Archive for September, 2013

Legislative Update: Congress Grapples With CR and the Debt Ceiling

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Continuing Resolution

Earlier this week, we shared that funding for federal fiscal year 2013 will end on September 30th and that Congress has not yet approved any of the 12 full-year appropriations bills for FY 2014. If Congress cannot come to an agreement on a Continuing Resolution (CR) – which would temporarily continue current funding levels for federal agencies and programs – by the close of September 30th, we may face a federal government shutdown on October 1st.Capitol

The House passed a CR last Friday which would fund the government until December 15th of this year. However, the House version (H.J. Res. 59) contained a provision that would defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” something Senate Democrats and the White House have emphatically stated they will not support. The House CR, strongly supported by House Republicans, has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

Today, the Senate voted 79-19 to end debate on the House’s spending bill. This means that another Senate vote will likely take place later today to amend the House bill by removing the ACA defunding provision. The “clean” Senate bill would fund the government through November 15th, a month less than the House version. The Senate is expected to finish this process later today and send the clean bill to the House for consideration.

With a September 30th midnight deadline looming, Republican leaders in the House will have limited time to consider their options. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was asked if he and his party would pass the Senate’s version. His response— “I do not see that happening.”— has cast serious doubts as to whether Congress will be successful in passing a spending bill to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Debt Ceiling

As Congress continues to debate over the CR, they are also beginning to address the looming debt ceiling deadline. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that the statutory debt limit would be reached by October 17th when the “Treasury [Department] would have only approximately $30 billion to meet our country’s commitments.”

The debt limit, or debt ceiling, is a legislative restriction on the amount of money the Treasury Department is allowed to borrow to pay for existing legal obligations. Failure to raise the debt ceiling would force the federal government to default on some, if not all, of these existing legal obligations.

It is important to note that raising the debt ceiling simply pays for the debts the government has already incurred and does not create new ones. Failure to increase the debt limit would have, according to the Treasury Department, “catastrophic economic consequences.”

Yesterday, Republican leadership in the House attempted to begin the process of drafting legislation to raise the debt ceiling. This process broke down when members of the GOP caucus insisted that any increase in the debt limit be tied to a long and varied list of conservative priorities. Efforts were discontinued when House Republicans were unable to come to an agreement on a proposal.

Since then, Congressional activity regarding the debt ceiling has been limited. With the looming CR deadline early next week, it is unclear how Congress will balance both the need to raise the debt ceiling by October 17th and fund the federal government for the new fiscal year. Throwing even more uncertainty into the equation is President Obama’s refusal to negotiate with Republicans over the debt ceiling. The House is set to be in session through the weekend to work on these issues.

Check the NASDCTEc blog for the latest updates on Congressional activity related to these debates.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News

Next Friday, October 4, is Manufacturing Day!

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Next Friday, October 4, 2013, more than 600 manufacturers, technical schools, and professional societies will host open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events to illustrate what manufacturing is really like in today’s modern economy. Career Technical Education (CTE) programs across the country are an integral part of preparing workers for these types of high-skill manufacturing careers.State Map

Manufacturing Day was first launched in 2012 by a group of industry associations led by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Through this collective effort, Manufacturing Day is changing the public image of manufacturing and encouraging job seekers to pursue a career in this secure and growing sector of the economy. Manufacturing Day gives manufacturers the opportunity to connect directly with job seekers and students to showcase diverse manufacturing careers.

Next week’s Manufacturing Day events are an opportunity for policymakers, parents, educators, students, and the public at large to learn about career opportunities and celebrate manufacturing’s contributions to their local communities and the nation.

For more information about Manufacturing Day please click here for their official webpage. A comprehensive list of the day’s events can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in Meetings and Events

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series – NOCTI: Still Looking Forward

Friday, September 27th, 2013

NOCTI--Navy-11-2009This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area in October.

About this time last year we touted the resources contained in “The Career Pathways Effect”, a joint publication between NASDCTEc and CORD that offered many practical applications for CTE stakeholders.  The publication deserves to be mentioned again because it provides not only a context for policy conversations, but also a roadmap of sorts for program implementation at the local level.  This article still believes that it is the credibility and applicability of program assessment that will drive improvements to all phases of CTE. These assessments provide reliable, valid, and actionable data for continuous improvement.

NOCTI, a not-for-profit entity  governed by an unpaid board elected by the state directors of CTE in all 50 states, works solely for the CTE community to provide the data and support that schools and students need.  NOCTI works closely with ACTE, NRCCTE, NASDCTEc, and the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES), just to name a few.  New collaborations and initiatives are underway. Here are just a few worth mentioning:

Contact us at nocti@nocti.org to see how we can help you.  NOCTI is also a gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc fall meeting; stop by and say hello!

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Advance CTE Fall Meeting, Meetings and Events

State CTE Policy Update: Two More States Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

State MapThis month, two additional states, California and Delaware, joined Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont in adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  In both cases, the state boards of education voted to adopt the NGSS, which were released in Spring 2013.

Both California and Delaware were among the group of 26 Lead Partner States, playing a significant role throughout the development of the standards. Now, both states are turning their attention to the  implementation of the new standards, no simple feat as the NGSS are, purposefully, organized differently than traditional science standards, with a greater emphasis on cross-cutting concepts that reach across all science disciplines. Delaware is planning to develop a multi-year implementation strategy soon and the California State Board of Education will take up an initial implementation challenge, middle school course requirements, this Fall.

For more on the NGSS and their development and design, see www.nextgenscience.org

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Holds Perkins Hearing, Passes CR

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

House Holds First Perkins Hearing

Last Friday the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education began the reauthorization process for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) by holding a hearing titled “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.”Capitol

View the archived hearing here.

John Fischer, Vermont’s Deputy Commissioner of Education and NASDCTEc’s current President, was among the witnesses asked to testify. His written testimony can be found here. Fischer spoke about the importance and impact of CTE programs on communities across the country from a unique perspective—as both a national representative for State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors and NASDCTEc, and also as a state representative of Vermont. NASDCTEc’s CTE vision and underlying principles organized the majority of Fischer’s oral and written testimony. Other witnesses at the hearing were:

The hearing touched on many overarching issues surrounding CTE and the role Perkins has as a catalyst for improving and innovating the CTE system across the nation. Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, summed up these issues saying, “The big picture we’re talking about today is competitiveness and having a qualified and trained workforce . . . CTE is not a field of dreams, but a field of jobs.”  Rep. Thompson went on to note that CTE programs are the driving force for ensuring the United States remains a leader in global competitiveness.

Over the course of the hearing, Fischer used NASDCTEc’s vision statement, Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, to organize his testimony. He spoke about the need for common data collection standards, definitions, and incentives; clear expectations for high quality CTE programs; and a more active role for states. He also emphasized strengthening collaboration between secondary CTE, postsecondary CTE, and businesses through consortia and private-sector engagement. Fischer highlighted Vermont’s use of its reserve fund as an innovation fund and explained how that model could be applied nationally.

Frank Britt of Penn Foster spoke of the advantages to online, hybrid, and blended learning programs. Through these programs, students have the opportunity to take additional classes, earning credits for courses that are not offered at their home school, and to provide paced instruction tailored to the individual needs of a student. The other witnesses, Sheila Harrity and Alvin Bargas, emphasized the important role of business and industry in the CTE system and the need to better link CTE programs to current and future labor market needs.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Rokita laid out the subcommittee’s plans going forward saying, “In the coming weeks, this committee will discuss a range of proposals to improve the Perkins Act. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft smart policies that will help put more Americans on the path to a prosperous future.”

NASDCTEc has met with the Democrat and Republican Committee staff as they begin their deliberations on Perkins and will continue to do so as the process unfolds. Now is the time to engage with your Congressional representatives and their staff! Tell them how CTE is working in your state or district. Learn more about NASDCTEc’s recommendations for Perkins reauthorization here.

House Passes Short-Term Continuing Resolution

Under current law, the federal government is funded only through September 30th with a new fiscal year beginning on October 1st. If Congress fails to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to temporarily fund the federal government, it will cease all non-essential functions until an appropriations bill is signed into law. A shutdown would be felt almost immediately and affect many core functions of the federal government.

Last Friday, the House narrowly passed a short-term CR that would fund the government until December 15, 2013, and maintain current sequester spending levels. However, the stopgap funding resolution or House Joint Resolution 59 (H.J. Res 59), also includes a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature healthcare law. The Senate is now poised to take up this spending bill and will most likely strip this provision out and send a “clean” version, without the defund provision,  back to the House for consideration.

After that it is not entirely clear how the process will unfold. The House will either need to pass the bill as is, or mark it up and send it back to the Senate for approval. Both President Obama and Senate Democrats have said that they will not approve a bill that includes the so-called ‘defund Obamacare’ provision. Because of this, both the House and the Senate are at an impasse and compromise will be needed to keep the government functioning after the end of the month.

We will continue to update members through our blog as more information becomes available.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

By Steve Voytek in Legislation

September CTE Monthly: CTE Credentials Lead to Big Earnings

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the September edition, read more about:

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other advocacy resources on our Advocacy Tools webpage.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Resources
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NASDCTEc Webinar Broadcast on September 26 Provides Legislative Update – Back to School Education: Policy and Funding

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Have you signed 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 Webinars

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update – Special Reservation Rate Ends Today

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Have you made your hotel reservations for the Fall Meeting yet? Today is the last day to get the group rate!

The reduced group RESERVATION rate will end today, September 20. After that date, special rates and room availability are not longer guaranteed.

The Fall Meeting will be held at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel and is geared toward professional development, sharing of best practices, state policy updates and other topical sessions. An important topic covered at this meeting will be the release of “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards.” It is a national report examining how states organize and implement CTE standards, using the Common Career Technical Core as the benchmark.

The agenda includes confirmed presenters and will provide the professional development and content you need to stay on top of all the latest Career Technical Education happenings.

Make your plans to attend the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Fall Meeting, Meetings and Events

Announcing Webinar on Building Strategic Partnerships at NCPN Conference October 14

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The first of the Youth and Adult Pathways (YAP) series, Building Strategic Partnerships webinar will focus on building partnerships to support your career pathways programs through structure, governance, and strategic planning.  Event themes include:  partnerships goals; identifying partners; structure & governance; roles & responsibilities; partnership operation and sustaining a partnership.  Debra Mills, Director of the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) will be the host.

The webinar will be recorded live at the NCPN Conference in San Antonio on Monday, October 14th.  If you miss the live webinar, all materials and webinar records will be available for download at:  https://community.lincs.ed.gov/group/career-pathways

The YAP Event Series is designed to bring together professionals with a shared interest in connecting youth and adult learners with career pathways.  Presenters are experts in their fields, and events are designed to enhance your knowledge and give you usable information in each area.  While the live webinar is the central event, each topic is presented as a month-long “microgroup” within the Career Pathways community on the LINCS site and will include ongoing engagement and discussion before and after the live events.  For more information sign up for the LINCS mailing list  or request more information by emailing:  YAPEventSeries@manhattanstrategy.com

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in Meetings and Events, Webinars
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Legislative Update: House Perkins Hearing This Friday

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

CapitolThis Friday, the reauthorization process for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act will begin with a hearing called “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs.” The hearing will be held by the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Witnesses will include a State CTE Director and a CTE high school principal.

Hearing: Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: A Discussion on Career and Technical Education and Training Programs
Time: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:00 am ET
Location: Rayburn Building, Room 2175

The hearing will be available on a live webcast. In case you are unable to attend, we will provide a detailed summary in Friday’s legislative update.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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