National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

State CTE Policy Updates: July Edition Part Two

July 31st, 2013

State MapThis past month, a number of states have adopted or implemented policies related to Career Technical Education (CTE). Below is a part two of July’s state policy updates, all of which focus on dual enrollment or postsecondary CTE. You can read part one here.

Educational Collaborative Partnership in Maine
Maine passed legislation creating a collaborative board – with representatives from secondary and postsecondary CTE – to implement a program by 2014-15 that will enable more CTE students to earn college credit through dual enrollment while still enrolled in high school. Specifically, the state defines “dual enrollment career and technical education program” as a non-duplicative learning pathway that begins in junior year, extends over a three-year period, includes summer career academies and a college freshman seminar experiences, meets national concurrent enrollment standards, includes college-level coursework that supports an associate’s degree, and concludes at the end of the summer following the student’s senior year. While the agreements are made between institutions, there are opportunities for credits to be accepted across the state.

Dual Enrollment in Rhode Island
Rhode Island passed the Dual Enrollment Equal Opportunity Act this month requiring the State Board of Education to create regulation establishing statewide dual enrollment. The regulation must allow students to enroll in courses at postsecondary institutions that satisfy academic credit requirements at both the secondary and postsecondary level (it is unclear at this time if CTE courses will fall under this distinction of “academic credit”.) The State Board of Education is expected to convene a work group to help establish such a policy, including its impact on funding, and then school districts (including charter school and CTE schools) will have to adopt the policy by June 2015. Districts will then be required to report annually on the number of students engaging in dual enrollment and number of postsecondary credits earned. The bill is effective immediately.

Missouri’s Innovation Education Campuses
Missouri passed SB 381 establishing the Innovation Education Campus Fund, supporting partnerships between high schools or K-12 districts, public or private four-year institutions of high education, public two-year institutions of higher education, and/or Missouri-based businesses. The campuses engaging in such partnerships are eligible to receive funds if they are actively working to lower the cost of degree and shorten the time to earning a degree, provide applied and project-based learning in consultation with the business and industry partners, graduate students with direct access to career opportunities, and engage in active partnerships in ongoing program development and outcome reviews.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Common Core State Standards & CTE Roundup

July 8th, 2013

CCSS LogoWith nearly every state in the country working to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/Literacy, and more and more resources and information being generated by states, districts, schools and education-focused organizations to support implementation, NASDCTEc is excited to present a blog series on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Career Technical Education (CTE) that features news and resource directly impacting CTE educators as well as other materials we think are useful to the field.

Featured Resources & Tools
The Teaching Channel offers an ever-growing library of videos to support the classroom-level implementation of the CCSS, including a number of videos that could be of specific use to CTE educators, such as this video on communications and robotics, this video on designing an iPad case for teachers, and this video on inquiry-based teaching.

The Georgia Department of Education has a Wiki page to support educators as they implement the CCSS in English Language Arts/Literacy, with a specific focus on CTE, science and history teachers. While only Georgia educators can use the message boards and share resources, the site has some good introductory tools to support non-English teachers’ implementation of a literacy-focused task, including “the reading process” and “writing.”

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) published an article entitled, With Common Core State Standards, Why Service Learning Matters Even More.” The authors define service learning as “when the academic and service connection is deliberate and includes student initiative, authenticated needs, reciprocal collaborations with community partners, and meaningful reflection” and argue that the goals of the CCSS are intertwined with the goals of service learning.

CTB/McGraw Hill released an infographic to help explain the CCSS and related assessments and resources.

CCSS and CTE Update
The International Society of Technology Education (ISTE) has released a position statement supporting the Common Core State Standards and calling on states to align the implementation of the new content standards with the organization’s National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). Included with the position statement is an infographic.

Updates on Common Core Assessments

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
PARCC recently released updated information on the non-summative components of the assessment system, including a mid-year assessment, K-1 formative assessment tools, diagnostic assessments for grades 2-8, the speaking and listening assessment, and professional development (PD) modules for educators and administrators. None of these assessments or tools will count towards a school’s or student’s accountability score, and only the speaking and listening assessment is required for every student to take.

Notably, while all of the components were originally intended to be released in 2014-15 school year, PARCC has decided to delay the formative and diagnostic assessment tools until 2015-16 to dedicate more time to the finalization of the summative assessment components (e.g., performance-based assessments and end-of-year assessments in mathematics and ELA/Literacy). The assessment PD modules will be released next summer. See here for an update on all of these components, including procurement updates.

In other PARCC-related news, Oklahoma has decided to opt out of the PARCC assessments and develop their own Common Core-aligned assessments moving forward, citing technology challenges and costs. The state has not yet decided to fully leave the PARCC consortium or stay on as a “participating state,” which carries no major responsibilities or commitments at this time.

In June, PARCC held three Twitter Town halls, the transcripts of which can be found here.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
As a reminder, Smarter Balanced now has online practice tests that aim to give educators, parents and students a preview of the full assessment system set of come online in 2014-15.  To learn more about the practice tests, see the Smarter Balanced website.


Have a good CCSS-CTE resource to share? Contact us at [email protected]!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director



State CTE Policy Update: Five States Adopt the Next Generation Science Standards

July 1st, 2013

Last week, Maryland and Vermont joined Kansas, Kentucky and Rhode Island as the first five states to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The NGSS were released in Spring 2013 after a 3-plus year development effort. The effort began when the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academies of Sciences, developed The Framework for K-12 Science Education (released  in July 2011), which identified the key content all K-12 students need to learn in science based on research and input from scientists, science educators, and science education standards and policy experts.

The Framework was the guiding document for the NGSS and set the content and much of the organization of the NGSS, including the intersection of content (core ideas), scientific and engineering  practice, and cross-cutting concepts. For more on the NGSS and their development and design, see

The NGSS have a clear  relationship with and impact on Career Technical Education (CTE), including, but not limited to, a renewed opportunity to integrate traditional science courses with CTE courses in engineering, health sciences, and agriculture. Our State CTE Policy Updates will monitor progress on state adoption and new resources relevant to the CTE field in the coming months.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates

June 18th, 2013

State MapThis past month, there has been overwhelming action on the Career Technical Education (CTE) front across states, with major bills passing in Texas, Colorado, Vermont, Alabama, Washington and Oklahoma as well as bills pending in Michigan and North Carolina. As Texas had a number of CTE-related bills pass in the last few weeks, we’ll post a separate blog on Texas’ CTE policy changes later this week.

CTE Funding in Alabama
Last month, Alabama passed a $50 million bond issue to support technology and Career Technical Education programs. The bonds will likely be sold next year, with $10 million divided among schools based on the technology programs of offered; $20 million distributed based on the number of CTE students at each school; and the final $20 million to be distributed through grants. While this has a direct positive impact on CTE program across the state, all students will benefit from a new investment in technology.

Colorado’s Competency-based Graduation Requirements & Career Pathways
The Colorado State Board of Education revised the state’s graduation requirements in May, putting in place competency-based requirements, which hinge on students’ mastery of content rather than seat time.  The state has created “graduation guidelines,” outlining ways in which students can demonstrate mastery in the four major content areas (English, mathematics, social studies and science), such as earning a certain score on the ACT, PARCC or statewide assessment; passing a concurrent/dual enrollment course; or passing an AP/IB exam. Starting in 2015-16, the state will allow certain capstone experiences to count and by 2013-13, the state will develop a list of potentially eligible industry-based certificates that may count towards competency in various content areas.  Local education agencies are expected to set their own district-level requirements in alignment with the state policy.

Colorado also passed a bill directing the state board for community colleges and occupational education, with K-12 and postsecondary partners, to design a career pathway for students in the manufacturing sector. The pathway must include industry-validated stackable certificates, multiple entry and exit points, and allow a student to earn income while progressing through the pathway.

Maryland’s Degree Goals & Statewide Transfer Agreements
Maryland recently passed “The College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013” formalizing the Governor’s postsecondary degree goals (55% adults will have an associate’s degree by 2025) and requiring statewide transfer agreements between the state’s two- and four-year institutions of higher education. Specifically, the bill calls on the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop and implement a transfer agreement where, by 2016, at least 60 credits earned by a student at any community college towards an associate’s degree will be transferable to any public higher education institution for credit towards a bachelor’s degree and a reverse transfer agreement where at least 30 credits earned by a student at a four-year institution will be transferable to a community college.

The Act also requires all public institutions of higher education to create graduation progress benchmarks for each major, which includes scheduling guidance, credit and course criteria, and schedules for regular periodic reviews of student progress. Finally, the bill requires four years of mathematics for students in high school and institutionalizes the PARCC assessments by requiring all students to be assessed using an acceptable college placement cut score by 11th grade to determine if they are ready for credit-bearing coursework in English/Literacy and mathematics.

The Maryland legislature also funded Governor O’Malley’s $2 million Early College Innovation Fund to incentivize early college access programs for students pursuing CTE and/or STEM disciplines. Specifically, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will generate competitive grants to fund partnerships of local school systems and higher education institutions to create early college high schools or other forms of early college access. Priority would be given to proposals that provide students with credentials (in the form of degrees, certificates, and certifications, as appropriate) in fields for which there is high demand in Maryland.

Oklahoma’s Competency-Based Graduation Requirements
Oklahoma recently updated their graduation requirements, broadening each of the content area course requirements to be met by “units” completed or “competencies” demonstrated by students. As such, students can receive course credit for demonstrated proficiency rather than just instructional time moving forward.

Vermont’s Flexible Pathways Initiative
A new bill in Vermont creates the Flexible Pathways Initiative, establishing statewide dual enrollment and early college programs. This bill amends the state’s high school completion program by allowing flexible pathways students to pursue pathways to graduation that include applied or work-based learning opportunities, including internships. It also calls for career exploration to no later than seventh grade for all students.

Computer Science in Washington
Last month, Governor Inslee in Washington signed a bill allowing an AP Computer Science course to count towards students’ mathematics or science requirements for graduation.  Washington already allows districts to adopt course equivalences for CTE high school courses towards a full or partial academic credit; this bill requires districts to allow AP computer science courses to count as mathematics or science courses. For the computer science course to count towards a mathematics credit, however, the student must have already completed or be currently enrolled in Algebra II.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Sequestration in Three Minutes

May 28th, 2013

NDD United  is a coalition of organizations and associations committed to saving nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as education, health care, research and others, from additional cuts at the federal level.  The coalition, of which the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NADSCTEc) is a member, has recently released a clever and effective video describing sequestration in just under three minutes.

For more information on NDD United and how to spread their message, see this Toolkit.

On Twitter? On Thursday May 30, join NDD United’s Twitter Storm using #nomorecuts!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

Legislative Update: Drop in Per Pupil Spending for Public Elementary and Secondary Systems

May 24th, 2013

Duncan Testifies on FY14 Budget at House Education and the Workforce Committee Hearing

This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on the FY14 budget. Members of Congress focused their questions mostly on student loans but also discussed topics such as the No Child Left Behind waivers, early childhood education, and the Common Core State Standards.

Though Career Technical Education (CTE) was not a primary point of discussion, Representative Joe Heck (R-NV) pressed Secretary Duncan on the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed Blueprint. He expressed concerns about the hold harmless provision and asked Duncan if CTE funds would be reallocated if the proposed Blueprint is passed. Secretary Duncan did not provide a detailed response but welcomed conversation on the issue. Staff is connecting with Representative Heck’s office and encourages State Directors to make outreach to their Representatives on CTE issues.

FY14 Appropriations: House 302(b) Allocations Update

As reported last week, the House Appropriations Committee released their draft FY14 302(b) allocations which suggest devastating cuts for programs with funding allocated under the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS-Education) including CTE.

On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee held a markup and approved the allocations with acknowledgement that changes are needed. Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) stated that, “Sequestration is taking a huge toll on discretionary spending, leaving us with this very low topline number. Yet our hands are tied, and we must try and make do with the level we have right now. It is my sincere hope that there will soon be a budget compromise that will undo the damaging sequestration law and give us a single, common top-line allocation with the Senate.”

Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) offered amendments to the FY14 budget that were each rejected on a party line vote.

Sequestration Update

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, introduced an updated sequestration replacement bill on behalf of House Democrats – the same plan offered by Representative DeLauro at the House Appropriations Committee markup. The bill would replace all sequestration cuts through FY14 with a balanced plan containing $181 billion in deficit reduction through half revenue and half spending cuts.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Udall (D-CO) continue to promote S.465, a bill that would allow agency heads to propose how sequester cuts would be divided for programs in their agency and submit to the Senate Appropriations Committee for approval. Without approval from the Committee, the current sequestration cuts would remain in effect for the agency. This approach would not eliminate the cuts but reshuffle them and could result in education programs competing with one another for funding. Senate Appropriations Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has disagreed with this approach and is instead calling for the elimination or replacement of sequester cuts.

Drop in Per Pupil Spending for Public Elementary and Secondary SystemsU.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau this week released an analysis on public education finances. As noted in the report and indicated in the chart, FY11 saw the first drop in per pupil expenditures for public elementary and secondary school students – down 1.1 percent from $595.1 billion between 2010 and 2011 –  since 1997.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Legislative Update: Global Economy Act; Workforce Data Quality Campaign; CAREER Act

May 6th, 2013

STEM Education for the Global Economy Act

Last week, Senator Merkley (D-OR) announced details for his STEM Education for the Global Economy Act. The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and would help improve instruction in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects by:

  • Improving student engagement in and increasing student access to courses in STEM subjects.
  • Recruiting, training and supporting highly effective teachers in STEM subjects and providing robust tools and supports for students and teachers.
  • Closing student achievement gaps, and preparing more students to be on track for college and career readiness.

Many of the provisions in the bill link to our vision for CTE, especially in regard to our aim to ensure that the United States leads in global competitiveness. The bill would direct more money towards STEM, strives to prepare more students to be career ready, and increases professional development opportunities for teachers.

Inaugural Workforce Data Quality Campaign Meeting

Last week, NASDCTEc took part in the inaugural meeting of the Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC).  NASDCTEc is an inaugural partner in the WDQC, in addition to the Association for Career and Technical Education, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Data Quality Campaign, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, the National Skills Coalition, and the New America Foundation. The WDQC promotes inclusive, aligned and market-relevant education and workforce data systems supported by state and federal policies. Some of the issues being examined by the WDQC include:

  • Promoting data systems that capture individual achievement in postsecondary degrees and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Expanding the use of information on individual participant outcomes and ensuring it is linked with the changing structure of the labor market.
  • Making data expectations clear and consistent across the pending reauthorizations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins), the Workforce Investment Act, the Higher Education Act, and ESEA.

This exciting initiative will shape the future of CTE data and accountability, and regular updates on progress will be shared with members. The aims of the WDQC initiative link very closely with our vision, through our support of federal policies that make the collection of nationally comparable, valid and reliable data possible and efficient; and our support of aligning data requirements and accountability measures among federal education and workforce preparation programs.


Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Portman (R-OH) last week reintroduced the Career Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act S.804. According to the bill summary, S. 804 aims to make federal job training programs more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with highly paid jobs by:

1.      Reorganizing the Federal Government’s training programs to make them more efficient, by working with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to produce a report detailing how to decrease the number of federal job training programs without decreasing services or accessibility, using a 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report as a template.The GAO report lists Perkins as one of the funds that could be consolidated.

2.      Giving community colleges, CTE institutions, and other key educators priority access for funding that equips workers with the credentials that are in demand by industry.

3.      Introducing accountability to job training through a pay-for-performance pilot program.

4.      Providing states and local stakeholders with access to the data they need to track the impact of their programs.

The bill would amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). A reauthorized version of WIA was recently passed in the House, and the Senate is currently working on their proposal to reauthorize the Act. As such, it is not clear how the CAREER Act will fit into this reauthorization process. Watch for more updates on the NASDCTEc blog as the CAREER Act progresses to Committee and more details are available.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Legislative Update: Democratic Summit; FAA Funding Flexibility; Conference Committee Blocked

April 29th, 2013

Senate Democratic Rural Summit

NASDCTEc was invited to attend an April 25, 2013 convening of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, led by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), focused on issues affecting rural communities. Though the event primarily focused on agriculture and nutrition issues, rural schools and districts were also part of the discussion. Topics relevant to Career Technical Education (CTE) included increased flexibility in rural school districts and issues with rural areas qualifying for competitive grant funding. These issues are reflected in our Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) recommendations for reauthorization.

Given Senator Begich’s support of rural education, which we covered in a previous blog post we plan to meet with his staff to share our Perkins recommendations and to discuss how CTE can fit into the priorities of the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.

Congressional Action to End FY13 Sequester for FAA Thwarted in Favor of Funding Flexibility

At the end of last week, the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives both passed legislation, S. 788 and H.R. 1765 respectively, that provides the Secretary of Transportation with the flexibility to redirect funds within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) so that air traffic controllers furloughed due to sequestration could return to work. The measure is on its way to the President, who is expected to sign it.

Originally this measure was expected to be a repeal of the FAA sequester, which provided a hopeful moment that Congress might begin to eliminate the impact of sequester on targeted programs. However, the compromise simply provides the FAA the authority move funds under its jurisdiction from one account to another.

Providing Cabinet Secretaries the flexibility to move funds within their agency to achieve sequestration targets is how sequestration will be implemented in future years. This is in contrast to the first year of sequestration, FY13, which required across-the-board cuts to all programs within an agency. It is important for our members to contact their Congressional offices to let them know that the entire sequester should be replaced or repealed. CTE is just as important as delays at the airport.

FY14 Budget Conference Committee Blocked

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called last week for the creation of a budget conference committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets. As reported in previous blog posts, the House budget would lead to an 11.7 percent reduction in nondefense discretionary spending for FY14, which would result in significant reductions to Perkins funding. The Senate budget would repeal the sequester and restore funding to Perkins and other nondefense programs.

Last Tuesday, Senate Republicans rejected Senator Reid’s call to appoint conference committee members. NASDCTEc will continue to share any updates on the FY14 budget negotiations.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

NASDCTEc Recognizes All Stars

April 24th, 2013

Last week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held a luncheon at its annual Spring meeting to honor the organization’s All-Star sponsors.

NASDCTEc is fortunate to have a group of dedicated sponsor partners who provide critical and ongoing support to the organization and its work. The NASDCTEc All Stars include:

  • Cisco
  • CORD
  • Home Builders Institute
  • Career Communications
  • Oracle
  • Kuder
  • Realityworks
  • Today’s Class
  • Adobe

Representatives from seven All Stars attended the luncheon and received a certificate of appreciation, presented by NASDCTEc’s current Board President, Marie Barry, and the past Board President, Patrick Ainsworth.


John Foster & Amie Bloomfield of NOCTI

Debbie Mills & Hope Cotner of CORD

Barb Orwig & Jim Dick of Career Communications


Scott Vandever of Kuder

Tim Withee & Ken Potthoff of CTECS

Timmothy Boettcher of Realityworks

Peggy Albano of Today’s Class

All photos were taken by Bob Witchger, Director of Career and Technical Education for North Carolina Community Colleges

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director


Spring Meeting Recap: What is Career Readiness?

April 19th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting, where the notion of ‘career readiness’ was front and center. One session squarely focused on the work of the Career Readiness Partnership Council (CRPC) in convening a broad group of partners to develop a common definition of Career Readiness (which can be found at and potential next steps for the partnership and the definition itself.

The urgency behind the CRPC and the development of a common understanding of what career readiness was driven by a number of factors, and Patrick Ainsworth, who coordinated much of the work of the CRPC pointed out a few: the ongoing development of the Common Core Technical Core, the widespread adoption of the college- and career-ready Common Core State Standards (which cover only the academic foundation of career readiness), and the lack of understanding of what career readiness means and looks like across the nation. The CRPC, therefore, aimed to create a “north star” for each of the participating organizations around career readiness to help guide and drive policy and practice.

The other two panelists, representing partnership organizations, each discussed what compelled them to join the CRPC and what the definition will mean for them moving ahead. Martin Simon of the National Governors’ Association described how governors are concerned not only about the skills gap but also the coordination gap between educators and workforce investment boards. He discussed the need for a more comprehensive system to better link education, training and workforce needs that will build career pathways, not just training for jobs. About half of all governors discussed career pathways or Career and Technical Education (CTE) in their 2013 state of the state addresses, demonstrating they not only care about these issues but consider them to be priorities.

Andrew Moore from the National League of Cities described the unique role mayors can play in connecting and convening the education and business communities. Mayors are deeply concerned about the skills gap and the extremely high unemployment rates among teenagers.

After the panelists’ remarks, the participants were asked how they might use the career readiness definition moving forward. Some responses included:

  • Identify ways to apply the definition to key audiences, included, but not limited to: policymakers, business and industry, high school educators, higher education, parents, students, and community-based organizations and service providers.
  • Formalize the definition and identify how it can be embedded in state policy.
  • Engage governors to embrace the definition as a framework for coordinating CTE, workforce development and economic development initiatives.
  • Embed the definition in Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act reauthorization.
  • Provide the definition as a model for districts to use in whole or as a starting point when developing their own definitions of career readiness.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director