This Week in CTE

May 29th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

WEBINARS OF THE WEEK

Advance CTE kicked off the Summer Learning Series on Thursday, May 28th, 2020, with a webinar covering how state CTE leaders can ensure each learner has opportunities for career success and is supported in identifying and realizing their career goals. National experts shared how CTE systems should be constructed to close equity gaps during and after the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The webinar recording can be viewed here

In addition, NCLA co-hosted a webinar with the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE). Presenters discussed school re-entry in the fall,what can be done to compensate for class time that has been missed, and how the current pandemic will alter education in the near future and beyond. The webinar recording can be viewed here.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE OF THE WEEK

The U.S. Department of Education announced the first round of approvals of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) state plans. We congratulate the following six states: Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. View this Twitter feed for a key point from each state’s plan that will contribute to the local and national economic recovery. 

The U.S. Department of Education also announced the second round of approvals of Perkins V state plans. We congratulate the following nine states: Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming 

EDUCATION INNOVATION OF THE WEEK 

One CTE teacher in Colorado turned their backyard into a crime scene lab for criminal justice students. Another supplied lumber to students for at-home renovation projects. Boulder Valley School District teachers have demonstrated their creativity and are sharing how they have made their curriculums work in an online format. View the article here, published by Boulder Daily Camera. 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

This resource is a comprehensive guide that builds on research from Advance CTE’s  “Connecting the Classrooms to Careers” series to help states develop and implement a statewide vision for work-based learning. The guide provides key considerations and guiding questions to walk states through the steps of building and scaling a high-quality work-based learning system, drawing on examples from states such as Tennessee and West Virginia to highlight innovative solutions to common challenges.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

This Week in CTE

May 8th, 2020

We have compiled a list of highlights in Career Technical Education (CTE) from this week to share with you.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

This week we celebrate the expertise and skill of our educators nationwide. Follow @CTEWorks on Twitter and Follow us on Facebook for our messages of gratitude to all the CTE educators providing academic knowledge and real-world skills to learners, especially during this difficult time.

Students from the state of Utah have shared their words of appreciation for CTE educators. Read them here, in the latest CTE Directions Newsletter.

Twitter Chat of the Week

The ECMC Foundation hosted a Twitter chat on Thursday, to discuss with national partners what is needed to support students during COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Their conversation also covered what is needed to ensure the future of postsecondary is more equitable once we return from the current pandemic. If you missed the highlights, you can view the hashtag #ECMCFchat on Twitter.

Work-Based Learning Activity of the Week

Direct engagement with employers has presented its challenges during the current pandemic. However, the state of Wisconsin has partnered with organizations and local businesses to offer online job shadowing to CTE students. View the list of sessions they are offering in May!

Federal Policy of the Week

On Thursday, advocates took to Twitter to address the homework gap during the E-Rate Day of Action asking Congress to provide at least $4 billion in funding for home internet access through E-rate. This day of advocacy was led by the Alliance for Excellent Education. Follow these hashtags on Twitter to join the advocacy: #HomeworkGap and #Erate.

Resource of the Week

Advance CTE and Association for Career and Technical Education have released the Middle Grades CTE repository of resources. State and local leaders can leverage this repository as they begin to develop and expand high-quality CTE into the middle grades.

Happy Nurse Appreciation Week!

This week we celebrate all the nurses across our nation and shine the spotlight on our health occupations CTE programs. Recent and soon-to-be graduates are selflessly joining the workforce to serve the needs of their communities while earning credit toward completing their program of study. In the state of Massachusetts, 17 students from postsecondary institutions are now working, under guidance from the Governor, to fulfill their graduation requirements. Thank you, all!

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Three

April 14th, 2020

dThe U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the newest materials. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!

Education Stabilization Fund Implementation

The recent stimulus legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)  included more than $30 billion in funding to support K-12 and postsecondary programs and learners affected by Coronavirus. On Monday, the Department released a centralized page of resources related to administering these funds. 

Last week, the Department unveiled guidance on disbursement of the first set of funds to help support postsecondary learners that have been affected by Coronavirus. It is expected that in the coming days and weeks, guidance on other funding provisions of the CARES Act will become available.

Updated Guidance for Interruption of Postsecondary Programs of Study 

The Office of Postsecondary Education updated its COVID-19 FAQ and Guidance for interruption of study related to Coronavirus. This guidance, currently remaining in effect until June 30, 2020 “unless otherwise specified,” includes changes that are being implemented based on provisions in the CARES Act. Some of the new guidance includes:

  • Accommodating students whose enrollment is disrupted by Coronavirus;
  • Distance education – including broad approval and flexibility on implementing new programs, but requiring that instructions and materials meet the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (IDEA); and
  • Flexibility given in the CARES act for funds and provisions provided by Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

Guidance on Donation or Loan of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Medical Supplies

On Tuesday, the Department released a memo that gives guidance on loaning or donating certain medical supplies or equipment, if that equipment was originally purchased using funds from a Department grant program. The memo indicates that donating PPE or medical supplies to health providers that have been purchased with funds provided by the Department are allowed. Some of the guidance also includes:

  • Direction that grantees can loan or donate PPE (e.g. masks, face shields, gloves), other medical supplies or equipment (e.g, ventilators) or even equipment that can be used to produce these medical supplies, such as 3D printers;
  • The Department will provide grantees and subgrantees a class exception for uses of grant funds, authorized by OMB Memo M-20-20;
  • Requirement that grantees and subgrantees must keep detailed records on donating or loan items and maintain these records for at least three years (page 2);
  • Indication that the Department intends to follow-up with grantees in the future regarding the donations or loans of equipment (page 2); and 
  • Direction that additional questions can be sent to COVID-19@ed.gov.

Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

COVID-19 Resources from the U.S. Department of Education: Part Two

March 31st, 2020

dThe U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources and updates for elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education. You can access this information at  www.ed.gov/coronavirus. The page will be continuously updated by the Department. Below are brief overviews of what can be found in some of the materials on issues with civil rights and students with disabilities. Advance CTE will continue to share posts with a breakdown of the resources, so keep checking the blog!

  • Addressing COVID-19 Risk in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students
    The Department issued a fact sheet discussing the importance of maintaining federal civil rights requirements during the Coronavirus pandemic. This fact sheet, located here, includes information on:

    • Denial of Access on the Basis of Race, Color, or National Origin – reminding school officials that they may not stereotype or make assumptions about a protected class in determining risk factors for school closures (page 2).
    • Obligations for schools under the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to maintain education services for students with disabilities (page 2-3). 
  • Q/A On Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During Coronavirus Outbreak
    The Department issued a broad but informal guide on how local educational agencies (LEAs) and early intervention services can collaborate with state educational agencies (SEAs) to provide and ensure continued services for children with disabilities and their families. That document, located here, includes many questions that the Department has received and aims to provide guidance based on those questions. This includes:

    • Situations in which LEAs are required to continue to provide free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities (page 1);
    • Services that LEAs must provide when schools for children with disabilities are selectively closed (page 3);
    • Activities that IDEA Part B funds (page 5) and Part C funds (page 8) may and may not be used for during Coronavirus outbreak; and
    • When a state lead agency must continue to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities if offices are closed (page 7).
  • Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility
    The Office of Civil Rights released a short webinar on ensuring accessibility of online education and websites for everyone – with a focus on ensuring that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in services, programs and activities. This webinar:

    • Urges that online education and websites should be accessible to those using assistive technology, such as speech recognition or eye-tracking software;
    • Recommends both automated and manual routine testing of websites to ensure that individuals are able to fully access the websites’ content using assistive technology; and
    • Directs any questions or technical assistance requests to be emailed to the OCR Web Access Team at OCRWebAccessTA@ed.gov.

      Samuel Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

College Affordability Act Released

October 16th, 2019

On October 15, the House Committee on Education and Labor introduced the College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674), the House Democrats’ long-awaited legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA).

Some of the major initiatives of the bill include:

  • Creating a federal-state funding partnership to incentivize states to make community college tuition-free;
  • Increasing the value and funding of Pell Grants;
  • Simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); 
  • Repealing the ban on Pell Grants for incarcerated students;
  • Codifying restrictions on federal funds used for for-profit institutions that had been put in place by the Obama Administration;
  • Repealing the student unit record data ban and creating a new postsecondary student data system;
  • Expanding Pell Grant eligibility to certain short-term credential programs; and
  • Creating additional funds for postsecondary Perkins CTE programs, including tribally controlled postsecondary CTE institutions.

Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) intends this to be a comprehensive reauthorization, in contrast to the recent “mini” HEA reauthorization proposal, The Student Aid Improvement Act, introduced by Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Advance CTE staff will continue to monitor changing developments with this proposal and related legislation. Advance CTE’s full recommendations for HEA reauthorization can be found here

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate and Sam Dunietz, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Student Leaders On Capitol Hill, Calls for Doubling the Investment in CTE

October 10th, 2019

This past month, hundreds of student leaders came to Washington D.C. for SkillsUSA’s Washington Leadership Training Institute (WLTI) and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s (FCCLA) Capitol Leadership training. Both programs offer training and leadership development activities for youth Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) leaders.

SkillsUSA hosted over 550 students and advisors from 29 states at the WLTI. This year’s conference included training on personal and workplace skills, a panel discussion about effective legislative visits with experts from Capitol Hill, and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. FCCLA’s annual Capitol Leadership training also provided students an opportunity to share their Career Technical Education (CTE) experiences with elected officials, while also developing their communication and collaborative skills.

Advance CTE’s Policy Fellow, Jade Richards, spoke with both groups of students and provided an overview of CTE funding at the national level. Students later went to Capitol Hill and passionately communicated to their representatives the impact of CTE in their communities, as well as the need to double the federal investment in CTE.

As a long-standing advocate for policies and legislation that enhance high-quality CTE programs across the country, Advance CTE is committed to empowering students leaders in America. Join us and the CTE community as we continue the campaign to create a brighter future for learners, businesses and communities everywhere.

Visit Isupportcte.org to learn more about the importance of doubling the federal investment in CTE. Email IsupportCTE@careertech.org for questions and updates on the campaign. 

SkillsUSA 2019 WLTI U.S. Capitol Photo

Tennessee, New Jersey Focus on Expanding Access to CTE Opportunities; Montana Expands Funding to CTSOs

May 20th, 2019

As the legislative session moves forward, states have passed laws to increase awareness of and expand access to Career Technical Education (CTE) opportunities for each learner.

With the reauthorization of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which allows states to use Perkins funding as early as the fifth grade, many states are expanding CTE opportunities to the middle grades, including Tennessee. On May 5, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed SB0063 into law to expand CTE programs in the state to middle grades. Under the law, CTE programs must be accessible to all middle school learners in grades six through eight and serve at least 50 percent of this population. Additionally, the law requires the Board of Career and Technical Education to plan facilities for CTE training for middle school learners.

In New Jersey the legislature passed S372, which was signed into law on May 10, to help expand access to apprenticeships for learners in the state. The law requires the Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commision of Labor and Workforce Development, to develop publicly available guidelines for high school counselors to use to coordinate services with the New Jersey State Building and Construction Trades Council with the intent of encouraging student participation in and awareness of apprenticeship opportunities.

Meanwhile, in Montana, on May 8 Governor Steve Bullock signed HB0662 into law. The law permits the Superintendent of Public Instruction to distribute secondary CTE funds to Career Technical Education Student Organizations (CTSOs) for grants.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

House Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs

May 1st, 2019

The big news this week related to Career Technical Education (CTE) was that the House Appropriations Committee released their draft spending bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies on Monday, April 29. Read below to learn more about what bill includes, yesterday’s mark up, and how you can get involved in a campaign to double the federal investment in CTE.

House Appropriations Subcommittee Marks Up Spending Bill for Education, Labor Programs 

On Tuesday, April 30, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up their appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), which begins October 1, 2019. The bill passed out of the subcommittee on a voice vote.

Overall, the bill included a six percent increase for federal education programs and a 10 percent increase for labor programs above the amounts Congress allocated in Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19). The bill proposed a disappointing increase of $37 million, or less than three percent, for CTE State Grants, also known as Perkins Basic State Grants. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released a joint statement in response.

The bill includes some notable increases for key education and workforce programs:
  • 13 percent increase for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants authorized under Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA);
  • 24 percent increase for Title II Supporting Effective Instruction Grants authorized under ESSA;
  • 27 percent increase for Federal Work Study;
  • 9 percent increase for Federal TRIO programs;
  • $150 increase in the maximum award for Pell grants; and
  • 56 percent increase for Apprenticeship grants

It is important to note that this markup is an early step in the process to determine the amount of funding Congress will allocate to education and labor programs for FY20. While it is expected that the proposal will go before the full House Appropriations Committee in early May, the Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet released their draft FY20 funding bill for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In addition, Congress must agree on the overall levels for defense and non-defense discretionary spending before determining final allocations for the programs contained within the FY20 appropriations bills. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Get Involved in the Campaign to Double the Investment in CTE

Looking to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress. Check out the share page to find a one-pager, PowerPoint, social media toolkit, and more that you can use and modify to spread the word about the campaign.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

New Report on States’ ESSA Report Cards, A Push for Colleges to Complete Equity Audits

April 26th, 2019

Even though Congress is in recess, new reports and recent events have kept the attention on Career Technical Education (CTE). Read below to learn more about a new analysis of state report cards required under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), equity audits for postsecondary institutions, and two recent events in Washington, D.C. that featured CTE.

Data Quality Campaign Report Sheds Light on States’ ESSA Report Cards   

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) has updated its annual review of state K-12 report cards, illuminating for the first time how states are reporting and communicating student progress in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) era. States made some bold commitments in their ESSA plans, but DQC’s analysis shows that there is still work to do. According to their analysis, 41 states do not include disaggregated achievement data for at least one federally required subgroup. Twenty seven states do not include data on postsecondary enrollment. These are challenges states will need to address as they prepare to meet the data collection and reporting requirements under Perkins V.

Center for American Progress Encourages Colleges to Conduct Equity Audits

One part of the Center for American Progress’s (CAP) Beyond Tuition initiative to improve affordability, quality and accountability in higher education is for colleges to carry out equity audits. CAP defines equity audits as “internal reviews of key policies and practices to identify those that fail to effectively serve underrepresented students.” Senator Schatz (D-HI) recently introduced the College Equity Act, which includes implementation of equity audits in colleges and corresponding grant funding based on the outcomes of the audit. Find more information in CAP’s article, Equity Audits: A Tool for Campus Improvement.

Convening on Rethinking Correctional and Reentry Education Includes CTE 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Educated hosted a convening on Rethinking Correctional and Reentry Education: A Second Chance at Learning with the purpose of highlighting and advancing the “conversation around the administration-wide goal of rethinking education for incarcerated individuals.” The day included panels on state and local programs, student and educator perspectives, as well as remarks from the Governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. A common theme, especially when hearing from state and local leaders, was that CTE plays an important role in educational programming for those who are incarcerated. A breakout session in the afternoon on how Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) can support education for incarcerated individuals highlighted that both laws provide opportunities to do so, but there is a lack of clarity on how this can be done. Looking for opportunities for how to promote collaboration across Perkins V and WIOA? Check out Coordinating Across Perkins V and WIOA, a brief from Advance CTE and the National Skills Coalition.

Workforce Preparation was a Resounding Theme at Reagan Institute Summit

The Reagan Institute Summit on Education (RISE) – hosted by the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute, which aims to promote the former President’s legacy through policy and ideas – was held in Washington, DC on April 11. A major focus of this year’s summit was career readiness. Senator Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, made the case for expanding eligibility for Pell grants to both individuals who are incarcerated as well as learners in short-term credential programs. Representative Foxx (R-NC), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, also made the case for strengthening workforce preparation opportunities in order to ensure that learners do not accrue significant amounts of debt without a credential to show for it. Other policymakers suggested ideas such as using H-1B visa funds to support training in high-need industry areas or piloting risk sharing funding models to hold institutions of higher education accountable for the workforce outcomes of their graduates. Overall, the theme of the day was that support for career preparation in high school and college is widespread.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

New Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grants, Congress & Administration Look at HEA

April 17th, 2019

Congress was busy last week heading into the two-week recess with activity on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and appropriations. Read below to learn more and find out about news from the Administration on the Innovation and Modernization grant program authorized under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) and higher education.

41 Senators Sign CTE Funding Letter  

Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) was joined by 40 additional Senators who signed on to a “Dear Colleague” letter that encouraged robust funding for Perkins. The letter was sent to the Chairman, Senator Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member, Senator Murray (D-WA) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies as they begin the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020). The widespread support for the letter is a testament to your advocacy efforts! You can see if your Senators signed on to the letter in this blog post from our partners at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) – please be sure to send a thank you note to those who signed!

Looking to continue to support efforts to increase the federal investment in CTE? Check out www.ISupportCTE.org, the website for the campaign to double the investment in CTE. In February, the CTE community launched this shared campaign and we invite everyone to join us in asking employers to sign onto a statement that supports doubling the investment in CTE. The signatures collected from employers will be a critical component to building visibility and support for CTE with members of Congress.

House Holds Hearing on U.S. Department of Education Priorities

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before the House Committee on Education and Labor on “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.” In particular, the hearing focused on the proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget. A variety of topics were covered, such as secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, expanding Pell grant eligibility to short-term programs, federal student aid delivery and support for Minority Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A video of the hearing and statements from Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Secretary DeVos can be found here. The statement from Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) can be found here.

Perkins V Innovation and Modernization Grant Now Accepting Applications

On April 15, applications became available for the Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program to “identify, support, and rigorously evaluate Evidence-Based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize CTE and ensure workforce skills taught in CTE programs…align with labor market needs.” Over $2 million in total are available for this grant, and up to six grants will be awarded to scale evidence-based innovative programs that lead to better student outcomes and program effectiveness. Grantees will receive between $400,000 and $500,000 for a 36 month project. Each grantee must match awarded funds with non-Federal funding sources.

The one absolute priority for all applicants is to “submit a plan to create, develop, implement, replicate or take to scale Evidence-Based, field-initiatives innovations to modernize and to improve effectiveness and alignment of CTE with labor market needs and to improve student outcomes in CTE.” In addition, there are three Competitive Preference Priorities: programs that will improve STEM and computer science student outcomes; programs that serve the majority of students from low-income households and programs that serve students in Qualified Opportunity Zones. A webinar will be held by the U.S. Department of Education on April 25 to provide additional information.

Higher Education Negotiated Rulemaking Committee Reached Consensus

The negotiated rulemaking committee reached consensus on all three regulation packages proposed by the Education Department after months of hearings and rounds of edits to the originally proposed regulatory language. The panel of negotiators agreed to changes on issues such as accreditation, federal distance education rules, competency-based education, federal aid programs for religious institutions and a change to the TEACH grant program that would provide teachers whose grants were changed to loans an opportunity to appeal.

In order to reach consensus, the Administration removed some proposals, such as changing the scope of regional accreditors and giving colleges receiving federal aid permission to outsource over 50 percent of a program to an unaccredited external entity. Now, the Education Department will publish the agreed upon regulatory language in the Federal Register and allow for public comments. The new rules must be finalized before November in order to be enacted in the summer of 2020. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos put out a statement in support of the committee’s consensus.

Senate Holds Hearing on Higher Education Act Reauthorization

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee held a hearing last week on “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Strengthening Accountability to Protect Students and Taxpayers.” This hearing explored topics such as the role the federal and institutional roles in ensuring accountability and how data can better support all students. A video of the hearing and all witness testimonies can be found here. HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s (R-TN) press release on the hearing can be found here, and the statement from Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) can be found here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate 

 

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