Archive for May, 2011

Study: How Much Does A College Major Impact Potential Earnings?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Which college majors are linked to the highest job earnings? A report released last week by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed 171 majors to report on median salaries in each field.

Anthony Carnevale, Director of the Center, stated that “The majors that are most popular are not the ones that make the most money.” He also remarked that, while he views attaining a bachelor’s degree as necessary, a student’s choice of major may be an even more important decision.

Not surprisingly, majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields take the top ten spots for salary. The highest earners are Petroleum Engineers with a median salary of $120,000. All ten of the lowest median earnings are in social science fields. Counseling/Psychology majors earn the least with an annual average of $29,000.

The report also reveals the majors with the lowest unemployment, including Military Technologies and School Student Counseling, and those with the highest unemployment, including Social Psychology and Nuclear Engineering.

Race and gender earnings gaps are present in all majors.

The huge disparities in earnings potential confirm the necessity of career guidance in secondary and postsecondary education. Career guidance is a key part of Career Technical Education (CTE), and helps students to attain postsecondary certificates or credentials in high-skill, high-wage, high-demand jobs.

By Kara in News, Research
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Meet Mark Williams, Upcoming New NASDCTEc Secretary-Treasurer

Friday, May 27th, 2011

At the Joint National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education/Office of Vocational and Adult Education (NASDCTEc/OVAE) Spring leadership meeting, the members elected Mark Williams to the post of Secretary-Treasurer, adding his talents to the Executive Officer Board, which includes Ms. Marie Barry, New Jersey, as upcoming Vice President, and Dr. Patrick Ainsworth, California, upcoming President. These new appointments will be effective July 1st.  At the meeting, the attendees offered a special thanks to Dr. Phil Berkenbile for his wonderful devoted service during this past year toward our organization and to career technical education (CTE). Dr. Berkenbile will continue in the role of Past President, continuing the momentum along with Marie and Pat, of excellent leadership for our organization. Our current Past President, June Sanford of Connecticut, will be off the Board; we congratulate June on her service and dedication on the Board these past several years.

Mark is a former high school teacher and administrator who has served for six years as Illinois State Director of Career and Technical Education.  During his tenure, he has been a founding member of the Coalition for Illinois High Schools, a member of several Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Taskforces devoted to addressing the critical skills shortages of Illinois.  Most recently, he has focused on the Illinois Curriculum Revitalization Project as well as the development of STEM Learning Exchanges in Illinois.

Mark is a native of Illinois and lives with his family in the farm town of Delavan. He holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and advanced degrees from the Angelicum University. He has taught at the secondary and post-graduate level.  Mark’s philosophy of education is that true learning is hard work, fun, and never ceases.

When asked for his goals for NASDCTEc, Mark responded:

-Partner with membership and leadership to advance the implementation of the new CTE vision.

-Strengthen collaboration with OVAE, education stakeholders, and industry

-Bring more resources to implementation of rigorous programs of study

-Promote innovation in CTE

-Assist in the important work of the National Research Center for Career Technical Education (NRCCTE)

-Build our national network of stakeholders and other who share our vision

-Strengthen role of CTE in the implementation and assessment of the Common Core Standards

-Advance the significance of measured competencies rather than Carnegie units as measure of High School student progress

We welcome Mark to the Board! He can be reached at

In other Board news, Dr. Frances Beauman will be the new Associate Member Representative for the NASDCTEc Board of Directors, filling this position after term ends June 30 for Ms. Kathy Wilkins of Montana. We want to thank Kathy for her dedicated service to the Board.

Additional new NASDCTEc Board Representatives include Dr. James (Bob) Couch, South Carolina, representing Region IV, and Mr. Eric Suhr, New York, new Region II representative. We want to thank Ms. Jean C. Stevens and Mr. Ralph Barnett all the best in their retirements.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE State Director

New NCES Report Shows Major Enrollment Increases in Postsecondary Education

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Enrollment at private for-profit postsecondary institutions has quadrupled in the last decade, according to a report released yesterday by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The Condition of Education 2011 is a congressionally-mandated report analyzing 50 indicators that impact all levels of education. The report examines enrollment, degrees conferred, and other areas that provide a closer look at the current condition of postsecondary education in America and how it has evolved. While much of the report focuses on postsecondary education, NCES also shows that private, religious school enrollment has plunged while public charter school enrollment is increasing. Other findings include:

Click here to view the report.

By Kara in News, Research, Resources
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Legislative Update: Senate Rejects FY 2012 Budget Proposals, House Committee Votes to Cut 43 Education Programs, Bills Introduced

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Senate Rejects FY 2012 Budget Proposals

The Senate voted on four separate FY 2012 budget plans yesterday, and each of the plans was rejected. The budget plans set the overall spending caps for Congress and, in most cases, allocate funds to the subcommittees.

The budget rejections signal that passing an FY 2012 budget will again be a drawn-out process.

House Committee Votes to Cut 43 Education Programs

The House moved forward with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) yesterday by voting to cut 43 education programs identified in a bill proposed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) two weeks ago.

The measure, the first in a series of ESEA bills, would cut many programs that were defunded in the FY 2011 budget, those consolidated or eliminated in Obama’s proposed FY 2012 budget, and those that have not been funded recently.

Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), stated his support, “[The bill] is a starting point that helps us narrow the role of the federal government while making sure that taxpayer dollars can be dedicated to the most efficient K-12 programs.”

Rep. George Miller (D-CA) agreed that some programs should be consolidated, but argued that removing programs completely would cut off valuable resources and harm students.

The measure will be unlikely to gain support from the Democratic Senate, as Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate’s education committee, and other Senators have strongly opposed many of the program cuts.

Encouraging Engineering Education in K-12

Rep. Paul Tonko (NY) introduced H.R. 1951, a bill to award planning and implementation grants to schools to enable them to integrate engineering education into K-12 instruction and curriculum. The legislation would also provide evaluation grants to measure the effectiveness of the programs.

Post 9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act

Sen. Tom Petri (WI) introduced H.R. 1947, the Post 9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act, to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The legislation would update the Troops to Teachers program to increase the number of schools eligible to participate, and would make more retiring servicemen and women qualified to participate. Since 1993, over 12,000 retired members have brought math, science and foreign language expertise to schools through the program.

Bill to Address Nursing Shortage

Rep. Sensenbrenner (WI) introduced H.R. 1929, a bill to provide relief to the projected nurse shortage. The bill would create a career ladder for nurses, encourage pipelines for nursing education, and encourage the participation of public and private employers and other organizations. The goal is to encourage current healthcare workers to become nurses.

By Kara in Legislation, Public Policy
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Sec. Duncan, Experts Talk WIA and Jobs for Youth

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

As the country still struggles with the effects of the Great Recession, employment opportunities for less-seasoned workers are the hardest to find. Without prior job experience, teenagers face particularly bleak prospects. The current level of unemployment for teenagers is at an all-time high. Yesterday, Jobs for America’s Graduates, a non-profit organization, convened several governors, corporate executives and organization leaders to brainstorm ways to boost academic and economic outcomes for high-risk youth in the midst of the unemployment crisis.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan kicked off the event by reiterating a point that he frequently makes: successful local programs need to be taken to scale. When an attendee asked how to prepare high school students beyond academia, Duncan pointed to “great” Career Technical Education (CTE) and early college programs as ways to make school more relevant to students. Though the Secretary acknowledges the benefits of CTE, states and localities scramble to prepare for major funding cuts to CTE effective later this year.

A staffer from Senator Harkin’s office commented that Senators are now working on the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to better leverage government resources and increase alignment between programs. He noted that many Senators were struck by the results of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that identified many areas of wasteful spending due to program overlap.

Speaker Boehner’s Assistant on Policy echoed that Republican Members feel justified in making cuts to job training programs because of the GAO report. She also stated that Perkins is not on the schedule for review in the near future.

Panelists and participants agreed that skilled positions must be presented as respectable career options for students. Many followed Duncan’s suggestions to replicate best practices, and some suggested that states make high-impact practices mandatory. Other ideas included: increasing service learning opportunities, raising the compulsory age for dropping out from age 16, and including graduation rates as an accountability measure. Though CTE was not a central part of the conversation, most participants agreed that job training and education, key aspects of CTE, must be further integrated.

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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California Partnership Provides College- and Career-Ready Curricula

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

NASDCTEc President Serves as Expert Panelist

NASDCTEc President Patrick Ainsworth will serve as an expert panelist in College and Career Readiness, Part 3: The Practitioner Perspective, a webinar that highlights a model college- and career-readiness program in California.

The Alliance for Excellent Education will host the webinar Tuesday, May 31 from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. ET during which the efforts of a particularly-innovative school, the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART), will be featured. CART demonstrates how a partnership with the Fresno and Clovis Unified School Districts in California “provides college- and career-preparatory curricula and project-based experiences that mirror the realities of today’s workplace,” according to the Alliance.

Patrick Ainsworth, also Assistant Superintendent and Director of Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Division, California Department of Education, joins other state representatives during the webinar:

Register and submit questions for the May 31 webinar online.

By Erin in Resources, Webinars
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Obama: ‘Replace No Child Left Behind This Year’

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama highlighted a Memphis school’s successful turnaround as a model for school reform. Citing efforts made by the school’s teachers, principals and parents, Obama advocated for more locally-driven education rather than a top-down approach with heavy federal government involvement. He urged that changes in legislation need to take place this year.

Obama stated that, “We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what’s best for their kids. That’s why it’s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year – so schools have that flexibility.” The President also pushed for his education initiative, Race to the Top, to grant competitive funding to states whose innovative reform efforts yield positive results.

Though Obama calls for a rewrite of the law by the 2011-2012 school year, Rep. John Kline (MN) stated last week that the timeline isn’t feasible.

While the Senate presses for more comprehensive legislation, the House will pursue a piecemeal approach by proposing several separate bills in the upcoming months. The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce will begin the process by holding a markup of an ESEA repeals bill this Wednesday. The proposed bill, Rep. Hunter’s Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act, would eliminate 43 education programs.

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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Applied Baccalaureate Provides Potential Pathway for Workforce Development

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) recently completed a three-phase project to examine applied baccalaureate programs and their potential to provide pathways for the United States to train the workforce needed to compete in the global economy.

The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate (AB), a project sponsored by Lumina Foundation for Education, provides insight into the nation’s inventory of programs and a more in-depth examination of six selected states. The final report for this project, The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate: Lessons from Six States, highlights the trend of the programs as well as the potential the programs have to contribute to developing a robust workforce.

Some of the findings of the study lead to the following conclusions about past developments in and potential of the AB:

By Erin in Public Policy, Publications, Research
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Legislative Update: Improve STEM Proficiency, Lifelong Learning Accounts, Community College Energy Training, STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The House is in recess until May 23rd. The following bills were introduced recently:

Education Agenda to Improve STEM Proficiency

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 969, an innovation education agenda as part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill would award planning and implementation grants to state educational agencies to implement activities integrating engineering into K-12 instruction and curriculum. Additionally, evaluation grants would be provided to assess the performance of the program. The bill aims to graduate more STEM students, attract more STEM teachers, and raise science proficiency to restore America’s competitiveness.

Lifelong Learning Accounts Act

Rep. John Larson (CT) and several others reintroduced H.R. 1869, the Lifelong Learning Accounts Act (LiLA). The bill promotes continuing education as a way to improve job skills and promote workers’ marketability. LiLA would create worker-owned, employer-matched savings accounts to incentivize career-related skill development and to promote a competitive workforce through lifelong learning.

Community College Energy Training Act

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM) introduced H.R. 1881, the Community College Energy Training Act, to help community colleges provide clean energy workforce training. The bill would require the Secretary of Energy and the Secretary of Labor to establish a program at community colleges for workforce training in sustainable energy. The legislation currently has 24 cosponsors.

STEM for Girls, Underrepresented Minorities

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA) reintroduced H.R. 1903 to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to provide schools with grants to encourage girls and underrepresented minorities in fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Woolsey says that it’s important to address gender and racial gaps in the STEM field to provide more opportunities for all students, and also as a smart economic strategy for the country.

By Kara in Public Policy
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New Report: What is Blended Learning?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

As online learning has become more commonplace in schools, so has the term “blended learning” among the education community. Yet blended learning, describing a mix of in-classroom and online instruction, is not easily defined.

A new report from the Innosight Institute, a non-profit organization seeking to apply the theories of disruptive innovation to common societal problems, provides some clarity.

The paper profiles forty organizations, each instructing students through both face-to-face interactions and online learning. Several trends are apparent throughout the profiles, enabling a two-part working definition of blended learning to be developed.

In all of the blended learning profiles, the report reveals, students are instructed in a “supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home” for at least some of the school day. Also, each blended learning environment provides online instruction to students “with some control over the time, place, path and/or pace.” Both aspects are common components to blended learning that may not be present in other types of learning.

The report identifies six models of blended learning found within the profiles. Policy recommendations on mixing in-classroom learning with blended learning are also given.

By Kara in News, Research
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