Archive for December, 2015

NASDCTEc Legislative Update: Congress Renews ESEA and Passes an FY 2016 Funding Bill

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

United States CapitalJust before the first session of the 114th Congress was set to conclude, lawmakers passed two key pieces of legislation before heading back home for the holiday season. The first among these was a rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act— the primary federal K-12 education law which has been due for reauthorization since 2007.

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) substantially rolls back federal authority and responsibilities within the context of the new law by providing states and local communities significant flexibility for how to implement the various components of ESSA. Earlier this month the House passed ESSA by a margin of 359 to 64, which was then taken up and passed by the Senate on a similar bipartisan margin of 85 to 12 shortly after, and was signed by the President last week formally enacting ESSA into law.

ESSA contains many promising Career Technical Education (CTE)-related provisions such as a strengthened requirement that state academic standards be aligned with state CTE standards, expanded college and career guidance programs, and an increased focus on CTE student performance data. Notably, a “well-rounded education”—a key concept that the law seeks to promote— now includes CTE as part of the statutory definition.

Implementation of ESSA is already underway, with some of the law’s new provisions going into effect within the next year. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) has already started to unpack the new law, recently sending a Dear Colleague Letter to state education agencies, and soliciting input from the public for how best to implement some of ESSA’s key provisions. Comments on this solicitation are due no later than January 21, 2016. USDE has also created a dedicated email for stakeholders to ask questions regarding ESSA implementation as the Department begins to develop guidance for the law’s implementation:

Earlier this week ESSA was officially enrolled and is now available to view in its entirety here. NASDCTEc applauds the passage of this landmark legislation and is looking forward to the upcoming implementation process where states and local school districts will have several key opportunities to coordinate, align, and strengthen supports for CTE.

Congress Approves Massive $1.1t Spending Bill

Throughout most of 2015, Congress has struggled to come to consensus on how to fund the federal government for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. After missing the initial FY 2016 funding deadline on October 1, Congress passed a series of stop-gap measures— known as continuing appropriations resolutions (CR)— that temporarily extended previous FY 2015 funding levels in an effort to avert a government shutdown this past autumn. These CRs also served the dual purpose of providing additional time for lawmakers to negotiate a broader agreement on federal spending for the remainder of FY 2016.

This negotiation process unfolded in two interrelated stages. Following the passage of the first CR in October, Congress and the Obama Administration announced and later ratified a two-year budget deal that provided much-needed relief from the Budget Control Act’s sequester caps— current legislative requirements that constrain federal spending on domestic programs, such as the Perkins Act’s basic state grant (BSG) program, into the next decade. This agreement increased these caps for FY 2016 and FY 2017, but left the important task of designating specific funding amounts for programs to separate appropriations legislation.

Last week, this type of agreement— known as an omnibus that combines several appropriations bills into one comprehensive spending package—was unveiled by Congressional negotiators last week and quickly passed by both Chambers before the President signed the measure into law.

The omnibus provides level funding for the Perkins Act BSG program for FY 2016 and restores earlier proposed cuts to the law’s national programs section, which supports CTE research and technical assistance projects. While other education and workforce development programs received modest funding increases from this legislation, those programs are largely authorized by laws that were recently renewed by Congress such as ESSA and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)— a fact that underscores the importance of Congress taking up Perkins reauthorization in the second session of the 114th Congress.

Odds & Ends

 Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager 

By Steve Voytek in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Welcomes Jeralyn Jargo!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Jeralyn Jargo is Minnesota’s newest State CTE Director and has big plans for CTE in the state. Jargo has held a wide array of jobs in the education sector including teaching high school science, setting up programs of study in respiratory therapy, serving as an academic dean for a two-year college, and most recently, was the vice president of advancement and innovation at Century College.

Throughout Jargo’s career, one thing that has always held true is that collaboration across sectors and industries is critical to creating the best possible outcomes for students. One project Jargo facilitated in her most recent position was a Shark Tank-like grant initiative where students participated in a series of workshops and mentorships before delivering an idea or product to a multi-disciplinary panel of judges comprised of community leaders; business partners; and faculty in science, engineering and marketing. Winners were awarded $5,000 scholarships. This innovative approach at awarding scholarships allowed students to work across disciplines and sectors, an experience they are sure to repeat in their careers.

As the State CTE Director, Jargo is working to build an environment where collaboration like this and innovation are key components in the way her department functions, and how programs of study are delivered to students. “The majority of us aren’t going to go to Harvard or play for the Cubs, so how do we help the masses of folks who learn by touching and smelling and participating,  who are going to have a job that requires critical thinking and transferrable skills, concepts that all come from a foundation of CTE?”

One way Jargo will tackle this challenge is by building meaningful and authentic partnerships with business, industry and policymakers in the state. “There is a huge window of opportunity to focus on the understanding of CTE,” said Jargo. “It’s a very good time to promote CTE. The business community is more and more engaged and they are powerful advocates for the system.”

In addition, Jargo wants to improve the support students receive as they move in, out and back into education. A successful program would be one where students are supported through these transitions, or as Jargo put it, “If you fly over the Twin Cities and look at the on and off ramps…That’s what CTE would look like. Traffic would be flowing at a steady rate.”

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized

Excellence in Action: Marine Academy of Science and Technology

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Thank you to all of you who submitted applications to our 2016 Excellence in Action awards! We are digging through the applications ospreynow and are blown away by the number of innovative, exciting and inspiring programs of study from big cities to tiny rural towns. We’re looking forward to announcing the winners in late February.

While learning about all these new programs of study, we thought it would be a good time to look back at one of our 2015 award winners, the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), the award recipient in the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Career Cluster. This program has been educating secondary students in Highland, New Jersey for 34 years. Students get the chance to work with the nearby National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab, a 65-foot research vessel, and a four-year naval science program through the NJROTC, all while earning up to 17 college credits.

In addition to the program of study’s goal of preparing students for postsecondary education, students are also provided with work-based learning opportunities working hand-in-hand with some of the best scientists in the country at the North East Fisheries Science Center, or on research projects with the National Park Service.

MAST has set up students for incredible success, with 100 percent of students graduating high school and enrolling in postsecondary education, 50 percent of whom enrolled in a STEM field. Learn more about MAST and our 2015 award winners.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized

Upcoming Webinar: CTE and Global Competency

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Being globally competent is increasingly a requirement in today’s economy, where individuals are called upon to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale. Career Technical Education (CTE) programs offer a unique platform for teaching global competencies, providing the rigorous and authentic setting necessary to prepare students for the competitive world economy, while offering a more engaging, motivating and relevant education.

To explore the ways in which CTE and global education intersect and can be integrated, Asia Society, Longview Foundation, NASDCTEc and ACTE partnered on the new publication Preparing a Globally Competent Workforce Through High-Quality Career and Technical Education, which will be released in early January 2016.

Join us on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 3-4 p.m. ET for a webinar on this critical issue, featuring local leaders sharing what globally-minded CTE programs look like at the classroom level. Register today!

Speakers include:

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Advance CTE Announcements, Webinars

This Week in CTE: ESSA

Friday, December 11th, 2015



Congress is Getting Rid of No Child Left Behind. Here’s What Will Replace It
Yesterday, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing No Child Left Behind. While the vast majority of power is shifted from the Federal Government back to the States, here’s a rundown of what’s left of No Child Left Behind, and what changes with the new law.


President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized

NASDCTEc Endorses Proposed Every Student Succeeds Act

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) is excited to announce its endorsement of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the proposed legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

“The Every Student Succeeds Act is a significant, bipartisan legislative achievement that provides states and schools with the opportunity to offer every student equitable access to a high-quality education that truly prepares them for postsecondary and career success,” said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director.

The Career Technical Education (CTE) community has long-advocated for federal policy that improves collaboration between academic and CTE courses and programs.  “By recognizing that all students need a combination of academic, technical and employability skills in order to succeed and thrive in the dynamic global economy, ESSA represents an important step forward in federal policy. To that end, we urge members in both chambers of Congress to vote in support of this legislation’s swift passage.”

The Every Student Succeeds Act is the product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to reauthorize ESEA, the law formerly known as No Child Left Behind, which has been due for renewal since 2007. Earlier this year, NASDCTEc released a set of legislative recommendations calling for a bill that would more effectively leverage CTE in a new ESEA law.

The conference report for the Every Student Succeeds Act was released earlier this week and is expected to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives later today. It will then move to the Senate next week for further consideration.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized