Archive for August, 2010

Treasury Seeks Comments on Financial Education Core Competencies

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Department of the Treasury is currently accepting public comments on a proposed set of financial education core competencies. As the Chairperson of the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, the Treasury would like to know whether the proposed competencies are complete and whether there are portions that should be deleted, revised, or expanded. The goal of the Core Competencies is to define what consumers should know and be able to do to successfully understand and make informed decisions about their personal finances. The five core concept areas are:

  1. Earning
  2. Spending
  3. Saving
  4. Borrowing
  5. Protecting against risk

You may access the competencies in the Federal Register Notice requesting comments. Comments are due by September 12, 2010.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Degree Programs Develop “Technically Trained Leaders”

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Demand for highly-educated and skilled workers has fueled a rise in a specialized graduate science education degree for “technically trained leaders,” according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The trend burgeoning in higher education illustrates the demand for workers with a strong academic background buttressed with real-world skills in all sectors of the job market.

The number of professional science master’s (P.S.M.) degree programs in American universities has grown over the past two years and is now available at nearly 100 universities. “The degrees represent a response from academe to repeated calls from corporate and political leaders for better articulation of American graduate education with the country’s work-force needs,” the article said. Industry wants workers who have in-depth knowledge and the know how to apply it.

Companies, government agencies and nonprofits seek P.S.M. graduates with the expectation that they help be innovative and contribute to the knowledge-based global economy.  P.S.M. degree programs include rigorous course work in science or mathematics for fields with high career demand. In addition, courses require students to obtain a background workplace in areas such financial and project management, communication, teamwork, ethics, and regulatory affairs. The universities coordinate with employers to ensure that the programs are equipping students with real and timely economic demands.

As P.S.M. degrees grow in demand, the need for individuals — of all ages and across all job sectors — to obtain both academic and technical skills will likely be more apparent.

By Erin in News
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Announcing Dr. Dean Folkers as Deputy Executive Director of NASDCTEc/NCTEF to Help Lead Charge for CTE

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Folkers Head Shot1We are pleased to announce Dr. Dean Folkers has joined our staff as new Deputy Executive Director. For the first time in our history, the National Career Technical Education Foundation will have its own director, signifying recognition of our growth and development as an organization within the career technical education community. “We believe that our organization is at a turning point and the creation of this new position is central to the advancement of our new vision and the adoption of the Career Clusters as the standard model for all of CTE,” said Kimberly Green, National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)  Executive Director.

 Dr. Folkers joins NASDCTEc during a crucial time, as the organization leads a refreshed agenda for career technical education (CTE), which aims to be a rigorous academic system that also trains students for the jobs of tomorrow. To achieve its vision for CTE, NASDCTEc has adopted the National Career Clusters model as the official framework of all CTE programs. The comprehensive Career Clusters model provides students with a strong pipeline from high school to college and to career. Dr. Folkers will be charged with spearheading the National Career Clusters Initiative, a model intended to prepare all students for college and career.

Dr. Folkers comes to the organization with more than 20 years of CTE experience. Beginning as a high school agricultural education instructor and local FFA Advisor at Lakeview High School, Columbus, Nebraska, Dr. Folkers went on to serve in different leadership roles within the National FFA Organization. In his most recent position as the Assistant State Career and Technical Education Director for the Nebraska Department of Education, Dr. Folkers was involved with the creation and implementation of the Nebraska Career Education model that incorporated the States’ Career Clusters framework in supporting the development of college and career readiness among Nebraska’s students.  

We look forward to working with Dr. Folkers in his exciting new role. “I hope to capitalize on my previous experiences with career technical education to help me take NCTEF’s vision and the Career Clusters framework to the next level, by encouraging people to adopt and implement the framework,” Dr. Folkers said. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Folkers. He can be reached at dfolkers@careertech.org.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements, Career Clusters®
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Career Clusters Integral Focus of Killeen ISD New Career Academy Planning

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The Killeen Independent School District plans to open a new Career Academy fall 2010, which will include courses in health science, information technology and arts, audio/visual technology and communications, agriculture, food and natural resources, fire academy, cosmetology, welding, construction and automotive technology. With input from area colleges and universities and local employers, school district leaders were able this summer to lay out the planned academic framework for the school, which will cover 143,000 square feet. The new Academy is being built at a good time, as local high schools are growing, with one school above capacity—rezoning will gradually level the enrollment levels and the Academy will ease capacity issues in the district. According to Todd Martin of the Killeen ISD Public Information Office, many of the courses will satisfy core subject graduation requirements. More information

By Ramona in Career Clusters®
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The Debate about Online Courses

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Online courses are gaining popularity among college students, however a recent article raises debate over such programs’ effectiveness and which students are able to get the most out of them.

A recent article, Effectiveness of Fully Online Courses for College Students: Response to a Department of Education Meta-Analysis, assesses a meta-analysis conducted in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Education. Researchers found that online learning could be beneficial for well-prepared and financially stable students. As for lower income students and underprepared students, online learning does not seem to be as accessible or effective.

Supporters of online learning feel that, potentially, these programs can provide superior learning outcomes as well as increased access for students because of reduced costs and commute time. While this could hold true, many researchers and higher education institutions are still not completely supportive. Some research suggests that students who complete online courses do indeed learn as much and are just as satisfied as students in regular classroom environments, while other research shows that students are less likely to complete online courses in general.

The report did point out various discrepancies within the study. The first concern was the lack of comparative outcomes between online and face-to-face learning. Another issue found was the absence of diversity among the types of online courses assessed. All of these courses were some form of computer or technical related course, making it easier to use the online learning method. Finally, the samples chosen for these studies were all from mid-sized or larger universities. Five of the samples were rated by U.S. News and World Report as “selective” or “highly selective” schools, which raise issue of diversity among the types of students who were assessed. Taking all of these factors into account, the report concluded that while online courses can be effective for prepared students, this form of learning needs a great deal of improvement in order to achieve its original goal of increasing accessibility to college and improving student achievement through higher education programs.

By Nancy in Research
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Ten Race to the Top Winners Announced

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the round two winners of the $3.4 billion in Race to the Top grants.  These winners are:

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Hawaii
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Maryland
  6. New York
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Washington, D.C.

The 10 winning States have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.

There was no immediate word on how much money each winner will receive, but awards will be based on States’ student population. In the first round of grants, Delaware was awarded $100 million and Tennessee received $500 million. In a statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that this round of finalists was very competitive and that the Department hopes to have a round three of grants, using $1.35 billion requested in the President’s FY11 budget.

By Nancy in News, Public Policy
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Fordham Institute Rates Common Core Against State Standards

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

In their latest assessment of state English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute compares states’ standards not just to each other, but to the Common Core State Standards developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.  Fordham graded each state and the Common Core standards on an “A” through “F” scale, giving the Common Core math standards a grade of A-minus and the Common Core ELA standards a B-plus.

Among the other findings in The State of State Standards – and the Common Core – in 2010 report:

To date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. One of the factors that these states and those that have not adopted thus far must take into account is the comparison of their state standards with the Common Core. What Fordham’s analysis shows is that for many states that choose to adopt the Common Core Standards, the bar will be raised for student achievement.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Education Jobs Fund Applications Available Now

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The Department of Education is now accepting applications from State governors for funding under the Education Jobs program, which provides $10 billion in assistance to States to save or create education jobs for the 2010-2011 school year. Jobs funded under this program include those that provide educational and related services for early childhood, elementary, and secondary education.

The Education Jobs Fund requires that school districts use the funds to pay the salaries and benefits of teachers, school administrators, and other essential staff. The funds can be used to recall or rehire former employees, retain existing employees, and hire new employees to ensure that students receive vital educational and related services. These funds may not be used for general administrative expenses, overhead, or other support services by school districts.

The deadline to submit the application is September 9, 2010. The Department anticipates awarding funds within two weeks of submission of applications. You may submit comments or questions about the program to EducationJobsFund@ed.gov.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Welcomes Dr. Kathy D’Antoni as New State Director of West Virginia

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Kathy DAntoniNASDCTEc wishes to welcome Kathy D’Antoni as State Director of West Virginia. Dr. D’Antoni moved into her new role upon the retirement of Dr. Stanley Hopkins, who served for many years.  Dr. D’Antoni was recently named the Assistant State Superintendent of Schools, Division of Technical, Adult and Institutional Education with the West Virginia Department of Education.  Dr. D’Antoni has a wealth of knowledge and strong presence within the career technical education community. She was formerly the Vice Chancellor of the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education. She obtained her doctorate degree from West Virginia University in Higher Education Administration.  Dr. D’Antoni began her career in education as a teacher.  In 1975, she left the education field to participate in a family owned business in Myrtle Beach, SC.  She returned to education in 1992 and worked with the Tech Prep initiative at Marshall University and later as the State Director for Tech Prep.  She served as interim president of West Virginia State Community and Technical College in 2008. 

 Dr. D’Antoni has worked extensively with curriculum alignment and curriculum development projects.  She is the past president of the National Association for Tech Prep Leaders and sits on the advisory board for the League of Innovation’s SAIL initiative and Marshall University’s teacher education program.  Currently, she is chair of the Seamless Education Committee for West Virginia’s Vision Shared initiative. 

 Dr. D’Antoni has also been named to oversee the area of Institutional Education Programs at the state level, which led to the renaming of West Virginia’s Division within the Department of Education to the Division of Technical, Adult and Institutional Education. Please welcome Dr. D’Antoni to our organization. She can be reached at kdantoni@access.k12.wv.us.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements
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Linked Learning Approach Attempts to Renew Curriculum

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The state of California is leading the charge to provide relevant learning and ensure that their CTE students are college and career ready. The Alliance for Excellent Education hosted an event, “Building the Capacity of Teachers to Prepare Students for College and Careers,” to highlight The Linked Learning Approach which has been adopted in the state of California as a way for teachers to increase student engagement.

One example highlighted during this presentation was the school of Digital Media and Design (DMD) at the Kearny High Education Complex. DMD adopted the Linked Learning Approach two years ago when the school was ranked in the bottom 20 percent of California schools. Since implementing this model, DMD has been ranked in the top 25 percent of schools.

The Linked Learning Approach incorporates project and inquiry-based curriculums where students are given semester long projects to complete with a team. At the end of each semester students present their final project to a panel of business and industry representatives. In order to ensure that projects provide relevant learning for all students, instructors work together to align course materials that allow students to make connections across all subjects.

Panelists all echoed the importance of quality professional development programs to ensure the best education for America’s youth.

By Nancy in Meetings and Events, Research
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