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Posts Tagged ‘Public Policy’

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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Legislative Update: Appropriations, SLDS Grants

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

House Labor-HHS-Education Mark Up Pushed to July

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education had intended to mark up its FY13 appropriations bill this week. However, the markup has been postponed until after the July 4th recess.  We will keep you posted on the new date. In the meantime, please see last week’s blog post about the importance of contacting your Representative about the critical need to maintain Perkins funding. There is still time!

Latest Round of SLDS Grant Winners Announced

The Institute for Education Sciences recently announced the list of 24 states that were awarded the latest round of State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants. The grants were awarded in three priority areas:

  1. The design, development, and implementation of a statewide, longitudinal kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) data system;
  2. The development and linking of early childhood data with the State’s K-12 data system; or
  3. The development and linking of postsecondary and/or workforce data with the State’s K-12 data system.

Nine states received grants under Priority 1 (K-12); one state received a Priority 2 (early childhood) grant, and fourteen states were awarded Priority 3 (postsecondary/workforce) grants. The winners of the grants to link K-12 data with postsecondary and/or workforce data, which may be of most interest to you, are:

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Legislative Update: House Committee Passes WIA Reauth Bill

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a markup of H.R. 4297, the Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012 yesterday. The bill represents large scale changes to the current WIA program. The bill was approved by a party line vote of 23 to 15. There is no word on when the bill will go to the floor.

The bill proposes to consolidate approximately 30 existing workforce and training programs into a single, flexible Workforce Investment Fund, and it would give Governors the power to consolidate even more programs under a unified state plan. The bill would also require states and locals to use common performance measures for all workforce development programs.

As we previously reported, an earlier bill introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (NC), which was merged into H.R. 4297, allowed states to submit a unified state plan encompassing two or more job training and related programs, including both Perkins secondary and postsecondary programs. Under Foxx’s bill, Perkins funds would have been eligible to be consolidated into a Workforce Investment Fund and used for workforce activities. After hearing from the CTE community, new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as one program whose funds cannot be consolidated into the Workforce Investment Fund.

The Workforce Investment Improvement Act also proposes changes to the Job Corps program to ensure that CTE and job training offered under that program is focused on in-demand occupations and that disadvantaged youth receive a regular high school diploma and/or a postsecondary credential that prepares them for employment.

Democrats on the Committee are not supportive of the bill, and offered a substitute bill as an amendment. Their bill focused on career pathways in high demand industries that lead to industry recognized credentials and postsecondary attainment. It would also expand the role of community colleges in job training. The Democrats’ amendment was voted down along party lines.

A summary of H.R. 4297 can be found here.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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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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New District-Level Race to the Top Competition Announced

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the proposed criteria for a new district-level Race to the Top grant program. Like the original Race to the Top grants, the district-level completion will revolve around four reform areas: higher standards, data-driven decision making, greater support for teachers, and turning around low-performing schools. School districts may compete for a piece of the $400 million pot by showing how their plans for individualized classroom instruction will help close achievement gaps and prepare all students for college and career.

“With this competition, we are inviting districts to show us how they can personalize education for a set of students in their schools.  We need to take classroom learning beyond a one-size-fits-all model and bring it into the 21st century,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

School districts or groups of districts serving at least 2,500 students with 40 percent or more qualifying for free or reduced price lunch are eligible to apply. Awards will range from $15 million to $25 million, depending on the population of students served.

You may submit comments by June 8 on the district-level Race to the Top program here. The Department has stated that it plans to release the application in July, and that it will be due in October. Grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Legislative Update: Agriculture Education Rule, Appropriations

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Proposed Rule Affecting Agriculture Education Withdrawn

As we told you late last year, the Department of Labor proposed a rule relating to the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would eliminate the student learner exemptions, particularly related to agriculture experiences. These changes would limit the opportunities for students to participate in hands-on learning experiences in agriculture programs.

The Department recently announced that they were withdrawing the proposed rule “in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.” We are pleased to see the change that can occur because of grassroots advocacy. The CTE and agriculture communities mobilized to voice their concerns with the proposed rule, their voices were heard!

House Passes Sequester Replacement Bill

The House passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act which, we told you about last week. This bill would replace cuts to defense spending with reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs. The bill passed 218-99, along party lines. Nearly all Republicans supported the bill (16 opposed it), and no Democrats supported it.

The Democratically-controlled Senate is so opposed to the bill that they have said they will not even vote on it. President Obama released a Statement of Administration Policy which indicated his plan to veto the bill if it reached his desk because it “would impose deep budget cuts that cost jobs and hurt middle class and vulnerable Americans – especially seniors, veterans, and children.” While the bill has very little chance of passing Congress, it could serve as a marker for Republicans during budget negotiations later this year.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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CTE IN THE NEWS: Career Education Plan from Obama Administration Unlikely to Bear Fruit for a Year or More

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education unveiled by the Obama Administration this week surfaced questions among key education and policy stakeholders; they rose issue regarding the timing of the document and effectiveness of its funding proposal, according to a recent Huffington Post article.

The article highlighted NASDCTEc’s concerns over the Perkins Blueprint, particularly relative to the proposal that would shift Perkin’s longstanding formula funding into competitive funding. Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director, noted how elimination of formula funding would leave states and regions with little or no monies to support areas that likely need the most help with training and educating CTE students for jobs.

“The details worry us,” said Green, in the article. “The competitive approach has the potential effect of really disadvantaging rural areas … that have smaller staffs and no full-time grant writers.”

NASDCTEc this week released a statement noting concerns of the Perkins Blueprint.

Echoing concerns over the Perkins Blueprint funding proposal, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) said in a statement that she “supports the Administration’s push to build on the successes of CTE programs,” but has “concerns with the funding mechanisms being proposed,” according to the article.

Finally, the article speculated that the Perkins Blueprint will likely not see much traction during this election year, adding that “no congressman has indicated he or she would sponsor a CTE reform bill along the lines of Obama’s proposal.”

“It’s part of a campaign strategy to emphasize employment,” said Jack Jennings, a former longtime Democratic congressional education staffer. “That’s Obama’s weak spot.”

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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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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Career and Technical Education Leaders Respond to Department of Education Perkins Blueprint

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, at Des Moines Area Community College, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the Administration’s proposal for Perkins reauthorization. NASDCTEc, together with ACTE, issued a statement immediately following the release:

ALEXANDRIA, VA — On April 19, 2012, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan unveiled Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education, outlining the Obama Administration’s proposal for reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins). The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) appreciate the Department’s focus on Perkins, and Career and Technical Education (CTE), at a time when many industries face a shortage of well qualified skilled workers. However, some of the details in the Blueprint raise serious concerns.

While we support the themes encompassed in the Perkins Blueprint—alignment, collaboration, accountability and innovation—we worry that the details in the Blueprint could have an adverse affect on CTE programs and result in decreased, inequitable student access to high-quality CTE programs. As the reauthorization process moves forward, CTE stakeholders across the country are looking forward to providing input to develop a new law that will best meet the needs of CTE students and our nation’s economy.

We believe that a new CTE law should provide sufficient resources to ensure that all students have access to high-quality CTE, beginning early in a student’s education with career awareness and broad knowledge and building pathways to more specific career-readiness skills through connections among secondary education, postsecondary education, and the labor market. To achieve this goal, we believe it is critical that the new law focus on improving program quality by building the capacity of secondary and postsecondary educational institutions to prepare all students for success in current and emerging in-demand career pathways.

Recent data prove that CTE is making the difference in the lives of students, in communities and for businesses all across our nation. We are eager to work with the Department of Education, the Obama Administration and Congress to develop federal policy and legislation that builds on strengths, expands opportunities and access for more students to be successful in college and careers, and helps keep our nation’s economy strong and prosperous.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation, News, Public Policy
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Department of Education Releases Plan to Improve Measures of Postsecondary Success

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In response to President Obama’s goal of increasing the number of college graduates, the Department of Education has developed an action plan for improving measures of postsecondary student success. This action plan is based on the recommendations of the Department’s Committee on Measures of Student Success, which found that the “current federal graduation rate measure is incomplete and does not adequately convey the wide range of student outcomes at two-year institutions.” The Committee also found that “data are not collected on other important outcomes achieved by students at two-year institutions.”

The Department’s Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success seeks to provide more complete information on student persistence and completion by augmenting current postsecondary measures of student success. For example, graduation rate reporting required for institutions of higher education will be broadened to include part-time and other students who have previously attended postsecondary education.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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