New Nominations for U.S. Department of Education, Senate Committee Discusses ESSA

October 6th, 2017

Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to garner attention this week in the nation’s capitol. President Trump announced his intent to nominate new leaders at the U.S. Department of Education, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the U.S. Department of Education released an updated College Scorecard.

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate New U.S. Department of Education Leaders 

On October 3, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Mitchell Zais, previously the State Superintendent of Education for South Carolina, to be Deputy Secretary of Education. The nomination requires Senate confirmation.

On September 30, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Michigan state Representative Timothy Kelly (R-MI) to be the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). This nomination will require Senate confirmation. In addition, last week the U.S. Department of Education announced that Dr. Michael Wooten will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary for OCTAE (which does not require Senate confirmation) and the Acting Assistant Secretary for OCTAE (and will remain the Acting Assistant Secretary until Timothy Kelly is confirmed by the Senate).

Every Student Succeeds Act Hearing Features States’ CTE Efforts

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on October 3 entitled, “The Every Student Succeeds Act: Unleashing State Innovation” to hear from states that have included innovative ideas in their ESSA plans. The witnesses who spoke during the hearing were Candice McQueen, Commissioner at the Tennessee Department of Education, John White, State Superintendent Of Education at the Louisiana Department of Education, Christopher Ruszkowski, Secretary Of Education at the New Mexico Public Education Department and David Steiner, Executive Director at Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy. In his opening statement, Chairman Alexander (R-TN) highlighted Tennessee’s “Ready Graduate” indicator and Louisiana’s career education initiative. McQueen also discussed the indicator in her opening remarks, which puts an emphasis on “opportunities that students have to prepare for their next step after high school.”

Questions from HELP committee members ranged from those about the role of the federal government in education to state implementation of the law, including school ratings, teacher preparation, assessments and more. Senator Young (R-IN), one of the co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, asked how CTE prepares students for success and how to increase momentum around industry credentials. White answered citing the many benefits of CTE and emphasized the need for education and industry to collaborate on a comprehensive credential system that ensures that students are learning relevant skills.

Updated College Scorecard Released by U.S. Department of Education

On September 27, the U.S. Department of Education updated the College Scorecard with refreshed data and a new feature that allows uses to compare up to 10 institutions at the same time. The College Scorecard includes data from postsecondary institutions about graduation rates, cost, the average earnings of graduates and repayment rates for loans.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Excellence in Action Spotlight: Oakland High School’s Mechatronics Program

October 6th, 2017

Happy Manufacturing Day! Manufacturing Day℠ is a celebration of modern manufacturing designed to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, and in honor of Manufacturing Day, we’d like to spotlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Manufacturing Career Cluster – the Mechatronics program of study at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, TN.

In the world of Career Technical Education (CTE), it is no secret that systems and stakeholders that surround individual learners must work in concert for them to experience success. Alignment across K-12, postsecondary, workforce and economic development and coordination with business and industry are critical to achieving a cross-sector commitment to all learners being fully supported throughout their career pathways. Oakland High School’s Mechatronics program is a real world illustration of this principle in practice.

The Mechatronics program of study was truly developed for and by industry. A leadership council, spearheaded by Keith Hamilton at Bridgestone, Jimmy Davis of The Davis Groupe, and the Manufacturing Leadership Council, saw the need for a better trained workforce and agreed there simply weren’t adequate programs in place to train the next generation of mechatronic engineers – so they decided to build one themselves. Siemens had set the industry standard for training and certification, so the leadership council joined forces with Rutherford County School District and area postsecondary institutions and resolved to build a rigorous and authentic program of study using the Siemens training model as a foundation. The goal: graduate highly skilled local students from high school, Motlow State Community College (MSCC) and Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with cutting-edge industry credentials.

The district recognized an opportunity to leverage the support of business and industry to create a curriculum that would not only address the skill deficiencies the employers were experiencing, but also introduce students to a field they had not been exposed to previously. Working with industry, the district and postsecondary education partners developed a program very like on-the-job training at Siemens. They helped partner with industry leaders to create this unique program at the high school level. Strong partnerships from industry partners resulted in a program that prepared students for a high-demand career.

Last year, 100 percent of juniors and seniors enrolled earned postsecondary credit, putting them ahead of the game for when they enroll in postsecondary programs. Ninety-four percent of students earned an industry-recognized credential, positioning themselves perfectly for employment as mechatronic engineers in the robust industry right in their backyards.

Learn more about the Mechatronics program at Oakland High School and our 2017 award winners.

New Tool Helps Instructors Embed Global Competence in CTE Coursework

September 20th, 2017

Today, a free professional development course and toolkit was released to help educators address a critical imperative: to prepare all students for work and civic roles in an environment where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.

Created by the Center for Global Education in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and Advance CTE and supported through the generosity of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF), “Global Competence Through Career and Technical Education” is a customizable, 10-12 hour, online course and toolkit for middle and secondary school CTE teachers.

One in ten Americans is foreign born, and local communities-urban, suburban, and rural-are growing more diverse. To take advantage of global market opportunities, companies must hire workers with global competence-that is, the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance. With an anchor in preparing students for the careers of their choice and a focus on the critical academic, technical, and employability skills needed for success, CTE offers a natural platform on which to build global competencies. Furthermore, integrating project management into CTE curricula helps students strengthen the skills necessary to cooperate in teams, identify and mitigate risk, and execute and monitor collaborative work, skills imperative in the 21st century workforce.

The online course is available through ACTE’s CTE Learn community and the toolkit is available on the Center for Global Education website.
The project addresses three main objectives:

  • Educate and engage with CTE stakeholders on the need for global competence in order to prepare students to meet the demands of careers in a global 21st century.
  • Educate CTE teachers and students about the global career opportunities that exist in CTE pathways.
  • Build educator capacity to integrate global competence and project management into CTE career exploration and classroom projects.

Check out the toolkit here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Congress Continues Appropriations Process, Secretary DeVos on “Rethink School” Tour

September 15th, 2017

News This Week

Congress is back in session and the pace is picking up again in Washington! Both the House and Senate have been busy with the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations process. In addition, Secretary DeVos is on a “Rethink School” tour this week. Read below to find out more about FY18 spending decisions and details on Secretary DeVos’ tour.

Continuing Resolution Approved

On September 8, President Trump signed H.R. 601, a short-term spending measure (known as a continuing resolution) that would fund the government through December 8. While the measure keeps the government open until that time, it included a small reduction in funds across all programs in order to comply with current budget caps. This means that some states may see a slightly smaller allocation for the portion of funds in the Perkins Basic State Grant that will be disbursed October 1st. However, there will be opportunities to restore these funds when appropriators work on their final FY18 spending bills (more on this below).

House and Senate Work on Appropriations Bills 

The House Rules Committee held hearings on the eight bill omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 3354 starting on Tuesday, September 5 and continued their considerations of testimony and amendments through Wednesday, September 13. This bill includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. The bill was bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, which passed the House on September 14 on a 211-198 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The Senate is also working on its appropriations bills. On September 6, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark up of their appropriations bill. On September 7, the full Senate Appropriations committee approved the bill, which which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. Congress will need to finalize all of the FY18 spending bills by December 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Secretary DeVos Embarks on “Rethink School Tour”

On Tuesday, September 12, Secretary DeVos headed to two schools in Wyoming to kick off the “Rethink School” tour. The tour will “showcase creative ways in which education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education” according to the media advisory. From September 13-15, Secretary DeVos traveled to schools across Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and to Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Find out more about the tour and which schools she visited here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

New PDK Poll Shows that Americans Overwhelmingly Support Career Preparation in High School

September 5th, 2017

The 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released recently, and once again showed the importance of career preparation in K-12 for American students. Respondents overwhelmingly supported the idea that students need classes devoted to preparing them for the real world, including training for specific careers and training on employability and interpersonal skills. Over 80 percent indicated that they would prefer career and jobs preparation courses even if it meant students spending less time in academic courses.

Fewer than half of public school parents (47 percent) expect their child to enroll in a four-year college full time. Other parents expected their child to enroll in two-year colleges or vocational programs, while others expect their students will enroll in postsecondary training part-time while also working. These findings indicate that parents are thinking deliberately and strategically about their students’ futures in the real world.

New Research Highlights Number of Jobs Available for Those without Bachelor’s Degree

A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase & Co. details the 30 million “good” jobs available in the US for workers without Bachelor’s degrees. These jobs pay a median wage of $55,000 annually, and are largely found in the manufacturing and skilled-services industries.

The research also points out that even though there is a wide public perception that there are no jobs available for those without Bachelor’s degrees, workers without them still comprise 64 percent of all workers. However, this does not mean that workers do not require any postsecondary training. Increasingly, jobs are requiring Associate’s degrees or other postsecondary credentials, so future job seekers should still plan on attaining some level of postsecondary experience.

Odds and Ends

The Education Commission of the States recently put together a comprehensive summary of state policy actions taken related to high-quality computer science education. These actions include adopting statewide computer science standards and creating banks of high quality resources for educators to use.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce also recently released a report detailing the effects of the current healthcare debate on the nursing profession. The report finds that a college education is increasingly important to be successful in nursing, and also finds that lack of diversity remains a challenge for the field.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Commitment Across Systems

August 11th, 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 systems work together to put learner success first.

In order to deliver high-quality CTE for all learners, state systems must work together at every level. Secondary and postsecondary must work together and with agencies that handle workforce and economic development issues. All of those agencies must also engage with employer partners and local districts and institutions to inform the design, validation and implementation of CTE programs.

This engagement should include a common vision and goals, along with shared terminology and data, so that each system can function together efficiently.

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

  • Establish a common statewide vision and commitment to providing all learners with
    meaningful career pathways;
  • Coordinate federal and state policies, programs and funding to maximize
    investments and reduce inefficiencies;
  • Develop and support sustainable partnerships and intermediaries to accelerate
    learner success; and
  • Build indicators of career readiness—for all learners—into federal and state
    accountability systems.

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 place their focus on cross-sector coordination, they have access to multiple resources related to secondary and postsecondary partnerships, governance, accountability systems and statewide longitudinal data systems.

Principle in Action

  • California: Career Pathways Trust
    • In 2013-2014, CCPT originally set aside $250 million for one-time competitive grants to school districts, county superintendents, charter schools and community colleges with the intent to support career pathways in grades K-14; promote cross-sector collaboration in support of effective CTE; develop programs of study aligned to high-need, high-growth sectors; provide articulated pathways to postsecondary education; and leverage existing funding and programs. As a competitive grant, the CCPT provided an opportunity for the California Department of Education (CDE) to define the components of high quality career pathways, focus on alignment of secondary and post-secondary career education, and encourage quality practices such as dual credit courses and student and teacher internships.
  • Kentucky: Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK)
    • Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) is a youth pre-apprenticeship program that stands out as an innovative example of effective collaboration between the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, employers and labor to strengthen students’ career pathways and the talent pipeline. The program utilizes Kentucky’s existing CTE infrastructure to create a pipeline for students that begins in high school and culminates in an industry-recognized credential, paid work experience and, in many cases, advanced standing within a full Registered Apprenticeship. Employers lead the process of partnering with an area technical center to design the selection process and the four-course program of study sequence.
  • Minnesota: Technical Skill Assessment Project
    • Minnesota’s Technical Skill Assessment project (TSA), which was launched in 2009 and has since expanded to encompass 79 Career Pathways, demonstrates how states can develop a strong assessment framework by engaging the employer community and aligning secondary and postsecondary systems. While the Minnesota State Colleges and University System is the Perkins eligible agency in Minnesota, the state rolled out a joint implementation strategy in 2008 that established 26 regional consortia made up of at least one 2-year college and one secondary school district. Each consortium jointly dictates how Perkins funds are expended. Under TSA, these consortia would be the vehicles for reviewing Career Pathways and identifying assessment needs.

Relevant Resources

  • Career Readiness Stakeholder Engagement Tool
    • Sustainable and successful transformation of state career readiness systems, including but not limited to Career Technical Education (CTE), requires engagement with a variety of stakeholders who are deliberately working to share ownership. Lead agencies must engage those from industry, who may be new to policymaking, not only to generate buy-in but also to reach state goals for transformation. This tool from Advance CTE is based off of two tools created by the Council of Chief State School Officers in June and November 2016. This tool, developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative and generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., guides users through nine steps in planning effective interactions with specific stakeholders.
  • State Policy Leadership for the Future: History of State Coordination and Governance and Alternatives for the Future
    • The report, from the Education Commission of the States, compares states to determine governance policies related to six core issues: state-level planning, state finance policy, maintenance of databases, regulation of higher education institutions and programs, administration of state-level services, and governance of higher education systems and institutions. The paper also outlines alternative strategies for implementing these core functions in a way that is most conducive to improving the educational attainment of the state’s population given changing conditions and expectations.
  • Career Readiness & the Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Career Readiness in State ESSA Plans – Round 1
    • This brief from Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group examines where and how CTE and career readiness are built into the first 17 ESSA plans. The brief finds that, while more than half plan to adopt measures of career readiness in their accountability systems, many states missed an opportunity to fully leverage ESSA to advance a statewide vision of career readiness. In addition to accountability, the brief examines how states plan to support career readiness through the vision and goals; Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction); Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants); and Title IV, Part B (21st Century Community Learning Centers).

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

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

 

Series

Archives

1