Archive for August, 2013

Reminder to Register for Upcoming NASDCTEc Webinar Legislative Update Back to School Edition: Policy and Funding

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

This is a reminder to sign up for our next webinar providing a Legislative Update – Back to School Edition: Policy and Funding

Join Kara Herbertson, NASDCTEc’s Research and Policy Manager, and Steve Voytek, NASDCTEc’s Government Relations Associate, as they walk you through the latest policy happenings in Washington.

Chalkboard with words "back to school"After years of anticipation, Congress has taken steps toward reauthorizing several pieces of legislation that impact CTE including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Higher Education Act. In addition to updates on these key pieces of legislation, we will discuss sequestration and debates over the FY14 budget.

Are there specific questions you would like us to address? Email Kara at kherbertson@careertech.org and we will be sure to address your question during this webinar.

Time: September 26, 2013 at 3 p.m. Eastern

Register NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Legislation, Public Policy, Webinars
Tags: , , ,

Legislative Update: President’s Proposal for College Affordability

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

President’s College Affordability Tour

CapitolIn recent years, the costs of higher education in the United States have risen more quickly than any other sector of our economy. According to the Department of Labor, college tuition and fees have increased by a staggering 538% since 1985. In an effort to combat these alarming trends, President Obama recently embarked on a two-day college affordability bus tour which concluded last week.

The President’s proposal would tie federal financial aid to school performance through a new college ratings system. Institutions would be ranked based on factors such as average tuition, loan debt, and graduation rates. Student outcomes after graduation have also been a point of emphasis for the proposed ratings system, although it is unclear how these indicators would be measured. As the President summed up, “Colleges that keep their tuition down and are providing high-quality education are the ones that are going to see their taxpayer funding go up.”

President Obama’s new proposal for higher education urges states to fund public universities and colleges based on similar measures. His new plan would also increase accountability for both students and colleges by linking continued federal financial aid to progress made towards a degree.

Changes to how higher education is paid for and the measures used for accountability have implications for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs particularly at the postsecondary level. The Administration’s emphasis on more affordable, high quality education and stronger outcomes will likely highlight the important role CTE programs have in preparing students to close the skills gap and fulfill the pressing needs of the American economy.

The President’s full speech can be found here and a summary of his plan can be found here. The new rankings system will not be fully available until 2015, but the Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has released a College Scorecard similar to President Obama’s proposal.

Boehner to Introduce Short-Term Continuing Resolution

When regular appropriations acts are not enacted by the start of a new fiscal year, Congress must pass what is known as a continuing resolution (CR) to fund Federal agencies and programs. Current legislation funds the federal government only through September 30th with a new fiscal year beginning on the first of October. If Congress fails to pass a CR to fund the government in the short to near-term, the Federal government will cease all non-essential functions until an appropriations bill is signed into law. Failure to pass a CR before October 1st would result in what is known as a government shutdown.

Last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) confirmed plans to “move quickly on a short-term continuing resolution [CR] that keeps the government running and maintains current sequester spending levels.” The length of this CR has not yet been announced. However, a clearer outline should emerge when Congress comes back in session on September 9th.

Additionally, Congress is still grappling with the impending need to raise the debt ceiling. This past Monday, the Treasury Department announced that it expects the federal government to reach its statutory debt limit by mid-October. This is a legislative restriction on the amount of money the Treasury Department is allowed to borrow to pay for existing legal obligations such as Medicare, Social Security, military salaries, interest on the national debt, and other such payments. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would force the federal government to default on these legal obligations— an unprecedented move that would have “catastrophic economic consequences,” according the Treasury Department.

It is also important to note that the new fiscal year will coincide with the scheduled opening of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandated insurance exchanges. Certain elements in Congress are seeking to defund these exchanges, along with the rest of the ACA, by linking their support for raising the debt ceiling and a short-term CR to ACA’s funding. Congressional willingness to fund these exchanges, along with the rest of the healthcare law, may adversely impact the passage of a short-term CR and the need to raise the debt ceiling in October.

These two issues will likely consume the majority of Congressional time and energy during September and well into October. Compromise will be crucial to finding a solution to these fiscal and budgetary disagreements. In the coming weeks, negotiations between both parties will have significant implications for the functionality and day-to-day operations of the federal government.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate

 

By Steve Voytek in Public Policy

State CTE Policy Updates

Monday, August 26th, 2013

State MapOregon closes out its legislative session with a number of Career Technical Education (CTE) related bills and Ohio make a decision on a measure of students’ early college and career readiness.

Oregon’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee & CTSO Grant Program
Oregon passed HB 2912 requiring representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, and the Bureau of Labor and Industries to meet at least four times each year to promote collaboration between the agencies on issues related to career technical education. The Advisory Committee is tasked with making sure CTE programs are available in public schools; developing regional centers that create partnerships between K-12, community colleges, public universities, and business/unions; encouraging the establishment of local advisory committees; and addressing barriers to CTE students transitioning to postsecondary education and the workforce.  This bill also establishes the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Grant Program within the Department of Education, allotted at $500,000 over two years, to encourage student participation in CTSOs.

Oregon’s Accelerated College Credit Programs
Oregon also established an Accelerated Learning Committee, comprised of the Chief Education Officer and appointees selected by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, and charged with examining methods to encourage and enable students to earn more college credit while enrolled in high school. The focus will be on the alignment of funding, assessments and policies between high schools and institutions of higher education. SB 222 also requires every community college district to implement and make available at least one two-plus-two, dual credit and/or another accelerated college credit program to every K-12 district within their community college district by 2015.

Oregon’s STEM Investment Council and Grant Program|
Lastly, Oregon created a STEM Investment Council via HB 2600 to help develop and oversee a long-term, statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) strategy. The council will consist of nine members from the private sector to be appointed by the Chief Education Officer to aid and advise the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Commissioner for Community College System and the Chancellor of the Oregon University System on policies and programs, including the STEM Investment Grant Program. This new grant program will provide funds to districts, community college districts, public universities, relevant state agencies and any combination of these eligible recipients to support STEM education inside and outside of the classroom. The legislation notes that a STEM Investment Grant Account will be established in the State Treasury, separate and distinct from the General Fund, but no amount is noted or appropriated in this bill.

Specifically, the Council and grant program are focused on helping the state meet these two goals by 2024-25:

Ohio Requires the PSAT for All Students
The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with the Ohio Board of Regents, has officially selected the PSAT as the statewide “college-career readiness assessment.” Beginning in October 2014, all sophomores will be required to take the PSAT. The goal of this policy is to provide information to students earlier about their readiness for postsecondary-level coursework so they can adjust accordingly while still in high school.

New Research/Resources
Jobs for the Future released What It Takes to Complete High School: A Shifting Terrain of Course and Diploma Requirements, a policy brief describing trends in states’ graduation policies (which NASDCTEc has begun tracking here, here, and here).

The New York State Association for Career and Technical Education issued a position paper in July entitled Recommendations for Developing College and Career Ready Students that offered the following six recommendations:

  1. Adopt a unified definition of College and Career Ready (that fully includes academic, employability and technical skills);
  2. Affirm the Common Core State Standards, Career Development and Occupational Studies and Next Generation Assessments to converge career and academic content and instructional practices;
  3.  Avoid imposing additional math and science course requirements;
  4. Link learner levels by restructuring existing middle-level and early high school CTE;
  5. Set goals for increasing the number of students who have Technical Endorsements to their diplomas; and
  6. Enact policies that assist all students to develop knowledge of career pathways leading to specific occupations and to have a personal career plan with flexible career goals.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Legislation, Public Policy
Tags: , , ,

Register NOW for Upcoming NASDCTEc Legislative Update Webinar – Back to School Edition: Policy and Funding

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Join Kara Herbertson, NASDCTEc’s Research and Policy Manager, and Steve Voytek, NASDCTEc’s Government Relations Associate, as they walk you through the latest policy happenings in Washington.

After years of anticipation, Congress has taken steps toward reauthorizing several pieces of legislation that impact CTE including the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Higher Education Act. In addition to updates on these key pieces of legislation, we will discuss sequestration and debates over the FY14 budget.

Are there specific questions you would like us to address? Email Kara at kherbertson@careertech.org and we will be sure to address your question during this webinar.

Time: September 26, 2013 at 3 p.m. Eastern

Register NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Webinars
Tags: , , ,

On-Demand Webinar Blog Series – Advocacy 101: Making the Case for CTE

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

This blog series provides readers with access to new resources that are being provided as on-demand webinars, where NASDCTEc experts guide you through a topic and link you to other valuable resources. The best thing – you can access these when and where you want!

Advocacy 101: Making the Case for CTE

Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers, administrators, and state representatives know the ins and outs of CTE programs and the positive impact that they have on individuals and the economy. The purpose of this on-demand webinar is to introduce you to the basics of advocacy so that you have the tools to support and promote your CTE programs – whether on Capitol Hill, with state policy makers, through the media, or in your local districts. We begin by reviewing why advocacy is important, and the difference between lobbying and advocacy. We’ll also share advocacy tips and resources to help you make the case for CTE with your local, state and federal policy makers and other CTE stakeholders.

Narrator: Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager, NASDCTEc

CLICK HERE for access to the recording of this featured On-Demand webinar and others: Sequestration, Career Clusters® 101.

Whether you are new to Career Technical Education or want to brush up on a topic of interest, NASDCTEc’s new on-demand resources are a succinct introduction to relevant and timely issues, projects and resources.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

 

 

By Ramona in Webinars
Tags:

NASDCTEc Welcomes Government Relations Associate Steve Voytek

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

SteveNASDCTEc would like to welcome Steve Voytek, who recently joined our team as a Government Relations Associate. Steve will be promoting the organization’s policy priorities and legislative objectives for Career Technical Education by engaging policymakers and stakeholders at an important time for CTE legislation.

Steve began his career at the National Aquarium in Baltimore where he worked as a Governmental Affairs Assistant before moving on to the National Institute of Standards & Technology in the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs. Most recently, Steve worked as a Research Associate for the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) where he tracked legislation and programs of interest for the organization. During his time at NAWB he developed a keen interest in workforce development issues and focused particularly on the Workforce Investment Act.

A Maryland native, Steve completed his B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Hiram College. After graduation he completed a transatlantic dual M.A. degree under the auspices of the Atlantis Program, jointly administered and funded by the U.S. Department of Education and European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture. Over the course of his studies Steve had the opportunity to spend over a year living abroad in both Poland and Estonia.

Steve’s unique educational background and work experiences have helped him develop an intimate understanding of the challenges facing education and the workforce in an ever more globalized labor market.  Through this lens Steve appreciates that Career Technical Education policy is a vital ingredient to developing a strong and sustainable workforce for the future.

In his spare time he enjoys books, film, and coaching youth wrestling. When asked what he is looking forward to most in his new position he responded, “I look forward to meeting all of our members and acting as a strong voice for their interests on the Hill.”

Please extend a warm welcome to Steve Voytek, who can be reached at svoytek@careertech.org.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements

ACTE’s Infographic Promotes CTE Funding

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

To make your voice heard when the Congress is out during their month-long recess in August, reach out to the policy makers through social media. Digital advocacy campaigns over Twitter and Facebook are not only gaining popularity, but are also surprisingly effective.

Tapping into this, the Association for Career Technical Education (ACTE) has developed a compelling infographic to spread the message of CTE and the importance of stopping cuts to Perkins funding. The call to action is to share the infopgraphic on Facebook pages of your Members of Congress throughout the month. More information on this is available here.

The infographic creatively draws attention to stopping the cuts and increasing CTE funding.

CTE_and_Funding_infographic_LoRes_610w

Kimaya Dixit, Communications & Marketing Manager

Source

By admin in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

ICYMI: Rhode Island Granted $670,000 for Workforce Training and Education

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

An announcement made by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee says that Rhode Island will receive a $670,000 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) incentive grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Rhode Island qualified for this incentive grant due to its high performance in adult education and workforce development program. The grants are in action since 1998; however this is the first time that RI has been eligible.

All WIA performance targets regarding adult education, entering postsecondary education or training have been sufficiently exceeded by Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). Some of the targets surpassed include GED completion, educational gains, entered employment and employee retention.

Funds from the incentives grants will most likely be used to purchase technology tools. This will also be accompanied by investment in data-analytics technology that will track the progress of employment programs and analyze specific trends in workforce development. Besides using the tools in adult education classrooms, RIDE also plans to establish a Technology Committee to implement a comprehensive statewide technology strategy to address policy and access issues.

The incentive funds will play a vital role in continuing to improve the quality of adult-education services in Rhode Island.

For official comments from the Governor and other state officials, please read this.

Kimaya Dixit, Communications & Marketing Manager

By admin in Uncategorized

Common Core State Standards & CTE Roundup

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

CCSS LogoWith nearly every state in the country working to implement the Common Core State Standards in mathematics and English/Literacy, and more and more resources and information being generated by states, districts, schools and education-focused organizations to support implementation, NASDCTEc is excited to present a blog series on the Common Core State Standards and Career Technical Education! The blog features news and resources that directly impact CTE educators as well as other materials we think are useful to the field. This edition features many communications-focused materials and resources.

In the News…
As you may have seen, New York State just released the results from its first year of administering CCSS-aligned assessments administered and, as expected, scores dropped fairly dramatically statewide. (Read more about it here). Kentucky experienced a similar drop in scores last year when they first moved to a CCSS-aligned assessment.

Featured Resources & Tools
The Center for Education Policy released “Year 3 of Implementing the Common Core State Standards: State Education Agencies’ Views on the Federal Role,” the third annual survey and report on states’ progress in implementing the Common Core State Standards. Major findings include:

A number of pro-CCSS websites were launched this summer, most notably Conservatives for Higher Standards, which highlights a range of right-leaning political leaders’ positive positions on the CCSS and debunks many of the false claims about the CCSS currently being spread in some political factions, and iAdvocate for Students, a website managed by three PTA volunteers, who are classroom teachers and/or mothers of K-12 students that features positive stories on the CCSS.

To both promote a number of their own tools for supporting the implementation of the CCSS and to better coordinate related resources, Achieve, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Student Achievement Partners released a joint Toolkit for Evaluating the Alignment of Instructional and Assessment Materials to the CCSS.  This Toolkit features the Instructional Materials Evaluation Tools; the EQuIP rubrics for evaluating lessons and units; the Assessment Evaluation Tool; the Assessment Passage and Item Quality Criteria Checklist; Publisher’s Criteria for the CCSS; and a list of additional resources relevant to evaluating instructional materials’ alignment to the CCSS.

The Data Quality Campaign (of which NASDCTEc is a partner organization) has released a number of short resources to help leaders explain how education data can be utilized and to help dispel myths that CCSS will somehow require the sharing of any student-level data. Notable resources include What Every Parent Should Be Asking about Education Data  (co-developed with the PTA) and Talking about the Facts of Education Data with Policymakers and Parents.

Finally, the GE Foundation hosted its third annual Business and Education Summit last month, bringing together business and education leaders from across the nation to discuss the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, college- and career-ready assessment and accountability systems, and how the business community can best support state and local efforts to implement such policies and practices.  In advance of the Summit, GE Foundation conducted a survey of the business participants. Among the 52 executives who responded:

Updates on Common Core Assessments
Consortia Musical Chairs: Georgia has withdrawn as a PARCC governing state, while North Dakota and Wyoming officially became governing states within Smarter Balanced.

Also major news is that cost estimates are now available from both consortia. PARCC’s summative assessments are priced just below the $29.95 per pupil median level of spending on summative tests in those two subjects in the consortium’s states. Smarter Balanced is offering two pricing options for states, $22.50 per student (which includes only summative tests) and $27.30 per student (which includes summative as well as interim and formative tests). The higher price tags are associated with more meaningful test items (aka no more “fill-in-the-bubble” tests).

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
PARCC released information on the field testing that will occur in 14 states and Washington DC in the Spring of 2014, for about 10% of all potential test takers. The field test will allow the states to test the accommodations policies and tools, assessment items and the technology.  Over this past summer, small-scale item tryouts occurred across ten states to begin to garner critical data. Tested items are expected to be released to the public in coming weeks.

PARCC recently released the first edition of the Accessibility Features and Accommodations Manual, along with a set of supporting communications materials.

Finally, PARCC has formally amended its grant for Race to the Top funding to fully operate as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with its own funding, board of directors, staff and programs. This change aims to provide PARCC with a long-term sustainable architecture to support states in the operations of the assessment system beyond 2014 when the Race to the Top grant comes to a close. For more, see here.

Have a good CCSS-CTE resource to share? Contact us at info@careertech.org!

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Public Policy
Tags: ,

CTE Research Review: Model for Blended Learning Improves Algebra I Scores

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Research Image_6.2013A study from the RAND Corporation and the U.S. Department of Education examines the effectiveness of blended learning – specifically using algebra curricula – for increasing student outcomes. Blended learning combines in-person instruction with computer-based activities, and dynamic education programs like Career Technical Education are more often integrating these highly-personalized learning experiences into curricula.

RAND’s two-year study involved over 18,000 students in 147 schools and in 7 states including Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas. Researchers found that schools that adopted the blended learning software, “Cognitive Tutor Algebra I” developed by Carnegie Learning, Inc., saw an overall jump of 8 percentile points on their students’ algebra scores; however, it is unclear whether this can be attributed to the blended learning program, to other activities in the classroom, or to a combination of activities. Still, the Carnegie software has been deemed successful in 46 other non-randomized studies and looks to be a promising model of blended learning.

Learn more in the full report and on a related website.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Research

 

Series

Archives

1