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Posts Tagged ‘NCLB/ESEA’

Legislative Update: Alternative Certification, Career Academies

Friday, July 27th, 2012

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Alternative Certification

The House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing this week to examine alternative certification of teachers. The topic is a timely one given its connection to defining highly qualified teachers under the No Child Left Behind Act. In 2010, Congress passed legislation that allowed students enrolled in alternative certification programs to be considered “highly qualified teachers.” The House Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill seeks to extend this definition for two more years.

There was general support for alternative routes to certification on both sides of the aisle during the hearing. Chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA) had this to say:

Alternative certification routes help address teacher shortages in particular geographic areas and subject matter, as well as strengthen the overall quality of the teaching profession. While Republicans know there is no one-size-fits-all federal solution to help put more effective teachers in the classroom, supporting the availability and acceptance of alternative certification programs is one way the public and private sectors can join together to ensure more students have access to a quality education from an extraordinary educator.

Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress, agreed that alternative certification programs hold a lot of promise, but that there need to be policies in place to ensure that they are “high quality, innovative, and effective,” which also holds true for traditional teacher preparation programs. She suggested that Congress focus on teacher effectiveness rather than alternative routes to certification.

More Details on Career Academies Proposal

Last week Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the National Academy Foundation’s NEXT Conference about the President’s FY13 budget proposal to invest $1 billion in career academies. Funding at this level could increase the number of career academies by 3,000 and serve an additional 500,000 students.

According to Duncan, $200 million in grants to states would be available in FY13, and $400 million would be available in both FY14 and FY15. Grants to would total $4 million each to states, and would be given over a three year period. States would distribute those funds competitively to locals.

As part of the grant program, the Department of Education is proposing a definition of “career academy” that each state must use for the in-state competition:

  1. A career academy is a secondary school program as organized as a small learning com­munity or school within a school to provide the support of a personalized learning environment.
  2. The academy must begin in ninth grade and combine credit-bearing academic and techni­cal curriculum.
  3. The academy must organize curriculum around a career theme like those proposed by NAF — hospitality and tourism, IT, health, sci­ence, and engineering — and be aligned with states’ college- and career-ready standards.
  4. The academy must provide work-based learning and career exploration activities through partnerships with local employers.
  5. The academy must articulate entrance re­quirements of postsecondary education programs to ensure students graduate from high school ready to pursue a higher education degree or credential.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, NCLB Waivers

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Victory for Perkins Funding in House Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee approved its FY13 bill this week by a vote of 8-6. We are happy to announce that Perkins was level funded in this bill! Thank you to everyone who contacted their Member of Congress in support of CTE and Perkins.

Because the House and Senate bills are approximately $7 billion apart, there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming months before the two chambers can agree on final spending levels. However, because Perkins was level funded in both the House and Senate bills, we are optimistic that it will remain level.

The bill will now move to the full House Appropriations Committee, likely on Wednesday July 25.

Six Additional States and the District of Columbia Receive NCLB Waivers

The Obama Administration announced this week that six more states – Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon and South Carolina – and the District of Columbia have received NCLB waivers that give them flexibility in meeting performance targets under NCLB. This latest round of recipients brings the total number of states with NCLB waivers to 32 plus the District of Columbia. Additional information on state requests and other documents can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Five More States Receive NCLB Waivers

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Last week the Obama Administration announced that five more states – Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia – have received NCLB waivers that give them flexibility in meeting performance targets under NCLB. This latest round of recipients brings the total number of states with NCLB waivers to 24. Additional information on state requests and other documents can be found here.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Career Clusters™ Institute Recap: Perspectives from the Hill

Monday, June 25th, 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.

On Tuesday afternoon we were joined by a panel of Congressional staffers who shared with attendees their outlook on budget topics, as well as the status of a number of education and workforce related bills. We were reminded that the remainder of the year is going to be a challenging one for Congress as they tackle issues such the national debt, sequestration, and tax cuts that are set to expire in December. The combination of these fiscal problems will undoubtedly lead to cuts in many federal programs.  Given that it is an election year, most of these issues will not be taken up until the lame duck session in November and December.

Because Perkins is not due for reauthorization, Congress is focused on other programmatic bills, such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and the Child Development Block Grant. There has been a lot of action around ESEA in both chambers this session, but things have seemed to slow done. The outlook was that it probably would not be reauthorized this year. While there has been a flurry of activity on the Workforce Investment Act in the House, it is unlikely that the bill will progress much further because of stalled negotiations on the Senate side.

However, the panelists did give their perspective on Perkins-related issues. As far as the Obama Administration’s Blueprint is concerned, it could be a discussion starting point for Members of Congress as they begin talking about reauthorization. More specifically, the proposal for competitive funding is not popular in Congress, while there is agreement that accountability and data needs to be stronger. Congress would also like to see better alignment with other federal programs such as ESEA and the Higher Education Act.

All of the panelists stressed that they want to hear from you! Constituent input is very important as they decide how to allocate federal dollars most effectively, and as they work on bills such as Perkins. So if you haven’t already, contact your Member of Congress now and let him or her know how critical CTE and Perkins is. Preliminary conversations about Perkins could be starting this year, and Congress needs to hear from the field about what is working, what is not working, and changes you would like to see made.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, National Career Clusters Institute, Public Policy
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Eight More States Receive NCLB Waivers

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced that eight additional states will receive waivers for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, so long as they implement college and career ready standards and reform their accountability systems. Waivers were given to Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. These states join 10 others – Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee – in receiving a waiver. States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 performance targets set by NCLB but must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

For more information, visit the Department’s waiver webpage.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, Election 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Tentative Date Set for Senate Appropriations Markup

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education has tentatively scheduled markup of their FY13 appropriations bill for June 12th.  As we previously reported, the Labor-HHS-Education bill sets a 302(b) funding level of $157.7 billion.

House Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chairman Dennis Rehberg (MT) previously stated that he does not intend to mark up their bill until after the Supreme Court rules on the status of the Affordable Care Act, which is expected to happen in late June.

Romney Provides Insight into Education Policy

Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Governor Mitt Romney (MA) focused on education this week. On Tuesday he released the names of his team of education policy advisors. You will recognize many of the names from the Bush Administration, including former Secretary of Education Rod Paige, former OVAE Assistant Secretary Carol D’Amico, and former ETA Assistant Secretary Emily DeRocco. A complete list can be found here.

On Wednesday Governor Romney gave a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, setting forth his education policies. The overarching theme of the speech centered on increased parental choice, especially for low-income and special need students, as a way to expand opportunities for students. While he did not mention CTE specifically, he did state, “…[S]ince we live in a twenty-first century economy that increasingly demands a college education, efforts at improvement can’t stop at high school’s end. Students must have access to a wide variety of options that will give them the skills they need for successful careers.”

In a white paper released on Wednesday, A Chance For Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education, Governor Romney laid out more details of this proposed education policies:

K-12 Education

Higher Education

 Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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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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Legislative Update: ESEA, Higher Education Regs, i3 Grants, Bills Introduced

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

House Passes Two ESEA Bills with CTE Elements

This week the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of two recently introduced ESEA bills, H.R. 3989, the Student Success Act and H.R. 3990, the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act. The Committee approved both pieces of legislation by party-line votes of 23 to 16.

The Student Success Act included elements of the Education for Tomorrows Jobs Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA) last year. The bill allows school districts to use ESEA funds to integrate academic and technical education, and encourages the creation of partnerships between school districts, institutes of higher education, business and industry, and other stakeholders.

The markup was largely partisan with Democrats opposing the bills and offering substitute bills as their only amendments. There were several Republican amendments to note. Rep. Todd Rokita’s (IN) amendment to reduce the number of U.S. Department of Education staffers was accepted along a party-line vote. However, an amendment from Rep. Thompson to change the Title I funding formula to help smaller population districts was defeated by a vote of 22-16. Such a change would have benefited rural areas, such as Mr. Thompson’s district. Ranking Member George Miller (CA) argued that a change to the formula like the one proposed would not be fair to high population districts that would lose money.

Chairman Kline (MN) intends to move the bills to the floor for a vote in the near future. We will keep you posted on the progress of these two pieces of legislation.

House Passes Bill to Repeal Two Higher Education Regulations

The House this week passed H.R. 2117, the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education Act by a vote of 303 to 114. This bill would permanently repeal the credit hour and state authorization regulations (which went into effect July 1, 2011), with the goal of reducing college costs and increasing student choice. More specifically, the legislation would prohibit the Secretary of Education from promulgating or enforcing any rule that defines “credit hour,” and would ease the burden on distance education programs from meet any state requirements in the state where the student is located. The Senate has not indicated whether they will vote on similar legislation.

Next Round of i3 Grants Available

The Department of Education is now accepting pre-applications for the next round of Investing in Innovation (i3) Development grants. The i3 development grants provide up to $3 million to support “new projects or programs with high potential for success but which have been implemented previously in only limited contexts.” The deadline to submit a pre-application is April 9, 2012.

Bills Introduced

Student Right to Know Before You Go Act

Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) introduced S. 2098, the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act, which intends to give students and their families the information they need to make better informed decisions about pursuing higher education. In its simplest terms, the bill would make it easier for students to find information about how long it would take get their degree, how much debt they could expect to owe after graduation, and how much they can expect to earn in a given field.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: CTE Floor Speech, ESEA

Friday, February 17th, 2012

House Member Highlights CTE in Floor Speech

Rep. Jim Langevin (RI), co-chair of the Congressional CTE Caucus, took to the floor of the House yesterday morning to shine a spotlight on CTE and its effectiveness in his state of Rhode Island. National Grid, the primary utility in his state, and the Community College of Rhode Island have come together to offer a program that allows students to earn a certificate in energy utility technology and gives them the opportunity to become new employees.

Mr. Langevin also called on his fellow members of Congress to support the President’s Community College to Career Fund, which would invest $8 billion over three years to advance partnerships between community colleges and businesses, such as National Grid.

NASDCTEc was pleased this week to have Mr. Langevin author a guest blog on the importance of CTE.

House Holds ESEA Hearing

Yesterday the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on two recently introduced pieces of ESEA reauthorization legislation, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act. Chairman John Kline (MN) stated in his opening remarks that these bills provide flexibility to States and districts around teacher evaluation systems, standards, and assessments. Ranking Member George Miller (CA), however, warned that Congress should not promote flexibility at the expense of accountability and that legislation must lead to better outcomes for students.

Rep. Tom Petri (WI) remarked that there are many unemployed individuals in Wisconsin, but that there are also many employers looking to fill jobs – good paying, middle class jobs – due to the mismatch between preparation students are getting and the changing job market. He warned that we need address this skills gap or “we are going to be in a world of trouble.” Mr. Petri wanted to know whether these two pieces of legislation would advance the collaborative efforts being made by states and businesses, such as through the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, to prepare young people for the modern world of work, or whether they would create barriers to these efforts. Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction, said that while the federal government’s role is be to hold states accountable, there needs to be sufficient flexibility because while the problems like those described by Mr. Petri are the same in many states, the solutions are not the same.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Budget, NCLB Waivers, ESEA

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Senate Urges OMB to Maintain Perkins Funding in FY13 Budget

A group of Senators led by Richard Blumenthal (CT) sent a letter this week to Jeffrey Zients, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, asking him to maintain FY12 Perkins Act funding for CTE programs in FY13. President Obama is scheduled to release his budget on Monday, and we hope that support from these Senators will encourage the Administration to maintain Perkins funding.

After the President releases his budget, Congress will begin work on their budgets and start the appropriations process. Members of both the House and Senate have expressed interest in drafting “Dear Colleague” letters to their respective chambers to garner support for Perkins Act funding.

Ten States Receive NCLB Waivers

President Obama this week announced that ten states will receive waivers for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements, so long as they implement college and career ready standards and reform their accountability systems. The ten states are: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. States receiving waivers no longer have to meet 2014 performance targets set by NCLB but must set new performance targets for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps.

“After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility,”  said President Obama. “Today, we’re giving 10 states the green light to continue making reforms that are best for them.  Because if we’re serious about helping our children reach their potential, the best ideas aren’t going to come from Washington alone.  Our job is to harness those ideas, and to hold states and schools accountable for making them work.

Twenty-eight other states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, have indicated that they will seek waivers later this spring. Additional materials can be found here: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility

House ESEA Bills Include CTE Provisions

Last month the House Education and the Workforce Committee released discussion drafts of two ESEA reauthorization bills. Yesterday, Committee Chairman John Kline (MN) formally introduced the bills, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act.

We worked with Congressional staff, as well as other policy groups, to get elements of the Education for Tomorrow’s Jobs Act (a bill we told you about in the fall), included in both bills. In the Student Success Act, grantees’ local plans will have to include a description of how they use funds to support programs that coordinate and integrate “career and technical education aligned with state technical standards that promote skills attainment important to in-demand occupations or industries in the state and the state’s academic standards and work based learning opportunities that provide students in-depth interaction with industry professionals.”

The Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act allows locals to use funds professional development for teachers and school leaders that is “evidence-based, job embedded, and continuous, such as professional development on integrated, interdisciplinary, and project based teaching strategies, including for career and technical education teachers.”

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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