Archive for September, 2017

Congress Continues Appropriations Process, Secretary DeVos on “Rethink School” Tour

Friday, September 15th, 2017

News This Week

Congress is back in session and the pace is picking up again in Washington! Both the House and Senate have been busy with the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) appropriations process. In addition, Secretary DeVos is on a “Rethink School” tour this week. Read below to find out more about FY18 spending decisions and details on Secretary DeVos’ tour.

Continuing Resolution Approved

On September 8, President Trump signed H.R. 601, a short-term spending measure (known as a continuing resolution) that would fund the government through December 8. While the measure keeps the government open until that time, it included a small reduction in funds across all programs in order to comply with current budget caps. This means that some states may see a slightly smaller allocation for the portion of funds in the Perkins Basic State Grant that will be disbursed October 1st. However, there will be opportunities to restore these funds when appropriators work on their final FY18 spending bills (more on this below).

House and Senate Work on Appropriations Bills 

The House Rules Committee held hearings on the eight bill omnibus appropriations bill, H.R. 3354 starting on Tuesday, September 5 and continued their considerations of testimony and amendments through Wednesday, September 13. This bill includes the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies spending bill, which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. The bill was bundled with seven other appropriations bills in H.R. 3354, which passed the House on September 14 on a 211-198 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

The Senate is also working on its appropriations bills. On September 6, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee held a mark up of their appropriations bill. On September 7, the full Senate Appropriations committee approved the bill, which which included level-funding for the FY18 allocation for Perkins Basic State Grants and National Programs. Congress will need to finalize all of the FY18 spending bills by December 8 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Secretary DeVos Embarks on “Rethink School Tour”

On Tuesday, September 12, Secretary DeVos headed to two schools in Wyoming to kick off the “Rethink School” tour. The tour will “showcase creative ways in which education leaders are meeting the needs of students in K-12 and higher education” according to the media advisory. From September 13-15, Secretary DeVos traveled to schools across Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana and to Johnson County Community College in Kansas. Find out more about the tour and which schools she visited here.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy 

By Kathryn Zekus in Uncategorized

Colleges Play Important Role in Creating Alternative Credentialing Pathways

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

A new report commissioned by The Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences examines the landscape of non-degree postsecondary training. The report focused on five categories: certificate programs, work-based training, skills-based short programs, massive open online courses and other online microcredentials, and competency-based education programs, and provides in-depth analyses of each. While these types of trainings vary widely across sectors and states, the authors found that they all tended to be shorter, more flexible, and more directly aligned with employer-defined skills than traditional postsecondary degree programs.

However, data on learner enrollment and outcomes for these programs is limited, so it is difficult to tell how effective an option they ultimately are for learners. With that in mind, the report also found that more traditional degree programs, which have clearer data on outcomes, are increasingly incorporating elements of alternative pathways into their programs to create programs that provide academic and non-academic instruction.

Survey Measures Student Interest and Readiness for Postsecondary

A recent online survey of over 55,000 high school students revealed some interesting findings related to the enthusiasm and readiness for postsecondary education. 84 percent of students indicated a desire to go to college, with only five percent definitely saying no to college. 68 percent of students had plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college immediately after high school.

Interestingly, only 50 percent of 12th grade students feel that their school has helped them develop the skills and knowledge they will need for college-level classes. Students are aware of the various support services offered, and they generally agree those services are helpful. However, not many students are actually choosing to take advantage of them. This could be for a number of reasons, but advertising these services and reducing the stigma of using them might help.

Odds and Ends

The Education Commission of the States launched a 50-state scan highlighting how states issue and analyze postsecondary feedback reports. An interesting finding is that 39 states publicly report high school feedback reports with data on postsecondary enrollment and/or performance.

A new report finds that English language learners are proportionally under-enrolled in New York City’s CTE programs, and that they are less likely to successfully complete the programs once enrolled. The report’s authors feel that this is a major opportunity to enroll more English language learners in CTE programs, as those who do complete their CTE programs graduate at a rate that is 30 percent higher than other English language learners in the city.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Research
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New PDK Poll Shows that Americans Overwhelmingly Support Career Preparation in High School

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

The 49th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released recently, and once again showed the importance of career preparation in K-12 for American students. Respondents overwhelmingly supported the idea that students need classes devoted to preparing them for the real world, including training for specific careers and training on employability and interpersonal skills. Over 80 percent indicated that they would prefer career and jobs preparation courses even if it meant students spending less time in academic courses.

Fewer than half of public school parents (47 percent) expect their child to enroll in a four-year college full time. Other parents expected their child to enroll in two-year colleges or vocational programs, while others expect their students will enroll in postsecondary training part-time while also working. These findings indicate that parents are thinking deliberately and strategically about their students’ futures in the real world.

New Research Highlights Number of Jobs Available for Those without Bachelor’s Degree

A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase & Co. details the 30 million “good” jobs available in the US for workers without Bachelor’s degrees. These jobs pay a median wage of $55,000 annually, and are largely found in the manufacturing and skilled-services industries.

The research also points out that even though there is a wide public perception that there are no jobs available for those without Bachelor’s degrees, workers without them still comprise 64 percent of all workers. However, this does not mean that workers do not require any postsecondary training. Increasingly, jobs are requiring Associate’s degrees or other postsecondary credentials, so future job seekers should still plan on attaining some level of postsecondary experience.

Odds and Ends

The Education Commission of the States recently put together a comprehensive summary of state policy actions taken related to high-quality computer science education. These actions include adopting statewide computer science standards and creating banks of high quality resources for educators to use.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce also recently released a report detailing the effects of the current healthcare debate on the nursing profession. The report finds that a college education is increasingly important to be successful in nursing, and also finds that lack of diversity remains a challenge for the field.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
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Welcome to Dr. Colleen McCabe, Wisconsin’s New State CTE Director!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Earlier this year, Colleen McCabe was visiting the Wisconsin state capitol to meet with legislators about funding for her local school district, or as she describes it, “happily minding my own business.”

That’s when she got a text from a close friend, Morna Foy, who also happens to be the president of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Foy asked McCabe to consider joining her at WTCS as Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs.

McCabe knew this would require her to fill the very big shoes of Kathy Cullen, who was retiring after having served in that role for more than a decade. Ultimately, she accepted and was named to the position in early August.

As she settles into her new role, McCabe said she is looking forward to learning more about the shape and history of the technical college system, and using her well-honed skills of innovation and collaboration to look across the system to make sure WTCS is best serving their learners.

Starting from her time as a college athlete and later a coach, McCabe said she believes in understanding the individual gifts of each player or student, rather than trying to force them into a prescribed system. Her greatest coaching challenge came when she served as the coach for a high school boys’ basketball team.

“Working with 19 ninth grade boys, you learn a lot about how to get your message across and get people working together toward a common goal,” she said.

McCabe began her career in education teaching high school health and physical education in Wisconsin. She went on to get her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, from St. Mary’s, Winona, because she wanted to work to help integrate health skills and competencies across discipline areas in education. After 14 years of K-12 instruction, she joined the University of Wisconsin-Platteville as an assistant volleyball coach and lecturer. During her 17 years at the Platteville campus, she completed her doctorate in educational leadership, from Edgewood College and then entered into a faculty role, where she continued to teach and served as department chair of Health and Human Performance for 14 years.

McCabe also consulted with the state’s Department of Public Instruction on their health education initiative to help K-12 educators revamp their curricula to focus on the development of the health-related skills, through use of content activities and assessments. This “Skills are the Units” concept prompts developmental learning so that students know how to use health content effectively throughout life. Because of her work in both K-12 and teacher education training, the Wisconsin Health and Physical Education Association, honored her as the 2014 Health Educator of the Year.

Now at WTCS, she plans to leverage all of this experience to keep the technical college system on the cutting edge. She noted to support the vision, planning, and work needed to remain a leader in career and technical education requires the ability to adapt and make changes.

“Change is hard,” McCabe said. “No one welcomes it, even the minute changes. I believe my role at WTCS is about supporting people when they have to get out of their comfort zone when change is needed.”

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE State Director
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This Week in CTE: Americans Want More Career Focused Education in Schools

Friday, September 1st, 2017

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK 

The Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools was released this week and had some excellent findings about CTE and career readiness including:

The poll finds that increasingly, people expect school to not only prepare students for postsecondary, but also their life after their education. Read more about the results.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK 

Job Centered Learning, the documentary exploring CTE courses and the role they play in preparing students for life after school, airs in Mississippi, Alabama and the greater Los Angeles area this weekend. Find out when it’s playing in your state by checking your local PBS network.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Check out six new modules with lesson plans and activities to teach middle and high school students about advanced transportation systems, and introduce the array of careers available in the field.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

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

 

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