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Posts Tagged ‘Innovation’

Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Perkins Reauthorization Blueprint Discussion of State-Level Implications

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The National Career Clusters™ Institute is an annual summer event that offers a range of seminars and workshops highlighting model CTE programs across the country that are aligned to the National Career Clusters Framework ™. This blog series provides a recap of the broad range of information shared over the course of the event, which took place June 18 – 20 in Washington, DC.

During this session, officials from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education walked through the Obama Administration’s blueprint for Perkins reauthorization and the proposed reform models that they believe will positively impact the way that states develop, administer, implement, and evaluate local CTE programs. These reforms include things such as mandatory local consortia, within state competition to distribute funds, common definitions for accountability, and state conditions for receipt of funds.

NASDCTEc supports the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation — as is reflected in our recently released Federal Policy Priorities. We would like to see a greater emphasis in the next federal CTE legislation on the strong work that the community is doing around programs of study, a link to labor market needs, greater collaboration between partners, stronger and more effective accountability linkages, and additional funding for innovation.

We do, however, have some concerns about the details in the Blueprint, some of which were voiced by attendees during the question and answer portion of the session. For example, attendees remarked that if the next Perkins includes common measures, it is important that there is a way to track students across states. States also asked for federal support and funding to implement this effectively.

Regarding consortia, we heard about the structure that Minnesota is using for consortia where secondary and postsecondary partners are each fiscal agents, which seems to be working for that state. However, there was a variety of concerns about consortia, including the fear that those with the most resources would have better applications than those with fewer resources. Others pointed out that consortia with fewer resources also cannot afford technology to link partners across the state. There was also concern that the move to consortia will limit students to regional opportunities, rather than statewide programs.

In regards to the focus on in-demand industries, some attendees asked the Department for more assistance to better serve areas in their state where there are no job opportunities in in-demand industries, and to help bridge the disconnect between high poverty areas and in-demand local industries.   Others were concerned that the focus on in-demand and high growth industries will exclude some states’ core industries.

Funding was another area that attendees were worried about. There was fear that the shift to competitive funding will create winners and losers among local programs. Some also pointed out that local teachers and administrators do not have time to work on applications for competitive grants because they are busy serving students. Competitive funding was seen as appropriate for an innovation fund, but not the Basic State Grant. Attendees also stated that taking 10 percent out of the Basic State Grant for an innovation fund means that fewer CTE programs will be funded.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Grant Competition Focused on Advanced Manufacturing Now Open

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Last week the Obama administration announced a new $26 million grant competition – the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge – designed to support advanced manufacturing and stimulate economic growth. Proposals should show how applicants “will help grow a region’s industry clusters by strengthening connections to regional economic development opportunities and advanced manufacturing assets, enhance a region’s capacity to create high-quality sustainable jobs, develop a skilled and diverse advanced manufacturing workforce, increase exports, encourage the development of small businesses and accelerate technological innovation.”

The initiative is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation. It will also be supported by eight other federal agencies, including the Department of Education. According to OVAE, one goal of the competition is to engage education and training providers, such as community colleges, to ensure that individuals are prepared for new jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Twelve projects are expected to be awarded the competitive grants. The deadline to submit applications for the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is July 9th. Guidelines for submissions are available at http://www.manufacturing.gov.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Department’s Perkins Reauthorization Proposal Raises Questions and Concerns

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Yesterday Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier unveiled Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa. This Blueprint outlines the Obama Administration’s plan for reauthorizing the Perkins Act, and revolves around the following four themes:

  1. Alignment: Effective alignment between high-quality CTE programs and labor market needs to equip students with 21st-century skills and prepare them for in-demand occupations in high-growth industry sectors;
  2. Collaboration:  Strong collaborations among secondary and postsecondary institutions, employers, and industry partners to improve the quality of CTE programs;
  3. Accountability: Meaningful accountability for improving academic outcomes and building technical and employability skills in CTE programs for all students, based upon common definitions and clear metrics for performance; and
  4. Innovation:  Increased emphasis on innovation supported by systemic reform of state policies and practices to support CTE implementation of effective practices at the local level.

 

While we support the themes encompassed in the Blueprint, we worry that the details related to each of these areas could have an adverse affect on CTE programs. For example, the proposal to award funds to consortia on a competitive basis could result in decreased, inequitable student access to high-quality CTE programs. You can read our joint statement with ACTE here. We will provide more detailed analysis in the coming days.

For more information from the Department of Education, you can access a summary of the Blueprint, as well as their press release.

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Budget, ED Priorities, DOL Priorities

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

House Marks Up Budget Resolution

Rep. Paul Ryan Chairman of the House Budget Committee released his budget resolution this week, which will serve as a blueprint for the House as the appropriations process moves forward. The budget passed committee by a vote of 19-18. The resolution sets the FY13 discretionary cap at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below the cap set by the Budget Control Act last summer. The proposal would cut education, training, employment, and social services programs by $16.4 billion, which is 22 percent below FY12 levels. The resolution specifically targets Federal job training and workforce programs, calling them duplicative, and proposing to streamline the system and consolidate existing programs into “career scholarship programs.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has said that the Senate will adhere to the spending levels set in the Budget Control Act and will not release a budget resolution.

Secretary Duncan Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday to discuss the budget and policy priorities of Department of Education.  Duncan spoke about some CTE-specific proposals such as increased funding for career academies and community colleges. He also addressed the need to reauthorize the Perkins Act:

The Administration’s reauthorization proposal would transform CTE by increasing the focus on outcomes and career pathways that ensure that what students learn in school is more closely aligned with the demands of the 21st century economy, while creating stronger linkages between secondary and postsecondary education. The proposal would also promote innovation and reform in CTE.

A number of members, from both sides of the aisle, expressed concern that the President’s budget would cut or freeze existing programs, in exchange for funding new programs such as the Community College to Career Fund.

Secretary Solis Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee this week about the budget and policy priorities of the Department of Labor. Solis began her testimony by saying that the labor market grew stronger last year, and that over 2 million private sector jobs were created, while the unemployment rate fell in 48 states. However, there is still work to be done and the President’s budget outlines the steps his administration intends to take to address unemployment and the skills gap.

As we told you after the President’s State of the Union address, he plans to create an “economy built to last,” founded on strengthening manufacturing, energy, education, and skills training for individuals. Secretary Solis outlined the proposed programs in the President’s budget that would help address these issues. For example, the Community College to Career Fund would help community colleges to partner with business and industry to develop training programs for workers to enter high growth and high demand industries that meet the needs of local employers.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Leaders Focus on Closing the Skills Gap and Increasing Innovation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Leaders concerned with America’s growing skills gap met last week in Washington to focus on solutions to this national problem.

The Atlantic, a literary and political magazine, hosted the event to brainstorm how America can regain its competitiveness in the global economy. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison kicked off the event by stressing the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as early as middle school. She also expressed her support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and emphasized the need for technical jobs and training to fulfill the country’s “responsibility to show that some of the best jobs in the world [require] technical degrees.”

A panel featuring higher education, government, and manufacturing experts described their various initiatives aimed at closing this gap.  Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) described current progress as slow, but he also stated that the nation is set to make great strides in the long-term.  From a higher education perspective, Bob Templin, President of Northern Virginia Community College, agreed that a larger number of high school graduates are not ready for postsecondary training. However, he also noted that secondary and postsecondary schools and business and industry are actively teaming together to create solutions.

View the entire event and additional resources here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News
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Fall Meeting: Being an Innovative Leader During Tough Times

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Given the tough fiscal climate, states are being asked to do more with less. During the opening session at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting, states shared how they are continuing to expand CTE and be innovative in their approach, despite funding cuts and dwindling resources.

John Fischer, State Director of CTE in Vermont, spoke about a consortium of New England states leveraging their resources to ensure that high schools graduates are prepared for college and careers in the 21st century. For example, partner states are working together to build flexible pathway and proficiency based graduation models together.

Sherry Key, State Director of CTE in Alabama, shared the work being done by her state on a commission that Alabama has created to look at the future of CTE. The Career and Technical Education Commission will review the status of secondary CTE programs as well as the needs of employers in the state, and then make recommendations on how to strengthen and support CTE programs. Despite state budget crises, Alabama has chosen to focus on CTE as a way to help the economy and get people back to work.

T.J. Eyer, Division Administrator for CTE in Montana, discussed the work that Montana is doing around the transition to Programs of Study. Montana is prioritizing all of its Perkins funds to focus on Programs of Study until all programs meet RPOS standards. See his PowerPoint presentation for more information.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Uncategorized
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US Innovative Education Forum Accepting Applications

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The annual US Innovative Education Forum (IEF), hosted by Microsoft, honors innovative teachers and schools. The forum provides teachers and schools the opportunity to showcase how technology furthers education transformation by being appropriately incorporated into curricula, pedagogy, and classrooms. The work of schools and teachers engaged in CTE often is at the vanguard of innovation and are eligible to apply.

The application process does not limit to a single application per school. There are opportunities for different innovative teachers, projects, or teams. Kelly Green, Academic Program Manager with US Partners in Learning, indicated, “IEF is a great way to promote the activities the students are engaged in . . . and if selected, this is a great way to showcase the school or district.”

More information about the application and process, including a video of past winners and is available at http://www.microsoft.com/education/uspil/USIEF/default.mspx.

By Dean in News, Resources, Uncategorized
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Hearing Calls for Innovation and Accountability with Flexibility in ESEA Reauthorization

Friday, February 11th, 2011

The House Education and the Workforce Committee met yesterday to hear about and discuss state and local-level innovations, educational output from federal spending, and the role of the federal government in schools today.

Committee members and witnesses broadly discussed areas to include and exclude from the upcoming ESEA reauthorization. Both Chairman John Kline (MN) and Ranking Member George Miller (CA) cited balancing flexibility with accountability as a major concern.

Each of the four witnesses shared insight into education reform at the state and local levels. Andrew Coulson of the CATO Institute presented disturbing statistics revealing that dramatically increased education spending does not equate to improved results. Coulson stated that “We have little to show for the $2 trillion in federal education spending of the past half century… it now costs three times as much to provide essentially the same education as we provided in 1970.”

Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, discussed what his state is doing to increase educational productivity. He described state-level innovations, like value-added growth models, that are showing promise in Indiana. He and the three other witnesses agreed that Congress will need to produce a comprehensive plan to create effective reform.

Ranking Member Miller is confident that ESEA reauthorization will occur this year, and demanded high goals and achievement, aligned with college and career-ready standards, for all students.

You can view an archived webcast of the hearing here.

By Kara in Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Levers of Change

Friday, November 5th, 2010

During a workshop session facilitated by Langdon Morris of Innovation Labs, Fall Meeting attendees learned about the “levers of change” though a series of case studies aimed at highlighting how companies have transformed their brand, their strategies and their vision. Lessons learned at this session were translated to how State Directors and the CTE community can transform CTE by putting the new vision, Reflect, Transform, Lead, into action as attendees worked together in small groups.

One of the takeaways from this session was that failure is not always a bad thing because the faster you fail, the quicker you can reach success.

We also learned that the closer you get to changing a system, the harder it pushes back. Therefore, each movement, company or organization needs three players to make change happen:

These three players must work together in order for change to happen. Who serves in these roles in your organization?

By Nancy in Meetings and Events
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Leaders and Laggards Report Published

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Yesterday the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce along with the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute released a joint report, Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Education Innovation during ICW’s Education and Workforce Summit.  The report evaluates “the innovation gap in American education, identifying key problem areas and seeking promising solutions” in eight areas:

Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute was quick to point out that “innovation” here does not mean best practices that can be taken to scale, but rather opportunities to innovate, because what works well in one state may not work everywhere.  In other words, states that remove barriers to innovation tended to score higher than those states whose policies and practices make it hard for schools and districts to effectively solve problems.

The findings of the report were unsettling as very few states received high marks in the key areas.  However, outstanding programs and practices were highlighted in each category.  For example, in the Pipeline to Postsecondary category North Carolina was given recognition for its large concentration of early college high schools that allow students to earn college credits while still in high school.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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