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Fall Meeting Recap: Common Core State Standards & Career Technical Education

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

CCSS LogoLast week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting,  which featured a panel of state CTE leaders sharing their strategies for implementation the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Kicking off the panel was Meredith Liben, Director of Literacy at Student Achievement Partners (SAP), who described the three major instructional shifts within the CCSS in English Language Arts/Literacy, which in essence boil down to “texts worth reading, questions worth answered and work worth doing.” Liben highlighted the challenge among CTE teachers who often don’t have a literacy background in internalizing such shifts within their classrooms, and gave a sneak peek into the work SAP plans to take on in this space moving forward.

Next up was Katharine Oliver, Assistant State Superintendent of Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education who described the state’s efforts to identify ways to measure student growth in CTE through the development of student learning objectives (SLOs), as well as the professional development that brings interdisciplinary teams of teachers together to collaborate to understand and identify complex texts. An early lesson learned is the importance of keeping teachers in “like groups,” as CTE teachers want to be able to see literacy through the lens of their own content areas rather than for all CTE subjects. Oliver also mentioned a new Blackboard site where the state will be posting lessons in “those difficult to teach areas” including CTE.

Russ Weikle, Director of Career and College Transition Division at the California Department of Education framed much of the work in his state as “deliberate” alignments to the CCSS. The approach California took when modifying their CTE standards framework was to create anchor standards (a term borrowed from the CCSS’s ELA/Literacy standards) that are consistent across all Career Clusters, making them “CTE standards that CTE teachers can own, while still teaching CCSS.” Under the anchor standards are performance indicators that are specific to the state’s Career Pathways. Next, the state convened educators to review the Career Pathway-level standards and look for “substantial and natural alignment” between them and the CCSS. The task put before them was to determine if a pathway standard would enhance, reinforce or apply a specific core subject standard.” The result of this effort are Academic Alignment Matrices for each of the state’s 15 Career Clusters.

In addition, 500 educators in California have gone through a train the trainer module around disciplinary literacy and are not replicating the training in their schools and districts. The module can be found here.

Sharing Wisconsin’s efforts to date, Sharon Wendt, Director of Career and Technical Education at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction discussed the state’s efforts around literacy, jumpstarted by the adoption of the CCSS and the launch of a Governor’s Task Force on literacy in 2010. With CTE engaged in the task force from the get-go, it has allowed for that work to inform the revision of the state’s CTE standards and for CTE to inform the broader statewide discussion of college and career readiness.   One major takeaway Wendt shared is how the CCSS are helping core academic teachers better understand what happens within CTE classrooms through such inter-disciplinary professional development and resources being developed. Wisconsin has some terrific materials for disciplinary literacy, which can be found here.

Most of the conversation was focused around the ELA/Literacy standards and the panelists did admit much less work had been done in mathematics to date in part because they are not technically required for CTE educators and because there is more resistance from the mathematics community to integrate. Maryland is working to develop senior year transition courses in mathematics, particularly for students who do not meet the college- and career-ready determination on the state test, with a heavy emphasis on mathematics applications. Another idea on the table in Maryland is to identify where a CTE course or sequence of courses with enough math may count as a fourth-year math requirement.

While it is too early to measure results with implementation still underway, all of the panelists noted “appreciative teacher”s and “positive feedback” from core academic educators as early signs of success.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Fall Meeting
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State CTE Policy Update: Two More States Adopt Next Generation Science Standards

Wednesday, 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

By Kate Blosveren in Public Policy
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State CTE Policy Updates: July Edition Part 1

Tuesday, 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

By Kate Blosveren in Public Policy
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New NASDCTEc Officers Take Lead as CTE Adopts Common Standards, Prepare for Reauthorization

Friday, July 27th, 2012

NASDCTEc officers this month commenced their one-year term. The officers take the reins at a time when the Career Technical Education (CTE) community moves forward with implementing rigorous and common standards for CTE, advocating for fiscal support, building increased visibility, awareness and support and preparing for the reauthorization of the federal legislation that governs CTE.

“This is such an exciting time to be part of the Career Technical Education (CTE) community in this nation. Quality secondary and postsecondary CTE programs provide individuals with options and pathways to success in our global economy.  I am honored to serve members of this association that is committed to enhancing access and opportunities to quality CTE programs,” said Marie Barry, NASDCTEc President and State Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education at the New Jersey Department of Education.

NASDCTEc officers include:

In June, NASDCTEc unveiled the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a state-led initiative to establish a set of rigorous, high-quality standards for CTE that states can adopt voluntarily. Forty-two states, Washington, DC, and Palau declared support for the development of the CCTC, which were informed by state and industry standards and developed by a diverse group of teachers, business and industry experts, administrators and researchers.

NASDCTEc’s advocacy work will focus on preparing for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and ensure that the legislation will support states in advancing high-quality CTE amid tough fiscal conditions, as well as continuing to build visibility and support for the CTE: Learning That Works for America campaign.

Learn more about the NASDCTEc officers by reading their biographies.

By Erin in NASDCTEc Announcements, NASDCTEc State Director
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CTE in the News: Push for Career Technical Education Meets Resistance

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

A student at Oklahoma's Ardmore High School works on an assignment for a biotechnical program, which is designed to introduce students to careers in fields like chemistry and microbiology.

This spring, parents in the San Diego Unified School District in California rose in protest when the district proposed to add CTE courses as a graduation requirement. Parents signed a petition and argued that CTE would water down the educational experience of their college-bound students. Education officials, surprised by the backlash, said the proposal was simply intended to prepare students for both college and career, according to a recent article in U.S. News on NBCnews.com.

“Career and technical education has come a long way since the days when students could be steered from academics into hairstyling, auto repairs or carpentry. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to sell the concept of having all students take courses in CTE, as it is known,” wrote Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report in the article.

CTE leaders have been taking on the issue of CTE’s stigma for more than a decade, said Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director. A turning point came about 10 years ago when the CTE community transitioned program names from vocational education to CTE as a way to shed images of outdated shop classes.

“Career and technical education meant something different than vocational education,” Green said. “It’s academics plus technical instruction.”

Just over a year ago, NASDCTEc launched a re-branding initiative called CTE: Learning that works for America™ to again change minds about CTE. The campaign continues and the work continues across states.

In California, CTE programs have been elevating their status. In recent years, a growing number of CTE courses have been approved towards the University of California and California State University systems’ “a-g” entry requirements – the list of courses that students may complete in high school to be eligible for admittance to the universities. Those courses include academic core classes and electives.

Gary Hoachlander, president of ConnectEd, a California group that works with districts to create career-oriented high school and college programs for students, said there are about 10,000 CTE courses across all the state’s districts qualify for the college requirement. However, most of those courses count as electives.

CTE science classes such as environmental science or agricultural s

ience have yet to be approved for academic credit. “That’s where I think there’s still a lot of work to do,” Hoachlander said.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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CTE in the News: California Invests in CTE Programs to Train Students for Energy Industry

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

California is investing $3.2 million in a project that integrates academic and Career Technical Education, business partnerships and internships with the intent of grooming students to work in jobs in the clean technology and renewable energy industry, according to The Epoch Times.

The California Department of Education and the California Energy Commission has teamed up to offer Clean Energy and Technology Academies. The program, which is structured similarly to the state’s California Partnership Academies, is a three-year program for students grades 10 -12 in which students gain a balance of academics, real-world-learning and technical skills training so they can succeed in the energy industry specifically, the article said.

To date, 48,000 students are enrolled in the program, which reaches 21 schools across the state.  Academies will be eligible for the new funding in installments, pending their ability to demonstrate that they offer courses and educational experiences that meet set academic and industry-specific requirements intended to ensure the academies are preparing students to truly succeed in the energy industry.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager 

By Erin in News
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Frank Chong Named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

chongThis week, Dr. Frank Chong began serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges at the United States Department of Education. This office is housed within the Office of Vocational and Adult Education.

Dr. Chong had served as president of Laney College in Oakland, California since July, 2006. Dr. Chong also served as President of Mission Community College in Santa Clara, California and was also Dean of Student Affairs at City College of San Francisco. Before getting into community college administration Dr. Chong was special assistant to the Speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie L. Brown, Jr. Adding to Dr. Chong’s understanding of education issues he also served as an elected member of the San Francisco Board of Education.

Dr. Chong received a B.A. in Social Welfare and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration, Leadership and Technology from Dowling College.

We look forward to working with Dr. Chong and the rest of the leadership team at OVAE to reinforce the important work CTE programs are doing across the country to provide students with the skills they need to be successful in their educational journey and in the workforce.

By admin in NASDCTEc Announcements, Public Policy
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Facing the CTE Teacher Shortage webinar

Friday, September 18th, 2009

NASDCTEc hosted Facing the CTE Teacher Shortage, a webinar which highlighted state examples from Alabama, California and Oregon that are employing effective strategies for addressing the teacher shortage in CTE.  Presenters included:

If you missed it, don’t worry!  You can access an archived version of the webinar here.  A PDF version of the Power Point slides is here.

By Nancy in NASDCTEc Resources
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Teacher Shortage Undermines CTE

Monday, August 10th, 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the fastest growing careers in 2008 would be in CTE fields such as healthcare and trade and industrial occupations.  However, in order to cultivate a workforce to fill these jobs, students will require training from quality secondary and postsecondary CTE teachers – resources that are lacking across the nation due to a teacher shortage.  This crisis for CTE has been caused by student demand requiring more teachers, teachers leaving the profession and the limited opportunities to cultivate new educators as teacher programs are eliminated.

NASDCTEc has authored Teacher Shortage Undermines CTE, a brief that explores the reasons behind the shortage of teachers in CTE programs, and what can be done to curb the declining numbers and recruit more individuals into CTE classrooms. It also highlights examples from three states – Oregon, Alabama and California – that serve as models for increasing the number of CTE teachers in their state.

You can access a copy of the brief on our website at: www.careertech.org/show/publications under “Teacher Preparation”.

By Nancy in Publications
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Highly Qualifed & CTE: Tough Economic Times Creating New Options

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

As I have traveled the country, one of the most common questions I get is about how NCLB highly qualified teacher (HQT) requirements impact CTE. NCLB statute and regulations do not require CTE teachers to meet the same requirements as academic teachers, in large part because so many CTE teachers come from industry and through alternative routes. States some latitude to define what highly qualifed means for CTE.  However, the HQT regulations related to academic teachers have had the unintendend consequence of limiting states’ ability to allow CTE courses to garner academic credit because if academic credit is awarded then the teacher teaching that class must meet academic HQT requirements.  Several states have developed innovative approaches to this challenge. Idaho invested in funding to CTE teachers certified in academic areas. New York negotiated a waiver to allow academic and CTE team teaching (strictly regulated) to meet the requirements. California is the latest state to offer up another option given challenges districts are facing due to tough economic times.

Below is a recently published article that summarizes the California option quite nicely.  This article was written by Allen Young of The Cabinet Report, a subscribers-only daily news source published by School Innovations & Advocacy . 

“LEAs have options on tech instructors meeting NCLB qualifications
By Allen Young

With districts looking for creative ways to address staffing needs, the California Department of Education issued advice this week reminding local educational agencies that a career technical education instructor can qualify as a ‘highly qualified teacher’ with authorization from the school board.

The issue has been raised repeatedly by districts that are struggling under the current budget crisis to match diminishing instructional resources with ever growing student needs and still meet federal goals under the No Child Left Behind Act.

 

“Amid massive layoffs throughout the state, people are trying to save their jobs and find out what they are credentialed for,” said Lynda Nichols, NCLB coordinator at CDE. “When a district decides to have one of these classes and the board approves it as a graduation requirement, it throws the non-NCLB course into NCLB [requirements].”  The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing said that if a school is granting graduation credit for a CTE class, then the instructor need only carry a CTE credential.

To qualify as a “highly qualified teacher,” the instructor must have a four-year college degree and hold a proper credential in their CTE subject area.

There are many examples of crossover classes that provide alternate forms of graduation credit. The CDE has clarified on their website the sections in law that describe the classes and credentials needed for career tech teachers to provide graduation credit and fulfill UC admission requirements.   

Here is a summary

The CDE guidance for CTE instructors satisfying NCLB is available here:

http://www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/tq/documents/ctenclbhqtprvision.doc

The CTE Frequently Asked Questions are available here:

http://www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/tq/faqctenclbhqt.asp.”

 

 

By Kimberly in Public Policy
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