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Posts Tagged ‘Public Policy’

Florida Legislature Passes Bill Introducing College-Ready and Career-Ready Tracks

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Florida Governor Rick Scott of signed a bill this week, restructuring the state’s graduation requirements.

At the heart of the legislation is the repeal of the state’s current high school graduation requirements – adopted in 2010 to be fully implemented with the graduating class of 2016 – which required all students to complete four years of mathematics, including Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II (in alignment with the state’s adopted Common Core State Standards) and three years of science, including Biology and Chemistry or Physics.

Under the new requirements, to impact the graduating class of 2014, students can choose a career pathway that would allow them to be waived from Algebra II, Chemistry and Physics courses, as well as the end-of-course assessments in those subjects and take more Career Technical Education (CTE) courses or other work-based learning experiences in their place. The Florida State Board of Education will determine which courses will be allowed to substitute the waived academic courses. If students take the new minimum requirements and earn one or more industry certification, they will receive a “merit” designation.

Or, students can earn “scholar” designation if they complete the current graduation requirements, with the goal of this pathway preparing students for a four-year degree.

The legislation includes a strong focus on career exploration and articulates that districts should work with local workforce boards, business and industry, and postsecondary institutions to create partnerships and career-focused courses, which would then need to be approved by the State Board of Education.

The legislation also changes Florida’s assessment requirements by making the currently high-stakes biology and geometry end-of-course assessments count as 30 percent of a student’s grade rather than a requirement for graduation. The Algebra I and English 10 exams will still be required for all students, but also count as 30 percent of the student’s final grade rather than be fully high stakes.  Finally, the bill ensures the current economics course requirement includes an emphasis on financial literacy.

The bill aims to provide students with more flexibility and better align high school with workforce demands and many of the provisions will achieve that. However, there is valid concern that the new graduation requirements will mean not all students will be expected to learn – and therefore will have access to – the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The concern is largely around the fact that, unless the approved CTE courses, credentials and experiences are indeed rigorous both in terms of the technical expectations and academic expectations, some students will be tracked into less rigorous pathways, limiting their postsecondary and career options in the long term.

We’ll be tracking the issue and particularly the work of the State Board of Education moving forward.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in Public Policy
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Spring Meeting Recap: A View from the Hill – Federal Policy Impacting Career Technical Education

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Spring Meeting. One of the featured sessions had representatives from several Congressional offices and a legislative liaison from Association of Career and Technical Education (ACTE) discussing current and future Career Technical Education (CTE) related activity on the Hill.

U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AR) has introduced three bills supporting CTE and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM): the Professional Development for Educators Act (S.441), Career and Technical Education Facilities Modernization Act (S.439), and the Counseling for Career Choice Act (S.282). The Counseling for Career Choice Act, in particular, focuses on developing a strong framework for career counseling that promotes local pathways, a full array of postsecondary options, and the alignment of curriculum to locally-available jobs.

Sam Morgante from Congressman Jim Langevin’s (D-RI) office – who co-chairs the CTE Caucus – described the drivers of the Congressman’s interest in CTE and actions he currently is taking to put Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) reauthorization at the forefront. Congressman Langevin is working to coordinate a letter, signed by over 50 members of Congress, calling for Perkins to be fully funded in the 2014 budget, given the increased demand at the local level and the skills gap, which is impacting Rhode Island in particular as the state with the second highest unemployment rate in the nation.

Beth Meloy, representing U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN), discussed the skills gap and the Senator’s interest in promoting opportunities for students to have more integrated academic and technical experiences. Senator Franken plans to introduce legislation that will incentivize partnerships between community colleges and local businesses. Members of the audience cautioned against focusing only on community colleges as using such narrow language can exclude other degree- and certificate-granting institutions and technical centers that are not formally considered “community colleges.”

Brendan Desetti, a legislative liaison from the ACTE, noted that given the fact that Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) ESEA, Perkins, and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) – and soon to be the Higher Education Act (HEA) – are all up for reauthorization, there is a good chance that these bills will be better aligned, in terms of language, programs, and accountability measures, than ever before. Of course, this is still dependent on movement from Congress, which all panelists noted is still an uphill battle given the perpetual budget “crises” that are taking up most of the Congress’ and media’s attention. Throughout the entire NASDCTEc Spring Meeting, participant consistently discussed how the range of definitions – and interpretations of definitions – in Perkins and related programs is an ongoing challenge.

Finally, Brendan also raised the issue of other laws and regulations that may not be directly related to CTE but still can have a direct impact on state’s and district’s ability to deliver CTE, such as the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, which has the potential to negatively impact Family and Consumer Sciences programs.

The session ended with the panelists encouraging the participants to reach out to their senators and representatives to build relationships with staffers, communicate the importance of CTE, and highlight how programs are benefiting students and the state’s economic development. ACTE has an Action Center to facilitate direct communications between individuals and their members of Congress.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren in NASDCTEc Spring Meeting, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Senate Passes Continuing Resolution; House Republican and Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals; Senate Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals; President’s FY14 Budget Proposal

Thursday, March 21st, 2013
Senate Passes Continuing Resolution

On March 20, the Senate voted 73-26 to pass its version of the FY13 continuing resolution (CR). This CR would see all Department of Education programs funded at their FY13 levels and then cut 5% by the sequester. It is important to note that the Senate passed CR does not include the 0.098% across the board cut that was included in the House approved CR.

The House must now decide whether or not to accept the Senate version, which would mean dropping the 0.098% across the board cut,  and pass the bill to the President to sign or to try to work across the chambers to resolve the differences between the two proposals. NASDCTEc will continue to monitor this ever-changing and very active policy environment and provide you with more information on the emerging budget and sequestration decisions being made. Because the Perkins Act is forward funded, the decisions made with this CR would effect the funding that states get on July 1, 2013.

House Republican and Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently announced his plan for the FY14 budget (H.Con.Res.25). The measure, which passed through the House Budget Committee last week on a party line vote of 22-17, is expected to be voted on later today and would see an 11.7% reduction in overall non defense discretionary (NDD) spending in FY14. NDD spending includes all education and workforce funding, including Perkins. Budget proposals generally do not provide recommendations for program level increases or decreases but instead provide a broad framework, an overall cap on spending, and guidelines for where investments should be made. The Ryan budget proposal does not provide details on which programs would be reduced to achieve the 11.7% reduction in NDD, so it is unclear of the implications of this proposal on Perkins funding. The Ryan proposal does recommend moving the Community College/TAA Grant program, which is administered by the Department of Labor, to the discretionary side of the budget; it is currently on the mandatory side of the budget.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, had offered up an alternative budget proposal on behalf of House Democrats that would rescind the sequestration cuts. The proposal recommended maintaining the current investment in education programs and also lacks the detail necessary to know what impact would be had on Perkins funding, however the House yesterday rejected the Van Hollen budget along with all other budget substitutes.
Senate Democrat FY14 Budget Proposals

Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) also announced her plan for the FY14 budget (S.Con.Res.8). The proposal would see the sequester eliminated, resulting in more Perkins funding in future years than currently expected. It would also see $4 trillion in savings reached over ten years, as had been recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Debate on the measure had been held up until the Senate had passed a bill on the FY13 continuing resolution. Under the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, 50 hours of debate are allowed on the budget, meaning deliberations could go on until Saturday evening. The divide between the political parties is clear when comparing the budget proposals, with fierce debates expected as the measures move forward. Once both the House and the Senate pass their respective proposals, a Conference Committee will be held, allowing differences between the proposals to be discussed and for compromise to be reached.


President’s FY14 Budget Proposal
The President’s FY14 budget proposal has yet to be released. Typically, this proposal is released in early February and kicks off the budget debates. However, the President’s proposal, expected in early to mid-April, will be coming along when the Congressional debates may well be complete.
David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

By David in Legislation, Public Policy
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November CTE Monthly: Sequestration Could Impact Over One Million CTE Students; Career Readiness Definition Released

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

CTE Monthly, a collaborative publication from the Association for Career and Technical Education and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, features the latest news on Career Technical Education (CTE) from across the nation for CTE stakeholders and Members of Congress.

In the November edition, read more about:

View archived CTE Monthly newsletters and other resources on our Advocacy Tools Web page.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager

By Kara in News, Resources
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Sequestration Updates

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

New Sequester Report

 

The House Appropriations Committee Democrats recently released a new sequestration report – A Report on Consequences of Sequestration – that examines the impact of sequestration on a number of federal programs. In the education sphere, the report does not discuss Perkins or CTE, but does say that Title I Grants would be cut by more than $1 billion, impacting over 4,000 schools serving nearly 2 million disadvantaged students. In the Labor Department, cuts to Job Corps would reduce by approximately 4,300 the number of at-risk youth served.

 

Bipartisan Group of Senators Working on Deal

 

The so-called “Gang of Six,” which has been meeting to devise a bipartisan grand bargain on deficit reduction has added two more members to their ranks – Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE). It is unclear what kind of leverage the group will have during the lame duck session when Congress re-convenes to find an alternative to sequestration.

 Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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New NASDCTEc Brief: Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

NASDCTEc has partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education to co-author Promoting Work-Based Learning: Efforts in Connecticut and Kentucky, which details what work-based learning looks like at different learner levels, and the benefits that students gain from their participation in work-based learning opportunities. The brief also highlights the potential obstacles facing states that can limit both the access to and quality of work-based learning opportunities, and looks at efforts from two states to define work-based learning opportunities for students, educators, and employers, and to create policies that provide greater access to these opportunities.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy, Publications
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New CRS Report Highlights NASDCTEc Work

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides reports and analyses to Members of Congress on a variety of policy issues, recently released a new report on Career Technical Education. The goal of the report, Career and Technical Education: A Primer, is to “support congressional discussion of initiatives designed to rationalize the workforce development system.”

The report provides an overview of CTE, walks through the delivery and structure of CTE at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult learner levels, and raises several issues facing CTE stakeholders. For example, according to the report, there are four concerns that may hinder CTE delivery at the secondary level: (1) what is the goal of CTE – to broaden the students’ education and provide early exposure to several career options or to ensure students are prepared to enter the workforce, (2) the expense of maintaining and updating the instructional resources and equipment, (3) whether CTE adds value to a college preparatory high school curriculum, and (4) that the common core standards do not define career-ready and thus may not provide immediate career preparation.

While explaining the National Career ClustersTM Framework, the report references data from NASDCTEc’s 2011 issue brief, Career Clusters and Programs of Study: State of the States. The data for this issue brief was culled from the 2010 State Profile survey. We administer this survey to our members every other year to collect a wealth of information to be used in updating the State Profiles, and to provide the basis for a number of issue briefs. We are pleased that CRS was able to utilize our data in their report!

In the section “College- and Career-Ready Standards and CTE Standards” the report highlights NASDCTEc and NCTEF’s work around the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) as one of the two set of standards impacting CTE students. As stated in the CRS report, the CCTC was developed by 42 states, the District of Columbia, Palau, business and industry representatives, educators, and other stakeholders, and it provides standards for each of the 16 Career ClustersTM and their career pathways.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Public Policy, Publications
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Secretary Duncan Outlines Progress Made and Goals for the Future

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This afternoon Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at the National Press Club about the state of American education. Duncan highlighted the Obama Administration’s achievements and challenges over the last four years and offered his take on the obstacles facing public schools in the years ahead.

Chief among the Department’s endeavors are raising standards, improving student performance, reducing dropout rates, and strengthening the teaching profession. But, as we in the CTE community know, education also plays an important role in strengthening the economy and closing the skills gap. Said Duncan: “With more than three million unfilled jobs in this country, [the public] understand[s] that we have a skills gap that will only be closed if America does a better job training and preparing people for work.” The public supports investing in education, but as Duncan pointed out, they worry about where the money will come from.

Duncan laid out the areas where there is still work to be done, including reforming CTE programs in high schools and community colleges, state-driven accountability, recruiting more math and science teachers, and closing the skills gap.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Continuing Resolution Extends Highly Qualified Teacher Provision

Monday, September 24th, 2012

On Saturday the Senate passed a six month continuing resolution that will fund the federal government through March 27, 2013. This bill extends for an additional year a provision that allows teachers who are participating alternative certification programs to be considered highly qualified. This means that at least until the end of the 2013-2014 school year, teachers in alternative certification programs will be considered highly qualified. The Department of Education will also be required to send a report to Congress no later than December 31, 2013 detailing how many special education students, rural students, English-language learners, and low-income students are being taught by teachers in an alternative-certification program.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By Nancy in Legislation
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Congress Releases Six Month Funding Bill

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

This week the House Appropriations Committee released a six month continuing resolution that will fund government programs until March 27, 2013 at FY12 levels plus an across-the board increase of 0.612%. This increase is the result of the bill adhering to the spending levels set forth in the Budget Control Act, as well as unanticipated revenues in FY12 that will carry forward to FY13.  The House is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow, with the Senate voting on it next week. The bill is expected to pass both chambers easily.

While this is good news, passage of this bill does not mean that Perkins will not see cuts in FY13. Cuts could still be included in the final spending bill to be worked out after Congress returns in January. With the uncertainty of the election and what impact it will have on the balance of power in both the White House and Congress, we do not know if Perkins will be targeted for cuts in 2013. This means that we must remain diligent in our efforts to educate Members of Congress on the value of CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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