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Posts Tagged ‘dropouts’

Legislative Update: Deficit Committee, Bills Introduced

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Congress Appoints Deficit Reduction Committee

The Budget Control Act, which raised the debt ceiling earlier this month, requires Congress to select a bipartisan, bicameral committee to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion. Congressional leaders this week revealed their picks:

Senate

House

The co-chairs are Sen. Murray and Rep. Hensarling. The committee has until December 23 to vote on a final bill to reduce the deficit. If the committee cannot come up with $1.5 trillion in cuts or revenue, that will trigger $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts that will go into in 2013.

Because of the sheer number of cuts that need to be made to reduce the deficit, there is great potential for Perkins funding to be affected. And if we are not a part of the committee’s cuts, we may be impacted by the across the board cuts that will go into effect if the committee does not meet its $1.5 trillion target.

We encourage you to reach out to your members of Congress, but the committee members in particular, to ask them to preserve Perkins funding. Given that Perkins was cut in FY 2011, we know that we are vulnerable. Now is the time to tell Congress how those cuts and future cuts will hurt CTE students and programs.

Bills Introduced:

Hire, Train, Retain Act
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH) introduced H.R. 2742, Hire, Train, Retain Act of 2011, which would provide tax incentives to employers for providing training programs for jobs specific to the needs of the employers.

METRICS Act
Senator Richard Blumenthal, Richard (CT) introduced S. 1464, Measuring and Evaluating Trends for Reliability, Integrity, and Continued Success (METRICS) Act of 2011. This bill is designed to help states implement integrated statewide education longitudinal data systems by awarding grants to state educational agencies.

Early Intervention for Graduation Success Act
Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) introduced S. 1495, Early Intervention for Graduation Success Act in an effort to curb dropout rates. This bill would amend ESEA to direct competitive grants to states and school districts with the lowest graduation rates for school dropout prevention activities.

By Nancy in Legislation
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NCES Releases 2008-2009 Graduation and Dropout Rates

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

This week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released public school graduation and dropout statistics from the 2008-2009 school year. The report includes the number of high school graduates, the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate, and dropout data for 9th to 12th grade public school students.

In 22 states and the District of Columbia, graduation rates increased by at least one percentage point since the 2007-2008 school year. The averaged freshman graduation rate in the United States is 75.5 percent, though this ranged from 56.3 percent to 90.7 percent across individual states.

Additionally, over 600,000 students (grades 9 to 12) reportedly dropped out of high school during the 2008-2009 school year, resulting in a 4.1 percent dropout rate. Almost half of all states indicated that dropout rates increased as grade level increased – from an average 3.2 percent dropout rate for 9th grade students to a 6 percent rate for 12th grade students.

For more information, see Public School Graduates and Dropouts From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2008-2009.

By Kara in Research
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Secretary Duncan Hails CTE During National Roundtable Event

Monday, January 31st, 2011

On Thursday the Obama Administration hosted a series of roundtables on topics that were highlighted in the President’s State of the Union Address. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sat down to answer questions from the public about education issues. Among the issues that were raised were how to balance the reform agenda with state budget shortfalls, Obama’s plan for a new ESEA, how to foster critical thinking in a time of multiple choice tests, and college access and affordability.

At the 29 minute mark, a participant from Jersey City, NJ asked “Why have high schools abandoned vo-tech programs? Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, auto mechanics all make decent livings, yet our schools do not offer young people proper education in these fields. These are the kids who choose to dropout.”

Duncan admitted that the United States “probably did a better job in the career technical training 30, 40 years ago, and somehow we lost our way a bit there.” He went on to say that we need to invest in both the careers mentioned in the question, as well as new careers that are needed in this technologically advanced age.

He went on to say that the debate about college or careers is a false one; students need both to be successful. By giving students the choice of both college and careers as early as high school and middle school, we can help keep them engaged before they drop out, and help them to figure out the right path to reach their goals.

Secretary Duncan’s response was noteworthy because he used the term “career technical training” rather than “vocational education,” as he has in many of his previous speeches and statements. This shows the progress that Secretary has made over the last two years in educating himself about CTE and that he sees it as something beyond the vocational education programs of the past.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: SECTORS Act, DIPLOMA Act, Veterans Training Bill

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

SECTORS Act Passes House with Bipartisan Support

Earlier this week House of Representatives passed H.R. 1855, the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act on a unanimous voice vote. The bill is sponsored by Representatives Loebsack (IA) and Platts (PA) in the House and Senators Brown (OH), Murray (WA) and Snowe (ME) in the Senate. The SECTORS Act would amend the Workforce Investment Act and establishes a new Industry or Sector Partnership Grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Grants would allow recipients to establish or expand industry or sector partnerships that lead collaborative planning, resource alignment, and training efforts across multiple firms for current and potential workers within the targeted industry cluster. The bill must now be approved by the Senate. You can reach your Senator at (202) 224-3121 to voice your support.


DIPLOMA Act Aims to Increase College and Career Readiness

Sen. Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced S. 3595, the Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act which aims to strengthen student achievement and graduation rates and prepare young people for college, careers, and citizenship through innovative partnerships that meet the comprehensive needs of children and youth. States would receive funding that would be used in part to administer competitive grants to local consortia to assess community needs, coordinate existing funding streams, and provide services. Career technical education is specifically mentioned as a permissible of funds by the local consortia.

Among the other permissible use of funds allowed by this bill are multiple pathways to graduation (including dual enrollment programs, early college high schools, dropout prevention strategies, and dropout recovery strategies), job training, career counseling, and internship opportunities.


Senate Committee Looks at Veteran’s Bill

On Wednesday the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing to examine improvements to S. 3447, the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This bill would make changes to the Post-9/11 GI bill which currently provides education funding and benefits to veterans. S. 3447 would allow veterans to use their benefits at educational institutions that do not award associate or higher degrees. This would be a change from the current Post-9/11 GI Bill, which does not allow participants to use funds at a non-degree granting institution. This bill would allow veterans to attend postsecondary education institutions that do not grant associate or higher degrees, such as area career technical schools, career schools, and apprenticeship programs. The Committee is scheduled to hold a markup of pending legislation on August 5, 2010, during which Chairman Akaka (HI) intends to bring the bill up for a vote

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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Making the United States a “Grad Nation”

Monday, March 1st, 2010

President Obama joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and General Colin Powell this morning to announce “Grad Nation” – a 10-year, $900 million initiative aimed at reversing the dropout crisis and helping students prepare for success in college, work and life. The goals of the campaign include ensuring that 90% of 4th graders graduate from high school on time and fulfilling the President’s goal to be the world’s leader in the college graduates by 2020.

The campaign, a partnership between the Education Department and Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance, would give money to states and school districts that agree to drastically change or even close their worst performing schools. Twelve percent of the nation’s high schools generate half of our dropouts.  By focusing on the lowest-performing schools, their feeder schools and neighborhoods, America’s Promise Alliance believes they can have a tremendous impact. The president’s plan would seek to help 5,000 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools over the next five years.

To be eligible to receive the grants, states and school districts must adopt one of four approaches to fix their lowest-performing schools:

The administration is also investing $50 million in dropout prevention strategies, including personalized and individual instruction and support to keep students engaged in learning, and better use of data to identify students at risk of failure and to help them with the transition to high school and college.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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