Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Ensuring Quality Instruction

August 3rd, 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 learning is facilitated by knowledgeable experts.

All learners deserve to have quality educational experiences facilitated by individuals with passion, experience and expertise. The need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success has been increasing dramatically. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to do, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities.

State leaders face numerous barriers in fully achieving this principle, including geographical shortages of available industry experts, and the availability of professional development that provides industry experience to classroom teachers.

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

  • Modernize K-12 certification programs to ensure all learners have access to educators who are able to facilitate learning that prepares them for both college and careers;
  • Prioritize professional learning opportunities that focus on retention of quality instructors, contextualized teaching and learning, and learner engagement; and
  • Build and support a pool of experts that instructors may draw upon to supplement learning.

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 put their commitment to quality instruction into action, they have access to multiple resources related to instructor certification, teacher externships and professional learning.

Principle in Action

  • South Dakota: CTE Teacher Certification Rule Changes
    • To address the serious teacher shortage being experienced by districts across the state, the South Dakota State Board of Education changed administrative rules for Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher certification in November 2015, introducing more consistency and flexibility to the certification process. Under the new rules, CTE teachers may receive certification at the Career Cluster or Career Pathway level. A career cluster endorsement requires teachers to pass a state certification exam or complete 15 credits of coursework and allows teachers to teach any course within a cluster, including all pathway-level courses. A career pathway endorsement requires teachers to pass the state certification exam, complete nine credits of coursework, or have 4,000 hours of work experience. With the pathway endorsement, teachers may teach any course within a career pathway, but must complete more coursework in order to earn an endorsement for an entire cluster.
  • Idaho: CTE Digital & Idaho Digital Learning Academy
    • To address geographical challenges and expand access to CTE and advanced coursework more generally, the Idaho legislature in 2015 authorized Idaho Career & Technical Education to work with the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA), a fully-accredited online school serving students in all of the state’s 115 districts, to develop CTE Digital. Through IDLA, Idaho students all over the state can access online CTE coursework. Before a course can be designated as CTE Digital, a CTE certified teacher maps content to CTE standards and develops new content to meet the standards, as needed for existing courses/curriculum. For a new course development, a CTE certified teacher is hired by IDLA to create the course, which typically happens while they are teaching the same course in their district. In this way, the state can ensure that all learners are receiving quality instruction.

Relevant Resources

  • The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools
    • This report from Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research, examines the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. The report draws on data from two national surveys — one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states — to identify common barriers and innovative strategies. While many states use alternative certification policies to bring industry experts into schools as full-time teachers, this report explores other strategies that meet the available capacity of industry experts still working in their field, such as allowing experts to teach part-time or co-teach with a fully certified teacher of record.
  • Faculty Qualification Policies and Strategies Relevant to Dual Enrollment Programs: An Analysis of States and Regional Accreditation Agencies
    • This 50-state report from the Education Commission of the States (ECS), co-authored by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, explores policies related to dual enrollment faculty qualifications and identifies four strategies: accreditor-approved qualifications, equivalent faculty qualifications, requirement of a master’s degree, and graduate credit requirements. The report further details state strategies to help classroom instructors meet dual enrollment qualifications.
  • Improving the Quality of Career and Technical Alternative Teacher Preparation: An Induction Model of Professional Development and Support
    • The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), in partnership with the National Research Center for Career Technical Education (NRCCTE), developed an induction model for new CTE teachers pursuing an alternative route to certification that increases their career commitment, competency and self-efficacy. This report presents key elements of the CTE teacher induction model and provides findings from a five-year field test.
  • CTE Teacher Licensure Requirements: 50 States and District of Columbia
    • This document, produced by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) in 2013, provides state-by-state information on teacher licensure policies for Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers. It includes data on CTE-related teacher certification, certification routes, length of teacher certifications or renewal, professional development and recruitment for all states and D.C.

Upcoming Resources

  • Industry Expert Working Groups
    • Advance CTE has partnered with the AIR Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (AIR GTL) to run two working groups as a follow-up from the December 2016 State of CTE report. The first group will focus on exploring innovative roles for industry experts, such as co-teaching and part-time teaching, and the second group will explore the strategies available for secondary and postsecondary partnerships. In early 2018, AIR GTL will publish summary reports on the activities of both working groups.
  • Brief on Recruiting Teachers in Rural Areas
    • As part of a series of briefs on the challenges unique to providing quality CTE in rural areas, Advance CTE will be drafting a brief specifically on recruiting and retaining teachers in rural areas.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

House Focuses on Apprenticeship Before Recess

August 2nd, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives is now in recess until September 5. Before they left last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on apprenticeship. We’ll recap the hearing, a couple bills that were introduced in the last month and provide information on how to receive news about what is happening in the world of higher education data below.

House Hearing Highlights Different Approaches to Earn and Learn

On Wednesday, July 26, the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing on “Expanding Options for Employers and Workers Through Earn-and-Learn Opportunities.” The hearing included testimony from Mike Bennett (Vice President, Cianbro), Robert Peglow (Student at Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KYFAME), Rob Hogan (Vice President of Manufacturing and Material Distribution, Newport News Shipbuilding) and Stacey Johnson Hughes (State Chair, KYFAME). Most members’ questions of the witnesses focused on the components of registered apprenticeships and other industry-led programs that provide opportunities to earn and learn. Many of the witnesses mentioned the importance of employer and industry engagement in their programs and how their programs intentionally connect local K-12 schools and postsecondary institutions. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) asked about those connections specifically and highlighted the recent House-passed bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) and how it promotes work-based learning opportunities, including apprenticeship. To learn more about the connections between apprenticeships and secondary CTE, check out the resources from Advance CTE and the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) here, including two videos.

In Case You Missed It: House Introduces CTE Legislation

On June 21, Rep. Pocan (D-WI) introduced H.R. 2933, the Leveraging Effective Apprenticeships to Rebuild National Skills (LEARNS) Act, which would:

  • “Support closer alignment between registered apprenticeship programs, employers and other program sponsors offering good jobs,
  • Increase the attainment of recognized postsecondary credentials by program participants,
  • Create national standards for registered apprenticeship programs, and
  • Establish a permanent advisory council at the Department of Labor to oversee the actions and implementation of registered apprenticeship programs”

Find more about the bill in the press release here.

On June 30, Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) introduced H.R.3137, the Promoting Women in STEM Act, which would amend Perkins to “require existing state programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins) Act to include programs that increase participation of women in STEM fields” by adding support for these programs to the list of required uses of state leadership funds.

Looking for a Weekly Dose of Higher Education Data News?

The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has you covered with their Weekly Data Roundup! The roundup is a great resource that delivers brief summaries of reports, notices, and commentary from the week’s top higher ed data news right to your inbox. Not familiar with IHEP’s PostsecData Collaborative? Browse the website and subscribe to the Weekly Data Roundup today!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

 

This Week in CTE

July 28th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

New Documentary: Job Centered Learning
Many economists, business owners, and labor leaders have raised alarm about a rising skills gap in the United States between the jobs that are available and those with the skills needed to fill them. Job Centered Learning, takes a critical look at the wide range of career technical education options some high schools across the U.S. are offering, engaging their students in life changing classroom experiences. This new one hour documentary, which will begin airing on your local PBS station on Sunday, has the potential to add to the national debate around both the vitality of our economy as well as the role schools can play in shaping how a new generation of students can find more meaningful educational experiences, fulfilling livelihoods and worthwhile careers.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Education First released a new report, Making the Most of ESSA: Opportunities to Advance STEM Education, a Review of ESSA plans for innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The report analyzes STEM in all 17 submitted ESSA plans and eight draft plans. Of those 25 plans, they found that states focused on four STEM-related policies:

  • Including state science assessment results in accountability systems
  • Including career- and technical-education indicators in accountability systems
  • Including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate indicators in accountability systems
  • Requiring or encouraging STEM elements in 21st Century Community Learning Center grants.

Find an overview of top findings from reviews of state ESSA plans here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Personalized and Flexible Learning

July 27th, 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 learning is personalized and flexible.

States across the nation are moving towards the direction of competency-based learning systems, but too often this work is undertaken with the mindset that academic and CTE courses are separate systems.

Academic and CTE courses and curricula must work together to provide a seamless, flexible and personalized path for learners from secondary to postsecondary and careers. This requires states to fully align academic and CTE standards across K-12 and postsecondary, and to expand competency-based systems so that all learners may access them.

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

  • Identify, build and scale policies and models that fully integrate academic and technical expectations and experiences;
  • Identify, build and scale models of K-12 and postsecondary competency-based systems; and
  • Fully align secondary and postsecondary programs of study to ensure seamless transitions.

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 personalized learning and systems alignment, they have access to multiple resources.

Principle in Action

  • Washington: Core Plus
    • Developed in partnership between OSPI, the Boeing Company and the Manufacturing Industrial Council, Core Plus is a two-year, industry-developed curriculum that helps students graduate with skills in the manufacturing and skilled trades. While initially the Core Plus curriculum did not satisfy state high school graduation standards, the legislature passed a law allowing for course equivalencies to be developed. These course equivalencies ensure that learners graduate having received both rigorous academic and technical content.
  • Tennessee: Standards Revision Process
    • Beginning in 2012, Tennessee overhauled the state’s Career Technical Education (CTE) standards, bringing them into alignment with the newly adopted K-12 standards and embedding the standards within full and rigorous programs of study. The process took place over three multi-step phases. The second phase of this process involved aligning and integrating all state CTE standards with K-12 academic standards. State CTE standards are now embedded within academic standards and allow teachers the time and flexibility to unpack them appropriately.

Relevant Resources

  • Seizing the Future: How Ohio’s Career and Technical Education Programs Fuse Academic Rigor and Real-World Experiences to Prepare Students for College and Careers
    • This brief from Achieve demonstrates Ohio’s progress in developing strong policies for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to promote rigor, including college- and career-ready graduation requirements for all students, integrated college and career pathways, partnerships with workforce partners, and clear public-reporting systems. This brief describes those state-level efforts and highlights individual CTE programs that are thriving across the state. This resource can be instructional not only for state policymakers aiming to create CTE-friendly policies, but for local and regional program implementers as well.
  • Endorsements, Electives & More: CTE & State Graduation Requirements
    • This brief from Advance CTE highlights a few ways in which states are exploring embedding and elevating CTE programs, assessments and experiences within their statewide graduation requirements. Throughout the brief, a number of challenges and issues for consideration are raised, notably having processes in place for ensuring quality of rigor and quality across pathways and assessments; providing flexibility to allow students to engage in CTE programs of study without having to give up other areas of interests; and ensuring students have the opportunity to take the full range of courses that will prepare them for college and careers.
  • CTE Dual Enrollment: A Strategy for College Completion and Workforce Investment
    • Participation in Career Technical Education (CTE) dual enrollment coursework in high school has the potential to improve outcomes for traditionally underserved students—and enrollment is on the rise. In the 2010-11 school year, half of the schools offering dual enrollment also offered dual enrollment with a specific CTE focus. This policy brief from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) provides a framework for integrating CTE into dual enrollment programs.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

BUILDS Act Introduced, House & Senate Continue FY18 Appropriations Work

July 27th, 2017

The last working day before the House goes into recess is this Friday, July 28 and the last day for the Senate is August 11. Both the House and Senate have taken steps toward advancing the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) Budget and Appropriations process in the last week and will likely continue their work after the break. Also last week, the Senate introduced new infrastructure legislation – read more about these efforts below.

Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA) Introduce BUILDS Act

On July 20, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, introduced the “Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills”(BUILDS) Act. This bill would authorize the Secretary of Labor to award grants to industry or sector partnerships that would:
  • “Incentivize businesses and industry to work with the greater community to create on-the-job training programs to fill the jobs necessary to expand the country’s infrastructure system
  • Connect businesses and education providers to develop classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning
  • Train managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to people in work-based learning programs
  • Offer resources and career awareness programming to recruit and retain individuals for workforce training programs
  • Provide support services to ensure workers are successful from pre-employment to placement in a full-time position”
This bill also makes connections to CTE, such as including the definitions for CTE and “career guidance and academic counseling” that are found in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). In addition, CTE is embedded in the objectives and activities that the grants awarded can support. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

 

House Appropriations Committee Approves Bill that Level-Funds Perkins, House Budget Committee Approves Resolution

On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and approved the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill . This bill includes level-funding for CTE (and maintains that $1,117,598,000 be allocated to the Perkins Basic State Grants and $7,421,000 be allocated for National Programs – the same as FY17). Also on July 19, the House Budget Committee marked up and approved its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills).The blueprint notes that, “Strengthening career and technical education, higher education, and workforce development programs, by increasing choice, access, and affordability, will ensure that our workers have the skills necessary to compete in a growing and changing economy” (p. 26). The House Budget Committee’s report on the resolution similarly highlights CTE (see page 121 here). At this time, the budget resolution has not been scheduled to go for a vote before the full House of Representatives and neither has the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Senate Appropriations Process Begins

On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its guidance for FY18 allocations for the 12 appropriations bills. While the allocation for Labor-HHS-Education is $8 billion more than the amount in the House Bill, the guidance notes, “This increase is necessary to offset a significant reduction in available savings from mandatory programs.” As additional information about when the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill will be marked up and allocations for specific programs becomes available, we will share it. Now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at ACTE for sharing this Action Center with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in CTE!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Excellence in Action Award Program Spotlight: Industry Experts in the Classroom Lead to Student Success

July 26th, 2017

Getting qualified industry experts into the classroom has been a hot topic in the Career Technical Education (CTE) world lately. A pillar of high-quality CTE is having all CTE programs of study facilitated by knowledgeable experts. Those educators who have spent time in industry are able to bring not only the necessary academic knowledge, but also technical skills to their learners, helping keep curriculum up-to-date and providing meaningful experiences that students are sure to use in their careers.

In honor of these educator-professionals, we’d like to highlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Arts, A/V Technology & Communications Career Cluster, the Passaic County Technical Institute’s School of Communication Arts Graphic Design Program located in Wayne, NJ. Serving 186 students in the 2015-16 school year, the program boasts 100% graduation rate with 91% of graduates earning an industry-recognized credential and 93% earning postsecondary credit while still in high school. With a student population that is 82% minority and 59% low-income, this program is giving some of the students who most need a leg up a significant boost.

Nearly 200 students are enrolled in this innovative program of study, that combines academic, and technical coursework, along with extensive real-world learning opportunities. Not only are students able to earn dual credit as well as industry certifications, they are also instructed by educators who are practicing professionals, active in the field and who have their fingers on the pulse of fast-moving industry changes.  These industry-expert teachers are not only experts in the classroom, but also able to share what they’re working on in the industry. Because they keep up to date with emerging trends in design and design technology, they are able to produce actual industry examples and structure assignments around career-relevant trends.  As they look to the future, instructors are excited to bring cutting edge technology to their students — 3D animation software, such as Maya and 3d Max as well as 3D printing, providing students with tangible portfolio items they can take with them to postsecondary and the workforce.

Program supervisor, Jerry Castaneda explains, “This field is changing every day — the technology, the way media and businesses are using graphics are evolving as well. With the guidance from our teachers, our alums are using cutting-edge software products to change the identity of corporate culture.”

The dedication from skilled educators has resulted in a program of study that demonstrates CTE can lead to incredible student successes.

Learn more about the Graphic Arts program at PCTI and our 2017 award winners.

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

 

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