Putting the Learner First in Career Technical Education

November 15th, 2016

Now that the election has finally come to a close, it’s time to refocus our energy on solving the challenges USCC_FOUNDATION_ID_RGB_1360pxfacing this country. And one of those challenges is connecting people to jobs. On average, employers have been adding 178,000 jobs per month this year. That’s 178,000 opportunities for businesses to connect with the talent they need to be competitive and 178,000 opportunities for people to access the jobs and careers that lead to economic self-sufficiency. However, with hopes that the economy will continue to experience growth, there is less optimism that business will find the workers they need to fill this expansion.

This challenge is particularly acute given the large population of workers nearing retirement and the need for employees to have a different set of skills and competencies than in the past. To address this challenge, this country needs to commit to new approaches that ensure young adults exiting our education and training systems are not only prepared to make the transition into the world of work but are also prepared to be drivers of innovation for this economy. In other words, how do we move students from being career ready to career competitive?

Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, Advance CTE, and their partners representing a variety of stakeholders are answering that very question. Charting a new pathway for CTE, Advance CTE’s vision is focused on building the talented workforce this country needs to compete by putting the learner first in CTE programming. A key tenant of this effort is providing opportunities for learners to make meaningful connections with employers; yet, this type of access cannot occur without implementing new models of employer engagement and leadership in CTE.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s (USCCF) recent youth employment series highlights demand-driven approaches for chambers and other business associations looking to help America’s economy grow, businesses remain competitive, and provide students access to opportunities for success. In alignment with the Advance CTE vision for a revitalized CTE, USCCF’s work focuses on developing and implementing sustainable processes for employers to inform, validate, and participate in the implementation of career pathways. The four-part series includes:

USCCF is committed to putting the learner first by organizing the business community in new ways.

Learn more at YouthEmploymentWorks.org.

Erica Kashiri is Director of Policy and Programs at USCCF’s Center for Education and Workforce.

Choice and options among two of many reasons Finland gets Career Technical Education right

November 15th, 2016

Guest blogger Elizabeth Radday, Learning Support teacher at The Marvelwood School, recently spent six months in Finland, where she studied how their innovative vocational education system works for all students, including students with learning disabilities. Here she shares five lessons she learned about vocational education in Finland. This post is part of our ongoing series exploring international Career Technical Education (CTE) systems with Asia Society.

By guest blogger Elizabeth A. Radday

I recently returned from a six-month stay in Finland as a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grantee. I went to Finland hoping to learn more about education for students with learning disabilities at the upper secondary (high school) level and came home with a new outlook on vocational education. Finland, a country that has consistently been at or near the top of international tests of educational comparison such as the PISA, not only has great education for students through age fifteen, their upper secondary model is one that other countries should look to as an exemplary model of vocational education.

I fell into vocational education in Finland because that is where I found most special needs students. However, I was reminded over and over again that students choose to enter vocational school and it is not a system where kids with learning disabilities are tracked into a path with a dead end.

What do they get right that we can use a model to move the United States toward a respected system of vocational education for high school students? Here are five lessons I learned about vocational education in Finland.

1. Vocational education is a choice.
In Finland, there is an almost equal split between students who choose to go to vocational school and general upper secondary school (the traditional high school). And choice is a key word in that sentence; it is one of the most important reasons Finnish vocational education succeeds in Finland in ways it doesn’t in other countries.

During the winter and spring of ninth grade, students apply to their top five upper secondary school choices. I have heard over and over from parents, teachers, and students, that where students go for high school is truly their choice. Most students feel no pressure from their parents to go on to one path or the other, and both options lead students on successful career pathways of their choice. Parents emphasize that they want their children to be happy and successful in whatever path they choose, so they encourage their children to make the choice they feel fits them best.

Students gave me a variety of reasons why they chose one school or another, but they all emphasized it was their personal decision. Some say they chose a general upper secondary school, or lukio, because they have hopes of attending a university and studying for a certain career that will require higher education like being a doctor or teacher. Others chose a lukio because they weren’t sure what they want to do as a career yet, and lukio gives them three more years to figure that out.

Students who chose a vocational path knew what they wanted to do and were eager to learn skills for that career. Some were motivated to start working and earn money after only three years of school and didn’t have to go to university. Some were looking for a practical and well-defined future in a specific field. Vocational school is highly respected and seen as the more practical, well-defined, and more secure path for many students!

Read the rest of this article and learn more about Finland’s system on Education Week’s Global Learning blog. 

This Week in CTE

November 10th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

As the election passes, with little details from the campaign to draw on, Education Week reflects on what a Trump administration may mean for education.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Check out this new infographic on how U.S. executives view the skills gap and its impact on the American workforce.

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK

A new study took a look at the effects of programs of study on high school performance and found enrollment improved students’ probability of graduation by 11.3 percent, and that each additional CTE credit earned increased their probability of graduation by 4 percent.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Apply Today for the 2017 Excellence in Action Award!

October 26th, 2016

Advance CTE’s annual Excellence in Action award applications are open! This award recognizes exemplary local programs of study across the 162017ExcellenceinAction_final Career Clusters that demonstrate excellence in the implementation of the Career Clusters, show a true progression from secondary to postsecondary education, provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and have a substantial and evidence-based impact on student achievement and success.

 
WHY APPLY?
This award will showcase your program of study on a national platform at conferences, in the media, on our website and blog, and more.

In fact, all winners were highlighted in Education Week in May, a few of the 2016 award winners were highlighted in a recent op-ed in Real Clear Education, while a student from Upper Valley Career Center, a 2015 award recipient, was profiled in the New York Times. Advance CTE provides winners with a press release and two-pager to circulate to their networks, resulting in a number of articles featuring winning programs.

 
AWARD CRITERIA & ELIGIBILITY

Criteria: Selected programs will exemplify excellence in:

  • Implementing Career Cluster®-based programs of study;
  • Maintaining effective employer and business partnerships;
  • Demonstrating alignment to rigorous and relevant college- and career-ready expectations;
  • Demonstrating a clear progression of knowledge and skills and student transitions across secondary and postsecondary systems;
  • Integrating successful career guidance and advisement;
  • Integrating high-quality work-based learning experiences;
  • Highlighting alignment to workforce and employer needs in the community; and
  • Providing concrete data on the program of study’s impact on student achievement and success at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.

Eligibility:

  • This award is open to any secondary or postsecondary schools or colleges in the United States. Your school or institution may submit one application per Career Cluster;
  • The program of study must have at least one full graduating class or cohort; and
    Applications that do not include data to support positive impact on student achievement will not be eligible for consideration.

Join us for a webinar on November 10 at 11 a.m. ET that will dive into the application process, and feature a few of the 2016 award recipients and a member of the selection committee who will provide tips on what makes an award-winning application.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Staff Reflections of the 2016 Fall Meeting (Continued)

October 24th, 2016

Last week, Advance CTE held its 2016 Fall Meeting bringing together attendees from across the country to take a deep dive into all things Career Technical Education (CTE). Advance CTE staff reflects on the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in this two-part series. 

Breakout Sessions Create Space for Shared Learning

Each year, Advance CTE’s convenings bring together experts, administrators and researchers from around the country to learn from one another and share ideas about how to improve the quality of CTE programs in their respective states. This is why the concurrent breakout sessions, which each cover a relevant and challenging topic in CTE, are so valuable – because they create an opportunity for attendees to learn from and engage with leaders in this work.

The breakout sessions at the Fall Meeting were oriented around different components of a high-quality CTE system, highlighting specific strategies that have been successful in other states. Topics included:

  • College-and career-ready accountability frameworks;
  • Understanding what your data is telling you to drive change;
  • Mapping Upward: Stackable credentials that lead to careers; and
  • Building and scaling effective work-based learning programs.

I had the pleasure of organizing and attending the last session on work-based learning, which was led by Heather Justice, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education. Tennessee has covered significant ground in recent years towards a new, collective vision for work-based learning. Heather shared a little bit about the state’s vision – a student-centered approach that aims to equip students with relevant skills along a continuum of exploratory and immersive experiences – and explained how her state plans to track student progress and ensure program quality. She also addressed some common myths about work-based learning, such as the belief that employers can’t work with minors (in Tennessee, students as young as 16 can participate, and the state’s workers’ compensation policy protects students, regardless of age).

All in all, the sessions provided ample opportunity for attendees to connect with counterparts in other states and learn about strategies to address common challenges.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Collaboration Roundtables Explore Opportunities to Lead through Change

All of our members are facing uncertainty and potentially big changes in their states over the next year. Whether or not Perkins is reauthorized this year, states are still facing policy shifts as CTE and career readiness continue to gain more attention from the public. For this reason, in addition to sessions that discussed specific policies, we designed a few sessions about how to manage these changes as a system.

First, Ellyn Artis, Strategic Consulting Program Manager at Hobson’s, kicked off the first full day of the meeting with a session on leading through change. She reminded us all that we can either resist change, be acted upon by change, or lead change – but no matter what, the change will happen. She then introduced several tools to help with this work, all of which can be found in her slides here. The tools and framework introduced help to ground her discussion of change management in a way that would allow any education leader to understand and discuss it with others.

This theme of change management was followed up later in the day with our collaboration roundtables. For this meeting, we designed each interactive roundtable to focus on a theme around implementation. Topics included setting a statewide vision, secondary and postsecondary alignment, state and local alignment, quality and access in rural regions, targeted stakeholder messaging and telling your story with data. Participants in these sessions heard examples from states on how they tackle these issues, and then joined in facilitated activities and discussions on various topics. Each roundtable finished with staff asking participants how Advance CTE can help in this area, and we received a lot of great ideas and requests, which we will take with us into our planning for 2017.

As Advance CTE Board President Jo Anne Honeycutt stated when introducing Ellyn Artis, state efforts do not need to be driven by Perkins or other federal legislation. Rather, states can develop and implement their own visions for change and reform, and leverage federal and other initiatives to support that vision.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Transition: An Underlying Theme at the Fall Meeting

Fall is a time of transition. The beauty of the season belies its reality, which requires us to let go of some things we have grown to have comfort with and to prepare for an unknown and unpredictable future.

I felt it was fitting that transition ended up being an underlying theme at the Advance CTE fall meeting.  Looming before us is a new federal CTE law and a new administration. This set on the backdrop of ever-changing expectations of the workplace and economy. And yet, to me this transition is not daunting. Why? Our shared vision for the future of CTE ensures we have aligned goals and collective focus. And at the meeting, I observed a steadfast commitment to equity, access and quality and the willingness to effort the leadership necessary to thrive in this time of change. I am optimistic for the future. Together, we are advancing CTE.

Kim Green, Executive Director

A Topical Wrap-Up: Industry Experts and Credentials of Value

Our annual meetings are often the perfect opportunity to dig into many of the most pressing issues our members and the broader CTE community are facing. This past fall meeting was no different, with sessions on critical topics like work-based learning, career-ready accountability indicators and stackable credentials.

On the last day of our meeting in particular, we had the chance to focus on two particularly acute challenges faced by states – how to recruit qualified industry experts into the classroom and how to identify quality industry-recognized credentials. Offering a preview of research to be released later this year, Advance CTE’s state policy manager, Ashleigh McFadden, and Catherine Jacques from AIR’s Center for Great Teachers and Leaders shared some early insights into potential strategies and barriers to recruiting industry experts into secondary classrooms. Based on a survey of 45 State CTE Directors and almost 300 local CTE leaders and partners, they identified a few early trends, including the pervasive use of alternative certification, which, on its own, is proving to be insufficient to address the CTE teacher shortage. A major takeaway is that states and locals can and should be creative and think outside the box and consider bringing experts into high schools in less formal roles like mentors, advisors or part-time instructors.

In addition, a panel featuring a number of national initiatives to make sense of the “wild world” of industry-recognized credentials raised a number of important questions like: what makes up a quality credential, what are processes that can be put in place for evaluating credentials, and how can we build out data systems and supports to actually measure credentials’ impact on students? Led by Workcred’s Roy Swift and ACTE’s Catherine Imperatore, participants got an update on key efforts like the Credential Transparency Initiative and the Certification Data Exchange Project.  The session was moderated by Rod Duckworth of Florida, a state leading the nation in industry credential validation, recently featured in Advance CTE’s brief “Credentials of Value: State Strategies for Identifying and Endorsing Industry-Recognized Credentials.”

While both sessions only scratched the surface on these critical but incredibly complicated issues, they generated important questions and lessons from the audience and will continue to be priority for Advance CTE’s research, resources and events moving forward.

Kate Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director

New Credential Registry Aims to Bring Transparency to a System in Crisis

October 18th, 2016

We’ve seen a lot of activity this year at both the national and local level to expand and systematize the use of industry-recognized credentials (including our own brief on credentials of value, which you can check out here). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics even released a helpful guide that describes different types of credentials and their prevalence in different industries. While credentials can serve as a useful signal of workforce competency that is recognized by both educators and employers, many learners face a credentialing marketplace that is as confusing as it is expansive.

To address this crisis, the Lumina Foundation in 2015 helped launch the Connecting Credentials Initiative, a collaboration designed to advance a well-functioning and sustainable credentialing system. Last month, the initiative revealed a 7-point action plan, based on input from more than 100 stakeholders, that articulates a vision for such a system.

credential_registry_2016One group already working to advance this vision is an organization called Credential Engine (formerly the Credential Transparency Initiative), which last month announced the launch of a national credential registry. The registry is designed to allow job seekers, employers and educators alike to access information about myriad credentials in various industries. The registry uses common terminology and guidelines for organizations to publish comparable information, and provides free and open access. While the system is currently being piloted in 60 sites with plans to expand in the future, we look forward to seeing how employers, job seekers and third-party accreditors alike will use the platform to contribute to a more transparent credentialing system.

Transparency is a key element in a successful credentialing system, particularly when it comes to identifying stackable credentials. According to new research, longer-term credentials are associated with higher earnings, though the return varies on a sliding scale depending on the length of time and effort required to earn the credential. Job seekers must be equipped with the right information to obtain stackable credentials that enable them to enter and exit the labor market at various points, building on their education and experience as they go.

Promising Practices in Work-based Learning

Meanwhile, the National Skills Coalition (NSC) and New America have both sparked dialogue about engaging the nation’s youth in work-based learning. NSC recently released a report titled “Promising Practices in Work-based Learning for Youth” that profiles four exemplar programs using work-based learning as a strategy to engage underserved and at-risk youth. One of the organizations profiled in the report, Urban Alliance, is a youth services organization operating out of Baltimore, Chicago, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Urban Alliance not only connects youth with paid internships through its flagship High School Internship Program, but also provides professional development and linkages to career and postsecondary pathways as well. NSC draws on this and other examples to identify four common policy elements for a strong work-based learning program:

  • Paid work-based learning opportunities, with wages provided either through employer, provider, or combination of the two;
  • Strong partnerships with business and other community stakeholders;
  • Positive youth development and continued support services; and
  • Linkages to career pathways either through future employment opportunities or future education and training opportunities.

In a similar vein, New America announced a project to study opportunities and challenges facing the nation’s youth apprenticeship programs and to develop a set of recommendations. In a blog post, the organization lays the groundwork and begins to identify the most prevalent challenges to expanding apprenticeships to youth. For one, the American apprenticeship system is aimed primarily at adults. With the average apprentice at nearly 30 years old, New America aims to challenge the old guard and find a way to extend these opportunities to younger learners.  

Odds and Ends

pew collegeWhose Job Is It? According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of Americans believe the public K-12 education system is responsible for ensuring the workforce has the right skills and education to be successful in the economy. Interestingly, the same study found that 67 percent of four-year degree holders believe their education prepared them for the workforce, compared to 58 percent for two-year degree holders and 78 percent for professional and technical certificate holders.

Rate Yourself. Building on its College and Career Readiness Organizer, CCRS released a self-assessment scorecard to help state policymakers identify gaps and opportunities for preparing K-12 students for postsecondary success. Based on the needs identified in the survey, the scorecard provides additional resources to help states and districts in their college and career readiness efforts.

The STEM of Success. The Education Commission of the States released a STEM Playbook last month as part of its “SepSTEMber” campaign. The playbook identifies three core components of a successful STEM strategy: statewide coordination; adequate, reliable funding; and quality assurance or program evaluation.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

New Resources and Supporters for Putting Learner Success First

October 4th, 2016

 

8As we move into our fifth month since the launch of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, we have much to update you on! We’re excited to update you on how Putting Learner Success First is being shared far and wide.

VISION RESOURCES

We’ve developed a variety of new resources to help states share and implement the vision including discussion questions to assist in unpacking the vision’s principles and actions. The questions aim to support states as they reflect on the policies they have, and the progress made, as well as determine next steps. The document, which is in Word format to make it user-friendly, can also be used internally or to facilitate cross-sector and multi-stakeholder discussions.

Additionally, we have new two-pagers that demonstrate the importance of this vision to two stakeholder types. First, we discuss how critical this vision is to state CTE leaders, and how they can carry out the work of this vision. Secondly, this vision couldn’t be enacted without the support from CTE educators. The Association for Career and Technical Education provided an overview of why CTE educators need to be involved, and how they can carry out the vision in their own work.

Which leads me to our last resource, a chart that demonstrates how this vision is truly shared, and the work each supporter is doing to carry out the principles in their work.

VISION SUPPORTERS

In addition to new resources, our vision supporters are growing steadily. We have four new national supporters including Asia Society, FCCLA, Goodwill and SkillsUSA and we are thrilled to have this support from organizations that represent the cross section of education, workforce, policy, employers, and students, who all are necessary if we are going to transform education into a system that truly works for all learners.

Individuals from 32 states have also signed onto our Putting Learner Success First campaign, and let us know how they plan to use the vision. Here are what a few are saying:

“Throughout all the work we do training, managing, operating and advocating for education, CTE and CTSOs, we’ll be keeping this at the forefront of our work and support for learners and leaders.”

“The vision of Putting Learner Success First will become the linchpin of our state’s professional development campaign for our CTE leadership teams.”

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

Be sure to let us know how you plan to use the vision, and if you don’t see all the resources you need here, email us to let us know what we can do to help you share and implement Putting Learner Success First.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

 

This Week in CTE: Students tell their CTE stories

September 30th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

It’s Time for Vocational Schools to Get Some Respect explores Career Technical Education in Massachusetts citing schools that have provided students with a pathway to a successful career. One student said, “Madison taught me how great it is to have an education and about being a professional in life. I just can’t ask for anything better. Madison Park saved my life.”

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Idaho CTE launched a new website with some fantastic student stories about their journey through programs of study that lead to their chosen career.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

500 SkillsUSA student leaders came together in Washington, D.C. to take part in a leadership training and to advocate for CTE. Check out this video about their experience.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Career Readiness Partners Gather in Washington, DC to Collaborate and Learn

September 30th, 2016

Career readiness can be achieved through statewide systems change — but it will take a unified effort from national partners working together to achieve that vision. That, at least, was my takeaway from Monday’s “Career Readiness in K-12 and Beyond” meeting hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) at the National Guard Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

The meeting brought together nearly forty partners representing non-profit organizations, foundations, government agencies, think tanks and companies to raise awareness about ongoing initiatives and to coalesce around a shared vision. With numerous efforts already underway at the national, state and local levels, I could feel the energy in the room around the subject of career readiness.

Former Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday kicked the meeting off by sharing the background of CCSSO’s Career Readiness Task Force. The task force launched in 2014 when Holliday was president of CCSSO, and in which Advance CTE’s Kimberly Green participated along with a number of State CTE Directors.  The task force released a report, titled “Opportunities and Options: Making Career Preparation Work for Students,” with recommendations for states to transform their career readiness systems. Currently, CCSSO — along with Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, with funding from JPMorgan Chase & Co. — is leading the  New Skills for Youth initiative to implement the task force’s recommendations in 24 states and D.C. We recently launched the Learning that Works Resource Center in support of the initiative, and if you haven’t visited the Resource Center yet, I highly recommend doing so.

The meeting quickly jumped from national to state and local efforts. For me, the most impactful part of the event was when Ghafoor Siddique, an Aerospace Instructor from Sno Isle Tech in Washington, spoke about developing an aerospace program for high school students. Siddique had been working for Boeing doing commercial flight tests when he was recruited by Sno Isle Tech. The program relies on the Core Plus curriculum, which was developed by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, the Boeing Company, the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle and other companies. The curriculum uses industry-validated knowledge, skills and abilities to help students develop technical skills related to a particular career field.

Siddique also told us how, with support from his students, he launched an in-house aircraft maintenance company that services private planes, using profits to buy equipment for the class. This allows students to learn hands-on how to build and repair aircraft, while simultaneously allowing the school to sustain the aerospace program despite potentially prohibitive equipment costs. In the first few years since the program was launched, Siddique reported that several of his students had gone on to work for Boeing. The company, one of the largest global aircraft manufacturers, is based in Seattle, Washington.

Such programs are part of the reason why there is growing enthusiasm across the states for career readiness. That enthusiasm was clearly present among the attendees at Monday’s meeting. In between panels, we had the opportunity to share our own work and identify opportunities to collaborate with one another. We learned about efforts ranging from developing apprenticeship programs to encouraging adoption of industry credentials, each in support of the larger goal of improving career readiness for tomorrow’s workers.

Next month, states in the New Skills for Youth initiative will gather in Washington, DC to share their progress and outline their plans to transform career readiness systems back home. While only ten states will qualify for the next round of funding, many will follow through on their action plans, recognizing the need and importance of an educational system that prepares students for the workforce. Such aspirations are the reason why classes like Siddique’s can succeed.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

As States Complete Listening Tours, Early ESSA Plans Show Opportunities to Expand CTE

September 28th, 2016

LA MeetingsIn the nine months since President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law last December, states and policymakers have been hard at work digging through the legislation and deciding how to structure their new plans. ESSA, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, presents a number of opportunities to expand access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). As states prepare to implement the law next year, we will provide periodic updates on their progress and share strategies for leveraging ESSA to support CTE at the state level.

Early Drafts and Proposals from the States

Most states this summer have been gathering input from stakeholders on their ESSA implementation plans as required by the new law. While many are still completing their listening tours (you can find an overview here), a few states have released draft proposals:

  • Illinois recently released a draft of its state plan, which State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith offered as a “work in progress.” The plan describes how Illinois’ secondary CTE system, which is supported, in part, with funds from the Carl D. Parkins Act, aligns with ESSA’s new focus on a ‘well-rounded education’ — a key concept in the new law includes CTE as part of the statutory definition. The state Board of Education also adopted a framework for a college and career readiness indicator, including such components as industry credential attainment, work-based learning participation, and postsecondary credit attainment. It is yet to be determined if the framework will be included in the state’s broader, multi-indicator system of accountability. Illinois plans to conduct 14 listening sessions in September and October, after which time the state will revise and publish an updated state plan later this fall.
  • After much deliberation, the California Board of Education approved a new accountability system earlier this month, adopting an indicator for college and career readiness. The indicator allows schools to count students completing a CTE pathway, although the overall score will not differentiate these students from those meeting other college and career readiness indicators such as earning a passing score on an Advanced Placement exam. The accountability system lacks criteria to measure students who are “well-prepared” for college and careers. Meanwhile, Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have revised the accountability system to place more weight on test scores.
  • Louisiana released a summary report from its listening tour this summer, providing parents, educators and other education stakeholders an overview of progress towards a new state plan. Suggestions under consideration include incentivizing and rewarding schools for students earning industry-recognized credentials, partnering with business and industry to recruit teachers with industry experience, and providing students more opportunities to enroll in postsecondary education and training during their senior year. It is important to note that Louisiana is still considering these recommendations for the purposes of their forthcoming final plan.
  • Finally, Arizona released a draft state plan for residents of the state to review. While the draft is preliminary, Superintendent Diane Douglas promises the final version will align with the state’s AZ Kids Can’t Wait! Plan, which is currently undergoing updates. The state is receiving feedback through both public meetings and the Department of Education’s website, and plans to release an updated version in mid-October.

Department of Education Releases Guidance on “Evidence-Based” Strategies

ESSA provides states more flexibility to select a turnaround strategy for struggling schools, as long as the intervention is evidence-based. In keeping up with this requirement, the U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance to help state and local leaders identify and implement evidence-based turnaround strategies. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) highlighted the potential for CTE to be included in this part of ESSA implementation in formal comments to ED this summer.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Education Sciences updated the What Works Clearinghouse to allow users to search for evidence-based strategies by school characteristics, grade span, demographics and more.

Tackling Accountability: Helpful Resources for Selecting a College and Career Readiness Indicator

college ready plusA new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation offers a framework for a  “College Ready Plus” indicator that evaluates students’ postsecondary preparation using measures such as work-based learning and attainment of an industry-recognized credential. The paper describes the role that employers can play in helping states adopt and implement a career readiness indicator.

The American Institutes of Research developed a policy framework to help states align their visions for college and career readiness with requirements and opportunities under ESSA. The brief focuses on the law’s three most salient policy components related to college and career readiness: well-rounded education, multiple-measure accountability systems and purposeful assessments.

Also helpful: a policy paper from the Learning Policy Institute that takes advantage of the ESSA policy window to propose a new model for accountability. The paper offers three potential career readiness indicators — CTE pathway completion, work-based learning and industry-recognized credentials — and discusses strategies for collecting and presenting data in a way that supports continuous improvement.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

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