Welcome to Alaska’s New State CTE Director, Deborah Riddle!

March 28th, 2017

Deborah Riddle was born in Glennallen, Alaska, and raised near Bristol Bay, on the western coast of the state. When she made her way many years later to southern Utah to be a teacher, there was one problem – it was just too hot.

So Riddle and her husband began looking for jobs back home in Alaska, and as a back-up plan, “as close to the Canadian border as possible,” she said.

That led her to Simms, Montana, to teach middle school math and science. When the school district also needed someone to teach Career Technical Education (CTE), Riddle stepped up. What first began with teaching traditional home economics classes then grew into robotics classes and even helping start and support related Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) at the local high school.

After 15 years in Montana, home was still calling, so Riddle took a position with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. She started at the State department five years ago doing school improvement focusing on mathematics. For the past year, Riddle has managed the state’s federal funding under Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The state department recently reorganized, and with those changes, Riddle’s responsibilities expanded, including the title of State CTE Director and responsibilities of managing another source of federal funding through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins).

Riddle said she is excited by the prospects of making connections across the federal education laws to maximize funding and other opportunities for Alaska’s students. Since being named the State Director in February, she has been learning all that she can about CTE in Alaska, and said she has been so impressed by the depth and diversity of the stakeholder support she sees for CTE at the local level, especially the connections to employers, community colleges and workforce development.

“I knew there were partnerships, but I didn’t realize how many and how varied there were and what (stakeholder engagement) can really add to a program,” she said.

Riddle said she is also looking to bolster CTSOs in Alaska and continuing to strengthen and overcome the unique challenges to offering CTE for the state’s most rural schools.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Getting to Know… Oklahoma

March 27th, 2017

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know…” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Oklahoma

State CTE Director: Dr. Marcie Mack, state director, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

About Oklahoma: Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma CareerTech System and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the state agency that oversees Career Technical Education (CTE) in Oklahoma. The system includes 29 technology center districts — each serving students at both the secondary and postsecondary level — and 395 comprehensive school district with CTE programs; 15 locations for 42 Skills Centers programs for offenders; and business and industry services to more than 7,000 companies annually. The system serves students through more than 500,000 enrollments annually. The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education is governed by a nine-member, governor-appointed Board of Career and Technology Education. The board operates separately from the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, enabling the state to collaborate more intentionally across various agencies.

There is growing enthusiasm for CareerTech in Oklahoma, spurred in part by Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Works Initiative — a cross-sector effort to strengthen the state workforce and close the skills gap — and the goal to increase postsecondary education and training attainment to 70 percent of individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 by the year 2025. With such enthusiasm on postsecondary attainment, Oklahoma is optimistic the current 50 percent of students in grades nine through 12 who enroll in CareerTech courses each year will increase as the state works to meet the educational attainment goal.

Programs of Study: Oklahoma’s programs of study are organized into 15 Career Clusters® that are aligned to the national Career Clusters framework. The board of CTE uses Perkins funds to develop statewide frameworks for many programs of study that local administrators can download and customize to fit the needs of their communities. To support local delivery and ensure that students receive appropriate and timely guidance, in 2015 Oklahoma launched a web-based career guidance platform called OK Career Guide. It provides data and resources to educators, parents and students to facilitate career exploration and enable students to identify and pursue high-quality learning experiences tied to their career interests.

Cross-Sector Partnerships: As an independent body, the Oklahoma Board of CTE has been able to work collaboratively across various agencies and sectors. One such collaboration is with the Department of Corrections. For years, Oklahoma has provided CareerTech opportunities to incarcerated youth and adults through a correctional education system. Approximately 1,600 individuals are served each year through these programs, with a job placement rate of more than 80 percent.

Oklahoma CareerTech also works directly with counterparts in secondary and postsecondary education. Working closely with the State Department of Education, CareerTech ensures high-quality instruction and curriculum throughout CTE programs in sixth through 12th grades. Core to this partnership is the Oklahoma state superintendent’s position as the chairman of the CareerTech board, which helps to facilitate collaboration on efforts such as teacher certification, academic credit and academy approval. At the postsecondary level, the board works with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to maintain credit articulation agreements for prior learning assessments, helping to streamline the pathways from secondary to postsecondary education.

Additionally, Oklahoma has strong partnerships with business and industry leaders through technology center business and industry services which provided services to more than 7,000 companies last year.  Examples of some of the services include safety training, customized training, Oklahoma Bid Assistance Network, and adult career development to name a few.  The statewide Key Economic Networks (KEN) established with Oklahoma Works include representation from regional stakeholders who collaborate to develop, strengthen and expand career pathways. Through regional KENs, Oklahoma has been able to leverage employer insights, reflect on labor market information and encourage strong partnerships at the local level.

On the Horizon: In January 2017, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that Oklahoma would be part of a cohort of states focusing on transforming career readiness systems under the New Skills for Youth Initiative. Oklahoma, along with nine other states, will receive $2 million over the next three years to embark on an ambitious statewide effort to improve access to high-quality CTE programs.

Separately, the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved a new accountability framework late in 2016 that aims to count postsecondary opportunities as viable options for the framework, including participation in internships, apprenticeships, industry certifications and dual (concurrent) enrollment. Previously, these indicators were awarded as bonus points only.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

March 24th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

New America recently started a blog dedicated to exploring apprenticeships, hitting topics including youth apprenticeship programs, federal and state policy levers for expansion, trends and new industry and the importance of quality assurance. Check out their first post, Five Key Questions to Confront.

TOOL OF THE WEEK

National Association of State Board of Education launched an interactive platform, State Board Insight, to search and analyze trends from state board meeting agendas. In 2017 there have been 12 action items and 14 information items related to college and career readiness. Explore it here.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

We are proud to support the Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act (MEAA):

“Today, more than half of jobs require some form of postsecondary education and yet, far too many students face steep barriers to accessing these opportunities,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director of Advance CTE.  “The Making Education Affordable and Accessible Act would greatly improve access to critical dual and concurrent enrollment programs so that more students can earn a postsecondary degree or credential at a faster rate, vastly improving their career prospects and success.”

Read the full press release here.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Measuring Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems: Where to Start

March 23rd, 2017

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) affords states the chance to strengthen their accountability systems by adopting multiple measures of school success rather than relying on an antiquated test-based system. Buoyed by this flexibility, state agencies across the country are exploring strategies to integrate career readiness indicators into their accountability systems. While some states have made considerable progress in this arena, others are left wondering where do we start?

To help states navigate this new territory, Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers convened a workgroup of accountability experts and tasked them with identifying and recommending robust metrics to measure career readiness. Their recommendations, released earlier this month in a brief titled Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, detail four possible measures of student career readiness:

  • Progress Toward Post-High School Credential
  • Co-Curricular Learning and Leadership Experiences
  • Assessment of Readiness
  • Transitions Beyond High School

The brief further outlines strategies for measuring and valuing each of these measures, demonstrating how states can implement and gradually increase the sophistication of their measurement indicators. Lessons are also drawn from states such as Ohio, Kentucky and California that have made headway toward adopting and implementing career-focused accountability indicators in recent years.

Moving forward, JPMorgan Chase & Co. aims to support state efforts to adopt these recommendations and enhance their career-focused accountability through New Skills for Youth, a cross-state initiative to dramatically increase the number of students who graduate from high school prepared for careers.

Expanding Access to Postsecondary Learning

Separately, students who earned dual credit in Oregon schools were more likely than their peers to graduate from high school, enroll in college and persist through their first year. That’s according to new research from the Research Education Lab at Education Northwest examining dual credit participation between 2005 and 2013. While the study reveals a correlation between dual credit attainment and positive outcomes, the authors note equity gaps in participation across student subgroups. Dual credit earners in the study were more often white, female and not on the federal free and reduced lunch program.

Equitable access to higher education is not a new issue, but it can often be exacerbated by performance-based funding formulas. Without careful design, such formulas can encourage two-year and four-year colleges to be more selective with who they admit into their programs. According to the Center for Legal and Social Policy (CLASP), states should adjust their postsecondary formula weights to counteract selectivity and encourage more open access to postsecondary education.

Odds and Ends

  • The Education Commission of the States published an analysis of State Longitudinal Data Systems, highlighting common approaches and challenges to instituting cross-system data sharing systems. The brief profiles successes in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
  • A study out of Mississippi State University exploring perceptions of CTE found that 45 percent of Mississippi residents were unable to name a single CTE program in their area. The authors put forward a series of recommendations including calling on educators to actively promote the many benefits of CTE participation, such as highlighting college-bound students, program flexibility, fast-track to careers and high-skill, high-demand job opportunities.
  • Two years after the California legislature launched the Career Pathways Trust — a $500 million grant program to finance collaborative career pathways — Jobs for the Future has released a summary of common successes and challenges across different grant sites.
  • A new paper from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign provides a quality assurance framework for short-term occupational training programs and makes recommendations for state and federal policymakers to strengthen such programs.
  • Two reports from America’s Promise Alliance, Relationships First and Turning Points, explore the role that relationship building plays in guiding students along their career pathways. The reports — the first two in an ongoing series — highlight Cafe Momentum in Dallas, TX; Per Scholas in the Bronx, NY; Urban Alliance in Washington, D.C.; and Year Up in the Bay Area.
  • A new study from the Online Learning Consortium examines six institutions in the United States that are experimenting with alternative credentialing strategies to provide flexible postsecondary learning opportunities, including digital distance learning and prior learning assessments.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Bills, the Budget, and More from the Hill

March 23rd, 2017

News is coming fast out of the new Administration, from President Trumps ‘skinny budget,’ to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos making the rounds at a series of education-focused conferences.  This week we’ll dig into the President’s 2018 Fiscal Year budget, explore a few bills that have been recently introduced, and get a sense of Secretary Betsy DeVos’ policy priorities.

Secretary Betsy DeVos maintains messages:

Secretary DeVos spoke to two groups of state leaders this week, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In her March 20 remarks in front of both groups, she emphasized the benefits of expanding school choice and the flexibility provided to state leaders under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Both speeches featured examples of best practices in states, and her NASBE remarks highlighted Career Technical Education (CTE) efforts in California, specifically the state’s CTE courses that satisfy admission requirements for the University of California system and programs that incorporate industry-based learning.

This follows last week’s letter to chief state school officers on ESSA, including new guidance and an updated plan template. Notably, states planning to submit their plans by the first deadline will have until May 3 to allow governors sufficient time to review the updated template. Find more information and resources here.

Budget Update:

The President’s FY18 budget lays out cuts to the U.S. Department of Education totaling $9 billion. However, just $4.9 billion in cuts are outlined at this time (see this table for additional details), meaning that there is a strong likelihood that another $4.1 billion in cuts will be outlined at a later date. We do not yet know the proposed level of funding that Perkins will receive (though we do appreciate that Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Jim Langevin (D-RI) sent this letter to President Trump encouraging him to invest in Perkins). While we are unsure of the exact timeline for Perkins  reauthorization (though we continue to urge Congress to reauthorize soon), discussions are underway and it is likely that a bill will first move through the House, likely building off the version passed in the fall (H.R. 5587). While the administration has its sights set on the FY18 budget, the ongoing Continuing Resolution (CR) that Congress passed late last year is scheduled to expire on April 28. At that time, Congress will need to pass an omnibus budget bill or another CR to continue funding for the remainder of FY17.

In case you missed it:

  • Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Todd Young (R-IN) – co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus – reintroduced the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act on March 14. This bill would amend Perkins, with a focus on raising the quality of CTE programs (see this factsheet for additional details).
  • Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reintroduced the Community College to Career Fund Act, which would create a competitive grant program through the Department of Labor to “create and expand partnerships between two-year community and technical colleges and employers to train millions of Americans for jobs in high-demand industries” according to this one-pager released by the bill’s sponsors.
  • While budget cuts may be ahead, it seems there is at least general support for CTE from this new administration. In her March 15 remarks to the National Lieutenant Governors Association, Secretary DeVos said, “We should break the stigma that career education options are not valid paths to learning and success.” Just two days later in a discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German business leaders about workforce development issues President Trump said, “Germany has been a model for highly successful apprenticeship — that’s a name I like, “apprentice” — apprenticeship programs.” Major employers who have been supportive of CTE also contributed to the discussion, including IBM and Siemens.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Highlights from ACTE’s National Policy Seminar

March 20th, 2017

I’m Kathryn Zekus and I’m the new Senior Associate for Federal Policy. I’ll be leading Advance CTE’s government relations efforts, including advancing our federal legislative priorities, engaging Advance CTE’s members in advocacy efforts, and maintaining and growing meaningful partnerships with relevant stakeholders.

Given the renewed energy around reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins), I’m especially excited to jump into this work and had great opportunities to do so this past week at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) National Policy Seminar (NPS) in Washington, D.C. Some major highlights from NPS were Josh Kraushaar’s keynote address, which pushed the audience to think about political capital, the state of the party politics in the U.S., and what may be in store in 2018, noting that Democrats only need 24 additional House seats to be in the majority and that this is a more likely outcome than big gains in the Senate, from his perspective as Political Editor at the National Journal.

Additionally, Kim R.  Ford, Acting Assistant Secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education, encouraged the audience to maintain its commitment to Career Technical Education (CTE), noting that now is the time to lift up the positive outcomes associated with CTE. She also called on the audience to transform the language used to describe the opportunities CTE provides by emphasizing how it positions students for success in life.

Lastly, Sarah Raikes, 2017 ACTE Teacher of the Year, shared what advocacy for CTE means to her and urged her colleagues to jump into advocacy efforts wholeheartedly. Her succinct message and inspiring personal story was an excellent example of effective advocacy and a great conclusion to the day.

The next day, NPS organized opportunities for ACTE’s membership to meet with their members of Congress to advocate for CTE. The day ended with a reception sponsored by the Senate CTE Caucus, Project Lead the Way and ACTE where attendees heard from Senators Todd Young (R-PA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) about their bipartisan commitment to CTE. In addition to hearing from these CTE champions, students from all over the country showcased their innovative CTE projects, inventions and ideas. The student presentations were incredibly impressive and many focused on solving real-world problems. For example, one student designed a device for the inside of an athlete’s helmet to cool him/her down during physical activity! Hearing from students’ about their educational experiences brought CTE to life for all who attended the reception.

The last day of NPS focused on the teacher education pipeline, and included panel discussions that touched on the nuances of the issue, the variety of state and local contexts that impact it and tangible solutions that the audience could implement to support the recruitment and retention of CTE educators. In addition, our very own Kate Kreamer discussed the findings from our recently released report, The State of Career Technical Education: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High Schools. All in all, NPS was a great start to my first week at Advance CTE and a valuable learning experience – I’m already looking forward to my next CTE meeting, the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy

Hear from over 25 CTE leaders at the 2017 Advance CTE Spring Meeting

March 15th, 2017

Join us May 2 – 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. four our annual Spring Meeting bringing together Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across the country for two and a half days of panels, breakout sessions and networking opportunities. This year’s meeting will feature over 25 leaders in CTE tackling issues from Perkins reauthorization to expanding access to CTE in rural communities.

As the new administration takes shape, it’s critical to stay up-to-date on how these changes may affect your state. This year’s meeting includes panels discussing timely topics such as:

  • Leveraging the Every Student Succeeds Act to Drive Career Readiness for All;
  • Reauthorizating the Higher Education Act; and
  • CTE and School Choice

Register Today! 

Not an Advance CTE Member? Become one today and save $175 on registration!

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Encouraging Students to Dream Big, Plan Accordingly Spurs Economic Development

March 13th, 2017

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This Week in CTE

March 10th, 2017

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK 

A brief by Education Commission of the States found that workforce development and CTE is a priority of at least 24 governors.

REPORT OF THE WEEK

Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officer’s report, Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems, provides recommendations on the ways states can use college and career readiness measures to drive their accountability systems.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WEEK

A video competition by Heads Up America, housed within the College Promise Campaign, is hosting a video competition around the theme, “breaking up with student debt.” The winning Instagram video submission will receive $2,000.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Communications Associate 

Analysis Suggests Metrics for Measuring Impact of Community Colleges

March 9th, 2017

March 9, 2017

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released a report in partnership with the Association of Community College Trustees examining which metrics best tell the story of the services community colleges provide and the supports they require. They determined that the three important indicators of community college progress are:

  • College Persistence
  • Transfer and Mobility
  • Certificate and Degree Completion

The report makes a distinction between measuring college retention and college persistence, as retention only measures how many students return for the following Fall semester at the same institution. Using persistence as a measure for community colleges captures the large number of students who transfer either to other community colleges or to four-year institutions. This requires a more systematic approach to tracking enrollment across different institutions and across state lines. When enrollment was tracked this way using Student Clearinghouse data, they found that almost half of all bachelor’s degree recipients were enrolled in a community college at one point before transferring to a four-year institution, a fact that demonstrates the clear role community colleges play in student success.

Study Finds Girls Turn Away from STEM Subjects Early

A new report published in Science found that girls tend to turn away from STEM subjects as early as first grade. The report attributes this partly to their findings that girls begin to associate boys as being smarter and therefore tend to shy away from subjects intended for more intelligent people. Boys around that age seem to also believe themselves to be inherently smarter. The findings in this study echo previous studies that correlated boys’ and girls’ performance in math and science with their self-reported levels of confidence and anxiety with the subjects.

The authors of the report suggest that schools must begin working to break down gender stereotypes far earlier than many might expect. They also recommend that families work to foster girls’ interest in STEM subjects as early as possible.

Odds and Ends

As you know, last month was CTE Month. To celebrate, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) launched a newly redesigned CTE statistics website, which provides national-level information on CTE at the secondary and postsecondary education levels, as well as information on occupational certification and licensure.

Several pieces related to equity have been released lately. CCSSO and the Aspen Institute released a report on the role SEA chiefs can and should play in defining and promoting equity in schools. Chiefs For Change also released a report on equity, with a focus on using ESSA and financial transparency to improve equity.

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Education recently released a technical assistance document to support communities working with in-school youth in accordance with WIOA. Additionally, the National Conference of State Legislatures launched a database that tracks state legislation related to WIOA implementation.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

 

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