Posts Tagged ‘California’

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

Wednesday, 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:

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

By Austin Estes in News, Public Policy, Resources, Uncategorized
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State Policy Update: California’s Budget Calls for New Initiative to Strengthen CTE Programs in Community Colleges

Monday, 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:

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:

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

By Austin Estes in Uncategorized
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Three States’ Approaches to Removing Legal Barriers around Work-based Learning

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

In our continuing series, “Connecting the Classroom to Careers,” we look at an issue that is often a stumbling block for K-12 work-based learning – ensuring these experiences are safe and legal for students.
In “Removing Legal Barriers around Work-based Learning“, we feature New Jersey, Kentucky and California and their approaches to dismantling work-based learning’s legal barriers, including:

Debunking these myths is critical to scaling work-based learning. Starting with educating themselves, states can and should play an instrumental role in helping correct misconceptions about students under the age of 18 in the workplace.

Be sure to check out our first installment in this series – “Setting a Statewide Vision for Work-based Learning.”

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate 

By Katie Fitzgerald in Advance CTE Resources, News, Resources
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State Policy Update: Sharing State Resources

Wednesday, 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

News of Note

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

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Legislation, News, Resources, Uncategorized
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State Policy Update: It’s that Time Again

Friday, 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:

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


By Andrea Zimmermann in Uncategorized
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State Policy Update: Workforce Development, Job-driven Training and More

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

This week, the National Skills Coalition released its roundup of this year’s major state legislative actions aiming to close the middle-skills gap across the country. Be sure to check out the full paper and related webinar, which includes deep dives on new workforce development efforts in Virginia and Minnesota, to learn more.

Here are some of the workforce-related highlights from this year’s legislative sessions:

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Public Policy
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State Policy Update: New CTE Briefs Feature Ohio and Massachusetts; Legislatures Send New Money to CTE

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Today, Achieve released two new briefs highlighting academic and CTE integration in Ohio and Massachusetts. Achieve also released a helpful compendium of its CTE resources, many of which NASDCTEc helped produce. Download the PDF compendium here.

In “Seizing the Future: How Ohio’s Career-Technical Education Programs Fuse Academic Rigor and Real-world Experiences to Prepare Students for College and Careers,” we learn about the changing face of Ohio CTE, which now focuses on integrating academics in a rigorous and relevant curriculum in high-skill, high-demand Career Clusters® and pathways and includes strong connections to postsecondary education and employers.

“Career-tech now integrates rigorous academic preparation with career education,” says Steve Gratz, senior executive director at the Ohio Department of Education and NASDCTEc member. “We are ‘mashing up’ college and career. This is a shift from the past and one that we are serious about.”

In “Best of Both Worlds: How Massachusetts Vocational Schools are Preparing Students for College and Careers,” we learn more about state policies that promote strong programming, including the state’s college- and career-ready course of study, incentives for rigorous academic standards in its accountability system, and capacity-building support for locals. The brief also highlights some of the state’s vocational-technical schools for their impressive student outcomes.

Finally, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has also released a new brief that examines the efforts of six states — Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, New Jersey, and West Virginia – to modify their existing science standards or adopt new benchmarks such as the Next Generation Science Standards. It also explores each state’s unique path to adoption and implementation as well as the common strategies and activities used to engage stakeholders.


State Legislative Update

With more than two thirds of state legislatures adjourned for the year, CTE has had some big wins in statehouses across the country. You can catch up with our last legislative update here. In the last few weeks, there have been a few more notable developments.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Legislation, Public Policy, Research
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CTE in Spotlight During Governors’ State of State Speeches

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

There are a lot of issues competing for attention in a governor’s State of the State address from pensions to health care to infrastructure to education. So it’s notable of the 31 speeches given this month, Career Technical Education (CTE) has found its way into roughly 40 percent of them, particularly because governors use this speech as a way to outline their priorities for the year and highlight successes.

In some instances, CTE was only mentioned in passing such as in Alaska, where the governor called for increasing educational opportunities for CTE. However, states such as in Indiana, California, and Nevada among others, governors proposed major investments in CTE as a means to prepare a skilled workforce to compete for tomorrow’s jobs and position the state for economic prosperity.

Here is a quick recap of the highlights as of January 26. We’ll continue tracking the remaining speeches and budget proposals, and bring you an update in the coming weeks.


Although CTE didn’t make it into Gov. Jerry Brown’s speech in California, it received a major boost in the governor’s proposed budget, which was released shortly after. Brown proposed the CTE Incentive Fund, which calls for $750 million over three years in one-time funding. The grant program would require a dollar-for-dollar match by the participating K-12 schools and encourages collaboration with other local agencies to form regional partnerships.

The budget also proposes nearly $30 million to grow and expand apprenticeships.


Declaring his budget the “education budget,” Gov. Mike Pence proposed increasing CTE funding by $20 million a year. The money would be directed through the state’s Indiana Works Councils.

“By providing $20 million a year to create more career and vocational opportunities and improving the way we fund those courses, we will dramatically increase the number of students who graduate career-ready, and increase—by fivefold—the number of students who graduate with an industry-recognized credential by 2020,” Pence said.


Gov. Steve Beshear praised the state’s CTE system in his State of the Commonwealth.

“Recognizing that the four-year university path isn’t the best route for everyone, we’ve made our career and technical programs more rigorous and applicable to real-life jobs that demand high-level technical knowledge. These aren’t the so-called ‘shop classes’ of yesterday but modern training with a touch academic foundation,” Beshear said.

Beshear also called on the state to implement the recommendations of the Dual Credit Task Force to improve the quality of these courses and help students cut the time and cost of their postsecondary education.


Gov. Brian Sandoval used his speech as a bully pulpit for increased education spending. Citing Nevada’s worst-in-the-nation high school graduation rate as “our most troubling education statistic,” Sandoval called for $1.1 billion in additional funds for education. Specific to CTE, Sandoval proposed new grant programs to ensure students are college- and career-ready, including an expansion of CTE, Jobs for America’s Graduates and STEM education.

West Virginia

Unlike his fellow governors who focused more on funding and programs, Gov. Ray Tomblin highlighted the state’s need for high-quality teachers. Tomblin said he plans to introduce legislation that expands opportunities for career professionals to enter the teaching field. He called on lawmaker to streamline the teacher certification process to “encourage those who have a passion to teacher so they can share their knowledge with our kids.”

“We must give local school systems better flexibility to train and hire subject-matter experts to fill long-term vacancies in critical subject areas.


For more CTE and workforce coverage, check out proposals and praise from Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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CTE Research Review

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Manufacturing Institute’s “State Responses to the Skills Gap”: The Manufacturing Institute has collected promising state-level Research Image_6.2013best practices that encourage and promote a skilled manufacturing workforce in its newest report.

These areas, including state examples, are:

ACT Policy Platforms: Testing giant ACT recently rolled out a series of policy recommendations for K-12, postsecondary and workforce development.

“With more than 50 years of data to draw upon, ACT research suggests that for far too many individuals—often those from low-income, first-generation, or minority backgrounds—success along the K-career continuum is out of reach,” according to ACT.

In short the three platforms are:

Linked Learning 5th Year Evaluation: SRI International released its fifth annual report on California’s Linked Learning Initiative, which blends rigorous academics with career preparation including work-based learning.

This year’s report focused on the students themselves – Who participates? What are their experiences? How does their participation in a Linked Learning pathway affect their high school outcomes?

As such the report found:

For another California-centric study, be sure to check out the new report from the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education, “Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System.”

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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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 Kreamer in Advance CTE Fall Meeting
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