana is also working with our Office of Public Instruction to develop new statewide pathways for high school students interested starting early with their career development.  These new pathways include opportunities for dual credit, work-based learning, and pre-apprenticeships.

Our efforts are informed through concrete data including employment projections and wage and income records to ensure that we’re supplying the talent pipeline to high-demand careers with skilled employees from across the state.

While federal funding is a critical catalyst for identifying and developing work-based learning strategies, Montana is a fantastic example of how states can leverage these funds with state and private resources to create a new paradigm for workforce training.

I believe our successful partnerships and statewide collaborative efforts are what captured the attention of the White House this past week, and I was honored to share our many accomplishments.

Illinois, Missouri and Pennsylvania Adopt New Policies to Help Learners Graduate Career Ready

June 27th, 2017

Long after the tassels are turned, the podiums are packed away, and the diplomas framed and positioned on the wall, state policymakers are hard at work devising new policies to help the next class of high school students graduate career ready. Whether through career readiness expectations,  Career Technical Education (CTE) graduation endorsements or alternative CTE graduation pathways, helping learners build the skills they need to be successful in their future careers is a priority for policymakers in Illinois, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

In Illinois, a new Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) framework comes on the heels of 2016’s Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act. That legislation, designed to enhance the Illinois education system to better prepare learners for college and the workforce, adopted a number of strategies including a competency-based learning pilot, college and career pathway endorsements, and supports for educators and district leaders. Specifically, the law directed the Illinois State Board of Education and other state agencies to identify expectations for students between grades 8 through 12 to be prepared for success after high school. Under the law, these expectations would need to focus on career exploration and development; postsecondary institution exploration, preparation and selection; and financial aid and financial literacy.

Earlier this month, the Illinois State Board of Education formally released the newly-developed PaCE framework, outlining guidelines for college- and career-focused activities at each grade level. Many expectations are aligned to a student’s self-identified career pathway. By the end of 10th grade, for example, students are expected to participate in a mock interview, create a sample resume, and identify an internship opportunity related to their career pathway. However, career exploration is emphasized in earlier grades through Career ClusterⓇ interest surveys and career exploration days. Though use of the framework is voluntary, it is designed to empower local educators and administrators to better target supports to students to ensure they are on track for success after graduation.

Missouri’s New CTE Diploma Endorsement Celebrates Student Achievement

Meanwhile, the Missouri State Board of Education outlined requirements for the state’s new CTE graduation certificate. The certificate program, authorized under 2016’s SB620, is designed to recognize the value add that CTE provides, helping equip students with the technical and employability skills to be more competitive in both college and the workforce. The legislature specifically called on the State Board of Education to work with local school districts to ensure the certificate program does not incentivize tracking, or “separating pupils by academic ability into groups for all subjects or certain classes and curriculum.” Rather, the legislation emphasizes program quality, encouraging local school districts to rely on industry-recognized standards, skills assessments and certificates.

In June, the Missouri State Board of Education finalized requirements for a CTE diploma to recognize students who, in addition to completing their core graduation requirements, focus in a CTE area of study. True to the intent of the law, the requirements above all emphasize achievement. Students are only eligible to receive a CTE endorsement if they, among other requirements, maintain a 3.0 GPA in their CTE concentration, earn an industry-recognized credential or a passing score on a technical skills assessment, complete at least 50 hours of work-based learning, and maintain an attendance record of at least 95 percent throughout high school. By prioritizing student success and achievement, Missouri’s CTE diploma requirements appropriately recognize that CTE enhances the traditional high school experience.

Alternative Assessments for CTE Concentrators in Pennsylvania

Finally, CTE students in Pennsylvania will have more flexible pathways to graduation after lawmakers amended a yet-to-be-implemented examination requirement. The change comes in response to a 2014 State Board of Education rule that required students to pass Keystone examinations in Algebra I, Biology and Literature before graduating. Although the requirement was scheduled to apply statewide for the graduating class of 2017, the legislature last year decided to delay implementation to give the Department of Education enough time to identify alternative assessment opportunities for CTE students.

Under the original policy, students who failed to pass the Keystone examinations could demonstrate competency through project-based assessments in order to meet graduation requirements. However, with low Keystone pass rates and high participation in the burdensome project-based assessment alternatives, the legislature soon realized that additional options needed to be explored.

The new law, HB202, provides CTE concentrators an exemption to the Keystone graduation requirement if they 1) complete grade-based academic requirements and 2) either complete an industry-based certification or demonstrate likelihood of success based on benchmark assessments, course grades and other factors. To meet the industry-based certification requirement, CTE concentrators will be able to choose among state-approved credentials in their area of focus, including National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) and National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) examinations.  

While alternative graduation pathways that recognize learners’ career goals help to expand options for high school students, it is important that academic rigor is not the price of flexibility. Graduation requirements should continue to be rigorous and ambitious to ensure all learners are set up for success after graduation, whether they choose to pursue college or careers. The Pennsylvania Department of Education can continue to uphold rigor in CTE programs by ensuring that grade-based academic requirements and selected industry-based certifications are high quality and appropriately reflect the competencies learners need to be successful regardless of their chosen pathway. 

Meanwhile other states have adopted new policies related to CTE and career readiness, including:

  • In May the Texas state legislature passed SB22, establishing a statewide Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. Starting fall 2017, districts and open enrollment charter schools will be able to apply for startup funding to establish a P-TECH program, which allows learners to graduate in six years with an associate’s degree or two-year postsecondary certificate and work-based learning experience.
  • Minnesota’s omnibus higher education appropriations bill for the 2018-19 biennium established a $1 million Workforce Development Scholarship pilot program and provides funding to develop new concurrent enrollment courses.
  • Vermont passed an economic development bill that, among other things, establishes a Career Pathways Coordinator position within the Agency of Education to serve as a point person for interagency efforts to develop curriculum and design statewide career pathways.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Two Surveys Examine Perceptions of and Concerns about Postsecondary Education

June 13th, 2017

The Princeton Review recently released the findings of their annual survey of college applicants and parents discussing their perspective on the admissions process. When asked about their biggest concerns about college, the biggest worry was the debt students and their families will take on to pay for a degree. Parents and students prioritized overall “fit” and a match with the student’s career interests when choosing a college. These results fit with the perceived biggest benefit of a college education – a better job and higher income. Given this information, communications about the opportunities CTE provides in these categories would be very beneficial as students begin to plan for their futures.

New America also just released national survey data about perceptions of higher education. This survey contains some promising data for community colleges. 64 percent of respondents believe that two-year community colleges “are for people in my situation.” More people (80%) believe that two-year community colleges prepare people to be successful. This is higher than four-year public (77%) four-year private (75%) and for-profit (60%). Additionally, 83 percent of respondents believe that two-year community colleges contribute to a strong workforce. This is higher than four-year public (79%) four-year private (70%) and for-profit (59%).

U.S. Teens Fall Behind International Peers in Financial Literacy Exam

The results of the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam on financial literacy have been released, and the results are less than promising. The financial literacy exam has been administered twice now to a select number of participating Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. US teens scored an average score of 487, two points below the international average. In 2012, American students received average scores of 492, while the OECD average that year was 499.

Though the U.S. has scored close to the OECD average in both exams, the results are still concerning, given that an average score signifies that one in five American teens do not meet the financial literacy benchmark, and are therefore unprepared for the complex financial decisions that come with choosing postsecondary and career options. This data becomes more concerning when examined through the lens of socioeconomic status. Students from lower-income families were less likely to score high marks on the exam, indicating that schools are not doing enough to close gaps in knowledge.

Odds and Ends

What is a community college degree worth? A research brief from CAPSEE aims to answer that very question. The report examines independent state evaluations and finds that, on average, the quarterly earnings for men and women earning associate degrees are $1,160 and $1,790 higher than non-completers respectively. Further, the study finds that degrees earned in vocational fields, as opposed to arts and humanities, yield higher earnings, with degrees in health-related fields the most lucrative.

Speaking of skills learned in college, a recent Gallup poll — conducted for the Business-Higher Education Forum — finds that, while 69 percent of employers will prefer candidates with data science and analytics skills by 2021, only 23 percent of college and university leaders say their graduates will learn those skills. The report provides eight strategies educators and employers can use to help close the skills gap.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Celebrating One Year of Transforming Education Through CTE

May 24th, 2017

Today, Advance CTE is excited to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, which establishes a bold vision for all of education that includes, but is not limited to Career Technical Education (CTE).

The vision calls for a systemic transformation of the education system, and identifies CTE strengths and role in this transformation. It 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 truly prepares all students for a lifetime of success.

Over the past year, national, state and local leaders have taken up the charge and begun to integrate the vision into their work and communities, from aligning their strategic plans to the vision principles to leveraging the vision to engage many critical stakeholders around the promise of CTE. We are thrilled to celebrate a number of successes including:

  • Five more national organizations have committed to the vision, for a total of 12,
  • Nearly half of states have supported the vision through presentations, cross walking vision principles with strategic plans, and sharing it with critical stakeholders,
  • Advance CTE has presented the vision on webinars, and at numerous state and national conferences across the country,
  • 41 states are represented in the Putting Learner Success First sign-on campaign, which you can sign onto here!

In addition, we have a number of new resources to share including a new vision video, that envisions a world where all vision principles are enacted.

We have continued to develop resources and materials to help you better communicate about, and integrate the vision in your work including:

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

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