Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part II)

April 7th, 2016

In Part II, we dive into the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s newest report, “Career and Technical Education in High School: Does It Improve Student Outcomes?” Provocative title notwithstanding, the report’s short answer is: Yes.

The report opens with a caveat that CTE is not a meaningful prat of students’ high school experience, and unlike most industrialized countries, it has been chronically neglected by leaders and policymakers.

“American students face a double-whammy: Not only do they lack access to high-quality secondary CTE, but then they are subject to a ‘bachelor’s degree or bust’ mentality,” the report states. “And many do bust, dropping out of college with no degree, no work skills, no work experience and a fair amount of debt.”

But according to data examined by University of Connecticut’s Shaun M. Dougherty, students do benefit from CTE coursework, in particular those course sequences aligned to certain industries. Based on the report’s findings, it calls for policymakers and education leaders across the country to invest more heavily – and strategically – in high school CTE, and to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act and increase federal support for high-quality, labor market-aligned programs that are available and appealing to all students.

The report’s findings will be discussed on April 14 in Washington, DC, and will also be streamed. Register here to hear from the report’s author and Arkansas State CTE Director Charisse Childers, among others.  The study uses the wealth of secondary, postsecondary and labor market data from the Arkansas Research Center to better understand the state of CTE, both of those students who take CTE courses and those who take three or more CTE courses within a career field.

Key findings include:

  • Students with greater CTE exposure are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in a two-year college, be employed and earn higher wages.
  • CTE students are just as likely to pursue a four-year degree as their peers. There was little evidence of “tracking.”
  • The more CTE courses students take, the better their education and labor market outcomes. Among other positive outcomes, CTE concentrators are more likely to graduate high school by 21 percentage points when compared to otherwise similar students.
  • Though white and female students are more likely to concentrate, CTE provides the greatest boost to students who need it most – males and students from low-income families.

The report offers recommendations similar to what has taken place in Arkansas:

  • Examine state labor market projections to identify high-growth industries
  • Offer CTE courses aligned to skills and industry-recognized credentials in these fields and encourage (or require) high school students to take them)
  • Encourage (or require) students take a concentration of CTE courses
  • Support and encourage dual enrollment and make credits “stackable” from high school into college, so that high school CTE courses count toward specific postsecondary credentials

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

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Major New Research Highlights Value of CTE (Part I)

April 7th, 2016

This week, two leading education organizations – the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Trust – have published new research that illustrates how K-12 CTE can and should be used to create meaningful education experiences that prepares students for future success in college and careers. First up, an analysis of high school transcripts to pull back the curtain on college and career readiness.

Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates

In “Meandering toward Graduation: Transcript Outcomes of High School Graduates,” Ed Trust finds that while students may graduate high school, too many are leaving with no clear path forward.

For nearly a decade, college and career-readiness for all students has been the foundational rhetoric of U.S. education, but high school transcripts show that this rhetoric didn’t bear out in reality for most graduates in 2013. In fact, fewer than one in 10 recent graduates had taken a foundational set of courses necessary to be both college- and career-ready. Additionally, the data shows that 47 percent of graduates completed neither a college- nor career-ready course of study. The study defined college- and career-courses of study as the standard 15-course sequence required for entry at many public colleges, as well as three or more credits in a career-focused area such as health science or business.

Of those who had completed a course of study, only eight percent in those graduates completed a full college- and career-prep curriculum. Further, less than one-third of graduates completed a college-ready course of study and just 13 percent finished a career-ready course sequence. Because seat-time is not a sufficient indicator of readiness, the report also looks at who in the college- and career-ready cohort, particularly students of color or disadvantaged backgrounds, had also demonstrated mastery of the curriculum. When looking at mastery, an additional 14 percent of graduates fail to meet this benchmark.

Rather than aligning high school coursework with students’ future goals, the report found that high schools are continuing to prioritize credit accrual, which reinforces the idea that high school graduate is the end goal in a student’s educational journey. The report identifies state-, district-, and school-level levers including transcript analysis, master schedule, credit policies and graduation requirements.

To truly prepare students, school structures, culture and instruction must shift to prepare students for postsecondary studies aligned to their career interests, and this can be done without risk of recreating a system of tracking students into prescribed pathways.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

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Inside International CTE: Work Based Learning in Toronto

April 7th, 2016

In an interview with Beth Butcher, Executive Superintendent, Teaching and Learning, and Bernadette Shaw, Central Coordinating Principal, Teaching and Learning of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), we explore the Canadian Technological Education system. This post part of our ongoing partnership with Asia Society’s Global Learning Blog on Education Week. This post was written by Heather Singmaster, Asia Society. 

What does technological education look like in Toronto/Ontario?
Technological education in grades 9-12 is guided by Ontario’s Ministry of Education curriculum documents, Technological west_t_weld017 copyEducation, 2009.  Programs are offered in communications technology, computer technology, construction technology, green industries, hairstyling and aesthetics, health care, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing technology, technological design, and transportation technology. Course work focuses on broad-based technologies (grades 9 & 10) and areas of emphasis (grades 11 & 12). When technological education programs are packaged with cooperative education, students have the opportunity to transfer learning from the classroom to the workplace by further developing and refining skills. This enables students to gain hands-on experience in the subject area and explore careers in a specific industry sector. Technological education programs lead to all exit destinations including the workplace, college, university, and apprenticeship. Students in cooperative education, who are working in skilled trades, may register as apprentices through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a joint partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

What percentage of the student population participates in technological education?
Technological education is offered in eighty-six secondary schools in the TDSB. We are the largest provider of this form of experiential learning in the country. Any student transitioning from grade 8 to grade 9 may select the broad-based introductory course, Exploring Technologies (TIJ). At the secondary level, there are over two thousand sections/classes running during the regular school year and approximately twenty-seven thousand students participate in any of the broad-based programs and/or areas of emphasis courses.

Which sectors/fields of study are most popular with students?
The Ontario curriculum is aligned with current economic industry sectors. While there is substantial interest in all technological education programs, participation rates are frequently dependent on specialized school facilities. Transportation technology, hospitality and tourism, and hairstyling and aesthetics are popular among students, as demonstrated in the TDSB course enrolment data. More and more, the integration of technological education with other areas of study is emerging as a trend. Whether it’s communications technology supporting transportation diagnostics or the application of mathematics in construction classes, technological education is most effective when supported through a cross-curricular, contextualized framework. The academic versus vocational demarcation is beginning to blur and this is paramount for students who aspire to take on a career in skilled trades and technologies.

How is technological education funded in Toronto?
Like all Ontario curriculum, schools deliver technological education by way of the Ministry of Education’s funding model. Students participating in Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program are additionally funded through the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU). MTCU also supports students through funding to complete their Level 1 Apprenticeship training, through a Training Delivery Agent in an approved sector of the skilled trades.

Read the full post on Education Week’s Global Learning blog.

Photo courtesy of the Toronto District School Board. 

State Policy Update: Sharing State Resources

March 30th, 2016

This month’s State Policy Update is focusing less on legislative activity and more on sharing some of the interesting things happening in the states around CTE:

New State Resources

  • The California Career Resource Network, supported by the state Department of Education, has released new “Career & College Readiness Lesson Plans.” There, you can find 45 lessons geared toward 5th-12th grade students, with around five lessons per grade. Though organized by grade level, the lessons could be used for any grade. Additionally, the Network has developed an Educator Guide, a bi-lingual career readiness glossary, and Spanish-language student handouts.
  • A new partnership between ArkansasDepartment of Career Education and the Arkansas Research Center has helped the department save time and money. In a blog post from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, the department partnered with the research center to develop new technical solutions for Perkins reporting. The center, which has two software developers on staff, created software that reduces the burden of Perkins reporting as well as save the department an estimated $500,000 over the next 10 years.
  • In somewhat state-related news, LinkedIn, Burning Glass Technologies and the Markle Foundation have launched a new kind of job website – Skillful.com. The site is specifically designed for middle-skills job seekers with job ads, career exploration tools, and more. The site launched in Colorado in March focusing on information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care. The site plans to expand to the Phoenix area in April.

News of Note

  • In a blog post in Education Week, the Council of Chief State School Officers illustrates how states can use their accountability systems to affect student learning. The post leans heavily on contextualized and personalized learning, a hallmark of CTE.
  • Also in Education Week, an article highlighting that while K-12 spending is expected increase for most states this year, the budgets of the state education agency are getting cut in favor of directing money to local school districts. This squeeze is coming at a time when many state departments are gearing up to consider how best to fully leverage the flexibility provided for in the new federal Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). As a special resource for only for Advance CTE members, be sure to check out our ESSA cheat sheet about the opportunities and intersections for CTE in the new law.

And finally, because we couldn’t resist some legislative, state board and gubernatorial news:

  • Earlier this month, the Michigan Board of Education adopted energy as its 17th Career Cluster®. Michigan industry leaders led this effort in order to develop a skilled energy utility workforce to combat the state’s skills gap, which is expected to grow retirements over the next 10 years. The Energy Career Cluster will use energy industry content standards developed by the Center for Workforce Development, a non-profit consortium of energy utilities.
  • The National Skills Coalition has a round-up of the workforce development initiatives proposed by governors in their budget and State of the State addresses this year.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Salmon, Maryland’s Newest State CTE Director, Looks Towards Preparing Students for College and Career

March 25th, 2016

Dr. Karen Salmon, the newest State CTE Director in Maryland and the current interim Deputy State ksalmonSuperintendent, has deep roots in Career Technical Education (CTE). She spent most of her career in Maryland serving roles that span the education sector, including teacher, an evaluator and coordinator to support people with disabilities at a CTE center, administrator, and assistant superintendent. From working on the ground as an educator to serving as a superintendent in both New York and Maryland, Salmon has a breadth of expertise and knowledge about how CTE works from the classroom to the state level.

In taking over as the State CTE Director, Salmon is focused on fine tuning the programs in the state. This includes further developing programs of study in the STEM Career Cluster, which resulted in an almost $1 million grant to promote biomedical programs in Maryland.

Additionally, the state is honing in on what it means for their students to be college and career ready, in which CTE will play a large role. To that end, Salmon is working on an initiative in response to a Senate bill requiring all students to be college and career ready by their junior year. When looking to the future, Salmon believes there needs to be a shifting of priorities of students, parents and the education system. “What we need to tell our kids is that everyone needs to be preparing for a career,” said Salmon. “College is not a career. College is the most expensive career development program we could ever have. We have to confront this idea that everyone is going to go to college.”

Despite CTE’s strength in preparing students for both college and careers, like many states, Maryland is facing a perception challenge. “We have to change the mindsets of many parents, teachers, and counselors all the way up the line about what the goals of CTE programs of study are. While it remains difficult, we’re constantly working on how to market ourselves more strategically and positively,” said Salmon. One of the ways this is being accomplished is through stronger student organizations, which help communicate the value of CTE to not only students, but also their parents.

We look forward to Salmon’s leadership in promoting college and career readiness, and advocacy in CTE’s important across the state.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

This Week in CTE

March 18th, 2016

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Northwest Suburban High School District 214’s $1,000 Twitter-based scholarship contest asks seniors to record 30 second videos explaining how they are college or career ready. The scholarship goes hand in hand with the district’s Redefining Ready Initiative, which encourages looking beyond test scores to determine college an career readiness, looking at metrics from dual enrollment to industry certifications.

VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK

NOCTI announced the winners of their 2016 video contest with the theme, Be Your Own Hero! Students submitted videos highlighting the skills they’ve gained and the benefits of CTE.

WEBINAR OF THE WEEK

The Southwest Transportation Workforce Center and Advance CTE cosponsored the webinar, Innovative Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Partnerships featuring teachers, administrators and industry partners who presented best practices for delivering transportation curriculum to students grades 6-12.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

March 4th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

John King, Acting Secretary of Education, published an article celebrating Career Technical Education during CTE Month. “… CTE matters more than ever to the success of learners of all ages: because CTE is a way to open up real, clear, rewarding career pathways for all students.  As an instructional approach, it offers quality, rigor, and relevance,” said King.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning released a new resource this week, Innovation Zones: Creating Policy Flexibility for Personalized Learning. The issue brief provides background information on innovation zones and how they spur the development of innovative learning models.

INFOGRAPHIC OF THE WEEK

Education Policy developed an infographic based on the National Career Clusters framework.

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Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Education and Business Partnerships Necessary to Prepare a Skilled Workforce

March 3rd, 2016

This post was written by Becky Hoelscher, Director of AC Aftermarket, Emerson Climate Technologies Air Conditioning Business for our Friends of CTE series. 

While I was in high school, I was enrolled in a Career Technical Education (CTE) program where I was introduced to hands-on learning tactics that taught me valuable career competencies. After completion of this program, my classmates and I were prepared to enter into a workforce that was not only high in demand, but also required a high level of academic knowledge and technical skills. I am believer in and advocate for CTE because as a graduate myself, I understand just how important hands-on learning is for students preparing to enter into the workforce.

Need Recognition for HVAC Professionals
At Emerson Climate Technologies, we are working to recruit heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals to meet the growth predicted for our industry. In fact, in less than ten years, there will be 55,900 HVAC jobs1 added to the U.S. economy without the skilled workforce to fill the positions.
As skilled trade workers retire at a rapid speed, there are simply not enough trained individuals entering the workforce to replace them. Additionally, as older HVAC equipment becomes outdated and inefficient, current professionals will need to upskill and become familiar with new technologies, while future workers will need to be trained in both old and new technologies. At Emerson, we see HVAC jobs left unfilled every day. This is why supporting HVAC education and training has become a top priority for us.

Supporting the Future of HVAC Professionals
One of our strongest partnerships is with Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC), a nationally recognized CTE center located near our headquarters in Sidney, Ohio, where students develop valuable academic, employability and technical HVAC skills by learning how to design, install and maintain controlled environments.

Emerson has representatives on UVCC’s Advisory Council, where we contribute curriculum development expertise for students and faculty regularly. We have also provided grants, donated equipment and conducted professional development for instructors to keep them up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field. Over the years, we have consistently hired current UVCC students as interns, as well as recent graduates because we know they so well qualified.

Additionally, Emerson has provided marketing support for UVCC – helping develop the “Cool School, Hot Career” 11194628_10152906910723196_5261498197260186941_omarketing campaign – to generate interest in the HVAC field and recruit students to the program. As part of the campaign, we host career days where employees teach students about the variety of careers available across the HVAC industry.

This year, Emerson Climate Technologies was announced as the Association for Career and Technical Education’s Business of the Year for our commitment to CTE through our 17-year partnership and support of CTE professionals.
By partnering with local CTE programs, we are able to benefit the students, the local community, our wholesalers, contractors and the company itself. Seeing the benefit of this hands-on training, we will continue to support CTE by collaborating with local schools to create high-quality programs such as the program at UVCC. We encourage businesses in not only HVAC, but across all sectors, to provide support to CTE programs.

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/heating-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration-mechanics-and-installers.htm

Learn more about our Friends of CTE Series.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Advance CTE Unifies CTE Field

February 26th, 2016

While I’ve held a variety of positions at the state leader level in Florida, Washington and Arkansas including my current role as the Florida Department of Education’s Chancellor for the Division of Career, I began my career in the classroom as a teacher. From the local to the state level, I’ve seen first-hand the impact high-quality CTE has in preparing students for meaningful careers, and have spent my career advocating so that all students have access to CTE opportunities.

The rebrand of Advance CTE allows the field – from classroom teachers to state leaders – to unify under a common message about who we are and how we value CTE. While CTE directly engages policymakers, businesses, state leaders and educators, in many cases there is still the perception of CTE as the “vocational” education model of previous days. The Advance CTE brand is fresh, new, and forward thinking, and represents the CTE of today and the future, while still honoring our past.

This rebrand process was an exciting opportunity to hear from the membership and Board of Directors who represent CTE across the nation about what Career Technical Education represents to them, and where we are headed. In the end, we were able to come together as a unified Board around a new brand that will certainly propel us into the future. On a personal note, as someone who has been an associate member, a state member and now the President of Advance CTE’s Board of Directors, it has been a particularly exciting journey to me.

Rod Duckworth, Chancellor, Division of Career and Adult Education, Florida Department of Education, Advance CTE Board of Directors President

#CTEMonth @ the Local Level

February 19th, 2016

So far during CTE Month we’ve covered some of what’s happening at the State level and on the Hill. Today, we’ll take a look at how schools, employers, students and educators are celebrating CTE Month on the ground.

CTE Site Visits

Earlier this week, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) held a site visit at Cardozo Education Campus, IMG_4753serving students grades 6-12 with world-class Career Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in Washington, D.C. One program, the TransSTEM academy, which includes Project Lead the Way curriculum, creates opportunities for work-based learning in both the classrooms and off campus. One of the only schools in the country, Cardozo includes a FLEX-ACE lab, which replicates a test-range control room and operations center with state-of-the-art computers, flight simulators and a miniature air-traffic tower. Additionally, the academy partners with a multitude of employers at the national and local level to provide students with job shadowing, internships and mentors. The site visit included representation from the program’s alumni, national partners, Hill staff and students themselves.

Career Exploration

In addition to site visits, CTE Month is a perfect time to help students plan for their futures and to highlight how CTE programs of study can get them there.

Speight Middle School in Stantonsburg, North Carolina focused on career exploration at the middle school level. All rising freshman were required to complete a career self-assessment and research a career based on their assessment results. Educators assisted and monitored the research, which students then translated into a project to be showcased at the school’s first annual career fair. Eight graders will present their projects to their younger peers and community partners who will judge the event.

Dinwiddie High School in Dinwiddie County, Virginia held its annual Career & Industry Day with over 40 vendors including local and state police, medical professionals, culinary & event planning employers, Amazon, Walmart, Veterinarians and more. The event was expected to attract almost 1,000 students.

CTE Month in the News:

While CTE has been a hot topic in the news lately, there are still plenty of misconceptions about what CTE is and how it prepares students for successful careers. Getting the local media engaged during CTE month is a way to communicate the impact of your CTE program, and raise up the voices of your students, educators and partners who make your program great.

The Frederick News Post in partnership with the CTE Advisory Council in Maryland will publish a series of four articles written by journalism students that highlight successful CTE alumni during the month.

A Future Business Leader of America educator in Montgomery, Alabama won the local news station’s Golden Apple Award after nomination by a student.

Janet Goble, CTE Director in Canyons School District in Utah, was featured on the local news talking about the many ways schools prepare high schools students for careers.

CTE Month on Social Media

The #CTEMonth hashtag is still going strong on Twitter, where schools are highlighting their awards programs, featuring learning happening in the classroom, and honoring their CTE students and educators.

 

 

 

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

 

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