BUILDS Act Introduced, House & Senate Continue FY18 Appropriations Work

July 27th, 2017

The last working day before the House goes into recess is this Friday, July 28 and the last day for the Senate is August 11. Both the House and Senate have taken steps toward advancing the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) Budget and Appropriations process in the last week and will likely continue their work after the break. Also last week, the Senate introduced new infrastructure legislation – read more about these efforts below.

Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA) Introduce BUILDS Act

On July 20, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Kaine (D-VA), co-chairs of the Senate CTE Caucus, introduced the “Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills”(BUILDS) Act. This bill would authorize the Secretary of Labor to award grants to industry or sector partnerships that would:
  • “Incentivize businesses and industry to work with the greater community to create on-the-job training programs to fill the jobs necessary to expand the country’s infrastructure system
  • Connect businesses and education providers to develop classroom curriculum to complement on-the-job learning
  • Train managers and front-line workers to serve as mentors to people in work-based learning programs
  • Offer resources and career awareness programming to recruit and retain individuals for workforce training programs
  • Provide support services to ensure workers are successful from pre-employment to placement in a full-time position”
This bill also makes connections to CTE, such as including the definitions for CTE and “career guidance and academic counseling” that are found in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins). In addition, CTE is embedded in the objectives and activities that the grants awarded can support. Advance CTE is proud to support this bill.

 

House Appropriations Committee Approves Bill that Level-Funds Perkins, House Budget Committee Approves Resolution

On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee marked up and approved the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill . This bill includes level-funding for CTE (and maintains that $1,117,598,000 be allocated to the Perkins Basic State Grants and $7,421,000 be allocated for National Programs – the same as FY17). Also on July 19, the House Budget Committee marked up and approved its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills).The blueprint notes that, “Strengthening career and technical education, higher education, and workforce development programs, by increasing choice, access, and affordability, will ensure that our workers have the skills necessary to compete in a growing and changing economy” (p. 26). The House Budget Committee’s report on the resolution similarly highlights CTE (see page 121 here). At this time, the budget resolution has not been scheduled to go for a vote before the full House of Representatives and neither has the FY18 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Senate Appropriations Process Begins

On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its guidance for FY18 allocations for the 12 appropriations bills. While the allocation for Labor-HHS-Education is $8 billion more than the amount in the House Bill, the guidance notes, “This increase is necessary to offset a significant reduction in available savings from mandatory programs.” As additional information about when the Senate Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill will be marked up and allocations for specific programs becomes available, we will share it. Now is a great time to reach out to your members of Congress (thanks to our partners at ACTE for sharing this Action Center with the entire CTE community) to let them know that you support a strong federal investment in CTE!

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Excellence in Action Award Program Spotlight: Industry Experts in the Classroom Lead to Student Success

July 26th, 2017

Getting qualified industry experts into the classroom has been a hot topic in the Career Technical Education (CTE) world lately. A pillar of high-quality CTE is having all CTE programs of study facilitated by knowledgeable experts. Those educators who have spent time in industry are able to bring not only the necessary academic knowledge, but also technical skills to their learners, helping keep curriculum up-to-date and providing meaningful experiences that students are sure to use in their careers.

In honor of these educator-professionals, we’d like to highlight our 2017 Excellence in Action award winner in the Arts, A/V Technology & Communications Career Cluster, the Passaic County Technical Institute’s School of Communication Arts Graphic Design Program located in Wayne, NJ. Serving 186 students in the 2015-16 school year, the program boasts 100% graduation rate with 91% of graduates earning an industry-recognized credential and 93% earning postsecondary credit while still in high school. With a student population that is 82% minority and 59% low-income, this program is giving some of the students who most need a leg up a significant boost.

Nearly 200 students are enrolled in this innovative program of study, that combines academic, and technical coursework, along with extensive real-world learning opportunities. Not only are students able to earn dual credit as well as industry certifications, they are also instructed by educators who are practicing professionals, active in the field and who have their fingers on the pulse of fast-moving industry changes.  These industry-expert teachers are not only experts in the classroom, but also able to share what they’re working on in the industry. Because they keep up to date with emerging trends in design and design technology, they are able to produce actual industry examples and structure assignments around career-relevant trends.  As they look to the future, instructors are excited to bring cutting edge technology to their students — 3D animation software, such as Maya and 3d Max as well as 3D printing, providing students with tangible portfolio items they can take with them to postsecondary and the workforce.

Program supervisor, Jerry Castaneda explains, “This field is changing every day — the technology, the way media and businesses are using graphics are evolving as well. With the guidance from our teachers, our alums are using cutting-edge software products to change the identity of corporate culture.”

The dedication from skilled educators has resulted in a program of study that demonstrates CTE can lead to incredible student successes.

Learn more about the Graphic Arts program at PCTI and our 2017 award winners.

Top Findings from Reviews of State ESSA Plans

July 25th, 2017

How long does it take to read through and analyze 17 state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? Two months seems to be the sweet spot for many of the nation’s education thought leaders. Since the first submission window closed this spring, a number of groups, Advance CTE among them, have released their takes on the first round of state plans.

Federal education policy inevitably draws opinions, advice and criticism from all corners of the country, and states’ planning around ESSA implementation has been no exception. Below we round up some of the latest takes and summarize conclusions from the first round of submitted plans.

ESSA: Early Observations on State Changes to Accountability Systems (Government Accountability Office)

Purpose: The GAO was requested by Congress to study and report on states’ progress and approaches toward amending accountability under ESSA. To conduct the report, GAO policy researchers interviewed national stakeholders and met with education officials in California and Ohio, two states that were identified as taking different approaches to accountability.

Key Findings: The report finds that states are taking advantage of increased flexibility under ESSA, though the degree of change ranges by state. The authors classify ESSA accountability development by four dimensions: 1) determining long-term goals, 2) developing performance indicators, 3) differentiating schools and 4) identifying and assisting low-performers.  

ESSA Equity Dashboards (Alliance for Excellent Education)

Purpose: To highlight strengths and draw attention to growth areas in ESSA plans, the Alliance for Excellent Education is developing ESSA Equity Dashboards that rate key components of state plans. Dashboards are available for five of the first 17 plans, with the remaining expected in August. The dashboards examine long-term goals, support and intervention, and accountability.

Key Findings: The Alliance for Excellent Education highlights Louisiana’s plan for its focus on academic outcomes and the design of the state’s “Strength of Diploma Indicator.” Reviewers flagged Colorado’s long-term goals for math and reading performance.

ESSA Leverage Points: 64 Promising Practices from States for using Evidence to Improve Student Outcomes (Results for America)

Purpose: This analysis from Results for America examines the first 17 submitted ESSA plans and evaluates the degree to which states aim to use evidence-based practices in certain parts of their plan. The analysis is based on 13 key ESSA leverage points identified by Results for America and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Leverage points include monitoring local education agency implementation, allocating school improvement funds, monitoring and evaluating school improvement, and more.

Key Findings: The reviewers found that:

  • Sixteen states included at least one promising practice for building and using evidence to
    improve student outcomes.
  • However, only four states emphasized the role of evidence-based practices through Title II and Title IV and only nine states prioritize evidence when reviewing and approving school improvement funding applications.

An Independent Review of ESSA State Plans (Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success)

Purpose: To supplement the Department of Education’s peer review process, Bellwether Education Partners and the Collaborative for Student Success convened a peer review team of their own, drawing together more than 30 local, state and national experts to review and rate state plans. Their analysis focused on nine key elements.

Key Findings: The results of the peer review are broken down by state at https://checkstateplans.org/. Overall, the reviewers found that:

  • States are taking advantage of increased flexibility to broaden their accountability systems, focusing on college- and career-readiness, year-to-year student growth and other indicators including science, attendance, physical education, art and school climate.
  • However, many states could not describe how their proposals would play out in practice, neglecting to specify how many schools would be identified for improvement or how federal funds would be used to increase student success.

Leveraging ESSA to Promote Science and STEM Education in States (Achieve)

Purpose: This analysis from Achieve examines 17 round 1 state ESSA plans through the lens of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, pinpointing how states are leveraging assessments, graduation requirements and other goals to promote science and STEM.

Key Findings: Achieve’s analysis finds that, among the 17 round 1 state plans:

  • Only two states set clear achievement goals around science;
  • Ten states are including science in their accountability system (though many included measures under the academic achievement indicator, which has been disputed by the U.S. Department of Education); and
  • Several states are exploring opportunities to use grant funds under Title II and Title IV to support STEM education.

Making the Most of ESSA: Opportunities to Advance STEM Education (Education First)

Purpose: Education First, with support from the Overdeck Family Foundation, examined 25 state plans (including 17 submitted plans and an additional eight draft plans) to identify leverage points for STEM education and review whether and how states are taking advantage of these opportunities. Their review focused on four key dimensions of state plans: inclusion of state science assessments in accountability systems; including of Career Technical Education (CTE) indicators in accountability systems; inclusion of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate indicators in accountability systems; and STEM elements in 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Key Findings: The reviewers found that:

  • Seventeen states included or are strongly considering including performance on state science assessments in their accountability systems;
  • Seventeen states included or are strongly considering including CTE indicators in their accountability systems;
  • Nineteen states included or are strongly considering including Advanced Placement/ International Baccalaureate indicators in their accountability systems; and
  • Ten states are requiring or encouraging STEM activities in their 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants.

Reflections on State ESSA Plans (American Institutes for Research)

Purpose: Researchers at the American Institutes for Research reviewed 17 submitted plans and three additional draft plans to get a broad perspective on how states are prioritizing certain strategies. Their analysis covered plans for accountability, STEM, school improvement, technology and more.

Key Findings: Notably, the researchers at AIR found that, among the 20 plans reviewed:

  • State accountability systems are becoming more sophisticated, including indicators such as college- and career-readiness and chronic absenteeism.
  • However, states have a ways to go to more fully develop indicators of career readiness (a question recently explored at length by Education Strategy Group and the Council of Chief State School Officers).

Overall, reviewers seem impressed with states’ efforts to include more comprehensive indicators of student success in their accountability system. However, states were light on details about how their plans will be implemented and how schools will be supported to improve student performance. The remaining two-thirds of states planning to submit plans in September can draw on these findings, along with Advance CTE’s report on career readiness and ESSA, to ensure their plans are robust and sufficiently leverage all that ESSA has to offer.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

 

States Pave Way for More Flexible, Integrated Pathways to Graduation

July 21st, 2017

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE reinforces the principle that all learning should be personalized and flexible. Education should meet learners where they’re at, allowing them to pursue pathways and experiences aligned to their career interests. To that end, a number of states this summer have taken steps to expand flexible pathways to graduation by amending graduation requirements and exploring opportunities to enhance career advisement and integrate workforce skills throughout the K-12 curriculum.

In Connecticut, for example, Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB1026, amending graduation requirements set to take effect this year. Those requirements were adopted in 2010 in an effort to raise expectations, but were too prescriptive in terms of which courses learners would need to take to graduate. Specifically, the requirements increased the minimum number of credits needed to graduate from 20 to 25 and specified that students would need to earn eight credits in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), nine credits in humanities, three in career and life skills, and three and a half in other areas, including a senior demonstration project.

The new law makes some changes to the required number of credits but ultimately provides school districts and learners more flexibility on the path to graduation. For one, students will now be required to earn nine, not eight, credits in STEM, but local school boards have the liberty to choose which courses qualify. Additionally, the law gives students the option to receive credit by demonstrating subject matter competency through alternative means, such as work-based learning, Career Technical Education (CTE), virtual learning and more. And instead of the senior demonstration project, learners must complete a mastery-based diploma assessment.

Washington Takes Credit Equivalencies Statewide

Over on the west coast, Washington State’s budget for the 2017-19 biennium includes provisions to accelerate the state’s ongoing credit equivalency work. Under the enacted budget, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is directed to help expand and support the implementation of course equivalency credits statewide. This builds upon an ongoing state effort to streamline graduation pathways and allow students to earn math and science credit by demonstrating competency through technical coursework. Since 2015, the State Board of Education has established course equivalency frameworks for 32 courses, including the Core Plus curriculum, a model developed in partnership with the Boeing company to help students develop knowledge and skills in manufacturing.

Additionally, the budget provides for a competitive grant fund to help school districts implement the course equivalency frameworks, such as by developing rigorous assessments, raising awareness and providing professional development for educators.

Rethinking Education and Workforce Development in Idaho, Michigan and California

Meanwhile, efforts are underway in Idaho, Michigan and California to align K-12 education with workforce development priorities. In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter’s Workforce Development Task Force, launched by executive order in January, released its findings and recommendations from a five-month study into the state’s workforce development needs. Among the task force’s recommendations are strategies to connect K-12 education to career pathways, strengthen career advisement in the state, expand CTE programs and apprenticeships, and incentivize schools to integrate workforce skills into secondary curricula.

In Michigan, the Career Pathways Alliance —  a Governor-led, cross-sector effort — released a series of 16 recommendations to dramatically strengthen career preparation at the secondary level. Proposals range from continuing a statewide communications campaign to enhancing career counseling efforts and introducing more flexibility into the Michigan graduation standards, an effort currently making its way through the state legislature. While many of the Alliance’s recommendations require legislative approval, State Superintendent Brian Whiston issued a directive immediately after the recommendations were released to begin implementing some of the strategies.  

Meanwhile, California is taking steps to develop and integrate computer science standards into K-12 curricula. The state’s budget directs the superintendent to convene a Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel to provide recommendations for implementing K-12 computer science standards. Specifically, the panel’s recommendations, which are due to the superintendent by July 2019, will address professional development for teachers, define principles for meeting the needs of K-12 students, and identify strategies to expand access to computer science education.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill, CTE Highlighted in ESSA Discussions

July 19th, 2017

This week, Congress has been busy marking up appropriations bills, the first of many steps toward determining the overall budget and the appropriations for individual programs for the 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) that begins October 1. In addition, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Advance CTE will also be discussing how states can connect their vision for career readiness with ESSA during a webinar on Thursday, July 20 from 1-2pm ET – please join us!

Perkins Level-Funded in House Bill

On Thursday, July 13, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations subcommittee marked up their FY18 appropriations bill and it passed along party lines 9-6. This bill will be marked up by the full House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, July 19.

  • The bill proposed funding Perkins at its current level ($1.125 billion, the same as was allocated in FY17) and also proposed the following allocations to education and labor programs:
    • Student Support and Academic Achievement state grants, new grants under Title IV-A of ESSA, receive $500 million. These block grants have a variety of allowable uses, one of which includes Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and activities that meet the requirements of ESSA’s definition for a “well-rounded education.”
    • Pell grants remain funded at their FY17 level. However, the bill includes a $3.3 billion rescission that would lower the reserve amount available in the future.
    • State formula grants provided through Title I of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) would be cut by $85,724,000, or about three percent.
    • Apprenticeship grants funded through the Department of Labor would be zeroed out (they received $95 million in FY17).
  • The House Budget Committee will mark up its FY18 Budget Resolution (which provides the top-line spending number for all 12 appropriations bills) on Wednesday, July 19.

Importantly, there are a number of additional steps and decisions that need to be made before a final agreement on the FY18 appropriations is reached and we’ll provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Benefits of CTE Highlighted in ESSA Hearing

On Tuesday, July 18, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled, “ESSA Implementation: Exploring State and Local Reform Efforts.” The witnesses who spoke during the hearing were Jaqueline Nowicki, Director, K-12 Education at the U.S Government Accountability Office, Gail Pletnick, Superintendent at the Dysart Unified School District in Arizona, Phillip Lovell, Vice President of Policy Development and Government Relations at the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Carey Wright, State Superintendent at the Mississippi Department of Education. Over 20 members of the committee asked questions of the witnesses, many of them focused on the flexibility provided in the law, the role of regulations, the stakeholder engagement process, how states selected accountability indicators and how they are using data about the performance of historically underserved groups, feedback received on submitted ESSA plans, and the role of the federal government in education. Notably, several committee members brought up CTE – they were curious about how it fits into states’ ESSA plans and were eager to share how their state’s successful CTE initiatives benefitted students.  

ESSA Webinar this Thursday, July 20

This spring, 16 states and Washington D.C. submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Education describing their strategies to implement ESSA. While more than half of the plans that were submitted during the first window included career readiness accountability indicators, many states missed opportunities to fully leverage ESSA to support a statewide vision for career readiness (read more about how career readiness shows up in the first 17 ESSA plans in our new report here). Please join us Thursday, July 20 from 1-2 p.m. ET to hear from national experts and state leaders about connecting ESSA to your state’s vision for career readiness. Speakers include representatives from Advance CTE, the College & Career Readiness & Success Center, the Connecticut Department of Education and the California Department of Education.

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Empowering All Learners

July 13th, 2017

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All learners are empowered to choose a meaningful education and career.

Career exploration and guidance have in the past been considered as services only for CTE students, and particularly for CTE students who are not considering attending a postsecondary institution. Now state leaders are working to change this misconception by promoting career advisement as an integral part of the educational process for all learners.

A comprehensive career advising system must be supported not just by school counselors, but state leaders, local administrators, and employer partners as well.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

  • Develop and implement a career advisement system that allows all learners to be successful in a career pathway of interest;
  • Provide all learners with authentic, real-world experiences linked to a career interest of their choice.

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders focus their attention on career advisement, they have access to multiple resources related to counseling, guided pathways, student supports and career awareness, among others.

Principle in Action

  • Ohio: 2014 Education Reform Bill (HB487)
    • Among many policy changes in HB487, Ohio began requiring districts to provide career exploration CTE courses in grades 7 and 8. Additionally, all districts were required to provide career guidance and advising systems, supported by state-provided implementation models.  
  • Arkansas: College and Career Coaches
    • Launched as a pilot program in 2010 and expanded to 28 counties a few years later, the Arkansas College and Career Coaches program provides career coaching services to students, along with online advising platforms and Career Cluster camps. Between 2009 and 2015, the college-going rate in these districts increased by 22 percentage points. Starting in the 2016-17 school year, career-focused performance metrics such as industry-recognized credential attainment and work-based learning were integrated into the program to better emphasize career planning and preparation.
  • Illinois: STEM Learning Exchanges
    • Launched in 2012, the STEM Learning Exchanges are public-private partnerships that provide connections between employer partners and schools. These partnerships can be leveraged to provide work-based learning opportunities, career exploration and other experiential opportunities.

Relevant Resources

Upcoming Resources

  • State of Career Technical Education: Career Advising and Development
    • In February 2018, Advance CTE will release a report in partnership with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) that examines the national landscape of career advising and development policies. The report will be based on information collected from surveys of state leaders as well as school counselors.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

Registration Open for 2017 Fall Meeting

July 13th, 2017

Join us October 16-18, in Baltimore, Maryland, for the 2017 Advance CTE Fall Meeting! Registration is now open for this two-day convening offering intensive, unique professional development to state and local leaders of Career Technical Education (CTE).

This year’s meeting will focus on helping state leaders prepare for reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act with key sessions focusing on how to:

  • Create effective stakeholder engagement
  • Build a strategy to address your CTE teacher shortage
  • Foster alignment across systems to provide smooth transitions for all learners across K-12, two-year and four-year institutions

We also are bringing back our successful workshop format to give participants dedicated time to explore into the most important issues influencing CTE today.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate for Member Engagement and Leadership Development

Playbook Offers Upskilling Models to Help Companies, Employees and Communities

July 11th, 2017

UpSkill America, part of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, recently released its Upskilling Playbook. This document highlights promising practices and examples of employer upskilling strategies, and offers guidance on how other employers can implement these practices. Through upskilling, an employer can invest in the long-term competitiveness and success by encouraging existing employees to gain new skills and advance through a company. Research shows that upskilling can help company bottom lines, and increase employee retention, as most employees expect some version of upskilling as a benefit of employment.

The playbook offers several models for companies to adopt, including apprenticeship, pre-employment training, as well as providing support and incentives for completion of certifications and postsecondary degrees. One example cited is Amazon’s Career Choice Program, which will pre-pay 95% of tuition and fees for an employee to earn a certificate or associate degree in a high-demand occupation.

Even companies who already provide tuition assistance may not be fully realizing the potential of upskilling, according to recent research carried about by UpSkill America. Many companies see these benefits merely as recruitment tools when looking for new hires. The playbook argues that companies should imbed upskilling as a cornerstone of company culture.

Report Explores Effective Teacher Professional Development Models

A new report from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) explores the question of effective professional development for teachers through a review of 35 methodologically rigorous studies that have demonstrated a positive link between teacher professional development, teaching practices, and student outcomes. Their research found that effective professional development, including professional learning communities, incorporates the following elements:

  • Is content focused
  • Incorporates active learning
  • Supports collaboration
  • Uses models of effective practice
  • Provides coaching and expert support
  • Offers feedback and reflection
  • Is of sustained duration

Unfortunately, realities within institutions can hinder effective professional development, including insufficient resources (in both time and funding), as well as a poor school climate. LPI recommends evaluating the use and time of school schedules to create more opportunities for professional learning, as well as regularly conducting needs assessments and gathering feedback from educators to determine the areas of highest need for professional learning.

Odds and Ends

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has been creating and compiling resources related to foster, juvenile justice and crossover youth. Included in those resources are several recorded webinars detailing promising practices in providing career pathways for systems-involved youth. While there are many challenges and barriers to success for these youth and the organizations devoted to helping them, several institutions have uncovered some promising strategies worth exploring further.

The National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) recently released a report about the history and progress of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs. While the report covers many topics, there is an entire section devoted to gender disparities Career Technical Education (CTE). The report finds that though progress has been made in CTE, large gaps remain, and there is certainly more work to be done.

Two publications have recently ranked institutions that effectively fight the nation’s skills gap. The first, from The New York Times, describes seven postsecondary institutions that take innovative approaches to supporting students through completion. The second, from Forbes, ranks two-year institutions based on the same “return on investment” focus of their rankings of four-year institutions.

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

What a 15 Percent Cut to Perkins Really Means

July 10th, 2017

Advance CTE asked its members and the readership of its Legislative Updates newsletter (sign up to receive it by checking “Advocacy and Federal Policy” here) what a 15 percent cut to the Perkins Basic State Grant (as proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget) would mean for them. Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, students and educators from across the country wrote to us to let us know how devastating these cuts would be to programs across the country. Unsurprisingly, we heard that these cuts would severely impact every stakeholder involved in a successful CTE system – from students, to teachers, to communities – and their ability to address important issues – from student access to programs, to their ability to develop in-demand skills, to the health of the U.S. economy.

We plan to share these stories with the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees – the key decision makers about Perkins funding. Compelling, real-world stories have great impact on legislators. They pull on their heart strings and highlight the harsh reality that these cuts will result in a loss of opportunities for students and employers.

How Cuts Hurt Learners

“Creating my two games taught me things about computer science and coding that I never knew existed. The computer science classes that I’ve taken have given me a greater appreciation for technology and were so much fun in the process. High school wouldn’t be the same without them.” David, CTE Student in California

“Over the past five years, we have seen an increase in the number of students interested in taking a foundations CTE course rise from 358 to 802.  In a school with around 1200 students, this is a significant increase.  No longer is CTE the place where students go to fill their schedule.  Students interested in engineering, computer science, pharmacy, etc are requesting to take our courses so that they can become better prepared for their future.” Kyle, CTE Professional in Alabama

“Because these funds are used in programs across the schools, it is accurate to say every one of the 1,600+ students in our schools has been supported by instructional materials purchased with Perkins funds.” – Jack, CTE Professional in California

“Next year…there will be three new CTE programs–Engineering, Biomedical, and Computer Science…With the 15 percent cut to [the] Perkins Basic State Grant…these pathways may be in jeopardy.” Linda, CTE Professional in Massachusetts

“While [Perkins funds are] a relatively small percentage of our budget, the funds support critical services that increase students’ likelihood of earning their diploma and a credential.” – Tony, CTE Professional in Ohio

How Cuts Affect Instructors

“We rely on these funds to partially offset the costs of employing the unsung heroes of secondary Career and Technical Education programs – our industry-experienced paraprofessionals.” – Jason, CTE Professional in Michigan

How Cuts Impact Communities

“It’s a local and national economic development issue that strengthens all communities. Critical and long standing Perkins funding for CTE programs should be fully restored and enhanced.” – Aiddy, CTE Professional in Iowa

“We have finally acknowledged the value of CTE and the resources it provides to our communities and youth.  Let’s not, again, go down the path of neglecting the core of our workforce.” – Lex, CTE Professional in California

How Cuts Harm Our Economy

“The lack of these funds would impair the ability of students to find employment in the current job market and affect industries’ ability to fill skilled positions.” – Connie, CTE Professional in Kansas

“[CTE] is the solution to filling a substantial portion of the workforce demand not only in Oklahoma, but nationally. As our nation faces the difficulty of meeting the needs of a skilled workforce, we should be investing in Perkins funding, not cutting resources which are core to educational, and workforce advancements.”  Marcie, CTE Professional in Oklahoma

“The Administration’s plan to cut Perkins funding for Career and Technical Education, will not only hurt career centers, high schools and  adult training centers it will be absolutely devastating  to our overall economic growth. The current shortage of skilled workers is already an issue; this would only intensify the shortage of skilled workers and hurt our nation’s youth and adults who are in desperate need of technical training… We as a country would be making a grave mistake to continue to cut Perkins funding.” – Scott, CTE Professional in Ohio

What can you do?  

Connect with your local press: Tell them about what CTE is doing in your state and how these cuts would impact your state. Here is a great example from Oklahoma.
Contact your members of Congress: Let them know that you oppose these proposed cuts by calling them via the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or contacting them through the CTE Action Center, brought to you by our friends at the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE).

Kathryn Zekus, Senior Associate for Federal Policy

This Week in CTE

July 7th, 2017

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

This week, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group released a report examining where and how career readiness shows up in the first 17 Every Student Succeeds Act state plans. Find out how states did.

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

For the first time, Forbes released the top 30 two-year trade schools ranked according to their return on investment. Here’s the list.

DON’T FORGET

Harbor Freight Teaching Prize applications are open now! Nominate a CTE teacher, or apply by July 24. The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding skilled trades programs at public high schools in the United States.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

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