THIS WEEK IN CTE: CTE MONTH!

February 3rd, 2017

Happy CTE Month! This month we are celebrating the best of Career Technical Education (CTE). We’ll be taking part in Twitter chats, advocating for CTE on Capitol Hill, exploring model programs, and lifting up fantastic work happening at the national, state and local level throughout the month. If you haven’t already, email Katie at kfitzgerald@careertech.org to let us know how your community is celebrating CTE in February.

RESOURCE(S) OF THE WEEK

Wondering how to get involved in CTE Month? Check out our CTE Month page for some quick ideas on where to start and some state and local examples from last year, then head over to the Association for Career and Technical Education’s CTE Month page and you’ll find the official CTE Month logo, a sample CTE Month proclamation, tips on hosting a school site visit for policymakers, and a number of additional resources.

ARTICLE(S) OF THE WEEK

Wanted: Factory Workers, Degree Required, New York Times

Career and Technical Education Advocates Pushing for Changes Under Trump, Education Week

Why Apprenticeships are Taking Off, City Lab

The Increasing Value of Technical Education in Chicago, Chicago Business Journal

TWEET(S) OF THE WEEK 

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Betsy DeVos’s Narrowing Path to Confirmation

February 3rd, 2017

On Tuesday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee voted to advance Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee, out of committee. The vote was narrowly decided along party lines with 12 Republicans voting for and 11 Democrats voting against her nomination.

Since then, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both announced they would not be voting for the nominee, putting Betsy DeVos’s nomination on very shaky ground. That leaves her with just 50 Republican votes, meaning the final decision may fall to Vice President Mike Pence, who casts a vote in the Senate in the event of a tie.

Shortly before the Senate HELP committee vote, DeVos released written responses to 139 questions from Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Among them was a question related to reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). DeVos called Perkins reauthorization “an important priority,” and added that she aims to work with the HELP committee to update the law to “provide flexibility at the state and local levels” and “ support transparency of data so parents, students, and other taxpayers can see how well their programs are working.”

Early this morning, the Senate voted 52-48 to end cloture, a procedural hurdle that needed to be cleared before the Senate would be able to conduct the final vote on DeVos’s confirmation. The final vote is now scheduled for Monday, February 6.

Trump Appoints Jerry Falwell, Jr. to Task Force for Higher Education

According to the Chronicle for Higher Education, Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, will be advising the Trump administration on higher education policy. He was appointed this week to lead a task force that will study issues related to accreditation, student loan forgiveness, campus sexual assault and more. While Falwell’s positions on such issues are unclear, he has made statements indicating that he aims to scale back the role of the federal government in postsecondary education.

Meanwhile, Lots of Support for CTE on the Hill

Last week, House and Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs received a letter urging them to resume Perkins reauthorization. The letter, which was signed by 85 organizations and businesses, praised Perkins as a tool for meeting the needs of the 21st century economy and helping employers close critical skills gaps. Advance CTE was a co-signer of the letter.

Additionally, Senate Democrats last week introduced a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that aims to create more than 15 million jobs. The bill is an attempt at bipartisanship in response to President Donald Trump’s comments, both on the campaign trail and during his inauguration, that rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure is a priority in the early months of his administration. Included in the bill is $75 billion for school construction projects, which will be disbursed to schools based on need.

In the House, Republicans introduced a resolution on Thursday under the 1996 Congressional Review Act to revoke Obama-era regulations for accountability and teacher preparation under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While the regulations were already frozen temporarily under a recent executive order from the White House, this resolution would revoke the regulations entirely. Further, President Trump’s administration would be prohibited from issuing “substantially similar” regulations, casting uncertainty over the future of ESSA implementation. The resolution must be approved by both the House and the Senate before going into effect.  

Finally, to help celebrate CTE month, the Senate CTE Caucus will be hosting an event that examines the role and impact of federal CTE policy.  Once this event is confirmed, we will share a link so you can participate virtually, as the event will be livestreamed.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate and Kimberly Green, Executive Director

2017 School Counselor of the Year will Keynote Advance CTE Spring Meeting

February 2nd, 2017

We’re proud to announce the keynote speaker for this year’s meeting: Terri Tchorzynski, the 2017 School Counselor of the Year!

Tchorzynski is a school counselor at the Calhoun Area Career Center in BattleCreek, Michigan, where she and her fellow counselors use the power of data to identify interventions and support students’ social-emotional health, college and career readiness preparation, and academics. Tchorzynski’s remarks will focus on the importance of school counselors and bring some insights into counseling CTE students.

The School Counselor of the Year program is presented by the American School Counselor Association, and finalists are chosen based on creative school counseling innovations, effective programs, leadership skills and contributions to student advancement.

Or hear from one of her former students – now a graduate of the Culinary Institute of Michigan – in her own words.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Welcome to Elaine Perea, New Mexico’s State CTE Director!

February 2nd, 2017

When Elaine Perea was studying ancient Greek philosophers at St. John’s College in 1990, she never imagined she would one day become the State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE) in New Mexico.

Yet, her first job after graduating was as a bookkeeper, and she soon realized she had a knack for numbers and finance. This led into varied career in business including accounting and eventually to an investment company where she bought commercial office buildings. Over time, however, this began to wear, she said. So Perea decided to return to college once more; this time, to earn her doctorate in social psychology and enter the next phase of her professional career – as a college professor in Florida, where she taught for three years.

But New Mexico was home, so when a position became available over two years ago in the state’s Public Education Department, she was able to leverage her unique blend of business experience and teaching to get hired as an Education Administrator. Shortly after joining the department, she assumed additional responsibilities as the Deputy Director of CTE.

After being named as the State CTE Director in January, Perea said she intends to continue focusing on how to increase secondary students’ access to CTE. In New Mexico, roughly half of school districts have fewer than 200 students and many struggle to offer a three-course program of study due to enrollments and resources.

Perea also said another of her top priorities is to increase the use of dual credit courses in secondary CTE programs, and to encourage students to take such courses as part of their program sequence. To do this, Perea said she is working closely with the state bodies that govern higher education enrollment policies.

“We believe dual credit is an important tool in supporting rigorous CTE programs and helping students get the credentials they need for entering into the workforce,” Perea said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

New Putting Learner Success First Resources

January 31st, 2017

As the first month of the New Year comes to a close, we’re excited to share a new resource and new supporter of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE!

In partnership with the National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges, we released a new paper on why this vision is critical to postsecondary leaders. Postsecondary leaders are important partners in the CTE system, providing high-quality CTE programs that arm learners with a range of credentials from a short-term certificate to an advanced degree. Learn more about how postsecondary leaders can get involved here. Also, learn more about how state leaders and educators can support Putting Learner Success First on our resources page.

Additionally, we’re thrilled to have National FFA join the growing list of vision supporters. Learn more about why they chose to support this important work here.

Wondering how you can get involved? Join the nearly 40 states who have signed on to our Putting Learner Success First sign-on campaign, and let us know how you plan to put this shared vision for CTE into action.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

President Trump’s First Week in Office

January 29th, 2017

Trump Freezes Pending Regulations, Including those Related to ESSA Accountability

President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office on Friday. During the inauguration ceremony, the President said the U.S. has “an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge,” though he did not provide additional details about his plans for improving the federal education system.

Upon taking office, Trump immediately revoked any regulations not yet submitted to the Federal Register and postponed the effective date of pending regulations by 60 days. This echoes a similar move from the Obama administration in early 2009. Although the most recent round of ESSA regulations, which detail accountability and state plans, were published in November 2016, they were not set to take effect until January 30. As a result, those regulations will now go into effect on March 21, 2017. While this could implicate ESSA plan submissions, state officials and consultants do not anticipate the pause will affect state timelines, according to Education Week.

President Trump has also hinted that he wants to reduce federal regulations by 75 percent, though he has not indicated where these reductions will come from.

Lastly, positions at the White House are starting to be filled. Rob Goad, a former staff with Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) has been selected to fill the position of Education Advisor at the Office of Domestic Policy Council.  The Education Advisor position is not a “required” position, so the fact that the position has been filled early on is a potential signal of the administration’s intent to develop education policy priorities.

DeVos Vote Rescheduled to January 31

Last week we provided an overview of Education Secretary to be Betsy DeVos’s hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. While questions related to Career Technical Education (CTE) or reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act of 2006 were limited, the hearing turned out to be quite contentious, with Democrats protesting the limited time to review the nominee’s ethics report prior to a confirmation vote. Responding to concerns from his committee, Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) postponed DeVos’s hearing by one week to Tuesday, January 31 to allow Senators additional time to review the Office of Government Ethics’ report. On Friday, Senator Todd Young (R-IN)  recused himself from voting on the DeVos confirmation, citing a conflict of interest because she donated to his campaign.

Senators Kaine and Portman Reintroduce JOBS Act

On the Hill, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, reintroduced the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act of 2017 (JOBS Act). The bill aims to expand the Federal Pell Grant program to include postsecondary CTE job training programs in in-demand industries. Under the bill, such programs must provide no less than 150 clock hours of instructional time over eight weeks and enable students to obtain a license or credential. Advance CTE has endorsed the proposed legislation.

WIOA Infrastructure Guidance

On January 18, 2017, Former Acting Assistant Secretary John Uvin, put out an extensive memo articulating additional information related to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) infrastructure guidance. While the memo was directed to State Directors of Adult Education, Perkins is mentioned throughout. Advance CTE is in the process of analyzing the memo and will provide a more in depth analysis to members next week. We should note that it is unclear whether any of the non-regulatory guidance put forth by the Obama Administration will hold, given the Trump Administration’s push to reduce federal oversight and burden on states by reducing regulations.  

Austin Estes, Policy Associate and Kimberly Green, Executive Director

CTE Remained a Priority for State Policymakers in 2016

January 25th, 2017

Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Release Annual State Policies Impacting CTE: Year in Review, Highlighting State Policy Trends from 2016

Supporting and strengthening high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) remains a priority for state policymakers, according to a new report from Advance CTE and ACTE. The report, State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review, is the fourth annual policy scan highlighting state activity. Below are some key takeaways from the report.

More States Passed CTE-Related Policies in 2016 than the Year Before

In recent years, both state and national policymakers have demonstrated a growing interest in strengthening career readiness systems through legislation, executive orders, rulemaking, budget provisions and ballot initiatives. In 2016, states continued that trend, completing a total of 139 policy actions across 42 states. This is a slight increase over 2015, when 39 states passed a total of 125 policies.

This activity reflects that states are increasingly buying into the notion that alternative pathways such as two-year degrees, apprenticeships and industry-recognized credentials can lead to high-wage, high-demand careers. This is fueled in part by national initiatives such as the New Skills for Youth initiative, Pathways to Prosperity and the National Governors Association’s Talent Pipeline Policy academy, which each aim to catalyze the transformation of career preparation in states.

Funding Remains the Most Popular Policy Category for the Fourth Year

Funding was the leading category of policies passed in 2016, consistent with the past four years. Related policies this year include new grant initiatives such as the Strong Workforce Grant in California, which provides $200 million in noncompetitive funding to strengthen workforce development programs in California community colleges, and Massachusetts’ Workforce Skills Capital Grant Program. Last year also saw the restoration of funding for the Arizona Joint Technical Education Districts after a $29 million cut in 2015.

Other extant trends from the past year include policies related to industry partnerships and work-based learning; dual and concurrent enrollment, articulation and early college; and industry-recognized credentials.

States Are Gearing up for ESSA Implementation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, was signed into law in December, 2015 and includes numerous opportunities for states to accelerate work around CTE and career readiness. While most states spent 2016 engaging various stakeholder groups and developing draft plans to implement the law, some states took initial steps to pass policies in support of implementation. West Virginia and Oklahoma, for example, each adopted accountability systems that recognize and value career preparation. West Virginia’s accountability system includes an indicator that recognizes the percentage of 12th grade CTE concentrators, while Oklahoma adopted a “Postsecondary Opportunity” indicator that includes dual credit coursework, internships, apprenticeships and industry certifications.

Successful Ballot Initiatives Demonstrate Voter Support for CTE

Several states saw and passed initiatives related to CTE on the November ballot. In Oregon, voters approved Measure 98, which establishes the College and Career Readiness Fund and directs the legislature to allocate $800 per pupil to establish and expand new programs, including CTE. Meanwhile, Arkansas voted to legalize medical marijuana and subject sale of the drug to state and local sales tax. Under the approved amendment, 60 percent of the revenue generated through the sale of medical marijuana will go to support skills development and training. South Dakota voters also approved a measure that directs the legislature to restructure the way the state technical colleges are governed and remove authority from the Board of Regents.

2016 saw growing momentum in support of CTE at the state level, and this year’s activity tees 2017 up to be an important year for CTE and career readiness in the U.S. We anticipate states will continue the work started in 2016 by picking up legislation introduced in 2016, adopting new strategies to implement federal legislation and beginning the work of implementing policies passed in 2016.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Welcome to Quentin Suffren, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

January 24th, 2017

Quentin Suffren admits he’s not your usual State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE).

For more than 16 years, Suffren worked in both the nonprofit and private sectors, leading large-scale education projects such as managing data and reporting systems with the New York-based Amplify Education, implementing a teacher evaluation system with The New Teacher Project in Houston, Texas, and serving as the chief academic officer for The Learning Institute.

In August 2016, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve as the Executive Director for College, Career and Military Prep, which includes the state’s CTE office.

The TEA reorganized last year, and as a result, CTE gained a higher profile within the department when the state joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, which is a group of states working to build seamless career pathway systems that link high school, work and postsecondary education. The career pathways initiative is what brought Suffren to the agency, and since joining in August, has been working to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“What became really clear as I joined TEA, a lot of those pathways run directly through CTE,” Suffren said. “This puts CTE in the limelight and acknowledges that it is direct preparatory pathway to college and careers.”

In his new role, Suffren said he is looking forward to finding new and better ways to increase students’ access to high quality career pathways, expanding college and career counseling for all students and their parents, and removing barriers to work-based learning.

“It’s not college or career anymore. It’s both, and CTE is a huge part of that,” Suffren said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate of Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Betsy DeVos on CTE: Students Need to Have a Full Menu of Options

January 18th, 2017

On Friday, Donald Trump is scheduled to be sworn into office as the 45th President of the United States. While the Senate has yet to hold a floor vote to confirm any of the President-elect’s cabinet nominees, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) held a hearing Tuesday evening for Mrs. Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Education.

While much remains unknown about President-Elect Trump’s education agenda and his priorities for the coming year, during her opening statement DeVos stated that we need to “embrace new pathways of learning,” by “support[ing] all postsecondary avenues, including trade and vocational schools and community colleges.”

Later in the hearing, Sen. Tim Scott (R-NC) pressed her again on increasing flexibility for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. A lifelong advocate for student choice, DeVos responded that “students really need to have a full menu of options,” including “technical schools, community colleges [and] apprenticeships.”

DeVos is not new to CTE. She and her husband Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr., billionaire entrepreneur and heir to the Amway enterprise, co-founded an aviation-themed charter school in Grand Rapids, MI. West Michigan Aviation Academy opened in 2010 and includes a rigorous curriculum that integrates both academic and technical education. According to the school’s website, Aviation Academy also hosts regular job shadowing events, during which industry professionals come to campus to speak with and mentor students.

The hearing was not without disagreements, however. While Republicans on the HELP Committee largely praised DeVos’s philanthropic background and advocacy for school choice, Senate Democrats pressed her on outstanding conflicts of interest (DeVos has yet to disclose all of her financial engagements to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics) and her position on issues such as accountability, campus sexual assault and guns in schools.  

A confirmation vote is tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday, though Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) assured concerned Democrats on the Committee that they will have an opportunity to submit additional questions to DeVos prior to that date. He also said he would delay the vote if DeVos’s ethics review letter is not available from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics by that time.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Registration Now Open for 2017 Spring Meeting

January 17th, 2017

Registration for the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting is now open! We hope you will join us May 2-4, 2017, in Washington, DC, to explore the major issues impacting and influencing Career Technical Education (CTE) today.

The annual Advance CTE Spring Meeting draws CTE leaders from nearly every state. This year, you can expect to:

  • Network with your peers from across the country and share best practices
  • Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE
  • Engage national experts about the prospects for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act
  • Learn about how other states are implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act and the Workforce and Innovation and Opportunity Act to advance high-quality CTE
  • Honor high-quality CTE programs of study during our annual Excellence in Action Awards ceremony

Early bird rates end on February 28.  Not yet a member of Advance CTE? Join today and enjoy even greater savings on your meeting registration!

Register today!

 

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