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Posts Tagged ‘Secondary’

New Poll Reveals Shifting Views of Public Education

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

This year’s PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools shows that the public’s opinion concerning education and funding is shifting. When asked in 1996, whether it was more important to balance the federal budget or improve the quality of education, nearly two thirds of respondents said “improve education.” However, this year 60 percent said that it’s more important to balance the federal budget. Given the state of the economy in 1996 versus today, this shift could be in response to the fiscal crises occurring at all governing levels in recent years.

That being said, the poll also revealed that the public feels that lack of funding is the biggest challenge facing public schools in their communities, with 35 percent of those surveyed citing it as the top challenge, compared with 23 percent a decade ago. Parents, at 43 percent, felt even more strongly that lack of funding is the number one challenge facing public schools.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Public Policy
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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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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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CTE in the News: Why we Need Vocational Education (Career Technical Education)

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Career technical education at “both the secondary and post-secondary level should be highly-valued, well-funded, and effectively-implemented,” said Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University in a recent blog featured on the Washington Post.

Society must shed its negative notions about vocational education as a dumping ground for non-academic students if it wants to adequately prepare all students in the global economy, noted Phillips.

“This bias against vocational education is dysfunctional. It is destructive to our children. They should have the opportunity to be trained in whatever skills their natural gifts and preferences lead them to, rather than more or less condemning them to jobs they’ll find meaningless,” Phillips said in his blog.

“…It is also destructive to our society. Many of the skills most needed to compete in the global market of the 21st century are technical skills that fall into the technical/vocational area.”

Shifting perception and societal values around CTE will take time, he acknowledged, but quality CTE programs exist across the nation and their success with students will help to highlight their value, he noted.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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NASDCTEc Collects More than 1,700 Reviews of Common CTE Standards, Moving Development Forward

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

More  than 1,700 reviews  of the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a shared set of rigorous, high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) standards, were submitted during the recent public comment phase. Input on the CCTC was collected from a broad range of CTE stakeholders, including educators, administrators, and business and industry representatives.

“Career Technical Education (CTE) leaders believed it was critical to engage leading experts in the education, industry and technical fields to help develop and validate CTE standards that truly reflect the timely education and workforce needs of today’s global economy,“ Dr. Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc).

“The robust participation by a broad range of CTE stakeholders demonstrates the desire to develop standards that prepare our students for the future.”

NASDCTEc is coordinating the CCTC initiative. Forty-two states, Washington, DC and Palau participated in the development of the CCTC.

The development of the CCTC was a multi-step process that incorporated input at various stages from approximately 3,500 individuals representing K-12 education, business and industry and higher education from across the nation.  The public comment period ran from April 30 – May 11, 2012 and was an opportunity for CTE stakeholders to participate in the development of the CCTC.

The final standards are slated for public release at the National Career Clusters ™ Institute  on June 19, 2012. Click here and learn more about the CCTC online or visit www.careertech.org.

By Erin in Common Career Technical Core
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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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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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Report: Community Involvement and Academic and Technical Integration Spur Real-World Learning in High Schools

Friday, April 27th, 2012

A nationwide emphasis on college and career readiness has brought more light to preparing high school students beyond academics. A recent report from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation implores education decision makers to support the integration of academic and technical curriculum that provides students with a full range of skills to succeed in postsecondary education and beyond.

The report, It Takes a Whole Society: Opening Up the Learning Landscape in the High School Years, indicates that more stakeholders – beyond the education community – should be involved to provide students with relevant education and skills. Education today should be delivered through hands-on learning and engagement of outside stakeholders to provide authentic student experiences.

The report lays out current issues in education such as a narrow focus on college preparation and instruction that does not expose students to real-world experiences. The author suggests ways to create a richer secondary education experience for students including the use of Career Technical Education (CTE) for delivering integrated learning. Further, the use of apprenticeships is advised to create an optimal, applied learning environment for secondary students.

Access the full report here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst  

By Kara in Research
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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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