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

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 [email protected].

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

CLASP Releases Federal Funding Toolkit for Career Pathways Initiatives

April 4th, 2013

CLASP, an organization aiming to improve the lives of low-income individuals, has recently released a comprehensive resource to help state teams identify and use federal resources to support career pathways models.

The Federal Funding Toolkit is comprised of four parts:

Introduction: This introductory document describes the importance of career pathways, defines the term, and explains the relevance of the toolkit.

Using the Toolkit: This document describes who should use the toolkit, how to use it, and an overview of 10 federal programs that could potentially support career pathways.

Funding Options Worksheet: These customizable worksheets list sample tasks to design, implement, and sustain career pathways.

Summary of Federal Programs: Each summary identifies federal programs that relate to career pathways and can be used to support these initiatives. The summaries include information on: type of program, eligibility requirements, type of services or support provided, and an analysis of how the program can support career pathways. Federal program summaries with relevance to Career Technical Education (CTE) include:

View the entire toolkit here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Gordon Commission Report Lays Out 10-Year Vision for Assessment

March 12th, 2013

Following two years of study, the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education released a set of recommendations calling for a more balanced approach to testing in the United States.

“The primary purpose of assessment ought to be to inform and improve teaching and learning,” said Dr. Edmund Gordon, chairman of the commission and emeritus professor at Yale University and Teachers College, Columbia University.

The report also emphasizes the need for more research in the field, particularly around the role of technology in changing what is assessed, how it is assessed and how to make results more useful for teachers and students.

The report includes three recommendations for policymakers:

  • States should create a permanent Council on Educational Assessments modeled after the Education Commission of the States.
  • President Obama and Congress should use the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and other federal laws to promote new ideas about assessment.
  • The U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in collaboration with the philanthropic community, non-profit, for-profit sector, professional teacher organizations and universities should commit to a 10-year research and development effort to strengthen the capacity of the nation’s assessment enterprise.

The 30-member Gordon Commission includes scholars, policymakers and practitioners.

Read the full report here.

Report: State Policy Approaches for Incentivizing CTE

February 28th, 2013

Career Technical Education (CTE) has become a top priority in education policy – receiving recognition from governors and members of Congress – because of its relevance to local, state, and national economies.

The Education Commission of the States (ECS), a group that facilitates the exchange of information among state policymakers and education leaders, released this month an issue brief describing how states are depending on CTE to address many issues – such as the skills gap and alignment of education with labor market needs – and what states are doing to incentivize the use of CTE. Some incentives include:

  • “Carrot” policies to encourage high school students to earn CTE credentials or to perform well on WorkKeys
  • “Stick” policies for schools and districts to ensure that CTE students are progressing toward career readiness
  • Development of supports for students at risk of falling short of career readiness

The report also draws attention to the integration of academic and technical courses and content through the Common Core State Standards and the reframing of dual enrollment programs to include CTE.

View the ECS issue brief here.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Releases New Papers

February 22nd, 2013

The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, a state-led initiative organized by the Center for Law and Social Policy, has released two working papers to help identify criteria that define high-quality career pathways and to create shared performance measures.

In the first paper, The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Approach: Developing Criteria and Metrics for Quality Career Pathways, a conceptual model is provided of career pathway state and local/regional systems and career pathways programs. The paper defines important terms, provides examples, and describes the Alliance’s approach to creating a framework for quality criteria and performance metrics.

The second paper, A Framework for Measuring Career Pathways Innovation, presents a framework for measurement and looks at key considerations when developing career pathway metrics including:

  • Level of measurement
  • Use of metrics
  • Scope of each measure

The working papers are part of a greater initiative to  identify benchmarks of high-quality career pathways and the most relevant metrics for measuring their success.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

 

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