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CTE Month Special: What Do the State of the States Mean for CTE? (Part II)

February 13th, 2014

mapYesterday, we released a summary of several state of the state addresses, focusing on their implications for CTE in the year ahead. Below is the second installment in this CTE Month special series, highlighting more governors who took time out of their state of the state address to endorse programs for high-quality CTE in their state.

During the State of the State Address in Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy embraced “hands-on learning,” committing his administration to working with private-sector partners and educators to provide for early college and dual enrollment initiatives. He also commended the P-Tech program, a collaboration between IBM and a number of New York City high schools that guides students through high school and provides for an additional two years of instruction. Graduating students complete the P-Tech program with advanced credentials and Governor Malloy expressed his desire to emulate this in Connecticut by offering a comprehensive, skill-centered pathway for students to credentials above and beyond a high school diploma.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal touted the state’s High Demand Career Initiative, designed to bring together leaders of the University System of Georgia, technical colleges and schools, and state industry leaders to understand labor market needs, as well as a $10M loan program for students attending technical colleges.

In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence outlined his desire to make CTE an option for every Hoosier student. He encouraged not only the development of programs to allow secondary students an easier path into postsecondary CTE programs, but also for adult education that would allow professionals to seek retraining to improve their skills and competencies making them more competitive in today’s labor market.

Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa promoted his Iowa Apprenticeship and Job Training Act, entailing a number of initiatives to increase student access to apprenticeships by tripling funding for apprenticeships under the state’s 260F worker training program.  He also cited his state’s recent success expanding STEM education, anticipating 60,000 or more students will have access to STEM programs in the state as a result of the efforts of the STEM Advisory Council, an initiative led by Vermeer CEO Mary Andringa and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas touted a 75 percent increase in enrollment in CTE since the state launched its Career Technical Education Initiative. The sweeping plan from 2012 included $8.75 million for CTE programs, covering tuition for students taking postsecondary CTE courses, $1.5 million to high schools that encourage students to earn industry recognized credentials and allotting funds to spread the word about job opportunities for CTE graduates.

In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley announced his desire for every high school student in Maryland to graduate with a modern technical skill and a year of college credit already earned.

Governor of New Hampshire Maggie Hassan embraced developing STEM education in the Granite State as a response to the needs of the state’s high-tech industry. Governor Hassan cited restoring previously cut funds to New Hampshire higher education as a strategy to entice business to the state, and indicated that a well-trained and career-ready workforce was key to economic development in the granite state.

In the Oklahoma State of the State Address, Governor Mary Fallin called education beyond high school “the new minimum” for Oklahomans entering the workforce, and expressed her desire to increase the number of graduates seeking qualifications beyond a high school diploma “…either by attending college or a career technology center.” She also cited increasing numbers of Oklahomans seeking degrees or certificates as a result of collaboration with CareerTech in the Complete College America initiative.

In South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard focused heavily on CTE, which he labeled “…the intersection of education and economic development.” In a series of proposals to enhance CTE and draw more students into technical fields the governor advocated for $5 million in Governor’s Grants for CTE to improve collaboration between secondary schools offering CTE courses, along with $3.8 million in Future Fund grants to technical institutes for workplace priority areas and extra funds for scholarships for students in high need fields.  He also touted Building South Dakota, the economic development fund that incorporates infrastructure, housing, and development funds along with CTE funding.

Continuing with his year-old Drive to 55 initiative, (a program to ensuring 55 percent of his state’s citizens possess credentials above a high school diploma by 2022), Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee voiced his support for expanded CTE and career readiness programs. Adding onto Drive to 55’s expanded dual enrollment, workforce readiness and curriculum alignment initiatives, Governor Haslam announced the “Tennessee Promise” program. Tennessee Promise will provide Tennessee secondary graduates with the opportunity to go to two years of community college or college of applied technology education free of charge. Continuing his push for expanded educational opportunity, Governor Haslam included in his address further funding for college expansion and renovation across the state, including $65 million for expanding two of the largest community colleges in Tennessee.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

CTE Month Special: What Do the State of the States Mean for CTE?

February 12th, 2014

Over the last month, governors around the country have gone before their state legislatures and constituents to deliver a state of the state address. A great number of this year’s state of the state addresses included proposals to expand CTE, career-readiness and expanded choices in postsecondary education. Below is the first installment of our special CTE Month roundup of state of the states as they impact CTE.

In Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced his support for the plans laid by the Governor’s Career Ready Task Force, emphasizing the need for business and industry leaders to contribute to the conversation about what constitutes career-readiness. He advocated expanding Alabama’s dual enrollment programs and providing for more career coaches.

Governor Sean Parnell of Alaska also endorsed CTE, including proposals to expand dual enrollment programs and more CTE pathways. He commended CTE as a strategy to raise graduation rates, noting that in the Northwest Arctic Borough, introducing CTE programs led to an 11 percent increase in graduation rates.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell proposed an expansive strategy to expand CTE, beginning with a two-year comprehensive manufacturing CTE program for juniors and seniors that focuses on engineering and would lead to nationally recognized manufacturing certificates. Linked to that program, he also announced his desire to promote public-private partnerships to offer students real-world experience as part of a career-ready curriculum, and partnerships between schools and private industry to identify the programs that will best serve graduates as they enter the workforce. He touted Delaware’s JobLink program, a database designed to help employers search for jobseekers by their skills. Like Governors Bentley and Parnell, Markell also pushed for expanded dual-enrollment programs for secondary students, enabling them to earn post-secondary credit over the course of their studies.

Neil Abercrombie, Governor of Hawaii, touted his state’s investment in STEM initiatives, singling out the Thirty Meter Telescope, which features a STEM training partnership with the Institute for Astronomy’s Akamai Workforce Initiative to train postsecondary students in STEM and robotics.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear lauded the state’s progress in CTE. He cited “…a new model of secondary career and technical education to make it more accessible to students at an earlier age, more rigorous academically and better aligned with both postsecondary requirements and employer needs…We are fitting the pieces together to create a seamless, cradle-to-career education system that is better preparing our students for this complex world.”

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory outlined the importance of ensuring that secondary and postsecondary pathways for success include all types of postsecondary credential—certificates, associates degrees and professional certification—as well as four-year degrees. Governor McRory also conveyed his support for helping private sector professionals transition into teaching, opening the door for experts in technical fields to begin careers as CTE teachers.

In his State of the State Address, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia expressed his belief that CTE can be a critical tool for students who wish to pursue STEM at the postsecondary level. He cited West Virginia’s work to bring math and language arts teachers into career and technical schools, thereby minimizing the need to bus students to and from CTE and comprehensive schools. Governor Tomblin also highlighted the Advanced Careers Program (ACP), pointing out five CTE sites that have instituted career courses as a result of the ACP program, and stated that the program would help 32 sites to implement high quality CTE programs by 2016.

These governors proposed action to unlock CTE’s potential to help students, improve workforce quality and boost economic development. Be sure to visit the links above for the full text of each governor’s address. Don’t see your state? Keep an eye on the CTE Blog for part two of our state of the states roundup!

- Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

State CTE Policy Update

January 9th, 2014

State Map

Last month, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a bill into law mandating three years of both mathematics and science for graduation (up from two years of each).  The bill also allows for more flexibility in how mathematics and science requirements can be met; a computer science course, for example, can count as a mathematics credit and certain CTE courses may apply towards either content area as well. Wisconsin already has a process in place for awarding academic credit for technical courses (the CTE equivalency credit), which is now being expanded.

Also in December, Washington DC became the ninth “state” to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), joining Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

A state legislator in Indiana recently announced new work on a bill that would offer a new diploma focused on CTE. While details are limited at this time, the bill would create a process for CTE-focused courses and curricula to be developed that would allow students to meet the 20 credits currently required by the state’s default graduation requirement – the Core 40 – more flexibly.

The Computing Education Blog analyzed the 2013 data on the AP Computer Science exam and found that in three states – Mississippi, Montana and Wyoming – no female students took that AP exam, and the state with the highest percentage of female test-takers (Tennessee), females still only represented 29% of all test takers. Additionally no Black students took the exam in 11 states – Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Given the high demand in the IT field – from computer support specialists and programmers to designers and engineers – these trends are particularly troubling, although a nunber of states, such as Wisconsin (as described above) and Washington, are trying to upend this trend by allowing AP Computer Science courses to count towards core math and science requirements.

And, finally, in news that will impact a number of states, ACT has announced they will be phasing out the Explore and PLAN tests, their 8th and 10th grade tests, which are aligned with the 11th grade ACT. This decision marks a shift for ACT away from their current assessment system to Aspire, their new line of 3-8 assessments, which will be aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Alabama has already begun using the Aspire system this school year, the first and only state to fully commit to the assessment system at this time.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Update: Two More States Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

September 25th, 2013

State MapThis month, two additional states, California and Delaware, joined Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont in adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  In both cases, the state boards of education voted to adopt the NGSS, which were released in Spring 2013.

Both California and Delaware were among the group of 26 Lead Partner States, playing a significant role throughout the development of the standards. Now, both states are turning their attention to the  implementation of the new standards, no simple feat as the NGSS are, purposefully, organized differently than traditional science standards, with a greater emphasis on cross-cutting concepts that reach across all science disciplines. Delaware is planning to develop a multi-year implementation strategy soon and the California State Board of Education will take up an initial implementation challenge, middle school course requirements, this Fall.

For more on the NGSS and their development and design, see www.nextgenscience.org

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates

August 26th, 2013

State MapOregon closes out its legislative session with a number of Career Technical Education (CTE) related bills and Ohio make a decision on a measure of students’ early college and career readiness.

Oregon’s Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee & CTSO Grant Program
Oregon passed HB 2912 requiring representatives from the Department of Education, the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, and the Bureau of Labor and Industries to meet at least four times each year to promote collaboration between the agencies on issues related to career technical education. The Advisory Committee is tasked with making sure CTE programs are available in public schools; developing regional centers that create partnerships between K-12, community colleges, public universities, and business/unions; encouraging the establishment of local advisory committees; and addressing barriers to CTE students transitioning to postsecondary education and the workforce.  This bill also establishes the Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) Grant Program within the Department of Education, allotted at $500,000 over two years, to encourage student participation in CTSOs.

Oregon’s Accelerated College Credit Programs
Oregon also established an Accelerated Learning Committee, comprised of the Chief Education Officer and appointees selected by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, and charged with examining methods to encourage and enable students to earn more college credit while enrolled in high school. The focus will be on the alignment of funding, assessments and policies between high schools and institutions of higher education. SB 222 also requires every community college district to implement and make available at least one two-plus-two, dual credit and/or another accelerated college credit program to every K-12 district within their community college district by 2015.

Oregon’s STEM Investment Council and Grant Program|
Lastly, Oregon created a STEM Investment Council via HB 2600 to help develop and oversee a long-term, statewide science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) strategy. The council will consist of nine members from the private sector to be appointed by the Chief Education Officer to aid and advise the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Commissioner for Community College System and the Chancellor of the Oregon University System on policies and programs, including the STEM Investment Grant Program. This new grant program will provide funds to districts, community college districts, public universities, relevant state agencies and any combination of these eligible recipients to support STEM education inside and outside of the classroom. The legislation notes that a STEM Investment Grant Account will be established in the State Treasury, separate and distinct from the General Fund, but no amount is noted or appropriated in this bill.

Specifically, the Council and grant program are focused on helping the state meet these two goals by 2024-25:

  • Doubling the percentage of 4th and 8th grade students who are proficient or advanced in mathematics and science (e.g., via NAEP) and
  • Double the number of students who earn a postsecondary degree requiring proficiency in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics.

Ohio Requires the PSAT for All Students
The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with the Ohio Board of Regents, has officially selected the PSAT as the statewide “college-career readiness assessment.” Beginning in October 2014, all sophomores will be required to take the PSAT. The goal of this policy is to provide information to students earlier about their readiness for postsecondary-level coursework so they can adjust accordingly while still in high school.

New Research/Resources
Jobs for the Future released What It Takes to Complete High School: A Shifting Terrain of Course and Diploma Requirements, a policy brief describing trends in states’ graduation policies (which NASDCTEc has begun tracking here, here, and here).

The New York State Association for Career and Technical Education issued a position paper in July entitled Recommendations for Developing College and Career Ready Students that offered the following six recommendations:

  1. Adopt a unified definition of College and Career Ready (that fully includes academic, employability and technical skills);
  2. Affirm the Common Core State Standards, Career Development and Occupational Studies and Next Generation Assessments to converge career and academic content and instructional practices;
  3.  Avoid imposing additional math and science course requirements;
  4. Link learner levels by restructuring existing middle-level and early high school CTE;
  5. Set goals for increasing the number of students who have Technical Endorsements to their diplomas; and
  6. Enact policies that assist all students to develop knowledge of career pathways leading to specific occupations and to have a personal career plan with flexible career goals.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates: July Edition Part Two

July 31st, 2013

State MapThis past month, a number of states have adopted or implemented policies related to Career Technical Education (CTE). Below is a part two of July’s state policy updates, all of which focus on dual enrollment or postsecondary CTE. You can read part one here.

Educational Collaborative Partnership in Maine
Maine passed legislation creating a collaborative board – with representatives from secondary and postsecondary CTE – to implement a program by 2014-15 that will enable more CTE students to earn college credit through dual enrollment while still enrolled in high school. Specifically, the state defines “dual enrollment career and technical education program” as a non-duplicative learning pathway that begins in junior year, extends over a three-year period, includes summer career academies and a college freshman seminar experiences, meets national concurrent enrollment standards, includes college-level coursework that supports an associate’s degree, and concludes at the end of the summer following the student’s senior year. While the agreements are made between institutions, there are opportunities for credits to be accepted across the state.

Dual Enrollment in Rhode Island
Rhode Island passed the Dual Enrollment Equal Opportunity Act this month requiring the State Board of Education to create regulation establishing statewide dual enrollment. The regulation must allow students to enroll in courses at postsecondary institutions that satisfy academic credit requirements at both the secondary and postsecondary level (it is unclear at this time if CTE courses will fall under this distinction of “academic credit”.) The State Board of Education is expected to convene a work group to help establish such a policy, including its impact on funding, and then school districts (including charter school and CTE schools) will have to adopt the policy by June 2015. Districts will then be required to report annually on the number of students engaging in dual enrollment and number of postsecondary credits earned. The bill is effective immediately.

Missouri’s Innovation Education Campuses
Missouri passed SB 381 establishing the Innovation Education Campus Fund, supporting partnerships between high schools or K-12 districts, public or private four-year institutions of high education, public two-year institutions of higher education, and/or Missouri-based businesses. The campuses engaging in such partnerships are eligible to receive funds if they are actively working to lower the cost of degree and shorten the time to earning a degree, provide applied and project-based learning in consultation with the business and industry partners, graduate students with direct access to career opportunities, and engage in active partnerships in ongoing program development and outcome reviews.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates: July Edition Part 1

July 30th, 2013

This past month, a number of states have adopted or implemented policies related to Career Technical Education (CTE). Below is a part oState Mapne of July’s state policy updates, focusing on CTE funding, reporting and governance. Tomorrow, part two will be released, which will focus on legislation addressing dual enrollment and postsecondary CTE.

California State Budget Includes CTE Grants
In early July, after months of deliberation and debate, California’s budget went into effect, with $250 million earmarked for grants to K-12 districts, charter schools and community colleges in support of CTE. The grants will be dispersed through a competitive process, with priority given to programs that secure matching funds from industry partners and that are aligned to high-need and high-growth industries. While the grants may be used for new programs, it is expected to support existing programs such as Linked Learning, California Partnership Academies and the Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (ROCPs). The Partnership Academies and ROCPs both maintained funding in the broader state budget. The grants are intended to both promote CTE across the state as well as encourage new and ongoing partnerships between schools and business.

Ohio’s Statewide CTE Reporting & CTE Month
This month, Ohio released a sneak peek into the state’s new CTE report cards, which was approved by the State Board of Education back in May 2013. While the final report cards – for the 2011-12 school year – will be released next month, the state released simulated scores by school this month to provide an early look into the new reporting mechanism. Specifically, the report cards include five components: achievement (e.g., technical skill assessments); federal accountability results (e.g., Perkins targets, disaggregated by subgroups); graduation (four- and five-year graduation rates of CTE concentrators); post-program outcomes (e.g., industry credentials, postsecondary enrollment, etc.); and preparation for success (e.g., proportion of students earning college credit while in high school, through AP, IB, etc.). What separates this from federal reporting is that Ohio is building these indicators into their statewide accountability system – and assigning grades to schools based on their performance. The state may add additional indicators to the CTE report card over time.

In unrelated news, the Ohio legislature also passed HB 127 designating the month of March as “’Career-Technical Education and Skilled Workforce Development Month’ to increase public awareness of the importance of career and technical education systems and skilled workforce development programs to the strength and vitality of Ohio’s economic future.” As an aside, February is celebrated as CTE Month by NASDCTEc and the ACTE.

Oregon’s CTE Revitalization Grants
The Oregon legislature recently passed HB 2913/SB 498 to maintain the state’s CTE Revitalization Grant Program, first established in 2011, which provides grants to CTE programs across the state. The new bill also requires the establishment of a committee to set goals for the program, develop grant criteria, review all grant applications, and make recommendations related to the awarding of grants, with representation from business, industry, labor and education providers. Priority will be given to programs to represent a diversity of students and strong partnerships between business and education (with or without funding commitments from business). The Grant Program has been funded at $7.5 million.

Idaho’s Technology Pilots
The Idaho Department of Education has awarded $3 million across 11 schools as part of the state’s technology pilot project. The winning schools, which include elementary, middle and high schools as well as distance academies, will use the funds to do a range of technology-based initiatives, such as one-to-one initiatives on various tablets and computers, piloting digital textbooks and libraries, expanding Career Information System, training for teachers on technology and instruction, and developing a website portfolio system to track and share students’ academic growth.  The schools were selected based on plans that were scalable, sustainable, and designed to improve student achievement and financial efficiencies. While this pilot if not focused on CTE specifically, the availability and utilization of technology has a direct impact on teaching and learning in all disciplines and CTE in particular at the high school level.

Missouri’s Career Technical Education Advisory Council
Missouri recently passed HB 5042, establishing a Career and Technical Education Advisory Council within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). This Advisory Council consists of 11 members, including a current CTE center administrator; an administrator from a school offering CTE; two business representatives, one from industry and one from an association/coalition; representatives from a technical college, a community college, and a state university; a current participant in an apprenticeship program, and three CTE educators who have served as advisors to Career Technical Student Organizations. The Advisory Council also has three ex-officio members from DESE guidance and counseling division, the director of workforce development, and a representative from the higher education coordinating board, facilitating a true cross-sector entity.

This Advisory Council replaces an earlier version – previously named the “State Advisory Committee for Vocational Education” – and is charged with providing a short- and long-term strategic for the provision of high-quality CTE to students across all ages, funding, and necessary legislative/regulatory changes.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Update: Five States Adopt the Next Generation Science Standards

July 1st, 2013

Last week, Maryland and Vermont joined Kansas, Kentucky and Rhode Island as the first five states to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The NGSS were released in Spring 2013 after a 3-plus year development effort. The effort began when the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academies of Sciences, developed The Framework for K-12 Science Education (released  in July 2011), which identified the key content all K-12 students need to learn in science based on research and input from scientists, science educators, and science education standards and policy experts.

The Framework was the guiding document for the NGSS and set the content and much of the organization of the NGSS, including the intersection of content (core ideas), scientific and engineering  practice, and cross-cutting concepts. For more on the NGSS and their development and design, see www.nextgenscience.org

The NGSS have a clear  relationship with and impact on Career Technical Education (CTE), including, but not limited to, a renewed opportunity to integrate traditional science courses with CTE courses in engineering, health sciences, and agriculture. Our State CTE Policy Updates will monitor progress on state adoption and new resources relevant to the CTE field in the coming months.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates: Texas Edition

June 25th, 2013

State Map

Earlier this month, Governor Perry of Texas signed into law five major education bills all of which are related to or directly impact Career Technical Education (CTE) in the Lone Star state. Below is a high-level summary of each of the bills.

HB 5
The most significant bill is the 100+ page HB 5, which addresses a wide array of issues, many of which have a direct impact on Career Technical Education in the state.  The most significant changes are that students now only need to take five end-of-course exams for graduation, down from 12 exams, and revisions to the high school graduation requirements. While the end-of-course assessments used to count towards 15% of a student’s grade, a student’s performance on the assessments can no longer be used for this purpose or to determine class rank (which is significant given Texas’ policy of open access to public institutions of higher education for those students in the top 10% of their class or “the 10 percent rule”).

As far as the changes to the graduation requirements, currently, all students are automatically enrolled into the Recommended High School Program, a curriculum set at the college- and career-ready level and aligned with most admissions requirements at the state’s public four-year institutions. Students can choose to opt down into a lower diploma track. Texas was the first state in the country to adopt such graduation requirements at the college- and career-ready level for all students.

Under the new system, however, students will be automatically enrolled in the “Foundation” program, requiring four years of English; three credits in mathematics (including Algebra I and geometry), science (including biology and chemistry or physics), and social studies; two credits in the same language (including computer programming languages); five elective credits; and one fine arts credit.

Students can also pursue CTE-focused endorsements in STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary Studies, which requires a fourth year of math and science (or advanced CTE courses), two additional elective credits, and some concentration of CTE courses, which is largely undefined in the legislation. Students can also graduate with “distinguished level of achievement” by completing the Foundation requirements plus a fourth year of mathematics (including Algebra II), a fourth credit of science, and an endorsement.  Importantly, only students who graduate at the “distinguished” level will be able to take advantage of the automatic state college admissions under the top 10 percent rule.

A few other key provisions include:

  • Districts can offer a course or activity without state approval if it’s developed with institutions of higher education and business/labor and allows students to directly enter, without remediation, an institution of higher education, CTE training program, apprenticeship, or internship required for an industry-recognized certificate or course credit.
  • Principals must ensure any middle school students who are off-track to graduation develop a personal graduation plan.  All high school students are expected to have personal graduation plans as well, that identify which, if any, endorsements and diploma options the student plans to pursue.
  • High school diplomas and transcripts will indicate whether a student has completed a certificate, Foundation program, endorsement, distinguished level of achievement and “performance acknowledgement.”
  • Change to A-F grading for district- and school-level accountability performance.
  • The adoption or development, by the TEA, of postsecondary readiness assessment tools Algebra II and English III.
  • Reimbursements to districts for students’ certification and licensure exams.
  • Special accreditation investigations may be conducted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) when/if excessive numbers of students or disproportionate numbers of students from certain demographic groups are graduating with a particular endorsement and/or not completing Algebra II.

HB 2201: Increase in Advanced Technology and Career-Related Courses
This bill requires that the State Board of Education identifies and approves at least six advanced CTE and/or technology application courses that may satisfy the fourth credit of mathematics (required for endorsements and the distinguished-level diploma.  The Act specifically mentions personal financial literacy as one option of an acceptable course.

The law also changes earlier language, allowing students to substitute their third and fourth years of mathematics and science courses with “advanced career and technical course[s] designated by the State Board of Education as containing substantively similar and rigorous and academic content.” Finally, this bill directs the State Board to establish a process for reviewing and approving applied science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses to count towards students’ mathematics and science requirements, after they have completed Algebra I and biology. [Note: This bill has been wrapped into HB 5].

SB 441: Texas Fast Start Program
This bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to identify and develop models to support “fast start” programs at Texas’ junior colleges, state public colleges, and public technical institutions that effectively enable students to obtain postsecondary certificates and degrees at an accelerated pace. The fast start programs can incorporate competency-based learning techniques, must be accessible to a range of adult leaners, and must be deployable statewide.

HB 3662: Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program
This bill establishes the Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program to provide districts and institutions of higher education opportunities to create and offer innovative programs designed to prepare students for high-demand careers. The awarded programs must focus on student engagement through competency-based learning anchored in the goal of students earning postsecondary certificates or degrees and incorporate CTE dual enrollment or early college opportunities. A major goal of this bill is to develop model programs and practices that can be shared statewide.  The Act takes effect in September 2013; it is unclear exactly when sites will be selected.

HB 842: CTE & College Credit
This bill clarifies and broadens the state’s current dual enrollment policy to allow students to earn concurrent academic credit for a course or activity, including an apprenticeship or another training program, that leads to an industry-recognized credential, certificate or associate’s degree and is approved by the Texas Higher Education Commission.  The bill goes into effect for the 2013-14 school year.

HB 809: Employment Information for Secondary School Students
This bill requires the Texas Education Agency to provide employment projection data to school districts in support of CTE planning based on data received on a quarterly basis from the Texas Workforce Commission.

There has been significant coverage of these policy changes – some positive, some not-so-positive (including this piece from Representative Mark Strama: Why I Voted Against HB 5) but now the hard work begins of implementing the education overhaul.

 

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

State CTE Policy Updates

June 18th, 2013

State MapThis past month, there has been overwhelming action on the Career Technical Education (CTE) front across states, with major bills passing in Texas, Colorado, Vermont, Alabama, Washington and Oklahoma as well as bills pending in Michigan and North Carolina. As Texas had a number of CTE-related bills pass in the last few weeks, we’ll post a separate blog on Texas’ CTE policy changes later this week.

CTE Funding in Alabama
Last month, Alabama passed a $50 million bond issue to support technology and Career Technical Education programs. The bonds will likely be sold next year, with $10 million divided among schools based on the technology programs of offered; $20 million distributed based on the number of CTE students at each school; and the final $20 million to be distributed through grants. While this has a direct positive impact on CTE program across the state, all students will benefit from a new investment in technology.

Colorado’s Competency-based Graduation Requirements & Career Pathways
The Colorado State Board of Education revised the state’s graduation requirements in May, putting in place competency-based requirements, which hinge on students’ mastery of content rather than seat time.  The state has created “graduation guidelines,” outlining ways in which students can demonstrate mastery in the four major content areas (English, mathematics, social studies and science), such as earning a certain score on the ACT, PARCC or statewide assessment; passing a concurrent/dual enrollment course; or passing an AP/IB exam. Starting in 2015-16, the state will allow certain capstone experiences to count and by 2013-13, the state will develop a list of potentially eligible industry-based certificates that may count towards competency in various content areas.  Local education agencies are expected to set their own district-level requirements in alignment with the state policy.

Colorado also passed a bill directing the state board for community colleges and occupational education, with K-12 and postsecondary partners, to design a career pathway for students in the manufacturing sector. The pathway must include industry-validated stackable certificates, multiple entry and exit points, and allow a student to earn income while progressing through the pathway.

Maryland’s Degree Goals & Statewide Transfer Agreements
Maryland recently passed “The College and Career Readiness and College Completion Act of 2013” formalizing the Governor’s postsecondary degree goals (55% adults will have an associate’s degree by 2025) and requiring statewide transfer agreements between the state’s two- and four-year institutions of higher education. Specifically, the bill calls on the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop and implement a transfer agreement where, by 2016, at least 60 credits earned by a student at any community college towards an associate’s degree will be transferable to any public higher education institution for credit towards a bachelor’s degree and a reverse transfer agreement where at least 30 credits earned by a student at a four-year institution will be transferable to a community college.

The Act also requires all public institutions of higher education to create graduation progress benchmarks for each major, which includes scheduling guidance, credit and course criteria, and schedules for regular periodic reviews of student progress. Finally, the bill requires four years of mathematics for students in high school and institutionalizes the PARCC assessments by requiring all students to be assessed using an acceptable college placement cut score by 11th grade to determine if they are ready for credit-bearing coursework in English/Literacy and mathematics.

The Maryland legislature also funded Governor O’Malley’s $2 million Early College Innovation Fund to incentivize early college access programs for students pursuing CTE and/or STEM disciplines. Specifically, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will generate competitive grants to fund partnerships of local school systems and higher education institutions to create early college high schools or other forms of early college access. Priority would be given to proposals that provide students with credentials (in the form of degrees, certificates, and certifications, as appropriate) in fields for which there is high demand in Maryland.

Oklahoma’s Competency-Based Graduation Requirements
Oklahoma recently updated their graduation requirements, broadening each of the content area course requirements to be met by “units” completed or “competencies” demonstrated by students. As such, students can receive course credit for demonstrated proficiency rather than just instructional time moving forward.

Vermont’s Flexible Pathways Initiative
A new bill in Vermont creates the Flexible Pathways Initiative, establishing statewide dual enrollment and early college programs. This bill amends the state’s high school completion program by allowing flexible pathways students to pursue pathways to graduation that include applied or work-based learning opportunities, including internships. It also calls for career exploration to no later than seventh grade for all students.

Computer Science in Washington
Last month, Governor Inslee in Washington signed a bill allowing an AP Computer Science course to count towards students’ mathematics or science requirements for graduation.  Washington already allows districts to adopt course equivalences for CTE high school courses towards a full or partial academic credit; this bill requires districts to allow AP computer science courses to count as mathematics or science courses. For the computer science course to count towards a mathematics credit, however, the student must have already completed or be currently enrolled in Algebra II.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

 

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