Institute for Educational Leadership Plans to Rise Up for Equity

February 7th, 2019

On January 25, 2019 the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) unveiled its 2018-2023 strategic plan, titled Rise Up for Equity. The plan aims to prepare leaders to eliminate systemic barriers in education and workforce development. To illustrate what “rise up for equity” means, IEL featured speakers and hosted two panels focused on preparing and mobilizing leaders and innovation, respectively. The panels featured representation from civil rights, educational and public policy organizations and challenged the audience to think critically about how to create conditions, capacities, cultures and policies that would allow each learner to succeed.

One of the speakers at the event, Dr. Talisa Dixon, Superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, discussed why and how she made equity a priority in her district. When she started her role as a superintendent, she noticed that very few African American students were participating in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, despite making up roughly 80 percent of the district’s student population. When Dr. Dixon reached out to students to learn why they were not taking AP courses, she learned that many African American students did not know that they could take AP courses. After this experience, Dr. Dixon immediately told the district board that equity had to be a priority and that policy reform would be part of the district’s solution.

Dr. Dixon’s experience reveals the urgent need to address equity gaps in the education and workforce system and highlights that equity gaps don’t only exist in the form of outcomes but also in the form of access to information and opportunities. Additionally, representatives from IEL discussed how the root causes of inequities occur on the institutional, system and structural levels and are based in racism, classism, sexism and ableism.

As State CTE Directors leverage their positions to influence the Career Technical Education (CTE) system to promote equity, they must consider the root causes of inequities and commit to only advancing high-quality policies and programs that benefit each learner. To learn more about how to promote equity in CTE, view Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise Series.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

Ask Your Representative to Co-Sponsor CTE Month Resolution by 2/8

February 4th, 2019

Career Technical Education (CTE) Month is now underway and there’s lots of attention on CTE in Washington, DC. Read below to learn more about how to contact your Representative to support the resolution recognizing CTE Month, an update on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, how to promote equity in college in high school programs and the Administration’s recent mention of CTE.

Contact your Representative to Co-Sponsor the CTE Month Resolution by 2/8

Representatives Langevin (D-RI) and Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional CTE Caucus, recently introduced a resolution to recognize CTE month (last year’s resolution had 47 co-sponsors)! Please contact your Representative to encourage them to co-sponsor the CTE Month resolution by visiting the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) CTE Action Center here. You can also find your representative, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to their office and then ask about the Representative’s interest in co-sponsoring the Resolution. Interested Representatives can contact the offices of Representatives Langevin (D-RI) or Thompson (R-PA) to co-sponsor the resolution. The deadline for additional co-sponsors is 5pm Eastern Time on Friday, February 8.

Senator Alexander’s Vision for Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act

On Monday, February 4, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), spoke about reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) at the American Enterprise Institute. He announced three key concepts for updating HEA in a way that responds to some of the pressing challenges facing prospective, current and former college students: 1) Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), 2) Streamline the options to repay student loans and 3) Create a new accountability system for colleges to report whether borrowers are able to repay loans. There have been multiple proposals in the Senate that touch upon these three ideas and Senator Alexander plans to work with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate HELP Committee, to introduce one piece of legislation this spring that encompasses each.You can find Senator Alexander’s remarks here and be sure to keep an eye on Advance CTE’s blog for additional updates on HEA reauthorization.

How Can ESSA be Used to Advance Equity in College in High School Programs?

The Education Trust and the College in High School Alliance recently released a fact sheet, Advancing Equity in College in High School Programs: Opportunities Under ESSA, that includes key questions and considerations for those thinking about how to advance equity in college in high school access and success, and how the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) can be leveraged to accomplish it. Related videos on dual-enrollment can be found here.

Administration Releases Fact Sheet on Revitalizing American Manufacturing, Includes Perkins Reauthorization

On January 31, the Administration released a fact sheet, President Donald J. Trump is Following Through on His Promise to Revitalize American Manufacturing, which included the passage of the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) as an example of how President Trump is investing in workforce development. Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on the Administration’s coverage of CTE, including if it is mentioned during the State of the Union address on February 5 at 9:00pm Eastern Time.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate, Federal Policy & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

Numerous Governors Celebrate and Commit to Advancing CTE in 2019

February 4th, 2019

As is tradition at the beginning of the legislative sessions, numerous governors have presented their policy agendas in their annual addresses to their state legislatures. These addresses provide an opportunity for the 20 new governors to highlight their legislative priorities. Many of the State of the State Addresses highlighted successes related to Career Technical Education (CTE) and governors’ commitments to advance CTE in 2019.

Many governors celebrated successes of previous and existing initiatives in their speeches. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey celebrated the 99 percent high school graduation rate for students in Arizona CTE programs. In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont proposed increasing access to vocational technical schools and apprenticeships and celebrated the successes of students at a new Career Academy in Waterbury, CT. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy celebrated the creation of more than 100 new apprenticeship programs in the past year.

Governors also emphasized the importance of advancing equity in their states. In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds proposed creating a new program called “Computer Science in Elementary,” which will integrate computer coding into class lessons at six high-poverty elementary schools. In Delaware, Governor John Carney proposed a statewide commission comprised of community leaders who will recommend steps to help disadvantaged students succeed.

Other governors set goals for the year and called for additional funding for CTE. In Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb set a goal for 60 percent of Hoosier adults to have a high-value credential beyond high school. In Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts celebrated that the Developing Youth Talent Initiative, which connects middle school students to work-based learning opportunities in the manufacturing and IT sectors, has impacted 7,000 students to date and called on the state to increase funding for the initiative by $1.25 million. In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee proposed a budget that would allow 100,000 students to participate in paid internships and apprenticeships over the next 10 years.

In total, more than 12 governors have celebrated or made commitments to foster CTE in their states during their State of the State Addresses. Advance CTE will continue to monitor the State of the State Addresses as they happen for their relevance to CTE.

To learn about CTE related policies that governors prioritized in 2018, join Advance CTE, ACTE and a state leader to discuss 2018 CTE related policies in more depth on February 14 – to register for the webinar click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

February 1st, 2019

Happy CTE Month!



Happy Career Technical Education Month!

Today is the start of the national campaign that takes place each February to celebrate Career Technical Education (CTE)across the country. It’s a time to share success stories, program highlights and raise awareness of the importance of access to high-quality CTE programs of study for each learner.

Learn more about how you can celebrate here.


An important part of CTE Month is hearing and elevating the voice of the learner. In this video, learners from South Bend James Whitcomb Riley High School in Indiana share the experiences they’ve had in the Audio and Video Production classes.

Watch the video here:


A new report,  Let’s Get to Work: Learning From Success in Career and Technical Education, by Chiefs for Change, seeks to help state and district leaders throughout the country improve how learners are served through practical, actionable strategies and policies to strengthen CTE. This report focuses particularly on progress in improving CTE programs in Tennessee, Nevada, Denver and San Antonio.

The report includes the following key recommendations for states and districts:

  • Build a truly seamless transition for all students into postsecondary education and career training;
  • Improve the quality and rigor of CTE pathways and courses;
  • Expand work-based learning, such as internships and apprenticeships;
  • Expand and improve support for students and families; and
  • Ensure equity for all students.

Read the full report here:

Perkins V: How can states design meaningful accountability systems?

January 31st, 2019

This new bi-monthly blog series will highlight key Perkins V questions and topics and link them to relevant Advance CTE reports, guides and policy profiles featuring research, promising practices and examples of state policies.

Accountability and Perkins V

With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) within the last five years, states have been looking at how to measure career readiness and the effectiveness of programs. Importantly, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), shifts the accountability indicators at the secondary and postsecondary levels and provides an opportunity for states, in consultation with stakeholders, to select an indicator of secondary “program quality”: work-based learning, postsecondary credit attainment or credential attainment during high school. As states begin to look at this indicator and design their accountability systems for Perkins V, how can they ensure these measures are high-quality and aligned with measures of success across workforce and education programs? Check out the resources below to learn more.

REPORT: Career Readiness & the Every Student Succeeds Act: Mapping Career Readiness in State ESSA Plans: This report examines how states are taking advantage of key opportunities in ESSA to support career readiness, including how states address career-focused measures in their high school accountability systems. Watch a related webinar here.

REPORT: Destination Known: Valuing College AND Career Readiness in State Accountability Systems: This report from Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers provides a roadmap for the measures states can use in an accountability system to support all students in achieving success after high school, as well as strategies for putting that accountability system into practice.

PROFILES: These career-ready indicator profiles explore how leading states are designing meaningful, career-focused accountability indicators:


The next issue of this series will include resources on stakeholder engagement and in the meantime, please be sure to check out the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy & Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate 

HEA in Practice: Title III HSI STEM Articulation Grant

January 30th, 2019

Title III of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is the main source of institutional level funding in HEA, primarily supporting minority-serving colleges. Title III authorizes the Hispanic Serving Institutions Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and Articulation Program (HSI STEM). An institution is categorized as an HSI if at least 25 percent of the full time undergraduate students are Latino. As of the 2016-2017 school year, HSIs include 65 percent of Latino undergraduate students and 15 percent of colleges and universities across the country, and these number will continue to increase.

This piece of HEA has two goals: the first is to increase attainment of STEM degrees and the second is to create a model transfer and articulation agreement for STEM degrees between two- and four-year institutions. Appropriations for this program are mandatory through FY2019. Funding can be utilized for purposes such as:

  • “Improving academic quality of STEM programs through curriculum revision and development, or faculty development;
  • Developing research opportunities for students in STEM fields;
  • Providing or improving student services including counseling, tutoring, mentoring or establishing learning communities;
  • Encouraging secondary students to pursue STEM degrees and careers through outreach activities; and
  • Improving STEM facilities and equipment needed for science instruction and computer laboratories.”

A great example of how this has been implemented is the Laredo Community College in Texas, which developed its STEM Articulation and Summer Bridge program through the HSI STEM grant. The STEM articulation program supports learners interested in STEM in both the college enrollment process, as well as successfully navigating the two to four year transfer. This program includes a Summer Bridge component, which provides incoming college students with advisement on everything from what to expect academically to the interpersonal skills that will be required. Learners in this program graduated at twice the rate of the college’s overall graduation rate.

Meredith Hills, Policy Associate

States Passed 146 Policies to Support CTE in 2018

January 29th, 2019

2018 was a significant year for Career Technical Education (CTE) at the federal and state levels. On July 31, 2018, the President signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) into law, which reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV). The reauthorization of Perkins signaled a federal commitment to and a recognition of the promise and value of high-quality CTE. Additionally, at the state level 42 states and Washington, D.C., passed a total of 146 policy actions related to CTE and career readiness, reflecting a commitment from state leaders to advance CTE.

Today, Advance CTE and Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) released the sixth annual Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE report, examining 2018 state legislative activity, including legislation, executive orders, board of education actions, budget provisions and ballot initiatives. To develop the report, Advance CTE and ACTE reviewed state activity, catalogued all finalized state action and coded activity based on the policy area of focus. For 2018, the top policy areas of focus include:

  • Funding;
  • Industry partnerships/work-based learning;
  • Dual/concurrent enrollment, articulation and early college;
  • Industry-recognized credentials, tied with graduation requirements; and
  • Access/equity.

In total, 30 states enacted policy in 2018 that impacted CTE funding, making funding the most popular policy category for the sixth year in a row. A number of states directed funding toward the needs of underrepresented, low-income or otherwise disadvantaged populations, including California, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and North Carolina. Washington established a scholarship program to support foster and homeless youth entering postsecondary education or pursuing an apprenticeship, among other policies that supported access and equity, and New York is funding 15 early college high school programs aligned with in-demand industries in communities with low rates of graduation or postsecondary transition.

While roughly one hundred fewer policies were passed in 2018 than in 2017, this past year’s policies still reflect a commitment from state leaders to advance CTE. A decrease in the number of CTE policies passed compared to previous years should not be misinterpreted as an indication that CTE is not a priority for states. In fact, at least 16 governors identified modernizing CTE as a priority for their states during their 2018 State of State Addresses.

As states continue to pass CTE related policies, it is important to focus on the quality of the implementation of the policies and not only the quantity. To view the previous years’ Year in Review reports click here. Advance CTE and ACTE will be joined by a state leader to discuss these policies in more depth on February 14 at 2 p.m. EST – to register for the webinar click here.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

College or Career? At Oakland High School, Students Don’t Have to Choose

January 28th, 2019

Students were hard at work on their laptops when we walked into the 12th grade environmental science class at Oakland High School. They were writing their senior research papers on different environmental issues in their Bay Area community, the culminating project to graduate from the Environmental Science Academy. One student was writing about the the economic impact of a diminishing bee population, another was looking into the effect of recent wildfires in northern California. And they were more than happy to show off their projects.

Oakland High School – or O-High as it is affectionately called by students and teachers – is one of several schools in California that is implementing an industry-based educational model called Linked Learning. Linked Learning is not unique – it outlines a framework for what we would consider “high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE):” an integrated pathway that combines rigorous CTE, college preparatory course work, work-based learning and wraparound student supports. But Linked Learning is quickly becoming the gold standard approach to career pathways in California. With funding from the James Irvine Foundation and strategic guidance and partnership from the Linked Learning Alliance, the approach has spread to high schools and districts across the state.

In Oakland, the power and value of Linked Learning is in the diversity of its student body. The city is situated across the bay from San Francisco and is home to an incredibly diverse community – many students are the children of immigrants or were themselves born in other countries. Recently, Oakland has experienced rapid gentrification and a steadily increasing cost of living, making it harder for families to stay in the area. To maintain Oakland’s rich diversity, O-High Principal Matin Abdel-Qawi believes it is his school’s mission to equip each and every student with the skills they need to earn family-sustaining wages so they can afford to work and live in Oakland once they graduate.

So what does this look like in practice? O-High has drawn upon the four components of the Linked Learning model to provide a student-centered experience. The school offers wall-to-wall career academies that each include:

Integrated academics with a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum:  As students progress through their pathway, they receive rigorous instruction aligned to California’s A-G college prep standards and graduate fully prepare to enroll in Easy Bay Community College, UC Berkeley, or other colleges and universities in the state.

High-quality CTE classes that prepare learners for in-demand careers: Every student enrolls in a career academy: Environmental Science, Visual Arts (VAAMP), Public Health, Project Lead the Way (engineering), Social Justice and Reform, or an academy for recent immigrants called R.I.S.E (Recent Immigrant Support and Engagement Academy). Students take math, history and other academic subjects with their pathway peers, and instructors adapt the curriculum to apply a career-focused lens.

A continuum of work-based learning experiences: Throughout their pathway, students have the opportunity to engage with industry experts through field trips, guest lectures and offsite internships with nearby institutions like the Alameda County health system, which regularly hosts students from the Public Health Academy. In 2018, 1,393 students participated in career awareness activities and 145 completed an internship.

Wraparound supports to guide learners along their pathway: Perhaps the most remarkable element of O-High’s Linked Learning academies is the extensive mentorship and wraparound supports students can access. A wellness center on campus provide medical and dental services to students, ensuring that health is not a barrier to success. The high school is also home to a Future Center that helps students apply for college, perfect their resume, and identify and apply for scholarships.

The Linked Learning approach has had a notable impact on O-High student outcomes. In 2018, 81 percent of students graduated and 70 percent enrolled in college within one year. Part of this success is attributable to the high school’s absolute focus on equity. School leaders take special care to ensure that enrollment in each pathway reflects the broader student population, with parity across ethnicity, gender and disability. And in 2010, Oakland Unified launched the Office of African American Male Achievement (AAMA) to support and develop young black males throughout the district. As a result, the African American graduation rate at O-High jumped from 58 percent in 2014 to 90 percent in 2018.

As states prepare to implement the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), they will have a unique opportunity to redefine what high-quality CTE looks like and ensure equity is front and center in the statewide delivery of CTE. There are a lot of lessons to draw from Linked Learning. For one, Linked Learning’s integrated career pathway approach, mixed with work-based learning and wraparound student supports, is a tried-and-true framework for a strong CTE program. States can replicate this approach and free up resources to expand access to work-based learning and student supports.

Further, O-High’s intense focus on equity should be instructive to other school, district and state leaders. In Oakland, equity means more than expanding opportunity. It means ensuring that each and every learner is supported, welcomed and successful in their given career pathway. With wraparound services to support students’ health, academic and career needs, Oakland High School delivers on its promise to graduate students prepared to stay and contribute to their diverse community.

Thanks to Oakland High School, the Linked Learning Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education for organizing the Linked Learning site visit.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

This Week in CTE

January 25th, 2019


New Members on the House Committee on Education and Labor

On January 23, House Republicans named the members that will serve on the House Committee on Education and Labor for the 116th Congress. This finalizes the composition of the Committee, which has 28 Democrats, 14 of whom are new to the Committee, and 22 Republicans, 10 of whom are new to the Committee. As the Committee begins its work, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on hearings, votes and more.

To make sure you get the latest news and resources about federal policy that affects Career Technical Education (CTE), sign up for our Legislative Updates!


Need a fun way to work across CTE programs of study in your school? Try creating a “How-To” video as a class project that helps learners grasp an important skill and work with your Art or Audio Visual program to do the filming and editing. In this quick video, you can see learners in the Electronic Media and Journalism class are producing ‘how-to’ videos with those who are studying in the Automotive Technology program.

For more ideas on incorporating video into your programs check out the Washington Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board’s video toolkit to help local schools, instructors, and students develop their own videos promoting CTE in their communities. The guide provides technical tips for setting up shots, capturing sound, and conducting interviews. Read it here.

Watch the video here:


In a report, No More “Sink or Swim:” Incorporating Subgroup Accountability into the Higher Education Act, Third Way, discusses the equity gaps in higher education, who is impacted and in what ways. This resource will inform state leaders concerned about equity gaps in postsecondary CTE. Currently, there are few accountability measures in the Higher Education Act (HEA) around this, but reauthorization provides an opportunity for this to change.

The report proposes that inclusion of subgroup accountability in HEA reauthorization is one way to understand and respond to the issue. A framework for subgroup accountability in HEA is provided that includes:

  • Which student subgroups should be used;
  • What should be measured;
  • How to identify and compare institutions for subgroup accountability;
  • What should happen when an institution has low equity outcomes;
  • How to mitigate unintended consequences; and
  • How to improve outcomes.

Read the full report here:

Nicole Howard, Communications Associate

Members of House Committee on Education and Labor Announced, Secretary DeVos Focuses Remarks on CTE

January 24th, 2019

This week brings news from Congress, remarks on Career Technical Education (CTE) from the Administration, questions about when states will release report cards required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and a report on food insecurity on college campuses. Read below to learn more about these updates.

New Members on the House Committee on Education and Labor 

On January 23, House Republicans named the members that will serve on the House Committee on Education and Labor for the 116th Congress. This finalizes the composition of the Committee, which has 28 Democrats, 14 of whom are new to the Committee, and 22 Republicans, 10 of whom are new to the Committee. As the Committee begins its work, Advance CTE will continue to provide updates on hearings, votes and more.

Secretary DeVos Focuses Remarks on CTE at Conference of Mayors 

On January 24, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the annual United States Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, emphasizing the theme of “rethinking” education throughout her speech. She highlighted that mayors can help build relationships between educators and industry and how this can happen through Perkins V planning efforts. During her remarks, she highlighted CTE programs across the country that offer opportunities like apprenticeships, the ability for high school students to earn associate’s degrees and business partnerships that offer upskilling opportunities through community colleges.

When Are States Publishing ESSA Report Cards?

Shortly after the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed, the Obama administration developed regulations requiring states to publish their performance report cards by December 31, 2018. When Congress overturned those rules in early 2017, it left states without clear guidance on the deadline to release their report cards. While several states have published information on 2017-18 student performance, many have yet to do so. Significantly, more than 30 states are measuring career readiness on their state, district and high school report cards, some for the first time. Looking for more information about ESSA and the career-ready indicators states are using? Check out the ESSA pageon Advance CTE’s website.

In Case You Missed It: New Report on Food Insecurity Among College Students

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in response to a 2017 request by Senate Democrats, released Food Insecurity: Better Information Could Help Eligible College Students Access Federal Food Assistance Benefitsa report that looks into 31 studies on food insecurity among college students. This report found that in 2016 about two million students eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) did not receive benefits and that income level was the biggest indicator of food insecurity. The report discusses what was previously considered to be a typical college experience and how the college student population has changed. The report comes at a time when the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is considered a top priority for this Congress.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy, Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate & Meredith Hills, Policy Associate