As States Complete Listening Tours, Early ESSA Plans Show Opportunities to Expand CTE

September 28th, 2016

LA MeetingsIn the nine months since President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law last December, states and policymakers have been hard at work digging through the legislation and deciding how to structure their new plans. ESSA, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, presents a number of opportunities to expand access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE). As states prepare to implement the law next year, we will provide periodic updates on their progress and share strategies for leveraging ESSA to support CTE at the state level.

Early Drafts and Proposals from the States

Most states this summer have been gathering input from stakeholders on their ESSA implementation plans as required by the new law. While many are still completing their listening tours (you can find an overview here), a few states have released draft proposals:

  • Illinois recently released a draft of its state plan, which State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith offered as a “work in progress.” The plan describes how Illinois’ secondary CTE system, which is supported, in part, with funds from the Carl D. Parkins Act, aligns with ESSA’s new focus on a ‘well-rounded education’ — a key concept in the new law includes CTE as part of the statutory definition. The state Board of Education also adopted a framework for a college and career readiness indicator, including such components as industry credential attainment, work-based learning participation, and postsecondary credit attainment. It is yet to be determined if the framework will be included in the state’s broader, multi-indicator system of accountability. Illinois plans to conduct 14 listening sessions in September and October, after which time the state will revise and publish an updated state plan later this fall.
  • After much deliberation, the California Board of Education approved a new accountability system earlier this month, adopting an indicator for college and career readiness. The indicator allows schools to count students completing a CTE pathway, although the overall score will not differentiate these students from those meeting other college and career readiness indicators such as earning a passing score on an Advanced Placement exam. The accountability system lacks criteria to measure students who are “well-prepared” for college and careers. Meanwhile, Governor Brown vetoed a bill that would have revised the accountability system to place more weight on test scores.
  • Louisiana released a summary report from its listening tour this summer, providing parents, educators and other education stakeholders an overview of progress towards a new state plan. Suggestions under consideration include incentivizing and rewarding schools for students earning industry-recognized credentials, partnering with business and industry to recruit teachers with industry experience, and providing students more opportunities to enroll in postsecondary education and training during their senior year. It is important to note that Louisiana is still considering these recommendations for the purposes of their forthcoming final plan.
  • Finally, Arizona released a draft state plan for residents of the state to review. While the draft is preliminary, Superintendent Diane Douglas promises the final version will align with the state’s AZ Kids Can’t Wait! Plan, which is currently undergoing updates. The state is receiving feedback through both public meetings and the Department of Education’s website, and plans to release an updated version in mid-October.

Department of Education Releases Guidance on “Evidence-Based” Strategies

ESSA provides states more flexibility to select a turnaround strategy for struggling schools, as long as the intervention is evidence-based. In keeping up with this requirement, the U.S. Department of Education released non-regulatory guidance to help state and local leaders identify and implement evidence-based turnaround strategies. Advance CTE and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) highlighted the potential for CTE to be included in this part of ESSA implementation in formal comments to ED this summer.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Education Sciences updated the What Works Clearinghouse to allow users to search for evidence-based strategies by school characteristics, grade span, demographics and more.

Tackling Accountability: Helpful Resources for Selecting a College and Career Readiness Indicator

college ready plusA new paper from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation offers a framework for a  “College Ready Plus” indicator that evaluates students’ postsecondary preparation using measures such as work-based learning and attainment of an industry-recognized credential. The paper describes the role that employers can play in helping states adopt and implement a career readiness indicator.

The American Institutes of Research developed a policy framework to help states align their visions for college and career readiness with requirements and opportunities under ESSA. The brief focuses on the law’s three most salient policy components related to college and career readiness: well-rounded education, multiple-measure accountability systems and purposeful assessments.

Also helpful: a policy paper from the Learning Policy Institute that takes advantage of the ESSA policy window to propose a new model for accountability. The paper offers three potential career readiness indicators — CTE pathway completion, work-based learning and industry-recognized credentials — and discusses strategies for collecting and presenting data in a way that supports continuous improvement.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Illinois Tackles Career Readiness with New Education Bill; Meanwhile North Carolina Creates Credential Incentive Program

August 23rd, 2016

With Half of Illinois Community College Students Required to Take Remedial Courses, New Law Aims to Improve College and Career Readiness in the State

IL Graduation RatesLast month Governor Bruce Rauner of Illinois signed the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act into law, cementing a cross-sector effort to transform the educational system in Illinois and better prepare students for college and careers. According to Advance Illinois, an education nonprofit, half of high school students enrolling in community colleges in Illinois are required to take remedial education during their first year. The law aims to reduce the remedial education rates in the state and prepare students for future careers through four major strategies:

  • Defining Postsecondary and Career Expectations: The law calls on a joint committee (including the State Board of Education, the Board of Higher Education, the Community College Board and the Student Assistance Commission) to define specific, grade-level expectations for career and postsecondary exploration. These expectations, which cover grades 8 through 12, are to be published by July 2017.
  • Piloting a Competency-Based High School Graduation Requirements Program: A new pilot program established under the law will permit selected school districts to replace current graduation requirements with competency-based learning systems. One challenge with competency-based education is evaluating student learning in a way that is recognized by colleges or employers. As such, the law requires participating school districts to create a plan to assess student mastery and to partner with two-year and four-year higher education institutions to ensure that a competency-based system can still provide colleges the information they need to admit incoming students.
  • Establishing a College and Career Pathway Endorsement Program: The endorsement program is designed to recognize student learning and incentivize entry into high-need career pathways. To be eligible for an endorsement, students must develop and maintain an individualized college and career plan, complete at least two years of coursework on a career pathway that leads to a degree or certificate with labor-market value, complete career exploration activities, and demonstrate readiness for non-remedial coursework.
  • Providing Transitional Instruction in Math and Reading: Finally, the law calls on community colleges and K-12 school districts to reduce remedial education in college by creating transitional math and reading opportunities in 12th grade. These classes will help prepare students for credit-bearing college courses and, as such, will be recognized by colleges across the state. In developing competencies for instructional coursework, the law also requires the state to draw on expertise from private sector employers.

The law will be implemented over the course of several years. The competency-based education pilot program will be launched during the 2018-19 school year;  the pathways endorsement program will be launched in the 2019-20 school year; and transitional mathematics courses will also be available statewide by 2019-20. 

North Carolina to Offer Teacher Bonuses for Industry-Recognized Credentials in New Pilot Program

When North Carolina passed its budget for fiscal year 2016-17 last month, it launched a new pilot program to encourage student learning in high-demand industries. The program — which will start immediately, using data from the 2015-16 school year — will reward Career Technical Education (CTE) teachers with up to $50 for each student who goes on to obtain an industry-recognized credential.

The size of the reward will depend on the academic rigor and employment value of the earned credential. Academic rigor will be evaluated based on the instructional hours, work experience and postsecondary credit that are associated with the credential. The second value criteria, employment value, will consider the entry wage, growth rate and job opportunities for the occupational category.

Before the pilot program sunsets in June 2018, the State Board will report back to the legislature on the amount of awards provided, the number of industry credentials earned, and the effects of the program on teacher performance and retention.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Report Explores State Requirements for Dual Credit Teachers

August 9th, 2016

In Missouri and Other States, Experience Counts

ECS dual creditMany states allow students to earn credits in high school that can be applied towards a postsecondary degree or credential — a strategy known as dual, or concurrent, enrollment. While dual enrollment makes it easier and more affordable to obtain a postsecondary credential, states must pass policies to ensure students are receiving this advanced instruction from qualified teachers.

To further explore this challenge, the Education Commission of the States last month released a 50-state report exploring the requirements that states are using to approve dual enrollment faculty. The report finds that most states (35 in total) require dual enrollment instructors to meet the same qualifications as faculty at postsecondary institutions. Other states only require a combination of graduate credits or work experience related to their subject of instruction.

Interestingly, some states, such as Missouri, permit Career Technical Education (CTE) instructors to teach dual credit courses without meeting postsecondary faculty qualifications as long as they demonstrate experience through “working in the field, industry certification and years of experience.” In addition to detailing faculty qualification policies, the report highlights strategies that states are using to train their existing teacher workforce to teach dual enrollment courses. Such strategies are critical for providing students with seamless pathways to postsecondary credentials and future jobs.

From the States: Investments in CTE, Workforce Training Programs

In other policy news, three states are taking steps to invest in CTE and workforce training programs. In Massachusetts the legislature passed a comprehensive economic development bill that includes $45.9 million to establish, upgrade and expand CTE and training programs that are aligned to workforce development priorities.

Meanwhile, Kentucky is now accepting applications for the $100 million Work Ready Skills Initiative, a bond-funded grant program to galvanize regional cross-sector partnerships and bring CTE facilities up to industry standards. The initiative was authorized in a recent budget bill and requires a 10 percent match from local partners.

Virginia residents can now earn a high-demand credential at a third of the cost under the New Economy Workforce Credential Grant program. The grant, which was passed in March, is designed to increase access to noncredit workforce training programs in high-demand fields. Under the program, the state Board of Workforce Development is required to publish a list of noncredit workforce training programs related to high-demand fields each year, which it has already done here for 2016.

As the new school year approaches, so do new opportunities to expand high-quality CTE across the states. Keep an eye on this feed for more updates.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate


State Policy Update: California’s Budget Calls for New Initiative to Strengthen CTE Programs in Community Colleges

July 18th, 2016

CA BudgetWith students now on summer vacation, policymakers have been hard at work preparing for the upcoming school year — and Career Technical Education (CTE) has been front and center in several states. Last month, California approved a massive budget, including funds for the CTE Pathways Program and the new Strong Workforce Program. Meanwhile, some states are exploring strategies to address teacher shortages.

The Strong Workforce Program: California’s Investment in Community Colleges

Late last month, California Governor Jerry Brown approved the state’s budget for FY2016-17. Education — and CTE in particular — fared well. Continuing California’s past investments in CTE, the 2016-17 budget authorized $200 million for the Strong Workforce Program, an initiative to expand access to CTE courses and to implement a regional accountability structure.

The Strong Workforce Program was authorized through Assembly Bill 1602 and is based on recommendations from the Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation, and a Strong Economy. The program includes a noncompetitive grant that community colleges can receive by joining regional cross-sector partnerships with education and workforce leaders. The grant, which is awarded based on unemployment rates and CTE enrollment in the community, is designed to:

  • Ensure that CTE and workforce development programs in community colleges are responsive to employer and worker needs;
  • Encourage cross-sector collaboration; and
  • Engage employer and labor leaders in developing and aligning programs to workforce needs.

The budget includes other notable investments in CTE. The CTE Pathways Program, which supports local linkages between education and workforce development from middle school through community college, received a one-time increase of $48 million. The new budget also saw a 2.6 percent adjustment to the Local Control Funding Formula base grant to support the cost of operating high school CTE programs (check out a primer on the Local Control Funding Formula here). 

What the California Budget Means for Teachers

The budget also includes measures to support teacher recruitment and certification, such as:

  • A $10 million grant program for postsecondary institutions to develop integrated teacher preparation programs;
  • $20 million to establish the California Classified School Employees Credentialing program; and
  • $5 million to establish the California Center on Teaching Careers, which would actively recruit teachers into the classroom.

Speaking of Teacher Recruitment…

Other states are exploring innovative strategies to draw more industry professionals into the classroom. In New York, the Board of Regents issued an updated rule that provides three additional pathways for individuals with industry experience to obtain a teaching certificate. Similarly, Utah adopted a new rule allowing districts to hire industry professionals without teaching experience. Under this rule, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher, pass a Board-approved content knowledge assessment, and be assigned a master teacher mentor to qualify for a teaching license.

Back to California…

Separately, the California State Board of Education last week approved an early version of its College and Career Readiness Indicator, which is designed to measure how prepared students are for life after high school. If the measure is approved, students would qualify as “Well Prepared” if they complete a CTE pathway with a “C” or better; score “Ready” on the 11th-grade math and English Smarter Balanced Assessment; earn a three or higher on at least three AP exams; complete three or more years of dual/concurrent enrollment in community college courses; or earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. While the Board plans to continue discussion, this early draft previews California’s vision for the Indicator.

Odds and Ends from Other States

In an effort to create a more seamless K-16 education system, the Louisiana state legislature directed the superintendent of education to study and provide recommendations on increasing participation in dual enrollment programs and aligning secondary and postsecondary systems to encourage postsecondary credit attainment in high school. The superintendent is required to report back to the legislature in early 2017, so we will keep an eye out for the final recommendations and report back.

And in South Carolina, Act 252 established the Coordinating Council of Workforce Development, a cross-sector council charged with assessing workforce needs in the Palmetto State and providing recommendations to increase access to workforce training programs. Governor Nikki Haley said the legislation would bring together businesses and technical colleges to help students gain necessary skills to fill the 60,000 job openings in the state.  

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

Check out the new Learning that Works Resource Center!

June 21st, 2016

resource centerAdvance CTE is excited to announce the launch of the Learning that Works Resource Center! This directory is your destination for high-quality materials focused on Career Technical Education (CTE) and career readiness. In this Resource Center, you’ll find the reports, guides, tools and analyses of state policies you need to support the development and implementation of high-quality CTE and career readiness programs and policies across and within states.

The Resource Center was developed through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and the Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. Tools and case studies developed by the partners and other organizations will be added to the Resource Center regularly.

The Resource Center lets your search in a variety of ways. If you’re interested in a specific issue, like data and accountability, you can find all relevant materials sorted topically. If you’re looking for resources to help you roll up your sleeves and focus on implementation, check out the guides and tools.  You can also find tools created specifically for New Skills for Youth. Finally, the Resource Center can help you learn about some promising policies from across the country, like Tennessee’s recent standards revision process.

The materials in the Resource Center have been carefully curated by Advance CTE staff to ensure that remains high quality and useful for you. For a resource to be included, it must:

Learn more about the Resource Center. Have a resource that should be included? Submit it here.


State Policy Update: Iowa Passes Bill to Modernize CTE (and More!)

June 2nd, 2016

Since our last update, an additional nine states have completed their legislative sessions (16 states, five US territories and DC remain in session), locking in a new wave of policies related to Career Technical Education (CTE). While it’s too early to determine any national trends, we can certainly highlight a few new pieces of legislation. In this edition, we share some state policy updates as well as a few helpful resources.

In Iowa last week, Gov. Terry Branstad signed HF 2392 into law, supporting his Future Ready Iowa goal of ensuring 70 percent of the state’s workforce has postsecondary education or training by 2025. This new law, which passed the state legislature unanimously, codifies recommendations from the Secondary CTE Task Force and updates the state’s framework for CTE that has been in the Iowa Code since 1989. The major policy changes that the law enacts include:

  • Reorganizes CTE into six service areas;
  • Directs the state CTE advisory board to adopt standards for the CTE service areas as well as standards for establishing and operating regional planning partnerships, which are also established by the law as “an efficient, effective and economical means of delivering” high-quality CTE;
  • Directs school districts to develop an individualized career and academic plan for students in grade eight with an emphasis on work-based learning.

Meanwhile Georgia, building off of the 2014 Work Based Learning Act, passed a law incentivizing employers to offer work-based learning opportunities for students aged 16 and older. The law provides a discount for workers’ compensation insurance policies in an effort to reduce the burden on employers.

In Missouri, the state legislature passed a combined bill that directs the board of education to establish requirements for a CTE certificate that students can earn in addition to their high school diploma (notably, with a provision to ensure that students are not “tracked” based on academic ability). It also modifies the composition of the state’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Council and permits the commissioner of education to appoint members. The bill has passed the legislature and awaits Governor Nixon’s signature. Once signed, the CTE certificate requirements will go into effect during the 2017-18 school year.

And with Colorado’s 2016 legislative session now closed, all is quiet on the western front. The Colorado legislature passed four bills originating from the bipartisan Colorado 2016 Ready to Work package, including the creation of the Career Development Success Pilot Program, which provides financial incentives to school districts and charter schools for each student who completes “industry-credential programs,” internships, apprenticeships or Advanced Placement coursework in high-demand fields.

Odds & Ends

While that concludes our legislative update, we would be remiss to deny you these resources and papers from some of our partners:

  • The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) launched a state policy database that includes regulations and practices governing college, career, and civic readiness in all states and territories.
  • A new report from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) provides a brief history of state governance policies in higher education.
  • Interested in mitigating teacher shortages? A five-part series, also from ECS, examines common teacher recruitment and development strategies across states.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

State Policy Update: Virginia, Idaho pass major CTE legislation

April 27th, 2016

Back in January, we shared highlights from this year’s State of the State addresses, particularly in Virginia and Idaho where the states’ governors made Career Technical Education (CTE) a key part of their 2016 legislative agendas. Three months later, some of those proposals have made their way through the legislative process to be signed into law earlier this month.


In his State of the Commonwealth address earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe outlined a new vision for the state’s education and workforce development systems to equip students with the skills needed to be successful in today’s labor market, and called for increased collaboration among government, business and education. To do this, McAuliffe pointed to industry-recognized credentials and competency-based education, saying, “you cannot build an economy for 2050 with a 1950s approach to education.”

Since then, Mcauliffe has signed a host of education and workforce bills, which will strengthen articulation agreements and establish a grant fund to help students cover two-thirds of the cost for a noncredit workforce training program. Of particular relevance is SB336, which intends to restructure the high school experience for Virginia students starting in the 2018-19 school year to be based on mastery rather than seat-time and includes work-based learning opportunities for all students, regardless of their graduation pathway. The final plan will be determined by the State Board of Education, but broadly, the bill instructs the state board to:

  • Collaborate with K-12, higher education, and private industry stakeholders to identify the skills that students need upon graduation;
  • Shift high school instruction to teach core competencies during the first two years of high school;
  • Establish graduation pathways of a student’s choosing that provide opportunities for internships, externships, and credentialing; and
  • Allow districts to substitute industry certification and state licensure exams for the state’s end-of-course assessments.


For its part, Idaho has also been hard at work to expand CTE since Gov. Butch Otter made CTE a priority in his State of the State address in January. Among other things, Otter proposed to increase funding for technical colleges, career counseling and STEM education.

Since then, the Idaho legislature passed SCR134, which supported Lt. Gov. Brad Little’s postsecondary attainment goal for 60 percent of residents age 25-34 to have a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. The resolution also urged public and private sectors to collaborate on programs to support postsecondary pathways for young Idahoans. Separately, the legislature also allocated $3.8 million to expand capacity for CTE programs at Idaho’s six technical colleges and graduate more students into high-demand fields such as health care, information technology, mechatronics and transportation.

Other highlights from Idaho (we know, there are a lot!) include:

  • A language amendment in SB1210 that changes “professional-technical education” to “career technical education”;
  • Increased funding for CTE instructors that hold a specialist certificate (HB630);
  • A budget increase of 10.4 percent for the state’s Division of Career Technical Education (HB625); and
  • An additional $5 million to improve college and career counseling for high school students.

While the Virginia and Idaho legislatures have both adjourned for the year, 25 states remain in session. We will continue to keep a close eye on these remaining states in the coming months and share major CTE policy changes as they happen. Stay tuned.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate


State Policy Update: Sharing State Resources

March 30th, 2016

This month’s State Policy Update is focusing less on legislative activity and more on sharing some of the interesting things happening in the states around CTE:

New State Resources

  • The California Career Resource Network, supported by the state Department of Education, has released new “Career & College Readiness Lesson Plans.” There, you can find 45 lessons geared toward 5th-12th grade students, with around five lessons per grade. Though organized by grade level, the lessons could be used for any grade. Additionally, the Network has developed an Educator Guide, a bi-lingual career readiness glossary, and Spanish-language student handouts.
  • A new partnership between ArkansasDepartment of Career Education and the Arkansas Research Center has helped the department save time and money. In a blog post from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign, the department partnered with the research center to develop new technical solutions for Perkins reporting. The center, which has two software developers on staff, created software that reduces the burden of Perkins reporting as well as save the department an estimated $500,000 over the next 10 years.
  • In somewhat state-related news, LinkedIn, Burning Glass Technologies and the Markle Foundation have launched a new kind of job website – The site is specifically designed for middle-skills job seekers with job ads, career exploration tools, and more. The site launched in Colorado in March focusing on information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care. The site plans to expand to the Phoenix area in April.

News of Note

  • In a blog post in Education Week, the Council of Chief State School Officers illustrates how states can use their accountability systems to affect student learning. The post leans heavily on contextualized and personalized learning, a hallmark of CTE.
  • Also in Education Week, an article highlighting that while K-12 spending is expected increase for most states this year, the budgets of the state education agency are getting cut in favor of directing money to local school districts. This squeeze is coming at a time when many state departments are gearing up to consider how best to fully leverage the flexibility provided for in the new federal Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA). As a special resource for only for Advance CTE members, be sure to check out our ESSA cheat sheet about the opportunities and intersections for CTE in the new law.

And finally, because we couldn’t resist some legislative, state board and gubernatorial news:

  • Earlier this month, the Michigan Board of Education adopted energy as its 17th Career Cluster®. Michigan industry leaders led this effort in order to develop a skilled energy utility workforce to combat the state’s skills gap, which is expected to grow retirements over the next 10 years. The Energy Career Cluster will use energy industry content standards developed by the Center for Workforce Development, a non-profit consortium of energy utilities.
  • The National Skills Coalition has a round-up of the workforce development initiatives proposed by governors in their budget and State of the State addresses this year.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

State Policy Updates: Massachusetts Governor Calls for Major CTE Investment

February 3rd, 2016

Another 15 governors have issued their budgets or State of the State addresses since January 19. You can catch up on our analysis of the first 15 speeches here.

Here are a few CTE highlights from the most recent round:

Following his first State of the Commonwealth address, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called for an $83.5 million investment in the career technical education, including the state’s technical high school system, which has long enrollment waiting lists. The investments are proposed to come from the governor’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget, a capital grant funding bill and a portion of the state’s federal Perkins allocation.

The proposed funding boost includes:

  • $75 million in grants over five years for equipment to expand and improve CTE programs
  • $7.5 million in grants to support work-based learning, including nearly doubling current funding for the state’s school-to-career Connecting Activities and STEM-focused dual enrollment initiatives
  • $1 million in Perkins-funded grants to strengthen relationships among vocational high schools, comprehensive high schools and employers

Additionally, a group of Massachusetts employers, community organizations and educators announced the formation of the Alliance of Vocational and Technical Education, which aims to increase access to high-quality CTE in Massachusetts. The group commissioned Northeastern University to conduct a comprehensive study about public perceptions of CTE in the state. You can read the full report here.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell praised the state’s new Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which he announced during his 2015 State of the State address and now involves 29 high schools and 5,000 students across 10 pathways including manufacturing, computer science and health care. He also announced the state’s newest pathway to support the agriculture and food production industries.

Along with joining the call to raise teachers’ salaries, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez asked the legislature to support a “Students Work” internship portal. This online portal would allow New Mexico employers to post internships through a shared website to connect them with college and university students.

Coordinated with his State of the State address, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced a legislative package aimed at college affordability. The package includes:

  • A $1 million increase in need-based grants over two years for students attending technical colleges
  • $320,000 in emergency grants to students at technical colleges
  • Bolstering internships by funding positions within the Department of Workforce Development and the state’s university system to build relationships between employers and the institutions
  • Requiring all institutions offering at least an associate’s degree to mail cost, loan and other financial information to students

2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE

Did you miss our newest publication, “Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE”? Not to worry – you can catch the full report here, as well as the companion webinar that unpacked this year’s findings and put the spotlight on Colorado’s Ready to Work legislative package. The paper and webinar were released in partnership with our partners, the Association for Career and Technical Education.

As a special benefit to NASDCTEc members, you can access our state policy trackers from 2014 and 2015 to create your own analysis.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate


State Policy Update: It’s that Time Again

January 15th, 2016

That’s right, it’s time again for state legislatures to begin work on yet another year of lawmaking. It’s also time for our annual publication of “2015 Year in Review: State Policies Impacting CTE,” a joint venture of NASDCTEc and the Association of Career and Technical Education. You can find the report here on January 21.

Have you signed up for our January 21 webinar yet? Join us as we unpack the policy trends from 2015 and take a deep dive on major efforts in Colorado with state Senate Minority Leader Rollie Heath and Dr. Sarah Heath, Assistant Provost for CTE with the Colorado Community College System.

Looking ahead to 2016, several statehouses are already off to a fast start. In fact, 30 legislatures have already begun their work, and as many as 16 governors have already given their annual State of the State or budget addresses. We will continue to provide updates as the remaining governors give their speeches and unveil their budgets. (Note: Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas do not have legislative sessions this year.)

The governors’ addresses often provide a window into the major issues that will dominate the year’s legislative agenda. Already, it seems to be a mixed bag fiscally with some governors citing the acute budget crunch facing their states. Others are reveling in their surpluses and proposing major increases to core services such as education and health care that were often neglected as the states recovered from the Great Recession.

Here’s a quick roundup of some gubernatorial highlights as they impact CTE:

  • Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for transforming the Commonwealth’s education and workforce development systems to better meet the demands of the future. McAuliffe hailed the bipartisan backing of his budget proposal Go Virginia, which seeks to foster regional collaboration among government, businesses and education. He highlighted the need to build an education system that emphasizes entrepreneurship, hands-on learning, early college courses and industry credentials. He also called for an end to an education system beholden to seat-time. He also called for more than $1 billion in new funds across all levels of education, including $139 million for K-12 education and $25 million to Virginia’s community colleges to produce more industry certifications and occupational licenses.
  • In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter proposed a 9 percent increase for the state’s community colleges as well as $5 million for college and career advising, and $1.1 million to develop a competency-based education system for up to 20 school districts. Other proposed spending includes grants for STEM and computer science.
  • Finally, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin proposed restructuring the state’s current innovation zone system with a new program, Innovation in Education, which reallocates $2.5 million to help schools develop new methods to increase student interest in STEM and entrepreneurship.

Other governors (California, Georgia and New York) proposed major K-12 funding increases, but it remains unclear how and if that will impact CTE. Similar, several governors (Georgia, Indiana, and South Dakota) also focused on increasing the salaries for K-12 teachers and other ways to recruit and retain teachers.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate