Archive for May, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute – How to Plan an Awesome Experience

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

The Institute is coming. Are you ready? This webinar will answer your questions about arriving, what to do once at the Omni, your options as a guest, the sessions and all the excitement surrounding the 10th National Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute, including a preview of the Common Career Technical Roll out Session.

When: June 7 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time
Register NOW for the Webinar
Not registered for the National Career Clusters Institute? You still have time. Registration is open until June 6. Register NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in National Career Clusters Institute

NASDCTEc Collects More than 1,700 Reviews of Common CTE Standards, Moving Development Forward

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

More  than 1,700 reviews  of the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a shared set of rigorous, high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) standards, were submitted during the recent public comment phase. Input on the CCTC was collected from a broad range of CTE stakeholders, including educators, administrators, and business and industry representatives.

“Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders believed it was critical to engage leading experts in the education, industry and technical fields to help develop and validate CTE standards that truly reflect the timely education and workforce needs of today’s global economy,“ Dr. Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc).

“The robust participation by a broad range of CTE stakeholders demonstrates the desire to develop standards that prepare our students for the future.”

NASDCTEc is coordinating the CCTC initiative. Forty-two states, Washington, DC and Palau participated in the development of the CCTC.

The development of the CCTC was a multi-step process that incorporated input at various stages from approximately 3,500 individuals representing K-12 education, business and industry and higher education from across the nation.  The public comment period ran from April 30 – May 11, 2012 and was an opportunity for CTE stakeholders to participate in the development of the CCTC.

The final standards are slated for public release at the National Career Clusters ™ Institute  on June 19, 2012. Click here and learn more about the CCTC online or visit

By Erin in Common Career Technical Core
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Eight More States Receive NCLB Waivers

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced that eight additional states will receive waivers for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, so long as they implement college and career ready standards and reform their accountability systems. Waivers were given to Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. These states join 10 others – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee – in receiving a waiver. States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 performance targets set by NCLB but must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

For more information, visit the Department’s waiver webpage.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager


By Nancy in Public Policy
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Survey Finds Many U.S. Employers Still Struggle to Fill Job Vacancies

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Employment rates in the United States have been on an upturn yet half of U.S. employers in a recent survey still report having difficulty filling job vacancies. Manpower, an employment agency, released today its annual Talent Shortage Survey, the result of nearly 40,000 interviews with employers across the globe, to provide a comprehensive picture of how the skills gap is affecting business and industry.

The top positions that employers struggle to fill include engineers, technicians, production operators, finance staff, Information Technology staff, and laborers – areas in which Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students with skills and training that align with the needs of business and industry.

Four in 10 employers report that the shortage of qualified job applicants has had a high or medium impact on its stakeholders. Many reported that applicants lack technical skills and would be more qualified if they had industry-specific certifications and qualifications, experience operating mechanical and industrial equipment, and computer and information technology skills.

The most common strategy used by employers to address the shortage is to provide additional training and development for existing staff. Only 10 percent of those surveyed reported partnering with educational institutions to create aligned curriculum.

CTE leaders are working to strengthen alignment and partnerships among secondary, postsecondary, and workforce entities to help students successfully land jobs and meet employers’ expectations. Through rigorous academic and technical coursework and hands-on learning experiences, CTE programs are preparing students to meet critical labor market demands.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research, Resources
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Report on High Schools: Dramatic Increase in Distance Education, Decrease in Student Employment

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released last week its annual Condition of Education report that examines trends in education. This year’s report focuses on the transformation of high schools in the United States over the last 20 years, and includes several pertinent points for Career Technical Education (CTE).

The entire Condition of Education 2012 report is available on the NCES Web site. A webinar that accompanied the release of the report can be accessed here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research, Resources

Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Blog Series: If Programs of Study Are the Solution, What Is the Problem?

Friday, May 25th, 2012

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that will be shared at the upcoming Career Clusters â„¢ Institute. Guest bloggers are among teachers, faculty, researchers and other experts that will present at the national gathering in Washington, DC in June.

Dr. James R. Stone, III is the Director of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) at the University of Louisville. Dr. Stone’s research has focused on strategies that improve the capacity of CTE programs to improve the engagement, achievement, and transition of secondary and postsecondary CTE participants, including longitudinal studies on the effects of work-based learning and the effect of whole-school, CTE-based school reforms on educational outcomes of youth in high-poverty communities. A former editor for the Journal of Vocational Education Research, Stone has published numerous articles, books, and book chapters on CTE.

Programs of study (POS) are the most recent effort in the United States to improve the transition of youth from high school to the workplace. In most industrialized nations, one national institution governs education; in the United States, schools, state and local governments, and business organizations—operating in very loose partnerships with the federal government—have sought to support youth in successfully and efficiently transitioning from public education to further education or careers.

As a result, the default structural support for youth transition to the labor market has become what most term “college,” usually defined as a degree from a two-year or four-year postsecondary institution. Believing that the high school diploma no longer signifies a meaningful standard of achievement, and lacking a national system of industry credentials, employers have come to rely on college degrees as proof of preparedness and competency. This assumption has, for better or worse, led to the notion of “college for all” as the best means of preparing all youth for the emergent labor market.

“College for all” has evolved in recent years to incorporate the idea that public education ought to prepare youth for college and careers. “College and career readiness” is a phrase that has captured the imagination if not the vocabulary of state and federal policymakers in the United States as the solution to preparing all youth for a successful adulthood.

Yet the youth of today are moving into an uncertain labor market marked by high unemployment, changing skill demands, and intense global competition. POS are seen as the key to achieving a truly career and college-ready high school graduate who will be prepared to succeed in these uncertain times.

Three questions have driven the National Research Center’s POS research agenda, tied to our overarching interest in student engagement, achievement, and transition. If POS are fully implemented:

Learn more about what the research shows are the measurable effects of POS on increasing student engagement, improving student achievement, and enhancing student transition to further education and work by attending Jim Stone’s presentation entitled National Research Center for CTE: what the Research Reveals about Programs of Study at the 2012 Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in National Career Clusters Institute

WEBINAR: Common Core State Standards & Career and Technical Education: Bridging the Divide between College and Career Readiness

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Join the discussion regarding a blueprint for increased engagement between state education leaders and the career and technical education (CTE) community at a webinar Tuesday, May 29, 3 p.m. ET.

A new report, Common Core State Standards & Career and Technical Education: Bridging the Divide between College and Career Readiness, was developed in partnership with the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards by 46 states and the District of Columbia, there is a tremendous opportunity to rethink the role of literacy and mathematics not only within academic classes but also within CTE courses and pathways and encourage more collaboration and integration between educators across disciplines.

Webinar details

Join us: Tuesday, May 29, 3 p.m. ET.

Please dial: (877) 880-7678 and use conference ID # 83092176

Access the webinar slides:

By Erin in Webinars
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Benefits of Early Career Mapping for All Students

Friday, May 25th, 2012

In a recent webinar from Education Week, “Improving Student Engagement through Early Career Mapping,” experts discussed the benefits of personalized learning tools to helping students create pathways to their long-term goals.

View the webinar here.

Personalized learning plans provide students with opportunities to identify postsecondary goals, explore college and career options, and develop skills necessary for regulated learning. These tools help drive students’ self and career exploration, and career planning and management. Learning plans are linked to improved motivation and engagement, improved understanding of postsecondary options, and greater alignment between course selection and career goals.

In their vision for CTE, State Directors of CTE support policies that require all students to have a personalized learning plan that clearly maps out a comprehensive strategy to achieve their education and career goals. This strategy is ingrained in CTE, where students are given opportunities to explore myriad career possibilities and have access to comprehensive career planning that empowers them to plan and prepare for career and educational choices.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst


By Kara in Resources

Legislative Update: Appropriations, Election 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Tentative Date Set for Senate Appropriations Markup

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education has tentatively scheduled markup of their FY13 appropriations bill for June 12th.  As we previously reported, the Labor-HHS-Education bill sets a 302(b) funding level of $157.7 billion.

House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Rehberg (MT) previously stated that he does not intend to mark up their bill until after the Supreme Court rules on the status of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to happen in late June.

Romney Provides Insight into Education Policy

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney (MA) focused on education this week. On Tuesday he released the names of his team of education policy advisors. You will recognize many of the names from the Bush Administration, including former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, former OVAE Assistant Secretary Carol D’Amico, and former ETA Assistant Secretary Emily DeRocco. A complete list can be found here.

On Wednesday Governor Romney gave a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, setting forth his education policies. The overarching theme of the speech centered on increased parental choice, especially for low-income and special need students, as a way to expand opportunities for students. While he did not mention CTE specifically, he did state, “…[S]ince we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can’t stop at high school’s end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers.”

In a white paper released on Wednesday, A Chance For Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education, Governor Romney laid out more details of this proposed education policies:

K-12 Education

Higher Education

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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New District-Level Race to the Top Competition Announced

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the proposed criteria for a new district-level Race to the Top grant program. Like the original Race to the Top grants, the district-level completion will revolve around four reform areas: higher standards, data-driven decision making, greater support for teachers, and turning around low-performing schools. School districts may compete for a piece of the $400 million pot by showing how their plans for individualized classroom instruction will help close achievement gaps and prepare all students for college and career.

“With this competition, we are inviting districts to show us how they can personalize education for a set of students in their schools.  We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

School districts or groups of districts serving at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch are eligible to apply. Awards will range from $15 million to $25 million, depending on the population of students served.

You may submit comments by June 8 on the district-level Race to the Top program here. The Department has stated that it plans to release the application in July, and that it will be due in October. Grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager


By Nancy in Public Policy
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