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June CTE Monthly: Survey Shows CTE As Rigorous, Relevant

June 26th, 2013

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the June edition, read more about:

  • Area CTE Centers Cost-Effectively Conquer the Skills Gap
  • Survey Findings Demonstrate the Effectiveness and Relevancy of CTE For Students
  • Support for the GREEN Act
  • Exemplary CTE Programs and Students in New York, Texas and Utah

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other advocacy resources on our Advocacy Tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Welcome to the New Blog Series – Common Core State Standards & CTE Roundup

June 3rd, 2013
CCSS LogoWith nearly every state in the country working to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/Literacy, and more and more resources and information being generated by states, districts, schools and education-focused organizations to support implementation, NASDCTEc is excited to launch a new blog series on the Common Core State Standards and Career Technical Education! The blog will feature news and resources that directly impact CTE educators as well as other materials we think are useful to the field.
 

Featured Resources & Tools

Project Lead the Way has created an alignment tool that will allow Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teachers in pre-engineering and biomedical sciences to identify where the PLTW curricula align with the Common Core State Standards for each course.

Student Achievement Partners updated and upgraded their website dedicated to CCSS implementation tools, “Achieve the Core,” with new CCSS-aligned materials and resources for struggling students;  two new professional development modules including PPTs, videos, facilitator’s instructions, and hands-on activities; evidence guides for instructional practice that provide specific guidance for what the CCSS look like in planning and practice; and information on how educators can support the Common Core beyond their school communities.

Aspen Institute created a set of short introductions to the CCSS for parents and other stakeholders.

Governor John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, wrote a letter to the Republican National Committee in support of the CCSS.

CCSS and CTE Update

In May, the GED Testing Service announced that they will be aligning the 2014 GED test to the voluntary College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards for Adult Education, recently released by the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). GED has been undertaking research efforts over the last few years to better align the high school equivalency test to “college and career readiness” and the decision to use these standards, according to the GED Testing Service, aims to help bridge the gap from high school dropout to middle-skills jobs.

The CCR Standards for Adult Education, commissioned by OVAE, identify a subset of the Common Core State Standards in English/Literacy and mathematics found to be most relevant in preparing adult students for success in higher education and training programs. The standards have been bundled into five grade-level grouping to reflect the levels of adult learning, which cover the full K-12 standards in both content areas.

Updates on Common Core-Aligned Assessments

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
PARCC is launching a Twitter Town Hall series, beginning on June 5 between 6-7 pm ET, utilizing the hashtag #askPARCC. For the full list of the series and their topics and hosts, see the announcement.

PARCC also recently released an updated FAQ and glossary of key terms, both of which can be downloaded here.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
Last month, Smarter Balanced released online practice tests to give educators, parents and students a preview of the full assessment system set of come online in 2014-15.  To learn more about the practice tests, see the Smarter Balanced website.

Have a good CCSS-CTE resource to share? Contact us at info@careertech.org!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

McKinsey Report Outlines Common Elements of Innovative Programs to Close the Skills Gap

May 24th, 2013

The McKinsey Center for Government surveyed 8,000 individuals – from employers to educational institutions to students – to answer one question: how can we close the skills gap? Their results include an examination of more than 100 innovative programs and suggest many strategies already implemented through Career Technical Education (CTE).

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2020 there will be a global shortfall of 85 million high- and middle-skilled workers. Nearly 40 percent of employers find that applicants lack the skills needed for entry-level jobs. And while 72 percent of education providers reported that graduates are ready to enter the job market, only 42 percent of employers and 45 percent of youth agreed. On top of this disconnect, the authors indicate that there is no comprehensive data on skills required for employment or on the performance of specific education providers in building those skills.

The report identifies common elements of innovative and effective programs, many of which reflect aspects of CTE as laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, including:

  • Educators and employers actively partner to design program and curricula together.
  • The “education-to-employment journey” is treated as a non-linear continuum.

What is needed to close this knowledge and skills gap? Again, the authors suggest improvements that align with the work that many state and local CTE stakeholders are already putting into action:

  • Better data to inform students’ choices and manage performance.
  • Clearer expectations for students.
  • Partnerships between multiple education providers and employers within a specific sector.
  • An organization or institution at a high-level that can work to develop solutions, gather data and identify and disseminate best practices.

Access the full report here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

PARCC Releases New Assessment Blueprints and Test Specifications

May 3rd, 2013

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), one of two consortia creating K-12 assessments that align to the Common Core State Standards, released this week assessment blueprints and test specification documents for their English/language arts and mathematics assessments.

These resources will share insight with educators on how PARCC assessments will reflect and measure the Common Core standards. This understanding would ideally help educators support quality implementation of the standards through teaching and classroom-based assessments.

The consortium is currently trying out exam questions in several states on mathematics (modeling and reasoning) and English/language arts (prose-constructed responses). Next spring, PARCC will carry out a large-scale field test that will include a stratified sampling of schools and students from all 22 participating states.

Read more about progress made by the second assessment consortium, Smarter Balanced, on our blog.

PARCC also recently released a draft accommodations manual that is open for public comment until May 13, 2013. In addition, public comments on PARCC’s draft performance level descriptors can be submitted until May 8, 2013.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

NASDCTEc Releases Publication on Area CTE Centers

April 29th, 2013

Career Technical Education (CTE) inherently emphasizes partnerships with employers and encourages input from business and industry on CTE curriculum and other collaborative opportunities so that students graduate with the knowledge and skills that employers demand. But despite increased interest in CTE by students and businesses, states and school districts are struggling to maintain or expand CTE programs due to limited federal, state and local funding. Given the current fiscal situation, area CTE centers area an especially viable option for districts wanting to provide students with high-quality CTE in a cost-effective way.

Last week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) released a new publication on this topic – Area CTE Centers: Conquering the Skills Gap through Business and Industry Collaboration. The paper provides information on the history, benefits, and cost effectiveness of area CTE centers. Several examples of best practices are highlighted including Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Ohio and Canadian Valley Technology Center in Oklahoma. Read more

A webinar recording on area CTE centers, featuring leaders from the schools mentioned above, is now available here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

From the Ground Up: Case Study Describes Creation of New Community College at CUNY

April 29th, 2013

The New Community College (NCC) at the City University of New York was developed in response to Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s interest in creating an innovative community college that increases student learning, achievement, and graduation rates, and improves student retention. NCC, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently released Rethinking Community College for the 21st Century, a case study that follows the development of NCC from its initial planning in 2008 through its opening in August 2012.

The planners of the NCC combed through best practices and research to inform the design of their community college, with the ultimate goal of building an institution that would increase its graduation rate after three years to 35 percent with students transferring to four-year institutions or entering related careers. NCC is specifically designed to provide students with Career Technical Education (CTE) through curriculum that links classroom learning to practical career experiences.

Key components of the NCC model include:

  • First-year program of study: Integrates credit-bearing and developmental coursework, and mandatory participation in a summer bridge program.
  • City seminar: Two-semester course, including reading, writing, and quantitative aspects, on issues in New York City and other major cities.
  • Partnerships: Workplace partners provide increased opportunities for hands-on student learning.
  • Learning outcomes: Rubrics assess student progress and each student has an electronic portfolio.

In addition to providing CTE majors in Business Administration, Information Technology, and other areas, NCC also requires a two-semester course, Ethnographies of Work (EoW), that helps students investigate different occupations to make informed decisions about their majors and career paths. EoW provides students with a background in basic research methodology, analysis, professional skill training, and encourages students to deeply consider their future academic and career pursuits. The course also provides students with an introduction to the school’s five majors, information on various workplaces, and the programs of study that are available at NCC.

NCC is one of many postsecondary institutions delivering high-quality, innovative CTE. We welcome you to send information on how your schools are delivering CTE through innovative design and practice to kherbertson@careertech.org.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Spring Meeting Recap: CTE in the Spotlight

April 19th, 2013

The education and workforce communities have increasingly focused on Career Technical Education (CTE) as an effective strategy for preparing college- and career-ready students. At this week’s Spring Meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), representatives from several national policy organizations discussed their interest in CTE and ways that they can partner with CTE stakeholders to promote high quality CTE programs.

Tom Rudin, a Senior Vice President at the College Board, noted his organization’s commitment to supporting college and career readiness aspirations for all students. He described the College Board’s interest in working with NASDCTEc to advocate for CTE and issues surrounding college and career readiness.

Melanie Anderson, Director of Government Affairs at Opportunity Nation, discussed her organization’s role in decreasing the “opportunity gap.” Opportunity Nation is particularly interested in bringing the private sector into conversations about CTE and ensuring the alignment of CTE programs with business and industry needs. Visit the opportunity index, a tool that uses a number of indicators to demonstrate economic mobility and opportunity, to view the impact of the opportunity gap where you live. View Melanie’s presentation here.

Martha Ross of the Brookings Institution described her organization’s interest in regionally-based, industry-responsive pathways and CTE as a human capitol issue. Lastly, Tess Mason-Elder of Civic Enterprises described CTE as a way to address educational access issues by improving persistence rates and presenting students with affordable postsecondary options.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Spring Meeting Recap: A View from the Hill: Reauthorization

April 19th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting to share information on the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) and other important Career Technical Education (CTE) issues. With Perkins becoming eligible for reauthorization this summer, representatives from key Congressional committees shared their thoughts on CTE and possible timing for reauthorization.

Crystal Bridgeman, a Senior Education Policy Advisor on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, discussed the importance of improving the quality and accessibility of CTE, aligning the programs with labor market demands, and creating stronger performance accountability measures. While she emphasized the value of Perkins and CTE, Bridgeman suspects that reauthorization for expired legislation, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), will occur before Perkins reauthorization.

Rosemary Lahasky, a professional staff member with the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Education and the Workforce, also highlighted the importance of CTE. She stressed that the focus for Perkins in the House will be on providing more flexibility for states and locals. While Lahasky also anticipates that Perkins reauthorization will fall behind legislation such as ESEA, she expects for Perkins hearings to begin at some point this year.

Please visit the NASDCTEc blog for the most current news and information on Perkins reauthorization and CTE legislation and policy issues.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Spring Meeting Recap: Two Minute Roundup Panel

April 19th, 2013

This year, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) surveyed Career Technical Education (CTE) State Directors to learn more about CTE-related challenges and successes experienced in their states over the last year. Responses from each state were compiled into a “Two Minute Roundup” document. This resource is intended to spur conversation and connectivity between states that may experience similar accomplishments or difficulties.

Earlier this week at the NASDCTEc Spring Meeting, a Two Minute Round Up panel featured CTE leaders who delved further into their respective state’s successes and challenges.

Meg Harvey, CTE State Director at the Maine Department of Education, described several CTE initiatives in Maine including the launch of a five year associate degree pilot program. View Meg’s powerpoint presentation here.

Kathy D’Antoni, Assistant State Superintendent of Schools at the West Virginia Department of Education, highlighted her state’s work on simulated workplaces. She also presented a new online resource called “in|site.” The website provides hundreds of resources, many that align with West Virginia’s academic and CTE standards, to help better prepare students for postsecondary education and careers. Kathy’s presentation is available here.

Rita Johnson, Senior Director for Workforce Innovation at the Kansas Board of Regents, discussed the Kansas state legislature’s plan to enhance the CTE system by providing free college tuition to students for all technical courses in approved programs at various institutions in the state. An overview document of Kansas’ work is available here. Rita has also provided several video clips that promote CTE programs in the state in areas such as welding, nursing, and information technology.

Visit our Spring Meeting Resources webpage to view additional resources.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

State-Driven Group Releases Next Generation Science Standards

April 11th, 2013

A consortium of states released this week the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a final set of internationally-benchmarked science standards that identify practices and content that all K-12 students should master in order to be college and career ready.

Teams from 26 states worked for 2 years with a writing team to develop the NGSS. The state-driven process was managed by Achieve and was primarily funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

The NGSS are based on a Framework for K-12 Science Education published by the National Academies’ National Research Council in 2011. Rather than focusing solely on practice, the standards also bring a stronger focus to science content and a greater emphasis to critical thinking. The NGSS are research-based and take into account research on how students learn science most effectively – striving for a more holistic, investigative approach to science.

Susan Codere, a project coordinator for NGSS in Michigan, emphasized the importance of preparing students to be both college ready and career ready. Codere said of the NGSS, “Our conversation about education always includes workforce training. Whenever we adopt a new set of standards we make sure to promote the opportunities the standards afford, not just in terms of college readiness, but in terms of workforce readiness. That’s particularly relevant with the NGSS.”

The NGSS can be viewed here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

 

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