Archive for May, 2010

Already at the Top: Career Technical Education

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Across the nation and in a range of regions – urban, rural, suburban – career technical education (CTE) schools have dramatically turned around dropout rates, boosted student achievement and increased the number of students who enter college, according to a recent National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education three-part research brief series. Michigan, New Jersey and New Mexico each provide a model of a successful CTE school, NASDCTEc says.

The schools’ success stories are of particular significance given the economic climate and the high demand for programs that adequately prepare students for the global market, according to NASDCTEc, a Washington, D.C.-area association that represents state heads of CTE. Already At the Top: CTE Programs Show Positive Impact on Student Achievement highlights three high schools that have demonstrated a positive impact in significant school improvement areas, some of which are aligned with the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top priority areas.

The schools elevated their standards for students and teachers, partnered with business and industry, and established strong relationships with postsecondary institutions to improve their schools and the way they teach students.

Newark Tech High School – New Jersey (urban)

Livonia Career Technical Center – Michigan (suburban)

Loving High School – New Mexico (rural)

By Erin in Public Policy, Publications
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A Tool for Program of Study Improvement: Illinois’ Pathways to Results Initiative

Friday, May 28th, 2010

As the new vision states, CTE is delivered through comprehensive programs of study aligned to the National Career Clusters framework. Because of our commitment to programs of study through Career Clusters, we are always looking for state and local examples. What are states doing with programs of study? Are they using them to address on particular challenges? PTRs Primary Goals

Last week, we heard about one state who asked: what tools can we use to improve programs of study to better prepare our students for college and career?

The State of Illinois responded to this question with Pathways to Results (PTR), an initiative the Office of Community College Research and Leadership presented at a webinar last week. PTR is a tool that can be used in schools to continuously improve programs by identifying areas like inequity and implementing outcomes assessments that encourage the use of data to inform decisions.

PTRs Six PhasesThe PTR process is structured around six phases, described in this brochure, which also illustrates PTR when applied to programs of study.

The webinar included three panelists who are implementing PTR in at least one program of study at their schools.

PTR impact on Manufacturing (two examples):

With a focus on program improvement and access, the PTR tool allowed schools to determine the necessary changes in curriculum and resources. For example, identifying trends or changes in student demographics can determine how a school would best serve the needs of the students in their program. In one Illinois school, data collection confirmed that women were underrepresented in manufacturing courses, but it also revealed that there was a significantly higher enrollment of special populations who may need specific resources.

With a focus on improving the image and understanding of three programs of study in manufacturing, the PTR tool was used to help focus on relationship building with high schools and production of new materials to increase awareness of available careers in manufacturing.

PTR impact on Health Science:

With a focus on recruitment, the PTR tool helped the school work on application guidelines. Illinois discovered that these guidelines for potential students were confusing, which resulted in misunderstandings and students being delayed a full year. They are in the process of improving the application guideline materials and work with students to prevent any future misunderstandings and delays. They are also using data to compare the numbers of students applying and those who are accepted, information they previously did not have.

Overall, panelists encouraged others to clearly define their improvement goals, to work with others already in the process and to begin by going to for more information.

Click here for more information on Illinois’ PTR initiative and other projects by OCCRL.

By Emma in News
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Legislative Update: Education Jobs Fund

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Education Jobs Fund Press Conference

On Wednesday the National Education Association (NEA) held a press conference addressing the $23 billion education jobs fund featuring NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Reps. Dave Obey (D-WI) and George Miller (D-CA), and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

“The Recovery Bill last year saved over 300,000 education jobs, but, because states have not yet recovered, and local economies are just beginning the recovery process, we still have a shortage of the financial resources necessary to keep teachers, firemen and policemen on the job for another year while state budgets catch up,” said Rep. Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “On that score, we have two choices—we can sit, frozen in our own indifference, as President Roosevelt once said, or we can take action to save those jobs.  That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

House Markup of Supplemental Postponed

The House Appropriation Committee’s markup of the emergency supplemental that was to include the $23 billion education jobs fund that was scheduled for Thursday has been postponed and will not happen until after the Memorial Day recess. In the meantime, the Committee released an official summary of the bill.

State-By-State Estimates of Jobs Saved or Created by Education Jobs Fund

Earlier this week the White House released state-by-state estimates of the number of jobs that will be saved or created through the $23 billion education jobs fund. Based on these estimates you can see how the funding will help your state, and since the House markup was postponed, there is still time to contact your Representative to voice your support of saving educators’ jobs!

By Nancy in Legislation
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Education Jobs Fund Not in Senate Supplemental Appropriations Bill

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Congress Daily is reporting that Senator Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations subcommittee, will not offer an amendment to the FY10 supplemental appropriations bill that would include the $23 billion education jobs fund due to a lack of Republican support. Harkin said that he was “confident that a clear majority of senators would support such an amendment,” but that getting 60 votes would not be possible. Since the funding will not be included in the Senate version, the education funding will have to be worked out when the bill is conferenced by the House and Senate. Harkin said he will keep pushing for this money.

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Dave Obey, does still intend to include the education jobs fund in its supplemental appropriations bill. The committee is scheduled to markup the bill on Thursday. Last week we sent out an action alert urging you to contact your Representatives and asking them to support the inclusion of the education jobs fund in the House emergency supplemental appropriations bill.  Please call your member of Congress today!

Chairman Obey will hold a press conference tomorrow with House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller and Education Secretary Duncan  to discuss the education jobs fund.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Narrowing Achievement Gap Between CTE and Non-CTE Students Shown in NCES Brief

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In Science Achievement and Occupational Career/Technical Education Coursetaking in High School: The Class of 2005, this report analyzes trends in the academic performance of CTE participants, plus researchers have also examined the “value added” of CTE coursetaking to students’ academic achievement. Findings are mixed: across occupational program areas patterns varied; but graduates who concentrated in agriculture, business finance, commmunications and design, computer and information science and engineering technology scored higher than or not measurably different from nonconcentrators.

By Ramona in Publications, Research

Twenty States Win SLDS Grants

Monday, May 24th, 2010

The Institute of Education Sciences announced the winners of the State Longitudinal Data Systems grants last week. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands applied, and 20 states were awarded funding from the $250 million available.  The full list of award winners is:

By Nancy in News
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Legislative Update: Education Jobs Fund, America COMPETES Act

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Education Jobs Fund

We have been updating you over the last several weeks about the status of the Education Jobs Fund in both the House and the Senate.  To recap, both chambers are proposing a $23 billion jobs fund to protect teachers’ jobs, programs and essential services.  The House Appropriations Committee plans to markup the House version of the emergency supplemental appropriations bill soon.  It is Chairman Obey’s preference that this bill include the $23 billion education jobs fund.  However, he will only put the $23 billion in the supplemental bill if he believes there is sufficient support to pass it on the House floor. In the Senate, Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Labor, HHS, and Education subcommittee plans to introduce the education jobs fund as an amendment on the floor during their vote on the emergency supplemental appropriations.

Earlier this week we sent out an action alert urging you to contact your Representatives and asking them to support the inclusion of the education jobs fund in the House emergency supplemental appropriations bill. We had originally heard that the bill would be marked up after the Memorial Day recess, but the latest word is that the markup is scheduled for next Thursday, May 27th. Please call your member of Congress today!

America COMPETES Act

Two weeks ago we told you that the House intended to consider the America COMPETES Act before the Memorial Day recess. The AP is now reporting that Republicans have “united to derail” the reauthorization of the bill. The bill was brought up for a vote under the House’s suspension process, which limits floor debate, prohibits all floor amendments, and requires a two-thirds vote for final passage, however the bill failed by a vote of 261-148.

Rep. Ralph Hall of Texas, ranking Republican member of the House Science and Technology Committee said the bill “continues to take us in a much more costly direction and authorizes a number of new programs which have little to do with prioritizing investments” in science and technology.

By Nancy in Legislation
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New York Times: CTE Can Provide Clearer Pathway to Jobs

Friday, May 21st, 2010

“College and career ready” has been the buzz phrase floating in education and policy circles, but only recently has the term been linked to what many outside of the CTE community refer to as “alternative” colleges – community colleges and technical schools. A recent New York Times article reveals the shift in perspective as education and economic stakeholders recognize the growing value of two-year and industry-focused programs and institutions.

In “Plan B: Skip College”, Jacques Steinberg describes the current economic crisis as the catalyst for the nation to rethink the best way to prepare people to succeed in the workforce. Through a CTE lens, Steinberg’s article does fault by equating education and economic experts call for industry-focused credentials or two-year degrees with a “no college at all” pathway. However, the article does suggest a strong case for postsecondary education outside of four-year institutions.

Steinberg notes that no more than half of students who began a four-year bachelor’s degree program in the fall of 2006 will graduate within six years. The potential loss of time and money is evident. Further, not only is four-year postsecondary education prohibitively expensive for many people, it is also not a requirement for some of the fastest growing jobs in our economy:

“Among the top 10 growing job categories, two require college degrees: accounting (a bachelor’s) and postsecondary teachers (a doctorate). But this growth is expected to be dwarfed by the need for registered nurses, home health aides, customer service representatives and store clerks. None of those jobs require a bachelor’s degree.”

This article highlights the opportunities now available for CTE to capture the nation’s attention. More people are looking for postsecondary alternatives, recognizing that four-year colleges cannot be the only answer for our nation’s students. Students must be college and career ready, and we, the CTE community, must find ways to show the effectiveness of our programs at contributing to economic return by keeping more students in school and on track and by providing them with the skills necessary to enter the workplace.

See the complete article here.

By Emma in News
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ICW: States Spur Reform to Vie for Race to the Top Funds

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The June 1 deadline for states to apply for the next phase of Race to the Top is approaching and states are implementing policy reforms with the ambition to strengthen their applications, according to a recent Institute for Competitive Workforce article.

The ICW, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, offers a state by state snapshot of the 38 states that submitted letters of intent to vie for their share of the $4 billion pot.  ICW predicts that the number of states who make it to the application finishing line will likely be lower, but did note the significant moves some states have been making to develop a competitive application for this round.

For example, in Maryland, Gov. O’Malley passed a new education reform law, which requires student to growth be a significant factor in teacher evaluations. The State superintendent has since pushed for half of those evaluations to be based on student progress, according to ICW. In Hawaii, officials are considering easing charter school restrictions.

Whether states’ efforts will win them funds to enact even greater changes will be clearer after the June 1 deadline.

By Erin in News, Public Policy
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Youth Explore Career Information From the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Friday, May 21st, 2010

It’s never too early to introduce school-age kids to choices they may consider in their future careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Web site for kids, Exploring Career Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides introductory career information for students in Grades 4-8.

The kids’ site is designed to give a quick introduction to a career, and most of the material on the site has been adapted from the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook Handbook—a career guidance publication for adults and upper-level high school students that describes the job duties, working conditions, training requirements, earnings levels, and employment prospects of hundreds of occupations. The occupations are organized into 12 categories, many directly tied to career technical education.

By Ramona in Publications
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