Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Commitment Across Systems

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All systems work together to put learner success first.

In order to deliver high-quality CTE for all learners, state systems must work together at every level. Secondary and postsecondary must work together and with agencies that handle workforce and economic development issues. All of those agencies must also engage with employer partners and local districts and institutions to inform the design, validation and implementation of CTE programs.

This engagement should include a common vision and goals, along with shared terminology and data, so that each system can function together efficiently.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

  • Establish a common statewide vision and commitment to providing all learners with
    meaningful career pathways;
  • Coordinate federal and state policies, programs and funding to maximize
    investments and reduce inefficiencies;
  • Develop and support sustainable partnerships and intermediaries to accelerate
    learner success; and
  • Build indicators of career readiness—for all learners—into federal and state
    accountability systems.

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders place their focus on cross-sector coordination, they have access to multiple resources related to secondary and postsecondary partnerships, governance, accountability systems and statewide longitudinal data systems.

Principle in Action

  • California: Career Pathways Trust
    • In 2013-2014, CCPT originally set aside $250 million for one-time competitive grants to school districts, county superintendents, charter schools and community colleges with the intent to support career pathways in grades K-14; promote cross-sector collaboration in support of effective CTE; develop programs of study aligned to high-need, high-growth sectors; provide articulated pathways to postsecondary education; and leverage existing funding and programs. As a competitive grant, the CCPT provided an opportunity for the California Department of Education (CDE) to define the components of high quality career pathways, focus on alignment of secondary and post-secondary career education, and encourage quality practices such as dual credit courses and student and teacher internships.
  • Kentucky: Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK)
    • Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) is a youth pre-apprenticeship program that stands out as an innovative example of effective collaboration between the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, employers and labor to strengthen students’ career pathways and the talent pipeline. The program utilizes Kentucky’s existing CTE infrastructure to create a pipeline for students that begins in high school and culminates in an industry-recognized credential, paid work experience and, in many cases, advanced standing within a full Registered Apprenticeship. Employers lead the process of partnering with an area technical center to design the selection process and the four-course program of study sequence.
  • Minnesota: Technical Skill Assessment Project
    • Minnesota’s Technical Skill Assessment project (TSA), which was launched in 2009 and has since expanded to encompass 79 Career Pathways, demonstrates how states can develop a strong assessment framework by engaging the employer community and aligning secondary and postsecondary systems. While the Minnesota State Colleges and University System is the Perkins eligible agency in Minnesota, the state rolled out a joint implementation strategy in 2008 that established 26 regional consortia made up of at least one 2-year college and one secondary school district. Each consortium jointly dictates how Perkins funds are expended. Under TSA, these consortia would be the vehicles for reviewing Career Pathways and identifying assessment needs.

Relevant Resources

  • Career Readiness Stakeholder Engagement Tool
    • Sustainable and successful transformation of state career readiness systems, including but not limited to Career Technical Education (CTE), requires engagement with a variety of stakeholders who are deliberately working to share ownership. Lead agencies must engage those from industry, who may be new to policymaking, not only to generate buy-in but also to reach state goals for transformation. This tool from Advance CTE is based off of two tools created by the Council of Chief State School Officers in June and November 2016. This tool, developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative and generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., guides users through nine steps in planning effective interactions with specific stakeholders.
  • State Policy Leadership for the Future: History of State Coordination and Governance and Alternatives for the Future
    • The report, from the Education Commission of the States, compares states to determine governance policies related to six core issues: state-level planning, state finance policy, maintenance of databases, regulation of higher education institutions and programs, administration of state-level services, and governance of higher education systems and institutions. The paper also outlines alternative strategies for implementing these core functions in a way that is most conducive to improving the educational attainment of the state’s population given changing conditions and expectations.
  • Career Readiness & the Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Career Readiness in State ESSA Plans – Round 1
    • This brief from Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group examines where and how CTE and career readiness are built into the first 17 ESSA plans. The brief finds that, while more than half plan to adopt measures of career readiness in their accountability systems, many states missed an opportunity to fully leverage ESSA to advance a statewide vision of career readiness. In addition to accountability, the brief examines how states plan to support career readiness through the vision and goals; Title II, Part A (Supporting Effective Instruction); Title IV, Part A (Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants); and Title IV, Part B (21st Century Community Learning Centers).

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

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