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Posts Tagged ‘early college high school’

Legislative Update: ESEA, i3 Grants

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Education Department Announces Highest-Rated i3 Applicants

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced the 23 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applicants who will receive grants, provided that they obtain private sector matching funds by December 9, 2011. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

“Investing in these vital innovations across the country has the potential to dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student performance and to do so cost-effectively” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models that will prepare more students for college and career.”

Two applicants stood out to me as projects that could be aligned to CTE. First, the North Carolina New Schools Project’s Validating Early College Strategies will partner with 8 rural LEAs to implement early college high school strategies in 18 high schools serving high need students. Second, the goal of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative’s Career and College Readiness Transformations project is to improve student achievement and increased graduation rates, and increased access to and success in college through links between education and work.

You can find more details about all prospective grantees here.

Senate ESEA Hearing

On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of ESEA in response to Sen. Rand Paul’s (KY) objections during the committee markup last month. During opening statements, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) said that states must take responsibility for accountability and make sure that students are college and career ready in a way that works for students.

Witnesses, who included school superintendents, administrators, teachers, special education advocates and other education policy representatives, discussed the pros and cons of the draft ESEA bill passed by the committee. They spoke about the burdens that the current law has placed on teachers and administrators, as well as the value of local control versus federal involvement in education. Witnesses were concerned about the draft bill’s elimination of performance targets.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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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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House ESEA Hearing Highlights CTE as a Turnaround Model

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

On Wednesday the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on “Research and Best Practices on Successful School Turnaround” which looked at ways to turn around the lowest performing schools which produce the highest numbers of dropouts. In his opening remarks, Chairman George Miller (CA) stated that one of the biggest problems to be addressed in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is dropouts. He was critical of the interventions available in No Child Left Behind as well as the Administration’s four proposed turnaround models. He said that the three things that schools and districts need are data, extended learning time and community support.

In his testimony, DDaniel King PSJA House hearingr. Daniel King, Superintendent of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District (PSJA), spoke about the CTE-based strategies he has used to reduce the dropout rate from almost double the state average to less than half the state average in just two years. The district was able to use grant money to open a T-STEM Early College High School where students can earn up to 60 college credit hours (the equivalent of an Associate degree) while still in high school.

Some of the lessons learned by PSJA include:

The district was recently declared a state model for district turnarounds by Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott and was awarded $2,000,000 grant to scale up their efforts.

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.

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