Archive for December, 2016

Happy Holidays from Advance CTE!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Happy Holidays from all of us here at Advance CTE! As we reflect on this incredible year, we want to say a thank you for your dedication to Advance CTE, and unwavering commitment to providing high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) to learners across the country.
It’s been a transformational year for Advance CTE, and we invite you to share in some of our successes and highlights.
We released Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE, establishing a bold vision for all of education, and calling for a systemic transformation of the education system. 11 partners have joined this shared vision, 36 states have signed onto the Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign, and Advance CTE has shared over 28,000 copies of the vision.
Advance CTE underwent an organizational rebrand to better reflect our membership and reaffirm our core values. With support from the Advance CTE Board of Directors and Membership, we created a brand that reflects our commitment to supporting all the state leaders who are committed to advancing high-quality CTE across the country.
In January 2016, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched New Skills for Youth, a $75 million, five-year initiative, aimed at strengthening career-focused education.
As part of this initiative, JPMorgan Chase, Advance CTE, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Education Strategy Group have partnered on a multi-year state competition to increase the number of students in the U.S. who successfully complete career pathways and catalyze approaches to the design and implementation of programs and policies to increase students’ career readiness. This year, 24 states and Washington, D.C. received planning and implementation grants to jump start this work.
We launched the Learning that Works Resource Center, a curated database of research, reports, tools, guides and policies focused on CTE and career-readiness. The Resource Center has been visited over 36,000 times, and continues to be updated with new resources and information regularly. Check out the most popular resource in the Resource Center here.
We celebrated our Excellence in Action award recipients, awarded to 11 programs across as many Career Clusters in nine states.

To dig deep on topics ranging from federal policy to industry recognized credentials, we released 10 reports or briefs and published 141 blog posts.
Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized

This Week in CTE: The State of CTE report is released!

Friday, December 16th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Today, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, we published The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High School, examining the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. Save the date for a webinar on January 9th that will explore major themes from this report.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

An article by Hechinger Report takes a dive into the recent poll by Gallup-Purdue indicates more than half of college graduates find their alma maters provided inadequate career guidance services, while hailing a notable exception, Wake Forest, which offers college-to-career courses for students to better help them plan for their future.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Announcements, Advance CTE Resources, News, Resources

Alternative Certification Alone Will Not Solve CTE Expert Shortage

Friday, December 16th, 2016

New Report Describes State Efforts to Increase Access to Industry Experts in High Schools

state of cte industry expertsAs interest in Career Technical Education (CTE) continues to increase, the need for experts qualified to help ensure students gain the real-world experiences they need for success increases as well. Individuals with industry expertise provide a perspective to students that traditional academic teachers may be unable to offer, and can also help students explore and connect with particular career opportunities. Unfortunately, there is a national shortage of these experts working in schools.   

Today Advance CTE released a report examining the shortage of industry experts in secondary classrooms and how to address it. This report was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Advance CTE, in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, carried out two surveys: one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states.

The surveys revealed that, while many states use alternative certification policies to bring industry experts into schools as full-time teachers, those policies do not fully address the problem. Alternative certification policies may work well for industry experts who are already willing to change careers and go into the classroom full-time, but there are other options that better meet the available capacity of industry experts still working in their field. These strategies include allowing experts to teach part-time or co-teach with a fully certified teacher of record, which gives students the benefit of their industry-specific knowledge without requiring the expert to give up their job in industry or go through the same rigorous and time-consuming preparation of a fully certified teacher.

alt cert state of cteOther states have policies that encourage experts to give their time in non-instructional roles, such as through career coaching and mentorships. Many states have articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions and use those to share faculty, which can include industry experts. Fewer states use incentives to attract experts to the teaching profession.

Using the data collected from the surveys, Advance CTE developed several recommendations for state leaders to consider. First, states should develop policies and initiatives that go beyond full-time alternative certification policies to allow for a broad range of options for industry expert involvement. States can do more to leverage their articulation agreements with postsecondary institutions to give secondary students access to industry experts teaching at the postsecondary level. Importantly, states must work to increase awareness of all of these opportunities within industry. Finally, states should consider how to deliberately coordinate and streamline disparate recruitment strategies so as to maximize their collective impact.

For more information, look out for an invitation to a webinar discussing this paper, which will take place on January 9 at 3 pm ET and feature an in-depth look at Nebraska’s strategies for increasing access to industry experts.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Research, Resources
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114th Congressional Wrap-Up and Perkins Outlook

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

United States CapitalFollowing the November elections, lawmakers have been on Capitol Hill for the final phase of the 114th Congress. This lame duck session was formally scheduled to come to an end this upcoming Friday, but the last-minute passage of a continuing resolution (CR) last week allowed lawmakers to adjourn the 114th Congress a week early after the bill cleared the Senate.

With policymakers digesting the results of the elections and planning ahead for 2017, there were not too many education or workforce-related highlights from this final session of Congress to speak of. The dearth of legislative activity did make room for the composition of the respective House (HEW) and Senate (HELP) education committees to become clearer.

In the Senate, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will retain his leadership role of the HELP Committee. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) will also keep her slot going into next year. This year this duo, along with Senators Enzi (R-WY) and Casey (D-PA), came close to passing a comprehensive reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act, but unfortunately these efforts stalled as the year wore on. The root cause of this delay were continued disagreements related to the oversight authority of the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

With the retirement of Chairman John Kline (R-MN), the House education committee recently named a new Chairwoman—Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)— to lead HEW in the 115th Congress. Rep. Foxx recently won her seventh term in Congress, and has been the Chairwoman for HEW’s subcommittee on higher education since 2010. Prior to her tenure in Congress, she was a professor and administrator at several postsecondary institutions in North Carolina. On the Democratic side of the aisle Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) will retain his leadership position on the committee.

Earlier this year the full House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5587—comprehensive legislation that would reauthorize the Perkins Act. While there were some remaining items that needed to be addressed as the bill made its way over to the Senate (primarily a fix for the proposed definition for a secondary CTE concentrator), Advance CTE endorsed and supported this legislation’s passage. Unfortunately due to the reasons cited above, the bill lost momentum when it arrived in the Senate.

As we look ahead to the next Congress, lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in taking up Perkins reauthorization. However, a specific timeline for the law’s consideration is still unclear and it will be competing with other education priorities such as a renewal of the Higher Education Act (HEA). In the coming year, Advance CTE will continue to advocate for a thoughtful reauthorization process for Perkins in this new environment and will urge lawmakers to build upon the strong foundation laid with H.R. 5587 to support high-quality CTE for years to come.

Be sure to check back here for an in-depth look at what else is in store in the 115th Congress in coming week.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Uncategorized
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Congress Averts Government Shutdown with Stopgap Funding Legislation

Monday, December 12th, 2016

United States CapitalOn Friday the House and Senate successfully passed a second “continuing resolution” (CR)— short-term stopgap funding legislation that temporarily extends current Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending levels through April 28th, 2017. The legislation provides funding for the federal government until this date or until a separate full-year appropriations bill is enacted into law. The current 2016 fiscal year began this past October and the federal government has been operating under the auspices of an earlier CR passed by Congress just before this deadline.

While it had seemed likely that Congress would pass comprehensive spending legislation for the full fiscal year during the current lame duck session of Congress, as they have several times in years past, incoming President-Elect Donald Trump requested that these critical funding decisions be further delayed until next spring.

This decision leaves the outlook for funding for important federal programs, like the Carl D. Perkins Act, uncertain in the interim. This year’s earlier CR required a 0.496 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary federal programs, including the Perkins Act’s basic state grant program. Due to the Budget Control Act’s (BCA) sequester caps, which significantly restrict the amount of funding available for programs like Perkins each year through the next decade, this reduction translated into $5.5 million in fewer funding for Perkins, students, and the CTE programs the law supports.

At that time, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) revised states’ Perkins allocations in October and 30 states received reduced grants amounts due to the passage of this temporary legislation.

This most recent CR re-adjusts this half percent reduction somewhat to 0.19 percent to stay within the BCA caps. However, USDE is not likely to reimburse states for the difference between these two spending cuts until a full-year spending bill is successfully enacted.

The ongoing uncertainty caused by the current series of stopgap funding measures from Congress is already creating uncertainty for states and local school districts who need to prepare budgets for the upcoming academic year. Moreover, the budget process for the next federal fiscal year (2018) will begin in late winter of 2017 further complicating matters as efforts to fund federal programs like Perkins increasingly overlap.

Advance CTE encourages the CTE community to let their members of Congress know how important it is to restore cuts to Perkins in the coming months and pass comprehensive legislation that replaces these counterproductive CRs moving forward. To do so click here. Be sure to check back as the outlook for Perkins funding continues to evolve.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in Uncategorized
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This Week in CTE

Friday, December 9th, 2016

 

 

EXCELLENCE IN ACTION AWARD APPLICATIONS DUE NEXT WEEK!

The 2017 Excellence in Action award applications are due next week! Be sure to submit your program of study by Wednesday to lift up the innovative and exciting ways you’re providing students with high-quality CTE. Apply today!

CTE MONTH IS AROUND THE CORNER!

CTE Month is right around the corner and we’re getting geared up to celebrate around the theme, “Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!” This is our community’s chance to showcase the vast importance of CTE, and celebrate the successes of our state leaders, educators, administrators, partners, and students. This year, the Association for Career and Technical Education is hosting a Thunderclap, which will amplify the importance of CTE Month on social media. Be sure to join your fellow CTE advocates here!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Uncategorized

American Students Demonstrate Lackluster Performance on International PISA Exam, but Signal Interest in Science-Related Careers

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Earlier this week, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) released results from the 2015 international PISA examination. The examination, which is administered every three years by the OECD, is designed to measure science, reading and math literacy for 15-year-olds in 35 OECD member countries in order to identify trends in student achievement and provide recommendations for international education policy. Each administration of the exam focuses on a different content area, and the emphasis for the 2015 exam was science literacy.

Performance in the United States was lackluster at best, with students placing 19th in science, 20th in reading and 31st in math compared to 34 other OECD countries. While there has been relatively no change in performance for science and reading over the past two iterations of the exam, math scores have fallen 11 points since 2012.

In response to this year’s assessment results, the OECD released five recommendations for policymakers in the U.S. to improve teaching and learning and promote equity:

  1. A clear education strategy to improve performance and equity should be implemented.
  2. Rigorous and consistent standards should be applied across all classrooms.
  3. Teacher and school leader capacity should be improved.
  4. Resources should be distributed equitably across schools – preferentially to those schools and students that need them most.
  5. At-risk students and schools should be proactively targeted.

 

These results are sobering, but they also spark a renewed urgency to improve the quality of education and leverage opportunities such as Career Technical Education (CTE) to equip students with academic and workforce-relevant skills and set the national economy on track for future growth.

Student Performance and Economic Growth

Performance on the PISA exam serves not only as a signal of student academic achievement, but also of career readiness. This is a research focus of Eric Hanushek’s, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In a recent panel discussion with the Alliance for Excellent Education, he argued that academic performance is tightly related to a country’s future economic health. Using PISA performance as a proxy for educational quality, Hanushek finds a positive correlation between international performance and future GDP growth. In other words, the more students learn, the stronger the economy is likely to be in the future. He also uses scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a U.S.-administered assessment, to find a similar relationship across individual states.

However, Hanushek makes sure not to conflate educational quality with quantity. He runs the same analysis using years of educational attainment instead of PISA scores and finds almost no relationship with economic growth. He draws the conclusion that “if you have more education without developing the skills, it doesn’t count.” This conclusion echoes a finding from this year’s PISA that, in terms of science literacy performance, how science is taught is a more important factor than investments in equipment and highly-qualified instructional staff. In the intersection between education and economic growth, it is not the inputs that matter as much as the skills, knowledge and abilities students develop along the way.

Students Signal High Interest in Science-Related Careers

In addition to testing subject literacy, the PISA examination surveys student attitudes and career preferences. Interestingly, the 2015 survey found that 38 percent of American 15-year-olds expect to work in a science-related career field by the age of 30, with health and science and engineering the two most prominent industries of interest, demonstrating that high school students are putting consideration into their future career goals. 

One strategy to prepare students for future careers in science is to increase participation in related programs of study. Programs of study guide learners through a sequence of aligned, non-duplicative courses that integrate academic and technical learning, span secondary and postsecondary systems and culminate in a credential of value. Participating in a program of study enables students to focus in a Career ClusterⓇ of interest and develop the skills and experiences they need to be successful in that industry. Rather than sampling a basket of different electives without developing depth of experience in any, program of study concentrators go deep in their learning. And research indicates that this could lead to positive student outcomes. According to a recent study, participating in a program of study increases the likelihood of graduation, overall grade point average and CTE grade point average. At scale, increased participation in programs of study may lead to increased academic performance and career readiness, spurring future economic growth.

With the release of the 2015 international PISA exam scores, there is newfound urgency to improve the quality of learning and increase opportunities for students to learn workforce-relevant skills, particularly in science-related fields. By leveraging high-quality programs of study, education policymakers can prepare students for future careers and spur national economic growth.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in News, Public Policy, Research
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States Continue to Make Progress on ESSA Implementation

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Last week we provided an update on new federal regulations clarifying the implementation timeline and requirements for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Of note was the decision to delay the submission deadline for state plans to afford state agencies more time to meaningfully engage and gather input from stakeholders. This has been a priority activity for many states over the past several months. As state agencies have worked to draft and finalize their ESSA plans, many have made use of surveys, focus groups and listening tours to gather feedback from students, parents, educators and other relevant stakeholders.

To date, draft ESSA state plans are available for public comment in 10 states (though several others have released draft components): Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Washington. At this point, several states have proposed strategies to leverage ESSA’s accountability requirements to encourage and expand quality career pathways through a College and Career Readiness indicator (CCR). California is a notable example, having adopted a such a system in September, though other states are considering this as well.

Based on feedback from stakeholders, Delaware proposed a “College and Career Preparation” indicator that includes the percent of students demonstrating postsecondary preparation through CTE pathway completion, dual enrollment, and other academic indicators such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and SAT exam scores. Additionally, Oklahoma’s state plan proposes using industry credential attainment, along with AP/IB, as one measure of student access to postsecondary opportunity. And in South Carolina, the Department of Education designed its ESSA plan around a 90 percent college and and career readiness goal for graduating students by 2030. As an interim measure of progress towards this goal, the plan proposes adopting a “Prepared for Success” indicator that measures high school students’ scores on WorkKeys assessments, participation in Youth Apprenticeships, completion of state-approved CTE pathways and industry credential attainment. This list is by no means exhaustive, but nonetheless provides a snapshot of how some states are approaching this opportunity.

Other states have found opportunities to prioritize career readiness strategies throughout the ESSA planning process. For example:TN ESSA

With ESSA state plans due to be submitted in 2017, many states have yet to formalize their strategies under the new K-12 education law. Advance CTE  will monitor state plans and proposals as they are released to share emerging strategies and opportunities to leverage the law to advance career readiness and CTE as ESSA continues to be implemented over the coming years.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Road to ESSA Implementation: USDE Publishes Final Regs and Provides more Guidance

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

United States CapitalEarlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) released a new batch of final regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—bipartisan legislation that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These rules cover the law’s accountability, reporting, and state planning provisions of ESSA and come on the heels of an earlier— and highly controversial— set of proposed regulations for the law’s so-called “supplement-not-supplant” provisions.

While final rules for ESSA’s supplement-not-supplant provisions are still being worked out, this week’s set of final regulations make a number of important changes to the draft version released earlier this summer.

In many respects these final rules stipulate a more realistic timeline for the law’s implementation. For instance, states now have until the 2018-19 academic year to identify the lowest 5 percent of schools— schools that would then be eligible for comprehensive improvement under ESSA— whereas before that requirement would have gone into effect in the 2017-18 school year under the earlier proposal. Similarly, state ESSA plans are now due by April 3 or September 18, 2017 in order to give state education agencies more time to meaningfully engage stakeholders ahead of the law’s accountability system going into effect (another aspect of ESSA that will not be fully implemented until the 2018-19 school year).

Of particular note for the CTE community are other rule changes governing the law’s accountability system, specifically the new ESSA requirement that state accountability systems include at least one non-academic measure of school quality or student success which, under ESSA, may include measures of career readiness. Under the earlier draft version these additional indicators would have needed to be supported by research finding that “performance or progress” on the measure increases student academic achievement or graduation rates. Advance CTE, along with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) urged USDE to broaden this standard slightly to ensure that a greater number of high-quality career readiness indicators could be incorporated into states’ new ESSA accountability systems.

Encouragingly USDE heeded this suggestion and the final rule now requires that such measures, “increase student learning, such as grade point average, credit accumulation, or performance in advanced coursework, or for high schools, graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment, persistence, or completion, or career success.” A summary of these final rules are available here and the full document can be found here.

On Capitol Hill, the new ESSA regulations were met with mixed reactions.  Referencing the powers at his disposal via the Congressional Review Act—a law that would allow the Republican controlled Congress next year to throw out the proposal entirely— Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he, “will carefully review this final version before deciding what action is appropriate.” Ranking Members of the Senate and House Education Committees, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a more supportive statement saying, in part, “While we are disappointed that this final rule doesn’t go as far as we would have hoped, we commend the Department of Education for listening to stakeholders . . . This rule will provide states and school districts with much needed stability and clarity as they work to submit state plans and implement statewide accountability systems.”

In other ESSA-related news, USDE recently released new non-regulatory guidance for states and local districts to support the law’s ongoing roll-out. These releases covered topics ranging from meeting the law’s new English Language Learner requirements under Title III, guidance for how to effectively use ESSA Title II funding to support teachers and high-quality instruction, and additional guidance aimed at helping states and districts provide a “well-rounded education” under Title IV of the new law.

Be sure to check back here next week for another update on states’ efforts to implement ESSA.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

By Steve Voytek in News, Public Policy
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