Archive for April, 2011

The Spring Meeting Career Clusters Update Shared by Dean Folkers, NASDCTEc Deputy Director Included Nationwide Effort to Revise the Career Cluster Knowledge & Skill Statements to Align with the Common Core

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Dean opened the session by informing attendees to register for the upcoming 9th National Career Clusters Institute, which will be June 20-22, 2011 in Atlanta, GA. With the theme “A world of career options – one simple framework”  the Institute will have many exciting, timely and relevant breakouts, speakers and will provide opportunities for attendees to share promising practices and learn what’s new regarding Career Cluster Implementation across the nation. Dean also shared an inside peek at the new website revision, along with new products available to promote and enhance instruction at the local level.

Dean shared a key vital project underway, the revision of the Career Cluster knowledge and skills statements, including the steps of the process which will eventually provide a common basis for assessment across all programs of study that will link to the common core, which, once completed, can be utilized nationwide. He presented a call for subject matter experts, vital in the movement of this effort. If you would like to learn more, please contact Dean Folkers at

By Ramona in Uncategorized
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Spring Meeting Session Highlights: Linked Learning and CTE, A Strategy to Scale up CTE’s Impact

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Session: Linked Learning and CTE: A Strategy to Scale up CTE’s Impact

Speakers Gary Hoachlander, President, ConnectEd and Ace Parsi, Policy and Advocacy Assistant, Alliance for Excellent Education shared insights and strategies in the session Linked Learning and CTE: A Strategy to Scale up CTE’s Impact. In Hoachlander’s presentation, he spoke about the need for schools to provide a new approach to educating students – providing programs that link strong academics with real world experience. Linked learning prepares students for college and career, not just one or the other. The guiding principles of Linked Learning also include a pathway that leads students to the full range of postsecondary options, with the goal of improved student achievement. Hoachlander shared that Linked Learning is as much about building district infrastructure as it is building strong programs. Stressing that CTE needs to be part of the larger high school experience – promoted as part of a larger STEM/high school improvement strategy, Hoachlander noted that programs of study must include academic courses, not just CTE cluster/sequence coursework, with academics taught differently. Additionally, Linked Learning should be a central feature of ESEA.

Ace Parsi, of the Alliance for Excellent Education, asked the group to consider “what are successful, high quality programs?” Urging them to think beyond silos, Parsi shared that the “labor market is now different and more advanced skills are needed to compete in today’s marketplace. “ Regarding partnerships, Parsi said that these should exist in forms that reach beyond just teachers and schools, that partnerships with school districts, businesses should also be fostered. He noted that the fact that learners have different needs should be understood, with the outcome that a systemic approach needs to be structured that leads to success for all students; Linked Learning is a strategy for transforming high schools and engaging CTE systematically in that effort. Parsi gave a status update on the progress of the Linked Learning Pathways Affording College and Career Success Act (111th), House Bill Number: H.R. 6174, noting that many elements in this bill are also in Perkins IV, and it is in process. Parsi described a health careers academy, where a medical science class showed a direct connection to what is learned in an internship setting is also learned in class. When asked “does it cost more to implement Linked Learning”, Parsi noted that California used their existing resources – but differently applied them. Examples of resource allocation

Additional resources:

By Ramona in Uncategorized

Spring Meeting: Data Systems and CTE

Friday, April 29th, 2011

At the NASDCTEc/OVAE Joint Spring Leadership Meeting last Monday, State Directors heard more about the place of Career Technical Education (CTE) in the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program. An expert from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) stated that though state leaders may opt to include CTE as part of a state’s data system, the grants do not require inclusion of CTE data.

The purpose of the grants is to meet several long term goals including examining whether graduates have the knowledge and skills to succeed in further education and the workforce. Though CTE data is not a requirement within the SLDS grants, states and CTE programs would benefit mutually by reporting CTE data on this goal.

The SLDS grants are three to five year awards of $1.5 to $19.7 million per state. Since FY 2006, a total of $515 million in grants has been awarded to 41 states and the District of Columbia. The program has evolved from requiring only K-12 elements to involving pre-kindergarten, postsecondary education, workforce education, and the student-teacher link in addition to the K-12 components.

Some issues identified through the SLDS Grant Program include:

Successful strategies include:

To access the PowerPoint presentation from this session, please visit the 2011 Spring Meeting Resources webpage.

By Kara in Uncategorized
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Spring Meeting: Duncan Pushes for Higher CTE Student Outcomes

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Though he sees Career Technical Education (CTE) as “a tremendous force for good,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan believes that many CTE programs are not delivering the necessary student outcomes.

At the NASDCTEc/OVAE Joint Leadership Meeting last week, Duncan told State Directors and other attendees that many CTE programs are not rigorous enough, and that they need to focus more on preparing CTE students for high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs.

The Secretary also emphasized that postsecondary completion is the bottom line; CTE programs must prepare students to earn postsecondary credentials or industry-recognized certifications. This is not surprising as the country strives to meet President Obama’s goal to have the highest number of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Besides achieving high postsecondary or certificate completion rates, Duncan proposed that quality CTE programs must demonstrate increased graduation rates and decreased dropout rates.

Duncan stated that programs or schools exhibiting high statistics in these areas should be replicated, while CTE programs not yielding results should be phased out. While he promotes taking successful CTE programs to scale, the Secretary separately noted that programs should be locally-driven and “the opposite of cookie-cutter.”

Sharing best practices in CTE is critical at this time. CTE programs that are not yielding high-achieving students must look to the examples of more successful programs and revamp.

Despite Duncan’s message, State Directors continue to cite encouraging statistics and compelling examples showing the success of CTE in preparing college- and career-ready students.

By Kara in Uncategorized
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Spring Meeting: Legislative Implications for CTE

Friday, April 29th, 2011

The CTE community should prepare for a fight to restore federal Perkins funds, which took its first hit in the FY11 appropriations bill, warned education policy experts at the NASDCTEc /OVAE Joint Spring Leadership Meeting last week.

The FY11 funding bill cut $140.2 million from Perkins, including completely eliminating funding for Tech Prep and cutting Basic State Grants by $37.3 million, said Jamie Baxter, Advocacy Manager of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).  The cut will impact funds for the 2011-2012 school year.

Moreover, experts predict that the FY11 bill indicates that funding levels for FY12 may be poised for a similar fate. Thus far, the House has passed their FY12 budget resolution, which proposes to set non-security discretionary spending below 2008 levels and freeze it for five years. The resolution sets spending for Department of Education programs at $360 billion, which is the same as the FY06 level.

Rachel Gragg, Federal Policy Director for National Skills Coalition, said there is a new urgency to push for reauthorization of legislation such as the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), which funds education and training programs that are of interest to the CTE community. Rising concerns regarding duplicative and ineffective programs will likely endanger funding for such legislation. The strategy to maintain funding would be to expedite reauthorization with the assurance that new language will ensure the support of quality effective programs, she said. On a similar note, Perkins is up for legislation in 2012.

Spiros Protopsaltis, Education Policy Advisor for Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, urged the CTE community to focus on advocacy efforts that highlight the strong role CTE plays in preparing students for college and career. Addressing that broad overall goal will appeal to Congress and the Administration, which are seeking investments that will prepare students to compete in the global economy and position the nation to succeed.

“CTE has an important role to play,” Protopsaltis said.

By Erin in Public Policy
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Opening General Session of the Joint NASDCTEc/OVAE Spring Leadership Meeting Held April 18-20, 2011

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and The Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) partnered for the 2011 Spring Leadership meeting in Washington, DC, from April 18-20, 2011. The meeting highlighted a new branding for CTE and the future direction for our work: “Career Technical Education: Learning that Works for America.”

Dr. Phil Berkenbile

The meeting was opened with a welcome by NASDCTEc President Dr. Phil Berkenbile, State Director of Oklahoma, who set the tone for the meeting and positively remarked on the numbers of attendees present, thanking them for their participation and support of career technical education (CTE).

He then introduced Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. Reflecting on two of OVAE’s CTE initiatives: to provide assistance to states to improve program quality, implementation, and accountability; and to establish national initiatives that help states implement rigorous career and technical education programs, Dr. Dann-Messier emphasized that among the strategies for improving CTE, top initiatives included a focus on rigorous programs of study, an enhanced accountability system, and a more detailed implementation plan for programs of study.

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier

Citing that the fiscal 2011 bill negotiated by the President and Congress reflects tough choices that need to be made, Dann-Messier challenged the group by saying that CTE programs need to be strengthened. This comment would be further echoed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on April 19, when he also addressed the group, saying “CTE programs need to strengthen their rigor and relevance – and deliver better outcomes for students.” Duncan’s Speech

Dr. Pat Ainsworth

NASDCTEc Vice President Dr. Pat Ainsworth, State Director of California, asked for the roll call of the states, a newly-revived past tradition, which enabled each state called to have a representative stand and announce those from their state in attendance. Pat was pleased to report an exceedingly high turnout of states in attendance, and welcomed several new members to the assembly.

Dr. Berkenbile continued the meeting with sponsor acknowledgements and recognition, rounding out the session with highlights of the meeting’s agenda.

More blogs on the meeting sessions and activities will be posted within the next several days – stay tuned!

By Ramona in Uncategorized

ED Hosts Community College Symposium

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Education hosted a Community College Symposium at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD. This was the last in a series of events, including four regional summits, focused on community colleges led by the Department and Dr. Jill Biden. The symposium featured panels that presented preliminary findings on four issue briefs focused on:

In speaking about aligning secondary and postsecondary education, the panelists pointed out that the transition from high school to postsecondary is troublesome for many youth, and that many drop out after only one semester. They acknowledged that CTE is leading the way in the effort to align learner levels, but that alignment must be a broader part of general education in order to better serve all students. Among the successful ways in which CTE accommodates transitions are Tech Prep, Career Clusters, career pathways, and programs of study.

The panelists also mentioned the Common Core State Standards as a way to better align high school standards with postsecondary entrance requirements. However, this is not happening in most states, and would require more collaboration between secondary and postsecondary. Dual enrollment was also talked about as an effective strategy to increase communication and alignment between high schools and colleges.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Making the Case for Keeping the Federal Role in Education

Monday, April 25th, 2011

There has been much talk in recent months from freshman and Tea Party Congressmen about the role of the federal government in education, and even calls to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. In a new paper released this month by the Center on Education Policy (CEP), Get the Federal Government Out of Education? That Wasn’t the Founding Fathers’ Vision, Jack Jennings lays out several reasons why limiting the federal government’s role in education would be “a wrong-headed, simplistic move.”

First, federal involvement in education is not a new phenomenon. Laws from the 1700s granted federal lands to new states that could be used for public education. These policies existed even before Washington was elected president, and lasted 170 years until the Eisenhower Administration.

Second, it would limit the ability of states and local districts to use tax dollars to support public education. While only 8% of funding for public education comes from the federal government, the federal tax code, through a number of deductions and exclusions from federal taxation, incentivizes states and locals to use their tax dollars for public education. According to CEP, these indirect subsidies for education earned through the federal tax code were worth somewhere between $42 billion to $48 billion for all levels of education in 2009.

Third, federal student financial aid makes college more affordable, leading individuals to good jobs and a better life. Almost three-fourths of student aid comes from the federal government, and if this aid did not exist, many students would be unable to access postsecondary education and training.

Fourth, the federal government has long supported equal educational opportunities for minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and the poor. For example, according to Jennings, the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 was enacted for the purpose of providing “vocational” education to new immigrants and those with low levels of education.

Finally, broad education reforms at that federal level, rather than piecemeal interventions at the local level, will help to raise the United States’ academic achievement and competiveness among other countries. During the last four presidential administrations, reforms such as increased accountability and uniform standards, have gained traction at the federal and national levels.

By Nancy in Publications
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AP-Viacom Survey: Students Dissatisfied with High School Preparation

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Education stakeholders continue to stress the need to prepare college- and career-ready high school graduates. However, a recent survey reveals students’ discontent with their high school preparation, and reveals a need for more focus on the “career ready” component of college and career readiness.

The Associated Press and Viacom recently released the results of a telephone survey of over 1,100 American young adults (ages 18 to 24) to gauge their perspectives on education today. Overall, most students rated their high schools poorly in areas that would ease the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and prepare them to enter college or the workforce. Career Technical Education (CTE) aims to help students with this transition by providing a pathway from rigorous, sequential secondary coursework into postsecondary education or a career.

About half of the respondents rate their high schools as fair, poor, or very poor in preparing students for further education. An alarming 57 percent of students report their high schools as fair, poor, or very poor at helping students choose or be prepared for future careers. Many students also say that high schools fail to help students find internships or other work experience. Less than a quarter of students credit their guidance counselor for helping greatly with these issues.

Despite respondents’ reports of not being prepared for further education, two-thirds of students believe that their peers should aim to attend college, and about the same number hope to attain a four-year degree themselves. However, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about one-third of today’s 25-to-34 year olds hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, and less than 10 percent receive an associate degree. This presents an alarming mismatch because, despite plans to attend college, many students are not attending or completing a postsecondary credential or certificate. As the survey results show, students entering the workforce after high school do not feel adequately prepared for this transition.

To access the survey results, please visit The AP-Viacom Survey of Youth on Education.

By Kara in News
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NASDCTEc, CTE advocates launch CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Members of NASDCTEc this week launched its CTE: Learning that Works for America campaign. The effort, which is being led by a growing number of CTE advocates — ranging from State Directors to business and industry, to CTSOs, and to other advocates — aims to showcase high-quality CTE that prepares students for the demands of the global economy.

The campaign kicks off at a critical time in which officials such as Education Secretary Arne Duncan have challenged the CTE community to prove its value and the positive impact programs make on student outcomes.

CTE: Learning that Works for America underscores the value of CTE to a broad array of stakeholders, including students, parents, educators, business and industry, and policymakers. The campaign puts in a clear voice a unified message about the success CTE programs across the nation have demonstrated through low high school dropout rates, above-average college-going rates and evidence of return on investment, and more. NASDCTEc aims to help mobilize and strengthen the CTE community with this campaign. Further, the initiative pushes forward NASDCTEc’s mission to deliver quality, consistent CTE that prepares all students for college and career.

In the coming weeks, NASDCTEc will launch a new website, which will include more resources for the CTE community to mobilize the campaign.

By Erin in CTE: Learning that works for America