Posts Tagged ‘race to the top’

Already at the Top: Career Technical Education

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Across the nation and in a range of regions – urban, rural, suburban – career technical education (CTE) schools have dramatically turned around dropout rates, boosted student achievement and increased the number of students who enter college, according to a recent National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education three-part research brief series. Michigan, New Jersey and New Mexico each provide a model of a successful CTE school, NASDCTEc says.

The schools’ success stories are of particular significance given the economic climate and the high demand for programs that adequately prepare students for the global market, according to NASDCTEc, a Washington, D.C.-area association that represents state heads of CTE. Already At the Top: CTE Programs Show Positive Impact on Student Achievement highlights three high schools that have demonstrated a positive impact in significant school improvement areas, some of which are aligned with the Obama Administration’s Race to the Top priority areas.

The schools elevated their standards for students and teachers, partnered with business and industry, and established strong relationships with postsecondary institutions to improve their schools and the way they teach students.

Newark Tech High School – New Jersey (urban)

Livonia Career Technical Center – Michigan (suburban)

Loving High School – New Mexico (rural)

By Erin in Public Policy, Publications
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ICW: States Spur Reform to Vie for Race to the Top Funds

Friday, May 21st, 2010

The June 1 deadline for states to apply for the next phase of Race to the Top is approaching and states are implementing policy reforms with the ambition to strengthen their applications, according to a recent Institute for Competitive Workforce article.

The ICW, a nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, offers a state by state snapshot of the 38 states that submitted letters of intent to vie for their share of the $4 billion pot.  ICW predicts that the number of states who make it to the application finishing line will likely be lower, but did note the significant moves some states have been making to develop a competitive application for this round.

For example, in Maryland, Gov. O’Malley passed a new education reform law, which requires student to growth be a significant factor in teacher evaluations. The State superintendent has since pushed for half of those evaluations to be based on student progress, according to ICW. In Hawaii, officials are considering easing charter school restrictions.

Whether states’ efforts will win them funds to enact even greater changes will be clearer after the June 1 deadline.

By Erin in News, Public Policy
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Register for “Already at the Top: CTE Programs Show Positive Impact on Student Achievement” NASDCTEc Webinar

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Register now for the NASDCTEc webinar Already At the Top: CTE Programs Show Positive Impact on Student Achievement

When: Friday, May 28, 2010 3 PM-4 PM Eastern time.   Event number: 205 969 218      Register for this webinar at:

A string of changes in global competition, demographics, as well as our collective conscience, require we ensure that every student in the United States is prepared for success. Hence, education systems are aiming to address these changes through school improvement efforts. At the federal level, the Obama Administration is incentivizing sweeping changes in four specific areas through its Race to the Top Fund. While a large-scale reform movement is still in its infancy, potential program and school models can be found in career technical education (CTE), which has led school improvement strategies linked to student achievement in rural, urban and suburban areas. This webinar expands on a NASDCTEc three-part issue brief series.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Resources
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Data Quality Institute Posts Preliminary Outline, Shares Topics Being Considered

Friday, May 7th, 2010

According to the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN), the 2010 Data Quality Institute (DQI) will be ‘virtual,’ spreading out over a several week time period in late 2010, rather than concentrated into a single block of 1 1/2 to 2 days. Content will be offered via general strands, with sessions currently in consideration that include:

Refer to the PCRN Web site for more information.

PCRN is a resource of the Division of Academic and Technical Education (DATE),  within the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE).

By Ramona in Meetings and Events
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ESEA Reauthorization Hearing: Standards and Assessments

Thursday, April 29th, 2010


At yesterday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, “ESEA Reauthorization: Standards and Assessments,” much of the focus was on common core standards, college and career readiness, computer adaptive testing and multiple measures.

In his opening statement, Chairman Tom Harkin (IA) stressed the need for high standards in part because the cost of remediation for students entering postsecondary is in the billions, and more than 50 percent of high school students entering the workforce do not have the skills they need to do their jobs. Ranking member Michael Enzi (WY) agreed that students need to be held to high standards that prepare them for college and careers. He also stated that it is important for states to use various assessment models that measure higher order skills and 21st century skills that employers value.

Regarding college and career readiness, Dr. Cynthia Schmeiser of ACT told the committee that they believe that college readiness and career readiness are one in the same – the math and reading skills that students need to enter their first year of postsecondary are identical to the math and reading skills high school graduates need to enter the workforce. This definition differs from NASDCTEc’s.  We believe that while there is overlap between the knowledge and skills individuals need to successfully transition into postsecondary education and into the workforce, additional competency will be needed depending on the path a student chooses.

During the question and answer portion of the hearing, much of the dialogue was related to CTE:

By Nancy in Legislation
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Race to the Top Assessment Competition Announced

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education announced the availability of $350 million in Race to the Top funds to be used for the development of common assessments by consortia of states. The money will be awarded through two separate competitions, a Comprehensive Assessment System grant and a High School Course Assessment grant.

The Comprehensive Assessment Systems grants will provide funding to a consortia of at least 15 states for the development of new assessment systems that measure student knowledge and skills against a common set of college- and career-ready standards in mathematics and English language arts.

The High School Course Assessment grants provide funding to a consortia of at least 5 states for the development of new assessment programs that cover multiple high school courses (which may include courses in core academic subjects and career and technical education courses) and that include a process for certifying the rigor of the assessments in the assessment program and for ensuring that assessments of courses covering similar content have common expectations of rigor. [Emphasis added]. This grant also includes a competitive preference for applications that include CTE:

“To help improve outcomes in career and technical education, we are also establishing a second competitive preference priority for applications that include a high-quality plan to develop, within the grant period and with relevant business community participation and support, assessments for high school courses that comprise a rigorous course of study in career and technical education that is designed to prepare high school students for success on technical certification examinations or for postsecondary education or employment.”

You may recall that the President’s ESEA Blueprint also included plans that would allow states to invest formula funding in CTE assessments.

Grants will be awarded to consortia of states that create assessments that:

Applications are due on June 23, 2010 and winners will be announced in September.  See the Notice Inviting Applications for more information.  The Federal Register notice will be published on Friday April 9, 2010.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Delaware and Tennessee Awarded First Round Race to the Top Grants

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Delaware and Tennessee won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top competition.  Delaware will receive approximately $100 million and Tennessee will receive $500 million over the next four years to implement their reform plans.

The winning states included plans for plans such as tying teacher evaluation to student performance, charter schools and STEM. They also received approval of their applications from every school district in their states, and got support from nearly all of their teachers’ unions.

The Department will have about $3.4 billion available for the second phase of the Race to the Top competition.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Race to the Top Finalists Announced

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today named the 16 finalists in the first round of its Race to the Top competition, which will deliver $4.35 billion in school reform grants. Forty states and the District of Columbia submitted applications in January for this first round of funding. Winners for Phase 1 will be chosen from among the following finalists and announced during the first week in April.

States could win as much as $900 million each, depending on their size. The final number of winners, which will be announced next month, is expected to be as few as five states.

The Department enlisted a panel 58 outside judges to select the finalists based on 19 criteria, including the state’s track record, openness to charter schools, and systems to judge teacher performance.

States that apply, but do not win in Phase 1 may reapply for Phase 2.  Applications for Phase 2 will be due in June, with winners selected in September.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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President Urges Investment in Skills and Education in State of Union Address

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

In a State of the Union address that focused mainly on the economy, President Obama outlined measures already taken by his administration – ARRA, bank bailouts, unemployment benefits – and those he wishes to undertake in the coming year to address the financial crisis.  In calling for a new jobs bill, the president said that jobs must be the number one focus of 2010.

As countries like China and Germany are revamping their economies and rebuilding their infrastructures, President Obama declared, “I do not accept second place for the United States of America.”  To that end, the president urged a greater investment in the skills and education of Americans.  Among the proposed and existing initiatives in that area:

Regarding the community college bill that has already passed the House, the president said: “Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.”

As we told you yesterday, President Obama proposed freezing all non-security federal discretionary spending for three years as part of his plan to reduce the deficit.  He said the administration will invest in what the country needs and cut what we don’t need, promising to use his veto power if necessary.

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Secretary Duncan Set to Advance Administration Priorities Through ESEA

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

As reported by Education Week yesterday, Arne Duncan’s first year as Secretary of Education “could place him among the most influential leaders in his department’s 30-year history.” Given oversight of unprecedented amounts of education aid in the economic stimulus package, Secretary Duncan has been able to advance administration priorities such as charter schools, teacher performance pay, common academic standards, and turnarounds of low-performing schools through reform efforts such as the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation grant programs.

While Department officials have indicated that they plan to implement many of these same reforms through a reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) this year, there is no guarantee that the law will be passed anytime soon. ESEA was due for reauthorization in 2007, but Congress and the Bush Administration failed to work out differences surrounding accountability and teacher effectiveness based on student achievement.  This time around, Secretary Duncan faces critics such as teachers unions and those who believe he is placing too much emphasis on testing.

But Secretary Duncan plans to meet with the chairmen and ranking minority members of the education committees and the subcommittees in both houses of Congress about ESEA soon after the State of the Union Address. “The heart of our strategy is to secure bipartisan support and enthusiasm for this on the very front end,” said communications chief Peter Cunningham. He also plans to meet with teachers unions and the corporate and philanthropic communities.

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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