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

New State CTE Director: Guy Jackson, Wyoming

June 17th, 2015

Guy Jackson, State CTE Director
Wyoming Department of Education

Over the past year we have had a number of new State CTE Directors join NASDCTEc. Over the next few months, we will take a look into each new State CTE Director’s challenges, opportunities and goals for his or her tenure. For our first in the series, we spoke to Guy Jackson, State CTE Director in Wyoming.

  1. How did you come to be the State CTE Director in your state?

In high school I was very interested in anything mechanical (cars, aircraft, etc.) but went on to college and earned a B.S.Ed. from the University of Memphis.  I started flying during college and decided to get my aircraft maintenance technician certificate and FAA Aircraft Mechanic’s License and worked in aviation for several years.  My career in Career Technical Education (CTE) began when I moved to Wyoming to teach at an aviation maintenance technician school.  After 26 years of teaching and education administration, I took a consultant position with the Wyoming Department of Education and administration at postsecondary technical schools.  From there, I was promoted to the Wyoming State CTE Director in March of this year.

  1. What are your major goals for CTE in your state? And what do you think your biggest challenges are in your new role as State CTE Director?

My first priority is to provide professional development to existing educators in building effective CTE programs that result in graduates that are college and career ready.

There are a multitude of challenges to this. This includes:

  • Educators and administrators occasionally view Wyoming Department of Education-provided professional development opportunities as having no value to their classroom and instructional needs.
  • Ensuring career advising is a shared effort among educators, as school counselors do not currently have the capacity to provide all students with the necessary information and resources to make good decisions about school programs, colleges and careers.
  • Educating teachers in academic and technical-based skills. CTE teachers are more likely to have experience in project-based learning and lack advanced academic subject knowledge or formal training in the integration of academics into their technical coursework.

Though the challenges are there, it opens opportunities to work with the community to advance this priority. We will achieve this by working with Perkins secondary and postsecondary coordinators, CTE curriculum coordinators, and district instructional/training coordinators to develop and deliver effective, meaningful teacher professional development. We also hope to provide ‘academy’ offerings that help teachers implement best practices and innovative curriculum and encourage academic core and career technical teachers to integrate their subject areas.

Additionally, we plan to develop a state web-based career development and exploration platform that will available to every student, parent and educator in Wyoming, as well as work to encourage and facilitate teacher summer externship opportunities across the career pathways.

My second priority is to encourage districts to adopt regional strategies that promote collaboration among districts and institutions.

The largest challenge to achieving this priority is that most high schools are unable to offer more than four or five comprehensive career pathways with a full complement of academic and technical courses.  Rural districts and high schools with less than 200 students find it difficult to offer more than two career pathways.

Despite this barrier, we can encourage districts to collaborate with neighboring districts to organize complementary career cluster and career pathway offerings as well as create inter-district transfer opportunities for students and teachers. Critical to accomplishing this will be regional CTE strategy meetings and trainings.

My third priority is to facilitate business/industry and education partnerships. This has its challenges in that two-way communication between business/industry and education is not always consistent due to time, budget and other resource constraints. Also, formal apprenticeship programs often do not want to include high school CTE students due to liability issues.

We are looking to overcome this is by convening regional and statewide teams of academic and CTE secondary and postsecondary instructors along with industry representatives to develop competencies and CTE assessments in career pathways that are most important to the state economy. Also, we want to encourage local business and industry investment and support through funding, in-kind gifts, and externship opportunities for educators. Finally, we need to find solutions to liability issues so that we can connect high school students with formal apprenticeship programs.

My last priority is to strengthen teacher preparation programs and remove obstacles to hiring effective CTE teachers, particularly critical as many of our state CTE teachers are close to retirement.  Districts and administrators are finding it difficult to hire effective and qualified CTE teachers, which often results in the discontinuation of a CTE program.

We have identified some possible solutions to these obstacles. We will identify instructional activities that can be used in teacher preparation programs to prepare new teachers using innovative delivery systems. Along with identifying activities, we want to support the expansion of CTE teacher preparation programs at the University of Wyoming by encouraging teacher candidates to pursue dual certification in academic and technical subject areas and validate that Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board CTE teacher endorsement is meeting the state’s needs.

  1. What do you think the future of CTE looks like in your state?

The future of CTE in Wyoming is dependent on the state’s ability to support innovation in CTE to meet its education, workforce and economic needs.  That support is based on our state’s CTE funding in addition to Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education funding.  Though we are a small, rural state with limited funding, the Governor Matt Mead and Jillian Balow, Superintendent of Public Instruction recognize and support CTE in our state.

We look forward to working with our state school districts and community colleges to advance best practices in Wyoming Career Technical Education.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Legislative Update: House Subcommittee Considers Perkins Funding Bill

June 16th, 2015

2014-11-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-washington-dc-back-Marko-BerndtTomorrow morning the House Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED) will mark-up an appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016— the portion of the federal budget that funds the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and, relatedly, the Carl D. Perkins Act’s (Perkins) basic state grant program. While still a long way off from the House’s full consideration, reconciliation with a forthcoming Senate proposal, and ultimate enactment, the subcommittee’s mark-up of this bill is still a significant step in the federal budget and appropriations process that has not occurred successfully in several years. The mark-up process, where the bill will be further amended by members of the subcommittee, will provide insight into the committee’s funding priorities for education and workforce development programs as the Congressional appropriations process continues.

As we have shared previously, both the House and the Senate have agreed to and passed a budget framework that stays within the bounds of the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) statutorily required budget caps (also known as sequester caps) which limit the overall size the federal budget well into the next decade. Early this morning, the House Appropriations subcommittee on Labor-HHS-ED released its draft of the FY 2016 Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill which adheres to these caps and would cut USDE’s budget by $2.8 billion—a figure that is larger than the reduction to USDE’s budget as a result of BCA-mandated sequestration in FY 2013.

At present, it remains unclear what the subcommittee is proposing with regards to the Perkins basic state grant program. The bill as currently written combines funding for adult education and Career Technical Education (CTE) into a single lump sum which is approximately $7 million below FY 2015 levels. What is uncertain is how this $7 million reduction will be distributed between adult education and CTE— something tomorrow’s mark-up process should make clearer.

As a reminder, the Perkins basic state grant program has been funded at $1.117 billion since FY 2014 where the program restored 96 percent of its sequestration cuts from FY 2013. Nevertheless, the state grant program remains $5.4 million below pre-sequester levels. More information on Perkins funding levels can be found here. NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) have been urging Congress to fund Perkins at pre-sequester levels in FY 2016 and we encourage you to contact your members of Congress to remind them about the importance of Perkins funding. Be sure to voice your support through ACTE’s action center here!

In addition to the above implications for Perkins state grants specifically, the draft bill also proposes to eliminate 19 existing education programs of interest to the CTE community including School Improvement grants, funding for elementary and secondary school counseling, and Investing in Innovation (I3) grants among others. It contains a few USDE-related policy riders too—provisions unrelated to funding— that would prohibit the Department from enforcing its imminent “Gainful Employment” regulations, block USDE from implementing its forthcoming college ratings system later this summer, prevent the Department from using 21st Century Community Learning Centers funds to expand learning time, and would create limitations for how USDE defines “credit hour” for the purposes of federal financial aid as well as changing program integrity rules related to how distance learning programs are authorized by states.

It is important to note that both Democrats and Republicans remain extremely divided over how to fund federal programs in FY 2016 and in particular how to grapple with the self-imposed sequester caps that are anathema to both party’s distinct funding priorities. This partisan disagreement will continue to deepen as the year continues and it remains highly unlikely that lawmakers will reach agreement on the 12 independent funding bills, including Labor-HHS-ED, that are needed to fund the totality of the federal government. While CTE and the Perkins Act remain solid, bipartisan issues, the larger debate around federal appropriations will continue to take center stage as the end of the 2015 fiscal year draws to a close on September 30th.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for additional updates on this process, along with a host other CTE-related information from the past few weeks.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

This Week in CTE

June 12th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
I Got a Good Job Right Out of High School Thanks to CTE
Joseph Neyhart entered his freshman year in college with 26 credits under his belt, is studying engineering and has a full year internship at General Motors, which he credits to his high school experience at Toledo Technology Academy.
More

MEDIA OF THE WEEK
Earlier this week National Journal hosted a forum of experts on the Higher Education Act, looking back at the last 50 years, and discussing what needs to happen to move forward.
More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
New America has developed an interactive map that provides insight into what policies states have adopted in college and career readiness.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

This Week in CTE

May 29th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Indiana Career & Technical Education Trend Data
Indiana has some encouraging information showing the impact of CTE in the state including the fact that graduation rates of CTE concentrators are significantly above the overall average and only nine percent of concentrators require remediation compared to a state average of 23 percent.
More

ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
The National Journal has released a series of articles surrounding Career Technical Education featuring schools across the country. Check out The High School Where Students Wear Scrubs, The Classrooms Where Students are in Charge  and What Do You Want to be When you Grow Up 101, to see innovative Career Technical Education happening in secondary settings.

WEBINARS OF THE WEEK
The National Skills Coalition is hosting the Aligned by Design webinar series exploring how states can use the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) featuring our very own Kimberly Green along with national and local experts from across the country.
More

DATA OF THE WEEK
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, community colleges contributed one million new postsecondary credentials in the 2013-2014 academic year through first-time associate degrees, four-year credentials and community college certificates.
More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

What did Education, Policy and Foundation Leaders Have to Say About the Global Skills Race?

May 27th, 2015

Last week, New America held The Great Skills Race: Innovations in U.S. Education and Training from a Global Perspective to discuss what the skills gap looks like abroad and in the United States, and how it impacts employers, students, policy, the education system and more. Simon Field, Project Leader, OECD, started off the event by discussing what some big global trends are emerging around developing employees with the skills they need in both developed and emerging countries.

He explained that there is a global disillusion with the college for all concept, and that though it remains politically popular, increasingly studies show that it does not yield career-ready employees. For example, 70 percent of Koreans attend college, but this includes two-year programs to become a barista, and similar lower-skilled positions, where after two years students may not have very marketable or essential skills.

On the other hand, countries are ramping up their efforts to provide students with high-quality academic and work-based skills such as Indonesia, which is making a concerted effort to expand Career Technical Education (CTE). Currently, about a fourth of the population takes part in some CTE, and the country has a goal of expanding this number to 90 percent through a massive growth of CTE high schools.

Countries need to focus on education that bridges the gap between the world of learning and the world of work through strengthening employer engagement, educating the teacher workforce and developing work-based learning opportunities through apprenticeships, internships and more.

The panel then turned to Holly Zanville, Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation who spoke about the value of credentials in the Foundation’s work. At this time, there is no system for evaluating credentials or certificates, or a way for educators, students, employers and parents to determine how credentials and certificates connect to jobs. Lumina is developing a website to address these issues along with:

  1. Creating a national dialog around credentials and certificates
  2. Developing a translation platform to connect credentials
  3. Developing a prototype of a credential registry including the competencies, quality of the credential, cost and more
  4. Launching a new website (in two weeks) as a clearinghouse for credential information to help students understand the value of the credential, and employers understand how credentials and certificates may increase the skills of their employees.

Next, Todd Greene, Vice President of the Federal Reserve System of Atlanta explained that the Federal Reserves is involved in workforce development, something not typically addressed by the Reserves, due to the financial crisis. Greene took over 40 meetings with local communities including business leaders, employers and educators to see what workforce development looked like on the ground. Through this work, Greene found that there was a vast disconnect between these groups, and many did not have any type of meaningful relationship resulting in educators often teaching the wrong skills, and employers disengaged with the community and experiencing a skills gap with their employees.

Now, all 12 Federal Reserves are involved in workforce development, often using convening as a method to combat unemployment. One of these convenings included over 30 historically black colleges to help the Federal Reserves understand why Black unemployment is vastly higher regardless of education level compared to White unemployment.

Last on the panel was Byron Auguste, Managing Director of Opportunity@Work who attributed the skills gap to a variety of things. The first concept Auguste described is that the skills gap is a result of market failure; it’s not just the government or education systems that are failing, it is also the duty of employers and industry to help solve the skills gap problem. Also, the country has been highly disinvested in this work. All of the focus and spending has been centered on former higher education with very little investment in adult learning.

In addition to changes in policy, there needs to be a change in business practice. Instead of hiring on degrees, there needs to be a focus on hiring based on skills, whether gained through a degree, previous work, credentials, certificates, apprenticeships, internships or more.

To watch a video of this lively discussion visit New America’s website.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

Reflections on President Obama’s Visit to Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota

May 15th, 2015

Over the weekend, President Obama became the fourth president in U.S. history to visit all 50 states during his tenure. Obama’s visited South Dakota to deliver the commencement speech at Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in Watertown, a huge confirmation of the President’s commitment to the community college system, and an affirmation of the value of Career Technical Education (CTE).

There, the President gave his congratulations to LATI graduates, as well as spoke about his initiative, America’s College Promise, which would make two years of community college free for students. Obama also praised Lake Area Technical Institute when he said, “Community colleges like this one can be a great place for young people to launch a career. But they’re also a great place for folks who have been in the workforce for a while.”

Michael Cartney, President of LATI, cites a variety of reasons that the school was a focus of the President’s visit. LATI boasts a graduation rate of 75 percent and an incredible 98 percent placement rate. “We feel honored and humbled that our President chose to come here to do the commencement address. The tribute he paid to our graduates and staff is huge, just momentous. [It’s the ] biggest gift he could have given our staff and students,” said Cartney. “This is a gift not only to Lake Area Technical Institute, but to all CTE. This is an acknowledgement that CTE is important and that there is a strong future for what CTE has to provide.”

Cartney explained that success is not only defined by graduation or placement rates, but also how the school is preparing students for the best careers for them. A strong commitment to career guidance and providing students with the information they need to make informed decisions on their career options has resulted in graduates earning an average yearly salary that eclipses the South Dakota median income within just five years after graduation.

In addition to guidance, the school also focuses on engaging the community and employers and industry. LATI has worked hard with the business community to improve the image of CTE and technical careers. For example, one advertisement highlights what high-tech and high-skill manufacturing jobs look like today, not the old factories students and parents often envision.

What matters most, however, is the school’s culture. “The biggest thing that distinguishes our school is our culture. We genuinely care about our students, and they are engaged and make meaningful connections here,” something that has shown to be a high indicator of success in studies conducted by Gallup, among others. “Our heritage goes back to caring about our students and working with them to be successful.”

So what does CTE look like in the future at LATI? With 11 consecutive years of growth, there is an influx of new students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators and partners. Though LATI has reveled in a variety of national accolades including the President’s visit, Cartney explains the responsibility of the school to remain concentrated on their mission, “We are staying focused on our students and that remains our way forward,” said Cartney. “It’s not about being the best, but doing the best for our students.”

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

Photo Credit: President Barack Obama addresses the graduates at Lake Area Technical Institute (South Dakota Public Broadcasting)

 

This Week in CTE

May 8th, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEKblog-thumbnail-thiswek
@APS_Foundation
“If you’re in business in CO & not investing in education, then you’re not in business in CO.” -Kelly Brough of @DenChamber #GradNation
Read More

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
School Reform for Rural America
With one in four rural children living in poverty, and the vast majority of the 50 U.S. counties with the highest child-poverty rate being rural, it is clear that much is to be done to improve the education system in rural communities.
Read More

MEDIA OF THE WEEK
This week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week with this video. Thankful to all of our CTE educators out there!
Watch the video

REPORT OF THE WEEK
The Economic Value of College Majors analyzes 137 college majors and their economic benefits. The report includes a list of key findings, one of which is that the top-paying college majors  like STEM and business earn $3.4 million more than the lowest-paying majors such as early childhood education and the arts, over a lifetime.
Read More

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: Spring Wrap-Up Edition (Part II)

May 5th, 2015

cherry-blossoms-at-jefferson-150x150A lot has happened this season on Capitol Hill, particularly with regards to the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), new CTE-related legislation and various announcements from the Obama Administration. As summer draws closer, we wanted to take a moment and re-cap all of the exciting activity going on in Washington D.C. as we look ahead to what the rest of the year has in store for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. Below is Part II in a two part series of springtime legislative updates. 

Implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

On April 16th, the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services (DOL, ED, HHS) formally published a long overdue series of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). These NPRM’s are a proposed set of rules developed by the Obama Administration that would govern the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). They were released in five parts:

  1. Unified and combined plans, performance accountability and the one-stop system (DOL/ED)
  2. DOL-administered activities (DOL only)
  3. Title II adult education and family literacy activities (ED only)
  4. Miscellaneous program changes (ED only)
  5. State vocational rehabilitation services program, state-supported employment service programs and limitations on the use of subminimum wage (ED only)

 

The National Skills Coalition recently released a helpful summary and webinar overviewing the main elements of this proposal. Moreover, DOL recently released a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) that outlines the governance-related activities that States must complete by July 1st of this year. As a reminder, all of WIOA’s required implementation dates can be found here.

While the five NPRM’s cover the full spectrum of WIOA implementation, the most relevant proposal for the CTE community is the first NPRM listed above, jointly developed and released by both DOL and ED. This NPRM seeks to provide additional guidance to states as they choose to pursue the unified or combined planning options available under WIOA, a clearer articulation of two of WIOA’s common performance metrics— “indicators of effectively serving employers” along with “measurable skills gains”— and attempts to provide clarity regarding the sharing of infrastructures costs for WIOA’s One-Stop system of which postsecondary CTE is a required partner.

Published in the Federal Register on April 16th, the Obama Administration has opened up these NPRMs for public consumption and comment. Responses to the department are due no later than June 16, 2015 and can be submitted here by following the on-screen instructions.

NASDCTEc and its partners plan to provide formal comments on the issues outlined above in the coming weeks and will continue to monitor and engage with the federal rulemaking process as it continues throughout the rest of this year.

CTE Legislation Round-Up

In March Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, introduced the Next Generation High Schools Act (NGHS), a bill that would create a $300 million competitive high school redesign program to increase the number of students who graduate college-and-career ready by connecting schools with comprehensive, evidence-based reform models similar to those found in CTE.

Specifically, the bill would support applied learning instructional approaches and rigorous CTE curriculum to overhaul high schools in an effort to boost graduation rates and increase student achievement. NASDCTEc supported the introduction of this bill and has fully endorsed the proposal. A press release on the legislation can be found here and more information is located here. In a recent op-ed article, Senator Baldwin reiterated her intent to introduce additional CTE-related legislation further on this year.

Last week Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Go to High School, Go to College Act which seeks to increase student access to postsecondary education. The bill would incentive early college and dual / concurrent enrollment models offered at the high school level by expanding federal Pell Grant program eligibility to qualifying students to pursue these opportunities.

A companion bill sponsored by Representatives Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Chris Gibson (R-NY) has also been introduced in the House. NASDCTEc has fully supported and endorsed this legislation and applauds these lawmakers’ commitment to providing a quality postsecondary education to all students. More information on the bill can be found here and a press release from Senator Portman’s office is located here.

Updates from the Obama Administration

Last week, ED’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) released a fourth round of non-regulatory guidance for issues surrounding the implementation of the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins). Common questions regarding the law’s implementation and corresponding answers, along with the three previous versions of this Q&A, can be viewed on OCTAE’s newly renovated Perkins Collaborative Resource Network.

OCTAE has also recently released a summary report of the responses ED, DOL, and HHS received from last year’s request for information (RFI) on quality career pathway development and implementation. NASDCTEc, along with 140 other stakeholder groups, provided comment during this solicitation. View the full report here.

In March, the Obama Administration announced the launch of their “TechHire” initiative which will provide $100 million in competitive grant funding through DOL to create partnerships between employers, eligible training institutions, and local governments.  Funded by DOL’s H1-B visa fees, the initiative seeks to invest in innovative, data-driven programs that provide participants specific occupational training. More information on available grants is expected later this year, but an overview of the effort can be found here.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and the Aspen Institute announced the launch of “Communities that Work Partnership”, a new joint effort that seeks to promote industry-led training and workforce development programs. Supported by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s (Commerce) Economic Development Administration, the announcement is part of Commerce’s ongoing “Skills for Business” initiative that is aimed at preparing workings for job opportunities in in-demand occupations and industry sectors. More information on the announcement, how to engage with this work, and relevant deadlines can be found here.

Sector partnerships are one of the new points of emphasis under WIOA. In an effort to support the creation and expansion of these partnerships, DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has announced in a recent TEGL the availability of $150 million in grant funding for state agencies responsible for administering Title I programs and activities under WIOA. Funds may be used for the planning of individual sector strategies, related program services, and administration. More information is available from the National Skills Coalition’s blog.

Last week, the White House hosted its first-ever “Upskilling Summit” to bring together the employer and education communities. The event also marked the unveiling of a new report on how the Administration plans to promote a series of public-private partnerships aimed at supporting workers of all ages and background’s as they seek to secure high-skill, high-wage jobs. Read the report here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: Spring Wrap-Up Edition (Part I)

May 4th, 2015

cherry-blossoms-at-jefferson-150x150A lot has happened this season on Capitol Hill, particularly with regards to Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 funding, and the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As summer draws closer, we wanted to take a moment and re-cap all of the exciting activity going on in Washington D.C. as we look ahead to what the rest of the year has in store for the Career Technical Education (CTE) community. Below is Part I in a two part series of springtime legislative updates.  

The Federal Funding Landscape

As shared previously, President Obama formally kicked-off the FY 2016 budget and appropriations process this year with one clear message to Congress— end sequestration in order to make vital reinvestments in our nation’s domestic discretionary programs. At present, federal funding is constrained by specific limits required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). These limits, also known as caps, are in place for each federal fiscal year and well into the next decade. They require Congressional appropriators to stay within those limits and if funding legislation exceeds those caps, the additional funds above each annual BCA cap are “sequestered” to bring them back down within the BCA funding ceiling for that particular year.

The President’s budget proposal requested billions of dollars above these caps, calling for new investments in many programs, including CTE. While the Administration requested flat-funding for the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins) basic state grant program (BSG), it has sought an additional $200 million in funding for the American Technical Training Fund (ATTF)— a proposed competitive grant program for consortia of CTE stakeholders and employers— as well as an additional $2 million to administer this new program. NASDCTEc’s response to the budget can be found here.

Since that time, Congress has been crafting budget resolutions— frameworks outlining the planned spending for the year and years to come— that would adhere to the BCA caps and essentially freeze FY 2016 funding at near current levels. In doing so, funding increases for most programs (including Perkins) become even less feasible and could further squeeze many education and workforce development programs which have already been cut dramatically since 2010.

Despite these unfavorable headwinds, well over 100 members of Congress signed two separate letters to Congressional appropriators urging them to make a strong investment in the Perkins Act’s BSG program in FY 2016. NASDCTEc has applauded the work of CTE Champions Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) in the House and the Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) in the Senate for spearheading these efforts in both Chambers of Congress. The letters, similar to NASDCTEc’s own FY 2016 request, have urged Congressional appropriators to increase Perkins funding to pre-sequester levels— approximately $5 million above what the program received in FY 2014 and 2015. Make sure to thank your members of Congress for supporting CTE! Find out who signed-on here and here.

As the FY 2016 budget and appropriations cycle continues, check back here for updates and analysis for what the CTE community should expect from the federal funding environment.

Moving Past No Child Left Behind

The 114th Congress has been in full swing this spring, bringing with it warmer weather in D.C. and, surprisingly, the possibility of a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize one of the largest federal education laws in the country. While tourists have flocked to the Capitol to gaze at the Cherry Blossoms, Congress has been eyeing the possibility of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)— more commonly known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The primary source of federal funding for K-12 education throughout the country, the law has been due for renewal since 2007, but has languished in a Congressional limbo due to widespread disagreement on how to appropriately navigate the nation’s education system out of the NCLB era.

As with all federal education and workforce legislation, the first step in the ESEA reauthorization process has been for the House Education and the Workforce Committee (HEW) and the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to develop and pass proposals to renew and reform the current law.

In the House the Student Success Act – successfully passed on a partisan basis by the full Chamber in the 113th Congress— was reintroduced in the early part of this Congress and passed the HEW Committee on a contentious, partisan basis. This legislation proposes to dramatically dissolve a majority of the current federal role in education, giving those responsibilities back to the states and their educational districts. Widely opposed by House Democrats and the Obama Administration, the Student Success Act made its way back to the House floor for the Chamber’s full consideration in the early part of this year. Despite the backing from House Republican leadership and many in their Caucus, the bill was removed from consideration after outside conservative groups began opposing the legislation for not doing more to diminish the federal role in education. Since that time, the House has not made future plans to consider the Student Success Act. You can learn more about the bill and the HEW Committee’s plans for it here.

In the Senate, the process seemed to be unfolding in much the same way. In January the new Chairman of the HELP Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced a discussion draft to reauthorize ESEA and was similar in many respects to the House’s proposal. Following this, an impromptu meeting at a favorite D.C. eatery between the Chairman and the new Ranking Member of the HELP Committee, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), led to bipartisan negotiations on compromise legislation. The product of these months-long negotiations is the Every Child Achieves Act (ECAA)— the first bipartisan proposal for ESEA reauthorization in the 114th Congress.

ECAA was successfully marked up by the HELP Committee in April and included an amendment from Senator Baldwin (D-WI) to add a requirement that student attainment of CTE proficiencies be incorporated into the law’s mandated report card system. ECAA also requires alignment between CTE standards and core academic standards which is an encouraging step as NASDCTEc works towards the further integration of the two.  The bill would also eliminate the harmful “highly qualified teacher” provision from current law— a significant priority for NASDCTEc in this reauthorization. Another encouraging aspect of ECAA was the retention of elementary and secondary education counseling programs in Title IV of the legislation. Aspects of the Career Ready Act (S. 478) and the Career Choice Act (H.R. 1079)— both supported and endorsed by NASDCTEc— found their way into this section of the proposed legislation before clearing the HELP Committee.

The path forward for ESEA remains long and full of potential roadblocks. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see this level of compromise on such a large piece of federal legislation. ECAA is widely expected to be considered by the full Senate sometime in the two weeks before or after the Memorial Day recess. However, the path forward for the Student Success Act in the House remains much more uncertain, throwing the wider reauthorization process into question. As this process continues, check back here for updates and analysis of this reauthorization process.

Part II of this legislative update will be released tomorrow morning.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

This Week in CTE

May 1st, 2015

TWEET OF THE WEEK
@AsiaSocietyPGL Australian Education Gives All Students Skills for the Workplace http://asi.as/5cLEDS  #CTEblog-thumbnail-thiswek @CTEWorks thanks for the post!
More

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
Baldwin: Technical Education can Boost our Workforce
Senator Tammy Baldwin makes the case why Career Technical Education (CTE) is a high priority for her work in the U.S. Senate.
More

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Learn more about President Obama’s Upskill Initiative providing workers with the education and skills they need to be successful in the workplace through the White House report and fact sheet.

NASDCTEc RESOURCE OF THE WEEK
Looking for an introduction to CTE? Visit our CTE Videos page to brush up on your CTE knowledge.
More

 Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

 

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