Posts Tagged ‘career academies’

Legislative Update: Appropriations, Global Competitiveness

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Congress Seeks Support for Perkins Funding

As the FY13 appropriations process gets underway, Members of Congress in both the House and Senate are circulating “Dear Colleague” sign-on letters, asking other members to support Perkins Act funding. The House letter is authored by Congressional CTE Caucus co-chairs, Reps. Glenn Thompson (PA) and James Langevin (RI), and the Senate letter is led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT). After signatures have been collected, the letters will be sent to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittees in the House and Senate.

Please contact your Members of Congress to ask them to sign the letters to support CTE funding. You can reach your Members of Congress by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. The deadline for the House letter is Friday, March 16 and the deadline for the Senate letter is March 23.

Senate Global Competitiveness Hearing Focuses on CTE

Yesterday the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing, The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education, which is part of a series focused on rebuilding the middle-class. In his opening statement, Ranking Member Michael Enzi (WY) said that there is a major deficit of skilled workers in this country which threatens our ability to grow our economy. He went on to say, “The federal government does have a role to play in improving the education of our nation’s children through programs supported under the Head Start Act, the Elementary and Secondary Act, Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act.”

Dr. Richard Murnane from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education pointed out that not all high students want or need to pursue a four-year college degree: “Many want to enroll in two-year vocationally oriented education and training programs…Some want to pursue traditional trades such as plumber and electrician and others want to enter new trades, many related to technology and health. These trades, some old and some new, provide many opportunities to do valuable work and to earn a good living.” He was clear however, that all students should graduate college and career ready, because most jobs require some education or training beyond high school.

Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) asked the witnesses what the best way is to get business and industry to work with high schools to train students for jobs. Dr. Murnane said that career academies are doing this well by connecting schools with employers and helping students learn the technical and cognitive skills necessary to succeed in the workplace.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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More Information on President’s Career Academy Proposal

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As we told you a few weeks ago, in his FY13 budget, President Obama proposed a $1 billion investment in career academies. In a fact sheet released by the Department of Education, there are new details to share. According to the Department:

“Through this new initiative, States would award competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and local employers, creating 3,000 new career academies and increasing the number of students served by 50 percent. This means that half a million more students would have access to programs that studies suggest can lead to higher earnings and better academic outcomes.”

As we learn more about this and other proposals in the President’s budget, we will be sure to share that information with you.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Obama Jobs Plan, FY12 Appropriations, Bills Introduced

Friday, September 9th, 2011

President’s Jobs Package Focuses on Education

Last night, before a joint session of Congress, President Obama unveiled his proposal to create jobs and grow the economy. With unemployment hovering around 9%, the Administration hopes that this plan turn around the economy. Broadly, the American Jobs Act proposes to extend existing and implement new tax cuts, and invest in areas such as infrastructure, housing aid, and education. This $400 billion plan will be paid for using savings identified by the newly-appointed Congressional deficit reduction committee.

Related to education, and CTE in particular, there are some promising elements:

• $35 billion to prevent public sector job layoffs – This includes educators, police officers and firefighters. Up to 280,000 education jobs are vulnerable to cuts this school year due to state budget troubles. The fund would support state and local efforts to retain teachers, counselors, tutors, and classroom assistants.
• $30 billion school modernization fund – This fund would support efforts to modernize at least 35,000 public schools. The money could be used to update labs, renovate facilities and increase internet access. Priority will be given to rural schools and schools in the most need. The funding includes $5 billion dedicated to community colleges.
• $5 billion for low-income youth and adults – This funding will focus on expanding employment opportunities for communities that have been hardest hit by the recession. Called the Pathways Back to Work Fund, it will make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will include:
o Support for summer and year-round jobs for youth
o Subsidized employment opportunities for low-income individuals who are unemployed
o Support for local efforts to implement promising work-based strategies and to provide training opportunities, including:
 Sector-based training programs
 Acquisition of industry-recognized credentials
 Career academies that provide students with academic preparation and training
 Free evening and weekend basic computer training classes, adult basic education and integrated basic education

FY 12 Appropriations
The House Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education markup scheduled for this morning has been cancelled, with no new date announced. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA) has said that the House will vote on a continuing resolution during the week of September 19 that it will likely run through November 18. Congress is hoping to finalize the appropriations process by that date and will use an omnibus appropriations bill, rather than separate bills by subcommittee.

In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee approved a funding level for Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee that is $17.9 billion above the $139.2 billion set by the House. While the $157.1 billion allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee is $23.7 billion below the Administration’s FY12 budget request and $300 million below FY1 levels, this is encouraging news. Despite the fiscal climate, it is clear that the Senate understands the importance of education programs.

Bills Introduced

Technical school training subsidy bill
Rep. John Barrow (GA) introduced H.R. 2851, a bill that would amend the Workforce Investment Act to establish a technical school training subsidy program. The bill would provide competitive grants to the states to provide funds to local workforce investment boards for technical school training subsidies in local areas through the One-Stop system. Subsidies received by individuals shall be used to assist them in paying the cost of tuition for career and technical education at a technical school.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Smaller Learning Communities Eliminated in FY11 Budget

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

As more information comes out about the drastic cuts to education programs in Congress’ FY11 continuing resolution, we have learned that funding for the Smaller Learning Communities program has been eliminated. This program, authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, had previously allocated $88 million in grants to LEAs to improve student academic achievement through structures within a large high school that included career academies, themed schools-within-a- school, and “houses” in which small groups of students remain together throughout high school.

The impetus for Smaller Learning Communities stemmed from research that showed that students learn better and retain more when they learn things in context and when they understand the “why” behind what they are learning. CTE has played an integral role in many of these schools that prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education and careers. Once again, this cut in funding will negatively impact CTE students and programs throughout the country.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Career Clusters Integral Focus of Killeen ISD New Career Academy Planning

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The Killeen Independent School District plans to open a new Career Academy fall 2010, which will include courses in health science, information technology and arts, audio/visual technology and communications, agriculture, food and natural resources, fire academy, cosmetology, welding, construction and automotive technology. With input from area colleges and universities and local employers, school district leaders were able this summer to lay out the planned academic framework for the school, which will cover 143,000 square feet. The new Academy is being built at a good time, as local high schools are growing, with one school above capacity—rezoning will gradually level the enrollment levels and the Academy will ease capacity issues in the district. According to Todd Martin of the Killeen ISD Public Information Office, many of the courses will satisfy core subject graduation requirements. More information

By Ramona in Career Clusters®
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Institute Report Out: Listening Session with OVAE

Monday, June 21st, 2010

At last week’s Career Clusters Institute representatives from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education held a listening session to hear from stakeholders about the upcoming Perkins reauthorization, scheduled for 2012. The session was centered around three topics: programs of study, Tech Prep and the legislation generally.

Programs of Study

When asked how reauthorized legislation could better connect secondary and postsecondary levels, attendees responded in a variety of ways:

Tech Prep

In his budget the President proposed consolidating Tech Prep and the Basic State Grant, and reaction from the attendees was mixed:

Perkins Legislation

Finally, OVAE asked what the new Perkins should look like and attendees brought up several areas of focus:

By Nancy in Legislation
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Latest ESEA Hearings Focus on High Schools and Teachers

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Yesterday, both the Senate and House education committees held hearings related to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee heard from witnesses during Improving America’s Secondary Schools about the importance of stemming the dropout rate, especially identifying at-risk students and using interventions before a student ever reaches high school. Some of the suggestions for helping students succeed in high school included improving adolescent literacy, teacher effectiveness, charter schools, early college high schools, and career academies.

Witnesses stated that while investment in the early grades is important, funding must continue to flow to the middle and high school grades because as the curriculum gets harder, students will need additional supports. Others suggested exposing students to college campuses as early as sixth grade to raise expectations and show students that being a college student is something they can aspire to.

The House Education and Labor Committee addressed issues around teachers and leaders in Supporting America’s Educators: The Importance of Quality Teachers and Leaders which recognized the 300,000 potential layoffs that school personnel face this coming year. Witnesses focused primarily on teacher evaluations, professional development and teacher training.

Regarding the issue of teacher effectiveness, witnesses suggested that teacher evaluations were inappropriate at measuring true progress and that because incentives, like pay scale and tenure, are based on advanced degrees and years of experience, the system does not evaluate what makes a teacher effective. Others stated that teacher training needs to be continuous and take cues from other professions like medicine where the basic skills are not learned on the job but are required before certification is granted.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: ESEA Hearings, Education Jobs Bill, METRICS Bill

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization Hearings

This week the House and Senate held a number of hearings on issues ranging from data to turning around low performing schools to effective teachers and leaders. During Tuesday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on effective strategies for turning around schools Senator Patty Murray asked about the use of career pathways as a way to improve student achievement (beginning at the 115 minute mark). Robert Balfanz, a researcher from Johns Hopkins University, stated that career academies are one effective strategy that uses career pathways. He also stated that there is evidence that the students who do best in high school are those who take a college preparatory curriculum and a CTE concentration, however only 5% of student nationwide have that combination.

On Thursday the HELP Committee held a roundtable to hear about the problems facing teachers and principals. A key issue addressed by both committee members and witnesses is the need to move from “highly qualified teacher” requirements to defining “highly effective teachers.”

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on Wednesday, “How Data Can Be Used to Inform Educational Outcomes.” Committee members acknowledged the vital importance of using data to improve student performance and teacher instruction, but were concerned about need to protect student privacy.

Keep Our Educators Working Act

Senator Tom Harkin introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act of 2010 which would provide $23 billion for an “Education Jobs Fund,” modeled after the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund that was established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Money could be used for compensation and benefits and other expenses necessary to retain existing employees, and for the hiring of new employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational and related services; or on-the-job training activities for education-related careers. This bill is similar to the $23 billion included in the Jobs for Main Street Act which passed the House in December.

Senate Appropriations Hearing on Education Fiscal Crisis

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified in a hearing before the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee this week to discuss the FY11 education budget and the fiscal crisis facing education. Duncan endorsed Senator Harkin’s proposed $23 billion education jobs fund (see above), saying “It’s the right thing to do at the right time for the right reasons.” Senator Harkin’s opening statement is available here.


This week Representative Rush Holt and Senator Sherrod Brown each introduced the Measuring and Evaluating Trends for Reliability, Integrity, and Continued Success (METRICS) Act in their respective chambers of Congress. The bill would authorize $65 million in competitive grants to states to improve the use of their statewide data systems and an additional $65 million for a competitive program to LEAs with low-performing schools to help build the capacity to use data to improve student outcomes.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Secretary Duncan Discusses ESEA Blueprint Before Congress

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

duncan-arne-sec_-of-ed_-3-09This morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee about the Department of Education’s blueprint for reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

The Senate hearing began with Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) stressing the importance of preparing students for both college and careers, and the importance of a well-rounded curriculum. Ranking Member Michael Enzi (WY) took that notion one step further in stating that students must be ready for college and career without the need for remediation, as it is important to the strength of our economy. Secretary Duncan agreed that few other issues speak to the long term prosperity of our nation than education.  Later in the hearing, he stated that all students need some postsecondary education – 4 year, community college, trade school or “vocational” education – to get a good job after high school, but many do not graduate ready for college or a career. To that end, the Administration has set a goal for all students to be college and career ready by 2020.  This goal replaces the previous Administration’s goal of proficiency in math and reading by 2014.

Senator Enzi also highlighted the need for high school reform in ESEA because too many students are dropping out or graduating without the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in college or the workplace, suggesting that perhaps career academies could be one vehicle to help add relevancy to students’ learning. Secretary Duncan stated that high school reform is a part of the Department’s ESEA plans and that programs such as dual enrollment will allow students to experience college while in high school.

Duncan also suggested that because of the lack of math and science teachers, ESEA should incentivize individuals to enter these areas by paying these teachers more. He also supported the idea of allowing individuals from industry to use alternative certification to get into the classroom as another way to increase the number of well qualified teachers in these subject areas.

George_Miller_CARepAt the House hearing Chairman George Miller (CA) saw the blueprint as a strong roadmap that Congress can work from to bring about system wide change in elementary and secondary education. Ranking Member John Kline (MN) suggested that for reauthorization Congress should not start from NCLB, but begin with a blank slate, using the blueprint as a jumping off point.

In response to a question from Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (TX) about dropout factories and the impact of middle schools on student achievement in high school, Secretary Duncan stated that both the funding proposal for teachers and leaders and the School Improvement Grants will help students in middle school be better prepared to succeed in high school.

Finally, Rep. Joe Courtney (CT) expressed concern about the impact of competitive funding on state education budgets, particularly in 2011 after the last batch of ARRA funds are distributed coupled with the state budget crises that will not be able to supplement that funding.

By Nancy in Legislation
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