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

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

Legislative Update: Obama FY14 Budget Proposal: More Details Regarding CTE – New Updates

April 12th, 2013

Obama FY14 Budget Proposal: More Details Regarding CTE – New Updates

As we shared earlier this week, President Obama released his budget for FY14. As we have had more time to analyze the budget documents, we wanted to share with you a few more details:

  • $300 million for high school redesign: The budget documents share that the high school redesign competitive grant program was modeled after the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) in New York. P-TECH works in partnership with New York Public Schools, the City University of New York and IBM to ensure their students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associates degree in computing or engineering. This model is also being replicated at five high schools in Chicago.
  • President’s proposal highlights two CTE schools: In addition to P-TECH, the President’s high school redesign proposal highlights Loving High School, located in rural New Mexico. Loving High School, an early adopter of the Arts, Audio Video Communications Career Cluster® was featured in NASDCTEc’s Redesigning the High School Experience for College and Career Readiness series.  This series, funded by Microsoft’s Partners in Learning, documents Loving High School’s adoption, struggles and successful implementation of the Career Clusters®. Leaders from Loving have presented at the National Career Clusters® Institute and are a great example of innovation, community engagement and high quality CTE.
  • Clarification on the $42 million for dual enrollment: In a previous blog post, we reported that $42m of funding was being provided to establish or expand dual enrollment programs aligned to career pathways and local workforce needs. As more details have become available, we learned that the proposed $10m increase in Perkins National Programs would be used to, in part, offset this new investment in dual enrollment.

NASDCTEc’s Spring Meeting features an array of policy panels, sharing information about the budget, sequestration, appropriations, pending reauthorizations (Perkins, WIA and ESEA), as well as other Congressional proposals related to CTE. Look for blogs at the end of next week sharing this just-in-time news!

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

Business-Higher Education Forum Summit

April 8th, 2013

In March, the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) and representatives from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation hosted a summit in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to incorporate 21st Century competencies into K-16 education, and how business can influence internal and external stakeholders to align education and the workforce.  The event was attended by leaders from government agencies, industry, and associations like NASDCTEc.

BHEF is the nation’s oldest organization of senior business and higher education executives dedicated to advancing innovative solutions to U.S. education and workforce challenges. Composed of Fortune 500 CEOs, prominent college and university presidents, and other leaders, BHEF addresses issues fundamental to our global competitiveness.

The summit included the launch of a report which talked of the importance of alignment between student outcomes and workforce demand, closer collaboration between the corporations recruiting employees and the institutions educating them, and deeper learning, which is defined as a mix of content knowledge and 21st Century competencies such as team work, communication skills and the ability to think critically.

As stated in a press release for the summit, BHEF’s research suggests that:

  • Rapid technological change, the increasing complexity of the challenges companies face, and the pace solutions must be brought to market have forced recent college graduates to enter the workforce with a wide combination of high-order competencies that go beyond content knowledge.
  • Leaner companies are doing more with fewer employees, moving staff across divisions to give them a cross-functional work experience that deepens the company’s bench strength and fills gaps in the workforce. This means employees, to be viewed as an asset to the organization, must emerge as “T-shaped professionals,” flexible and able to adapt their deep content knowledge across work environments.
  • Companies are developing their own assessments to screen the competencies of applicants and current employees and investing less in internal training programs to increase workplace competencies. Developing those workplace competencies at the K-16 levels will realize considerable cost savings and, concomitantly, strengthen students’ competitiveness in the job market. However, developing the necessary 21st century workforce competencies in graduates will require closer collaboration between the corporations recruiting employees and the institutions educating them.
  • Business-led partnerships that engage industry and educational institutions in strategic rather than transactional relationships can help address the ineffective signaling between business and higher education on the need for 21st century workforce skills.

“Our workforce is at a critical juncture,” stated Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of BHEF. “Our members’ collaboration has revealed not only key insights, but also a unique opportunity for business and higher education to communicate in a new way and create fresh pathways for graduates to the innovation workforce.”

BHEF was a member of the Career Readiness Partner Council. Career Technical Education has an important part to play in all of the issues featured in the report, through implementing our vision, and our participation in events like these ensure a strong voice for state directors in the education and business world, by ensuring that the work we do is well known and appreciated.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager