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National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

CTE Research Review

May 21st, 2014

CTE programs of study (POS) took center stage in a recent study from the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE), which released its final 200-page report gauging the effectiveness of POS as a strategy for improving student outcomes.

The NRCCTE researchers conducted a longitudinal study of 6,638 students from the class of 2012 participating in POS in three urban districts from different states. The resulting findings offer myriad ways to examine the impact of POS on student success as well as suggestions for future research, in particular on the postsecondary side of POS.

Commonalities existed across all three districts. No matter the location, the findings indicated that taking more CTE credits “may boost GPA, the probability of graduation, and some achievement measures,” and came at little to no cost to overall academic achievement. The study, however, did find low participation in programs associated with accruing college credits while in high school such as dual enrollment.

The study was conducted ahead of the coming reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which funds CTE nationwide. The last reauthorization included a new requirement for POS, using the POS framework to increase program accountability in the areas of academic and technical skills achievement as well as alignment with postsecondary technical education.

The NRCCTE researchers found that “although high-quality CTE programs in the form of POS are not easy, cheap, or capable of solving all educational problems, they can be implemented well and yield positive results.”

The researchers conclude with a series of recommendations including calling for districts to find ways to increase the number of CTE credits a high school student can earn, taking another look at dual enrollment programs to maximize student participation, and recruiting more teachers from industry and business.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Coalition Pushes Perkins Reauthorization with Letter to Legislators

May 21st, 2014

With a rapidly evolving labor market and increasing economic pressure from overseas, interest in the ability of Career Technical Education (CTE) to modernize the American workforce and maintain our country’s economic primacy is steadily mounting. The pending reauthorization of the Perkins Act – the landmark piece of legislation that represents the vast majority of federal investment in CTE – offers an unparalleled opportunity to build upon the tremendous innovation in CTE taking place right now in states across the country.

The CTE Vision Paper encapsulates the goal of CTE today: to prepare students of all ages to succeed in education and careers—and enable the United States to flourish in a dynamic and increasingly competitive global economy. Principally, the Vision Paper outlines five principles critical to setting priorities and blazing a new trail for CTE.

Among those five principles is to actively partner with employers to design and provide high-quality, dynamic programs. Today’s letter reconfirmed broad support for CTE that acknowledges and seeks input from all stakeholders, including employers. The letter cites three points of emphasis for reauthorization:

  • Align CTE programs to the needs of the regional, state, and local labor market;
  • Support effective and meaningful collaboration between secondary and postsecondary institutions and employers;
  • Increase student participation in experiential learning opportunities such as industry internships, apprenticeships and mentorships; and promote the use of industry-recognized credentials.

“What stands out is not only the sheer number of signatories in agreement with the priorities outlined in this letter, it’s the diversity of stakeholders represented,” said NASDCTEc Executive Director Kimberly Green. “CTE is critical to American competitiveness and our economic health – it’s very encouraging to have that acknowledged by such a broad and diverse group. Hopefully Congress agrees that we can’t afford to wait for a full, thoughtful reauthorization of this critical legislation.”

Full text of the letter can be found online here. For more on Perkins and CTE, visit www.careertech.org.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Excellence in Action: A Chat with Keynote Speaker Mark Milliron

May 21st, 2014

The Achieving Excellence Institute is less than one month away and the excitement is mounting! We have lined up an amazing set of speakers, tours and session leaders this year (more on the program here), some of which we’ve highlighted on this blog!

As a prelude to this can’t-miss event, NCTEF spoke with the Achieving Excellence Institute keynote speaker, Civitas Learning Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer Mark Milliron. Dr. Milliron combines decades of experience in CTE with his work on the cutting edge of digital learning with Civitas. The result is a fascinating perspective on the future of CTE and how data can inform instruction, advising and programs of study.

Listen to the beginning of the conversation below, and keep an eye on the CTE Blog for more of our conversation with Dr. Milliron.

Still haven’t registered? Sign up today!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Achieving Excellence in CTE: Team Based Learning

May 20th, 2014

Oklahoma State University Institute of TechnologyBelow is an extended session description from presenter Tim Dwyer, Automotive Educator at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s Pro-Tech Program on his upcoming session at Achieving Excellence in CTE, the National Career Clusters Institute. Sign up for this session and more today!

I have said that my next new idea will be my first one! And after my first three years of teaching we needed some new ideas because what we were doing was not working. I was prepared for class and tried to be as entertaining as possible, attempting to keep the interest level up during the “lecture” process I remembered having to endure as a student myself. Then I found my PLN to be a lifesaver as I followed a suggestion to look at a teaching strategy called “Team-Based Learning” by Larry Michaelsen.

Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a strategy to transform a group of students into high-performance learning teams. Let’s face it; career technology students want more hands-on time in their learning. Many students don’t like lecture, reading, or delayed feedback. How do we encourage them to come to class with ‘first contact with content’ and not waste valuable class time so they can get to the hands-on part they really learn from? TBL answers this question and more.

You will leave this class with ideas you can use in your classroom immediately. Ideas that I have been using for 8 years now and can show you how and why they work! Discussions include individual testing that allows for splitting answers, followed by the same test taken again in a team environment using scratch off answer sheets. Immediate feedback is addressed by this process.

Peer reviews will be discussed; as well as application exercises that encourage student engagement. TBL also allows the class to decide grade weights and write their own exams, possibly considered controversial, but proven to be effective. The idea is to allow the student to be accountable for their own education and the instructor to become more of a classroom facilitator.

TBL makes learning fun for both student and instructor, and fun means student engagement. TBL challenges traditional lecture based education with a shift of educational accountability from the instructor to the student. I don’t believe we are responsible to just tell students all they need to know, we are simply to provide an environment that allows learning. Then it is up to the student to take responsibility for their own education.

Having said all this, I have continued to attend training with the goal of synthesizing and building on the works of others and to encourage others to build on our works. That’s how it works!

The common denominator seems to be … putting in the work.

Tim Dwyer, Automotive Educator at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology’s Pro-Tech Program

Witnessing Excellence in Action: Gateway Community College

May 16th, 2014

Nursing-003Phys Therepy-007Featuring state of the art academic and technical programs, GateWay Community College’s student staffed community clinic will be on full display during the Achieving Excellence Institute.

Gateway Community College combines service to the community with work-based learning opportunities for its students. At Healthcare United GateWay, locals receive free physical therapy and ultrasounds while students learn sonography and therapy best practices under the supervision of experienced staff. Learn more about GateWay’s innovative Health Science program, its extensive transition assistance and deep ties to the community at the GateWay Excellence in Action tour during this year’s Achieving Excellence Institute!

Don’t forget, the Achieving Excellence Institute is only a month away (6/16 in Phoenix, AZ)! Register now to ensure your spot at this fantastic professional development opportunity, and to ensure you get signed up for your top priority tour! Keep an eye on the CTE blog for more information on this event, and if you haven’t, be sure to REGISTER TODAY!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Legislative Update: House Moves Several Education Bills Forward, Appropriations Committee Sets FY 15 Spending Level

May 16th, 2014

CapitolLast week, the House approved through voice vote the Strengthening Education through Research Act (SETRA). The bipartisan vote and legislation reauthorizes the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA), which supports educational research programs such as the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exams and state longitudinal data systems.

“The Strengthening Education through Research Act will improve education research and help ensure more schools and students can benefit from effective educational practices,” said Rep. Rokita (R-IN) upon passage of the legislation.

Of particular interest to the CTE community is SETRA’s authorization for state longitudinal data system (SLDS) grants which encourage the alignment of data across K-12, postsecondary and workforce programs. These grants support the capacity of states and programs to report on post-program employment outcomes for CTE graduates. Additionally, the bill strongly emphasizes the importance of using data effectively for continuous program improvement. As Rep. Rokita pointed out during debate on the House floor, “what good does the data do us if it can’t be used?”

NASDCTEc is very supportive of this legislation and looks forward to SETRA’s future progress in the Senate. The text of the bill, fact sheets, and other useful information can be found here.

In addition to moving forward on SETRA, the House also passed the Success and Opportunity through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 10), which streamlines two existing charter school programs into a single $300 million annual program to support the development and expansion of high-quality charter schools — a $50 million increase over current funding levels.  The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on a margin of 360-45. House CTE Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) also successfully passed an amendment to the bill before its final passage, which added comprehensive career counseling to the criteria the Secretary of Education must consider when making grants under this legislation.

“This amendment recognizes that career counseling is a critical tool we must promote in order to assure that students are informed and prepared to meet their next educational or career challenge,” Rep. Thompson said upon the amendment’s adoption.

Rep. Langevin echoed these sentiments saying, “Investments in education are repaid many times over through the creation of a skilled, educated workforce. That investment is made exponentially stronger when we provide young people with career counseling programs that enable them to make smart decisions about their futures.”

NASDCTEc applauds this renewed focus on career counseling in our nation’s schools and looks forward to similar proposals to further strengthen these critical student support systems. More information on this legislation can be found here.

House Appropriations Committee Sets Levels for FY 15

Late last week the House Committee on Appropriations passed a measure confirming the topline spending cap for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 at $1.014 trillion for the entire federal discretionary budget. This figure conforms to the spending caps put in place by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The committee also set about dividing up this figure into 12 separate allocations — known as 302(b)s — to be used by each of the relevant subcommittees as they craft the necessary spending bills to fund the various departments, agencies and programs that compose the federal government.

Discouragingly, the 302(b) allocation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education — under which the Carl D. Perkins Act’s basic state grant program falls— was set at $155.7 billion. This figure is roughly $1 billion below what was allocated in FY 2014 and will put additional pressures on appropriators as they decide how to divide that sum among the various programs under the jurisdiction of the Labor-HHS-ED bill. As this process unfolds, NASDCTEc will be working with appropriators in both Chambers to ensure that adequate investments are made in our nation’s CTE system. The Senate is expected to undertake this process in the next several weeks.

Does the budget and appropriations process sound confusing? Check-out NASDCTEc’s on-demand webinar unpacking this complex process.

The CREDIT Act

Yesterday, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Credentialing Improvement for Troop Talent (CREDIT) Act of 2014 to help members of the armed services acquire credentials for use in the civilian labor market. The bill would expand the authority of the Tuition Assistance program currently available to servicemembers by allowing the program to cover expenses stemming from obtaining a civilian credential. Under the program’s current rules, the program only provides financial assistance for postsecondary programs and does not cover fees from certification or licensing programs.

“The CREDIT Act will provide servicemembers with the resources they need to obtain civilian credentials while on active duty, easing their entry into the civilian workforce and improving their chances of getting quickly hired by a private sector employer,” said Sen. Kaine upon the introduction of his bill. NASDCTEc strongly supports this legislation and applauds the Senator’s commitment to expanding federal financial aid eligibility for CTE programs that help prepare students in all walks of life for further education and careers.  More information on the bill can be found here.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate 

Catching Up With … State Legislatures

May 16th, 2014

Across the country, almost half of state legislatures have rapped the gavel for the last time to close their regular sessions for 2014. Given the strong focus on issues relating to Career Technical Education (CTE) throughout 2013 and in many governors’ state of the state addresses, we’ve decided to take stock of how CTE fared in the first quarter of the year.

Over the next few weeks, we will launch a series of blog posts catching up with highlights from the 2014 session. The first series will focus on the 25 legislatures that had finished as of May 9 and will be divided thematically. Another round will roll out this summer once the remaining sessions end. Legislatures in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin conduct business throughout the year, and activity will be covered as it is passed, along with other relevant policies enacted by State Boards of Education, Governors’ Offices and key state agencies.

This series is not meant to be all-encompassing but rather a high-level overview of the states’ legislative activity. For a comprehensive look-back at the 2013 legislative sessions, check out the “2013 CTE Year in Review,” which was published jointly by NASDCTEc and the Association for Career and Technical Education in March.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

CTE Research Review

May 14th, 2014

Research Image_6.2013The Education Commission of the States takes a closer look at student transfer and articulation agreements across the 50 states in its newest report, “Students on the move: How states are responding to increasing mobility among postsecondary students.”

Today, more than one-third of all college graduates have transferred at least once prior to earning their degrees and a vast majority of non-traditional and lower-income students start their postsecondary education at community colleges. Given this reality, it likely comes as no surprise that comprehensive, statewide transfer policies gained traction nationwide, and often are at the center of many states’ ambitious college completion initiatives.

Among the report’s highlights is a CTE example from Louisiana, which the legislature passed Senate Bill 93 in 2013 to provide a career pathway between industry-based CTE certification programs and academic degree programs.

ECS says states should consider policies that are transparent and clearly communicated to students and their families in order to better promote a seamless transfer process. You can find out where your state stands by accessing ECS’ searchable database.

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 A new report commissioned by Australia’s Department of Education found that exposing high school students to vocational education and training – as CTE is known in Australia and in many other countries – can improve student outcomes, increase engagement and retention in school, respond to local skills shortages and strengthen community partnerships.

The study was conducted by Group Training Australia Limited, which represents 150 group training associations and is the largest employer network of apprentices and trainees in the country. In Australia, government-recognized Group Training Organizations employ and place apprentices and trainees with host businesses. The organizations also ensure that employers provide quality and continuity for students for the duration of the contract.

The report, “Work Exposure and Work Placement Programs in Schools Involving Group Training Organisations,” focuses on students in Years 9-10 and 11-12 and is broken into three parts:

  • Good Practice Principles
  • Views of Employers, Students and their Parents
  • Case Studies of Good Practice

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

Witnessing Excellence in CTE: Sunrise Mountain High School

May 13th, 2014

560309_357213401027435_1199825433_nZach WitherspoonSunrise Mountain High School is a comprehensive high school with a number of high-quality programs of study that immerse their students in a wide swath of Career Clusters. From automotive technology (right), to early education, fire services (lower right) and everything in between (bottom!) Sunrise Mountain has integrated quality CTE programs into its comprehensive structure, emphasizing community service and student skill development, making college-, career- and citizen-ready graduates.

Achieving Excellence Institute attendees are invited to join us learning about Sunrise Mountain’s singular programs of study, employer partnerships and postsecondary engagement strategies, as one of the many unique professional development opportunities available at the Achieving Excellence Institute.

Don’t forget, the Achieving Excellence Institute is only a month away (6/16 in Phoenix, AZ)! Register now to ensure your spot at this fantastic professional development opportunity, and to ensure you get signed up for your top priority tour! Keep an eye on the CTE blog for more information on this event, and if you haven’t, be sure to REGISTER TODAY!

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Mark Your Calendars: Webinar on Career Readiness Indicators

May 12th, 2014

May 27 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm | Career Readiness Indicators in Accountability and Public Reporting Systems

To provide guidance to states interested in building more indicators of career preparation into accountability and public reporting systems, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and Achieve be hosting a webinar on May 27 from 2:00-3:00 ET to release findings from a new joint publication.

The report and accompanying webinar will offer a view of how states are currently approaching this challenge and what state policy leaders need to consider as they look to reform their own reporting and accountability systems to ensure that the “career” in college- and career-ready accountability and public reporting is a powerful lever to focus priorities, drive progress, and ultimately see more students – and their communities – succeed.

To join the webinar, please dial:  1 (800) 697-5978 and enter: 6460 369#

To access the webinar slides, please CLICK HERE

 

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