Archive for June, 2012

Legislative Update: Sequestration, Student Loan Rates

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Congress Asks OMB for Detailed Impact of Sequestration

While there has been much talk about the devastating impact of sequestration on federally-funded programs, there have not been a lot of details to help states and districts prepare. To help increase transparency around this issue, Senators Patty Murray (WA) and John McCain (AZ) recently introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Farm Bill that would require the Office of Management of Budget to submit to Congress a detailed analysis of the impact of sequestration cuts on both defense and non-defense discretionary programs, including education programs like Perkins. Specifically, it would require OMB to provide figures for the number of educator job lost, the number of students no longer able to access education programs, and education resources lost by states and districts. This report would have to be completed within 60 days of the Farm Bill’s passage. If the bill does not pass, the Senators intend to attach the amendment to any future bills that the Senate takes up.

In the House, the Budget Committee unanimously reported H.R. 5872, the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012. Like the Murray-McCain amendment, this bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to detail how defense and non-defense programs would be affected by the automatic cuts.

Deal Reached on Student Loan Interest Rates

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have reached a deal to prevent the interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1, 2012. The deal will extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans for one year. The extension will be paid for through two offsets. First, changes would be made to pension plans. The second, smaller offset would affect students: limiting how long new borrowers could receive in-school interest subsidies to 150 percent of the average time it takes to complete a degree. Currently there are no limits.

The House and Senate are scheduled to vote today on the bill to which this provision is attached. We will keep you updated on any developments.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Register NOW for Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar on Infusing Green and Sustainability Knowledge and Skill Statements

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Announcing NASDCTEc webinar on Infusing Green and Sustainability Knowledge and Skill Statements

This webinar will present an overview of the process and resources associated with the development of Green and Sustainability Knowledge and Skills statements in six Career Clustersâ„¢ that are now available for use by states and local school districts.
Participants will learn the details of how the statements were developed, review the set of statements, and be provided information about how to access additional resources. The project was funded through the US Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education and managed by MPR Associates.

When: July 17, 2012 at 3 p.m. Eastern
Register NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Webinars
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Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Recap: Perkins Reauthorization Blueprint Discussion of State-Level Implications

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

During this session, officials from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education walked through the Obama Administration’s blueprint for Perkins reauthorization and the proposed reform models that they believe will positively impact the way that states develop, administer, implement, and evaluate local CTE programs. These reforms include things such as mandatory local consortia, within state competition to distribute funds, common definitions for accountability, and state conditions for receipt of funds.

NASDCTEc supports the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation — as is reflected in our recently released Federal Policy Priorities. We would like to see a greater emphasis in the next federal CTE legislation on the strong work that the community is doing around programs of study, a link to labor market needs, greater collaboration between partners, stronger and more effective accountability linkages, and additional funding for innovation.

We do, however, have some concerns about the details in the Blueprint, some of which were voiced by attendees during the question and answer portion of the session. For example, attendees remarked that if the next Perkins includes common measures, it is important that there is a way to track students across states. States also asked for federal support and funding to implement this effectively.

Regarding consortia, we heard about the structure that Minnesota is using for consortia where secondary and postsecondary partners are each fiscal agents, which seems to be working for that state. However, there was a variety of concerns about consortia, including the fear that those with the most resources would have better applications than those with fewer resources. Others pointed out that consortia with fewer resources also cannot afford technology to link partners across the state. There was also concern that the move to consortia will limit students to regional opportunities, rather than statewide programs.

In regards to the focus on in-demand industries, some attendees asked the Department for more assistance to better serve areas in their state where there are no job opportunities in in-demand industries, and to help bridge the disconnect between high poverty areas and in-demand local industries.   Others were concerned that the focus on in-demand and high growth industries will exclude some states’ core industries.

Funding was another area that attendees were worried about. There was fear that the shift to competitive funding will create winners and losers among local programs. Some also pointed out that local teachers and administrators do not have time to work on applications for competitive grants because they are busy serving students. Competitive funding was seen as appropriate for an innovation fund, but not the Basic State Grant. Attendees also stated that taking 10 percent out of the Basic State Grant for an innovation fund means that fewer CTE programs will be funded.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Recap: CTE and the Common Core State Standards Implementation

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

Margaret Reed Millar of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) described at the National Career Clusters™  Institute work taking place through the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative and the State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS), and how Career Technical Education (CTE) is a part of the CCSS implementation.

Millar discussed the tendency for U.S. education to cover content that is “a mile wide and an inch deep.” The CCSS, a set of high quality academic expectations adopted by 45 states, are helping states focus on fewer concepts in greater depth to provide students with a richer, more meaningful education. Millar stressed the importance of communication between districts, teacher colleges, and business and industry to ensure that students are college and career ready upon graduating high school.

A variety of digital resources are available to support CCSS implementation including;

NASDCTEc President and State Director Dr. Patrick Ainsworth also discussed work taking place in California to incorporate CTE into CCSS implementation. Ainsworth described how CTE is a central part of education reform in California; CTE is represented on every CCSS committee, and has its own section in the state’s CCSS implementation plan.

Currently, California’s CTE standards are being aligned to the CCSS. Ainsworth described CTE standards as a tool to foster the career readiness of all students and to develop a highly skilled and educated workforce which contributes to economic prosperity. He also suggested that incorporating CTE in CCSS implementation requires an emphasis on teams and groups, and on using technology to demonstrate learning and mastery.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in National Career Clusters Institute
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Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Recap: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education: What the Research Reveals about Programs of Study

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

At last week’s National Career Clusters™ Institute, Dr. James Stone of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE) sought to answer the question, “If programs of study are the solution, what is the problem?”

Stone discussed the toll that the Great Recession has taken on the labor market and the current condition of education, and the challenges that have resulted. The NRCCTE has several research studies designed to examine how states and local school districts are addressing these challenges.

Since the 1980s, nearly one full year of core academics has been added to high school graduation requirements yet standardized test scores in reading and science have decreased and math scores have been stagnant. Programs of study (POS) provide a way to engage students and help them transition to further education and careers.

As states continue to develop and implement POS, the NRCCTE has been conducting numerous studies to learn more about the impact of POS on engagement, achievement, the transition from secondary to postsecondary education and/or careers, and high school completion and credentials. Current longitudinal studies include:

Findings so far include:

Engagement:

Achievement:

Transition:

While the studies are ongoing, Stone noted that guidance and counseling, opportunities to acquire postsecondary credits, and coursework that leads to an industry-recognized credential or degree are critical components of POS.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in National Career Clusters Institute, Research

Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Recap: Career Academies: An Effective CTE Strategy

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

At a breakout session during last week’s National Career Clusters™ Institute, JD Hoye, President of the National Academy Foundation, and David Stern of the University of California, Berkeley, shared their insights on career academies as an effective way of preparing students for postsecondary education and careers.

Career academies prepare students for success through a research-backed model that includes Career Technical Education (CTE) curricula, work-based learning experiences, and business partner expertise.

Stern discussed recent studies showing that students participating in career academies have improved grades, attendance, credits earned, and are more likely to stay in high school than similar students who are not in career academies. In California, where more than half of students entering career academies meet certain high risk categories, Stern reported that 95 percent of career academy seniors graduate on time compared to the statewide graduation rate of 85 percent.

Hoye also discussed the recent federal-level policy focus on career academies and what that could mean for CTE. Hoye stated that quality and proven practice should drive policy, that in-class time is not equal to proficiency, that real world application should be stressed as part of education, and that the workplace is a powerful extension of the classroom. From research, policy, and practice perspectives, career academies have proven to be an effective mechanism for implementing high quality CTE.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in National Career Clusters Institute
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Career Clustersâ„¢ Institute Recap: Perspectives from the Hill

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday afternoon we were joined by a panel of Congressional staffers who shared with attendees their outlook on budget topics, as well as the status of a number of education and workforce related bills. We were reminded that the remainder of the year is going to be a challenging one for Congress as they tackle issues such the national debt, sequestration, and tax cuts that are set to expire in December. The combination of these fiscal problems will undoubtedly lead to cuts in many federal programs.  Given that it is an election year, most of these issues will not be taken up until the lame duck session in November and December.

Because Perkins is not due for reauthorization, Congress is focused on other programmatic bills, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Child Development Block Grant. There has been a lot of action around ESEA in both chambers this session, but things have seemed to slow done. The outlook was that it probably would not be reauthorized this year. While there has been a flurry of activity on the Workforce Investment Act in the House, it is unlikely that the bill will progress much further because of stalled negotiations on the Senate side.

However, the panelists did give their perspective on Perkins-related issues. As far as the Obama Administration’s Blueprint is concerned, it could be a discussion starting point for Members of Congress as they begin talking about reauthorization. More specifically, the proposal for competitive funding is not popular in Congress, while there is agreement that accountability and data needs to be stronger. Congress would also like to see better alignment with other federal programs such as ESEA and the Higher Education Act.

All of the panelists stressed that they want to hear from you! Constituent input is very important as they decide how to allocate federal dollars most effectively, and as they work on bills such as Perkins. So if you haven’t already, contact your Member of Congress now and let him or her know how critical CTE and Perkins is. Preliminary conversations about Perkins could be starting this year, and Congress needs to hear from the field about what is working, what is not working, and changes you would like to see made.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, National Career Clusters Institute, Public Policy
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More Transparency Needed on Postsecondary Performance and Outcomes, Report Finds

Monday, June 25th, 2012

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released last week the latest in its Leaders and Laggards series that examines the performance and policy of public postsecondary institutions.

The report grades state performance and policy on six areas:

1)      Student Access and Success
2)     Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
3)     Meeting Labor Market Demand
4)     Transparency and Accountability
5)     Policy Environment
6)     Innovation

The ICW Web site features a state-by-state report card showing how states measure up in each of the six areas. Findings from the report show that:

Four-Year Completion Rates: In most states, only half of students at four-year public colleges complete a degree; in 17 states, less than half of all first-time bachelors-seeking students complete a degree within six years.

Two-Year Completion Rates: Only one state has a two-year college statewide graduation rate above 50 percent, while more than half of states have a two-year completion rate at or below 25 percent. In 13 states, less than 15 percent of students who started at a two-year college graduated within 150 percent of the normal time to degree.

Cost of Postsecondary Education: Thirty-three states spend over $50,000 in education and related expenses per two-year college credential, and 13 spend more than $65,000.

Linking Postsecondary Data to Labor Market: Only 22 states have systems in place to track the success of graduates once they enter the labor force and to make those data public. Only four states allow prospective students and taxpayers to compare labor market outcomes across institutions and programs.

Comparing Postsecondary Outcomes Across States: Just four states measure and make public student outcomes in a way that is comparable across states, making it difficult for states and individuals to see if their investments in postsecondary education are paying off.

Overall, most states have not yet developed ways to measure and make public the quality of their postsecondary institutions and programs. Though several states have made visible improvements, most still fall short of providing the comprehensive data and transparency needed to strengthen state policies and improve public postsecondary education.

The authors of the report make several broad recommendations for reform at the state level.

View the entire report: Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, SLDS Grants

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

House Labor-HHS-Education Mark Up Pushed to July

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had intended to mark up its FY13 appropriations bill this week. However, the markup has been postponed until after the July 4th recess.  We will keep you posted on the new date. In the meantime, please see last week’s blog post about the importance of contacting your Representative about the critical need to maintain Perkins funding. There is still time!

Latest Round of SLDS Grant Winners Announced

The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the list of 24 states that were awarded the latest round of State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants. The grants were awarded in three priority areas:

  1. The design, development, and implementation of a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) data system;
  2. The development and linking of early childhood data with the State’s K-12 data system; or
  3. The development and linking of postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K-12 data system.

Nine states received grants under Priority 1 (K-12); one state received a Priority 2 (early childhood) grant, and fourteen states were awarded Priority 3 (postsecondary/workforce) grants. The winners of the grants to link K-12 data with postsecondary and/or workforce data, which may be of most interest to you, are:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) Honored with CTE Stars of Education Award, Distinguished Service

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

NASDCTEc today honored Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) with the Stars of Education Award, Distinguished Service: Congressional  for demonstrating a high level of national leadership, vision, and achievement in Career Technical Education (CTE). NASDCTEc Board of Directors presented the awards to the Senators today at the National Career Clusters™ Institute in Washington, DC.

The award is given to members or former members of Congress who have demonstrated their support for CTE through meritorious contribution, innovative or unique achievements, expansion of the impact of or investment in CTE on students, and/or evidence of superior performance.

“Now more than ever, Career Technical Education needs the support from leaders such as Senators Richard Blumenthal and Herb Kohl, who both have advocated for funding and legislation that helps to prepare students for college and careers through quality CTE programs,” said Dr. Pat Ainsworth President of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium and California CTE State Director.

Sen. Blumenthal, the former Attorney General of Connecticut, is now serving his first term in the United States Senate. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Blumenthal has made CTE and the Carl D. Perkins Career Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) a top priority. Sen. Blumenthal has authored several letters to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and his fellow Senators, urging them to invest in CTE through increased Perkins Act funding.

Sen. Blumenthal has also introduced bills that aim to increase workforce training and business and industry partnerships, including the Manufacturing Reinvestment Account Act, the Pathways Back to Work Act, and the Community College Innovation Act.

Sen. Herb Kohl has served in the United States Senate since 1988.  Hesdfacxmls He is a member of the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.  Just this year, he signed onto several letters urging OMB and Congress to invest in Perkins.  Sen. Kohl also introduced the Fast Track to College Act this session, which aims to improve the transition of high school students to postsecondary education through dual enrollment and early college high schools.

Sen. Kohl serves as Chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and has received numerous awards for his dedication to agriculture issues, including agricultural research and education, family farms, and other issues affecting rural communities.

Finally, he has also demonstrated support to the manufacturing industry. Sen. Kohl worked to restore funding to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program, a public-private partnership that utilizes federal, state, and private dollars to provide technical support and services to help small and medium-sized manufacturers create and retain jobs.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in Advance CTE Announcements, News
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