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Legislative Update: ED Introduces New Gainful Employment Regulations, The FIRST Act Moves to Full Committee

March 14th, 2014

CapitolAs we have shared previously, last December the Department of Education (ED) concluded a three-part series of negotiated rulemaking sessions regarding the Department’s proposed regulations on “gainful employment.” These proposed rules aim to introduce stricter accountability requirements for vocational programs at for-profit institutions and community colleges across the country in an effort to ensure they are helping their student’s find gainful employment upon graduation. ED assembled a negotiated rulemaking committee, composed of representatives from for-profits institutions, community colleges, and other relevant stakeholders, to establish a consensus on these proposals.

Unfortunately, the committee failed to come to such a consensus on ED’s draft regulations during the last of the negotiated rulemaking sessions this past December. Per the Department’s policies, a lack of consensus among the rulemaking committee allows ED to introduce new regulations on its own. Today, ED released these new regulations and will soon open them up for public comment over the next two months.

The regulations—over eight hundred pages in length— introduce stricter standards for the amount of debt students can accrue while attending institutions offering career-training programs. There are three main criteria a program must pass in order to maintain eligibility to receive federal financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The first two are related to loan payments. Programs which have student loan payments higher than 30 percent of discretionary income or 12 percent of total income would fail under the new rules if those ratios persisted for any two out of three consecutive years. The third criterion is tied to a program’s cohort default rate (pCDR) for both completers and non-completers. If a program’s pCDR exceeds 30 percent for three consecutive years, the program is deemed failing.

Another important feature of these new regulations affords programs the ability to appeal for those that have less than half of their completers take on debt. This is an important change from ED’s last draft proposal in December and will benefit programs at Community Colleges and elsewhere which typically offer two-year programs at a relatively lower cost to students.

Barring any major revisions between now and October 30th of this year, these regulations are set to go into full-effect in 2016. As with previous iterations of ED’s gainful employment regulations, these new rules will likely be challenged in court. As this process unfolds, please check our blog for updates on how these regulations will likely impact those in the Career Technical Education community.

ED’s full gainful employment regulations can be found here and additional information on the process can be found here.

House Subcommittee Passes the FIRST Act

Yesterday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology passed the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology (FIRST) Act (H.R. 4186). The bill would reauthorize the America Competes Act of 2010 and has now moved on to the full committee for consideration.

While some Democrats on the Subcommittee voiced concerns over reduced levels of funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Republicans highlighted the bill’s focus on better coordination of existing federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiatives. Among other provisions, the FIRST Act would create a STEM Education Coordinating Office to better manage STEM education activities and programs at the federal level and would be overseen by NSF.

Notably, the legislation would broaden the definition of STEM to include not only the core components laid out in its acronym, but also “other academic subjects that build on these disciplines such as computer science and other academic subjects that a State identifies as important to the workforce of the State.”

NASDCTEc will continue to monitor this legislation as it moves to the full Committee. The full bill can be found here and a statement from the Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) can be found here.

JOBS Tax Credit Act Introduced in the House

This past Tuesday, Representative Maffei introduced the Job and Opportunity Bonus (JOB) Tax Credit Act which seeks to address the nation’s persistent skills gap by creating a temporary tax credit for employers to help pay for the cost of training their employees.

According to the Congressman, “So many of our local businesses want to invest in training for current and new employees, but don’t have the resources to do it. My bill helps address this issue by providing a tax credit for worker training programs.”

Among the provisions contained in the bill, the JOBS Tax Credit Act would pay for 50 percent of the cost to train employees in an approved program which would include apprenticeship programs, training offered by vocation or technical schools or community colleges, and a variety of industry or labor union-sponsored training programs. The tax credit would only be able to be utilized by employers with 500 employees or less and would last between 2015 to 2017.

NASDCTEc applauds Rep. Maffei’s work to better address the nation’s skills gap and urges Congress to take up this important piece of legislation.  His office’s full press release on the JOB Tax Credit Act can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Announcing CTE & Literacy: The Common Core Institute

March 13th, 2014

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) in partnership with the Association for Career and Technical Education, the College Board, and Student Achievement Partners are excited to announce a two-day institute for CTE educators on the Common Core State Standards, with a focus on literacy in technical subjects on April 16-17 in New York City.

The two-day workshop is designed to be a practical, interactive and collaborative learning opportunity for CTE educators at any level, and across all Career Clusters.  Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Common Core literacy standards, be provided with resources that they can use freely to provide local training, and have access to tools to help support the ongoing implementation of the Common Core literacy standards in their own communities.  

The Institute registration is free, although participants will be responsible for travel and accommodations.  Priority will be given to teams of educators from individuals schools, districts or states.

Learn more and register HERE!

When:  April 16-17, 2014

Where: New York City, NY

Why: To gain in-depth fluency with the Common Core literacy standards and the tools and skills needed to support effective implementation in your schools and communities.

Announcing New On-Demand Webinar on The Federal Budget & Appropriations Process: What’s the Difference?

March 12th, 2014

This webinar continues a series of On-Demand webinars produced by NASDCTEc staff.

The Federal Budget & Appropriations Process: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the federal budget and appropriations process can often seem like a daunting task. This webinar will explain how the federal budget is created and also illustrate the process by which the many departments, agencies, and programs– including the Perkins Act Basic state grant program– receive funding. In an ever more difficult fiscal environment, it is critical to have a full understanding of how these important processes work and how they will likely impact Career Technical Education (CTE) programs throughout the country.

Narrator: Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate, NASDCTEc

Access this and other On-Demand recordings here.

Length: 12:08

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Registration Now Open for Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute

March 6th, 2014

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We are excited to invite state and local secondary and postsecondary educators, administrators and leaders, as well as workforce and economic development partners to join us at the premier Career Technical Education (CTE) professional development event of the year - Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute.

The Achieving Excellence Institute includes engaging hands-on workshops and interactive breakout sessions offering new perspectives and techniques on cultivating high-quality CTE in your school, district, and state.

  • Hear from our Excellence in Action Award Winners who were selected for exemplary performance in the implementation of a Career Cluster-related program of study.
  • Get to experience excellence in action hands-on by visiting business and educational institutions at the cutting edge of CTE.

Session Topics 

A sampling of robust breakout sessions will include:

  • Best practices/models of exemplary Career Cluster programs of study design and implementation
  • Perkins reauthorization
  • Leveraging data
  • Effective strategies for building and sustaining business-education partnerships
  • Integration of the Common Core State Standards and CTE
  • And other sessions not-to-be-missed!

Exciting Pre-sessions

We are pleased to be featuring both half-day and full-day pre-session workshops exploring The Career Pathways Effect: Linking Education and Economic Prosperity.
Full pre-session descriptions

General Session Speaker Dr. Mark Milliron

Dr. Milliron will present a framework for thinking about technology in education and how enormous changes and challenges in the digital age impact us every day – and how we can meet these challenges.

 Great Hotel Rates

Attendees of the Achieving Excellence Institute will stay at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs resort at a special group rate of $79 per night.
Reservation Information

When and Where is the Achieving Excellence Institute?

When: June 16-18, 2014

Where: Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute is at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, AZ

Where Do I Register?

Register by April 8, 2014 to get the Early Bird rate!  REGISTER NOW

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

CTE Month Recap

March 6th, 2014

CTE MONTH

A whirlwind month in the world of CTE came to a close last week with events nationwide marking the power of CTE and its impact on communities across the country.

Programs nationwide seized the opportunity to present new and innovative methods for delivering CTE. We tracked an enormous amount of content via the Twitter hashtag #CTEMonth and were proud to showcase innovative CTE Month content on our Facebook.As we highlighted in a month-long blog series in partnership with the National Technical Honor Society, CTE students across the country are doing fantastic work protecting the environment, serving their communities, getting a head start on their careers, and reinventing their lives.

CTSOs harnessed the power of social media to promote CTE month by activating their membership base, creating student-made video content, and even sending student leaders to Washington to meet with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and speak at a Department of Education briefing.

This CTE Month was also a big month for NASDCTEc/NCTEF events, as we released further information about our upcoming Spring Meeting (March 31-April 3, 2014, in Washington, DC) and officially opened registration for the completely revamped Achieving Excellence in CTE: the Career Clusters Institute (June 16-18, 2014, in Phoenix, AZ).

CTE Month reached its zenith as it closed with recognitions from both Chambers of the US Congress. Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) joined CTE champion Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introducing a resolution to confirm February as CTE Month along with ringing endorsements of CTE’s role in developing a career-ready workforce. It proposed four key points for the Senate to acknowledge:

“Therefore, be it Resolved That the Senate–

“(1) designates the month of February as ‘Career and Technical Education Month’ to celebrate career and technical education across the United States;

“(2) supports the goals and ideals of Career and Technical Education Month;

“(3) recognizes the importance of career and technical education in preparing a well-educated and skilled workforce in the United States; and

“(4) encourages educators, counselors, and administrators to promote career and technical education as an option for students.”

Just as Senator Kaine introduced the Senate Resolution, Congressional CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) and Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI) each took to the House Floor to extoll the benefits of CTE to their colleagues.

“In today’s competitive job market, high-paying, high-demand jobs require
technical skills and training,” said Rep. Thompson. “These programs
are the key to bridging the skills gap.”

“CTE is an investment in the future of our economy, our workforce and
our country,” said Rep. Langevin. “I urge my colleagues on the
Appropriations Committee to fully fund Perkins for the upcoming fiscal
year and make important investments in our career training.”

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Obama Administration Releases FY 2015 Budget Request

March 4th, 2014

Capitol

Earlier today, the Obama Administration released its annual budget request for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. Unveiling the details of this document in a Northwest D.C. public school classroom, President Obama underscored his commitment to education while framing his budget proposals as a choice between two competing visions for America’s future ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

“Our budget is about choices,” the President said before going on to call for “smart investments to create jobs and grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American.”

The Administration’s budget and accompanying press releases repeatedly cited investment in education as the cornerstone of the Administration’s underlying opportunity agenda. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education echoed these sentiments.

“President Obama’s budget request reflects his strong belief that education is a vital investment in the nation’s economic competitiveness, in its people, and in its communities,” Secretary Duncan affirmed before adding that “too many students lack access to the quality education and supports that make the journey to college and the middle class possible.”

To that end, the Obama Administration’s FY 2015 budget request to Congress calls for $68.6 billion in appropriations for the U.S. Department of Education (ED). That figure represents a 1.9 percent increase over last year’s funding levels and much of the additional proposed funds are targeted to various competitive grant initiatives such as a new iteration of Race to the Top focused on “Equity and Opportunity” (RTT-Opportunity) and similar programs.

Of particular importance to the Career Technical Education (CTE) community is the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act’s basic state grant program. For FY 2015 the Administration requested $1.117 billion — the same amount the program will receive for FY 2014. Additionally, the President’s budget request calls again for a $100 million competitive CTE innovation fund along with $10 million for “Pay-for-Success” projects that would prioritize program development and strategies that target disconnected youth, expand rural access to CTE, and increase technology’s role in the classroom.

At ED’s budget briefing this afternoon, Secretary Duncan highlighted some of the progress ED believes it has made through these and other initiatives, but emphasized that “wide opportunity and achievement gaps continue to hurt many families, which puts our nation’s economy and future at risk.”

One of the most effective and proven strategies for closing this achievement and broader opportunity gap is through greater federal investment in CTE. However, requesting flat level-funding for these important programs, as the Administration has done, will not achieve the important goals the President and Secretary Duncan have laid out for the country.

A greater commitment to the CTE enterprise from the Administration is therefore needed in the coming fiscal year. In an effort to make good on the Administration’s promise, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and its partners in the CTE community will be actively working in the coming year to advocate for $1.22 billion for the Perkins Act basic state grant program and the vital CTE programs it helps to support.

“Each year, the Administration has talked about the importance of education and its connection to restoring and growing  the American economy, yet the budget proposal does not reflect this priority. Fully funding the Perkins Act would be a tremendous signal that the Administration is serious about closing the skills gap and ensuring all students have access to high-quality Career Technical Education,” said NASDCTEc’s Executive Director Kimberly Green.

“Career Technical Education has a proven track record of closing equity and achievement gaps and helping youth and adults to garner the skills and knowledge to secure good-paying jobs and enter further education. Rather than investing in new initiatives, we believe it would be better to fully fund Perkins – a program with a long, proven history of success.”

The President’s full budget request can be found here and the Department of Education’s portion, along with a number of useful graphs, charts and other supplemental information, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Reminder: Webinar This Friday on CTE Teacher Effectiveness

March 3rd, 2014

This Friday, March 7 from 2-3:30 ET, The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) will be co-hosting a webinar with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, the Central Comprehensive Center, the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, and the South Central Comprehensive Center on Supporting 21st Century Educators: How States Are Promoting Career and Technical Educator Effectiveness.

The webinar will explore:

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Jennifer Wehrenberg, Leadership and Professional Development Specialist, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education
  • Dennis Harden, Coordinator, Career Education, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Janice Rehak, Coordinator, Career Education Curriculum, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Tyler Barnett, Coordinator, Office of Educator Quality Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Marie Barry, Director, Office of Career and Technical Education, New Jersey Department of Education
  • Sean McDonald, Manager, Office of Career and Technical Education, New Jersey Department of Education
  • With an introduction by Sharon Miller, Director, Division of Academic and Technical Education in the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

Register now!

Legislative Update: Congress Prepares for Budget and Appropriations Process

February 28th, 2014

CapitolNext Tuesday the Obama Administration will release its annual budget request which will lay out the President’s vision for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget. Typically, this request is released on the first Monday of February, but the White House chose to wait until after Congressional appropriators finalized the recent omnibus spending package for FY 2014 before crafting the request. That spending bill funds the federal government through the end of this September and a new FY 2015 budget will be required starting on October 1st— the first day of the federal government’s next fiscal year. The President’s budget request is a highly anticipated document as it formally begins the federal budget and appropriations process for FY 2015 which is taken up later by both Chambers of Congress.

Ahead of that process Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, sent a memo to Senate Democrats outlining the extent of federal deficit reduction since 2010 arguing that there are other deficits “like those in job growth, innovation, infrastructure, and education” which Congress has failed to address with the same level of zealousness. The memo outlines $3.3 trillion worth of deficit reduction over the past several years and points out that almost half of those reductions have been through spending cuts to the discretionary portion of the federal budget. Specifically, the memo illustrates the disproportionate amount of spending cuts to the roughly 16 percent of the federal budget, known as non-defense discretionary (NDD), which fund investments in education, infrastructure, and research among other important national priorities.

As the memo lays out, it is important “to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges using a balanced and responsible approach.” While federal deficits and the national debt are a genuine challenge to the nation’s long-term financial wellbeing, addressing these concerns through systematic disinvestment in our nation’s education system and other vital NDD programs is not the solution. Although spending caps have already been established for FY 2015 and are slightly higher than FY 2014, decisions for how funds will be allocated to the various departments, agencies and programs must still be made in the coming year. As Congress and the White house begin these negotiations, it will be critical to more adequately fund this portion of the federal budget and support programs— like Career Technical Education— that strengthen our nation’s economy and ensure the global competitiveness of its students and workforce.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

CTE Month Special: Celebrating CTE Superheroes

February 28th, 2014

In our final CTE Month special feature: Celebrating CTE Superheroes, we are proud to feature National Technical Honor Society’s (NTHS) profile of Sharon May, a one-time high school dropout who sought out CTE at Heart of Georgia Technical College as a way to get meaningful experience and improve her chances of getting a good job.

Initially unsure if she had made the right decision, Sharon reports that her hands-on education and membership in NTHS motivated her to engage inside and outside of the classroom, and “pulled her out of her shell.”

Through CTE and her NTHS experience, Sharon recounts career advancement, volunteerism, community engagement and increased quality of life. Read the whole story (including a brief excerpt from our very own Kim Green!) here.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

NCES Publishes Projections of Education Statistics to 2022

February 27th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013Earlier today the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published its annual Projections of Education Statistics report . The forty first edition of the survey provides statistics on educational enrollments, graduates, teachers, secondary education expenditures, and similar information at the postsecondary level. The report is based on data obtained by NCES over the past fourteen years and provides forecasts to the year 2022. Findings from the report which may be of interest to the CTE community:

  • Enrollments in public elementary and secondary schools increased by 7 percent between 1997 and 2011 and are projected to increase an additional 7 percent between 2011 and 2022.
  • The total number of public high school graduates increased by 28 percent between 1997–98 and 2009–10 and is projected to grow by an additional 1 percent by the 2022–23 school year.
  • Expenditures for public elementary and secondary education, in constant 2011-12 dollars, increased by 37 percent between 1997-98 and 2009-10 school years. This figure is expected to grow by an additional 27 percent by the 2022-23 school year to a total of $699 billion.
  • Total enrollments in postsecondary degree-granting institutions increased 45 percent from 1997 to 2011 and are projected to increase by 14 percent by 2022.
  • The total number of associate’s degrees awarded increased by 69 percent between the 1997-98 and 2010-2011 school years— that number is expected to increase by an additional 49 percent by the 2022-23 school year.

The full report, including methodology and supplemental information, can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

 

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