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Posts Tagged ‘Secretary Duncan’

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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Legislative Update: WIA, Budget

Friday, March 30th, 2012

House Introduces Workforce Investment Act

The House this week introduced a comprehensive Workforce Investment Act reauthorization proposal, H.R. 4297, The Workforce Investment Improvement Act of 2012. This builds upon three separate bills introduced earlier this session by Reps. Virginia Foxx (NC), Rep. Buck McKeon (CA), and Rep. Joe Heck (NV). Rep. Foxx’s earlier bill, the Streamlining Workforce Development Programs Act, allowed states to submit a unified 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. We shared our opposition to this proposal with the members of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and we are happy to report that new language was added to the Workforce Investment Improvement Act that singles out Perkins as the only program that cannot be consolidated in the unified state plan.

House Passes Budget Resolution

Yesterday the House passed the FY13 Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI) by a vote of 228 to 191. This proposal would cap federal spending at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below levels set by the Budget Control Act and the level that the Senate is plans to use.  Such a large difference between the chambers sets up another potentially long and drawn out appropriations process.

Duncan Testifies Before Congress on Budget
This week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Workforce Committee to discuss the Administration’s FY13 Budget, much like he did last week before the Appropriations Labor-HHS- Education Subcommittee.  There was push back from this committee about the focus in the President’s budget on new competitive grant programs, as opposed to the long-standing formula programs. Secretary Duncan also spoke about the value of community colleges and the need to increase capacity to meet the growing demand of individuals seeking to upgrade their skills.

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Budget, ED Priorities, DOL Priorities

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

House Marks Up Budget Resolution

Rep. Paul Ryan Chairman of the House Budget Committee released his budget resolution this week, which will serve as a blueprint for the House as the appropriations process moves forward. The budget passed committee by a vote of 19-18. The resolution sets the FY13 discretionary cap at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion below the cap set by the Budget Control Act last summer. The proposal would cut education, training, employment, and social services programs by $16.4 billion, which is 22 percent below FY12 levels. The resolution specifically targets Federal job training and workforce programs, calling them duplicative, and proposing to streamline the system and consolidate existing programs into “career scholarship programs.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has said that the Senate will adhere to the spending levels set in the Budget Control Act and will not release a budget resolution.

Secretary Duncan Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday to discuss the budget and policy priorities of Department of Education.  Duncan spoke about some CTE-specific proposals such as increased funding for career academies and community colleges. He also addressed the need to reauthorize the Perkins Act:

The Administration’s reauthorization proposal would transform CTE by increasing the focus on outcomes and career pathways that ensure that what students learn in school is more closely aligned with the demands of the 21st century economy, while creating stronger linkages between secondary and postsecondary education. The proposal would also promote innovation and reform in CTE.

A number of members, from both sides of the aisle, expressed concern that the President’s budget would cut or freeze existing programs, in exchange for funding new programs such as the Community College to Career Fund.

Secretary Solis Testifies Before Congress

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee this week about the budget and policy priorities of the Department of Labor. Solis began her testimony by saying that the labor market grew stronger last year, and that over 2 million private sector jobs were created, while the unemployment rate fell in 48 states. However, there is still work to be done and the President’s budget outlines the steps his administration intends to take to address unemployment and the skills gap.

As we told you after the President’s State of the Union address, he plans to create an “economy built to last,” founded on strengthening manufacturing, energy, education, and skills training for individuals. Secretary Solis outlined the proposed programs in the President’s budget that would help address these issues. For example, the Community College to Career Fund would help community colleges to partner with business and industry to develop training programs for workers to enter high growth and high demand industries that meet the needs of local employers.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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Secretary Duncan Commends CTE Center for Narrowing Skills Gap

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

On a visit to Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Ohio last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commended the school for its “innovation and creativity” in establishing strong connections with local businesses to prepare students for further education and careers. He stated that, “I am in schools two to three times a week all over the country, and I haven’t seen too many places like this.”

The Secretary’s remarks referred to the Center’s efforts to narrow the skills gap by working closely with local employers. One example of this is the strong relationship the school has formed with Caterpillar Logistics, a manufacturing and distribution company. Through collaboration with businesses, the school is able to identify and teach knowledge and skills that are of value to employers, and provide relevant training so that graduates will meet the needs of employers. To date, Caterpillar Logistics has brought on 250 Miami Valley graduates, and plans to take on 250 new hires this year.

Miami Valley’s success is also evident through its nearly 100 percent graduation rate. Many of the school’s graduates continue on to postsecondary education.

Similar achievements and connections to industry can be found in CTE programs across the nation. Beginning in February, stellar CTE programs will be highlighted on the NASDCTEc CTE Success Map. Members can log in and view the Success Map today!

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst 

By Kara in News
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Legislative Update: FERPA, WIA, Race to the Top, ESEA

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Department Releases Final FERPA Regulations

The U.S. Department of Education released its final regulations for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act yesterday after soliciting public comments earlier this year. In a statement released by the Department, they stated that “The regulations announced today will strengthen the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by protecting the safety of student information, increasing the Department’s ability to hold those who misuse or abuse student data accountable and ensuring our taxpayer funds are invested wisely and effectively.”

We are still working through the regulations and will update you on anything that relates to CTE.

NSC Releases State-by-State Impact Analysis of Proposed Cuts to WIA

In their draft Labor-HHS-Education funding bill released last month, the House proposed to cut Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs by more than $1.9 billion for FY12. To help states better understand the impact of these cuts, the National Skills Coalition developed a state-by-state impact analysis of proposed cuts to the WIA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs in FY12. Their analysis finds that as many as 6.5 million jobseekers would lose access to employment and training services if the House funding levels are enacted.

Seven States Apply for Third Round of Race to the Top Grants

As we told you last week, the nine runner-up states in the last round of Race to the Top grants are eligible to apply for the latest round of grants totaling $200 million. The seven states that submitted applications are: Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. South Carolina did not submit an application, and California submitted an incomplete application, according to the Department of Education.

States will now have to submit a budget by December 16 for how they would use the grant and identify which part of their Round 2 application they want funded. The Department will announce the winners by the end of December.

Secretary Duncan Voices Concern about ESEA Draft

In a recent radio interview on Bloomberg EDU, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan expressed his concerns with the Senate’s draft ESEA bill. While the Department has been happy with the bipartisan process of crafting the bill, it is not happy with much of the bill’s content, especially teacher evaluation and accountability. However, Duncan hopes that this is just a starting point, and that the bill can be further strengthened:

“There are some good things in the bill, but you don’t want to walk away from accountability, you don’t want to walk away from focusing on achievement gaps, you don’t want to walk away from making sure we’re rewarding great teachers and great principals and shining a spotlight on excellence in education. So you want a good process, but at the end of the day you want really strong policy. And it’s early innings, obviously, in the bill that came out of the Senate HELP committee, and we think it can be strengthened going forward. So I applaud the work that’s gone on so far, clearly not a finished product, but a long way to go.”

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation, Public Policy
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ED Launches Open Source Tool for Educators

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

In an effort to improve accessibility to high quality educational resources, the U.S. Departments of Education and Defense teamed up with a variety of organizations to produce an online “Learning Registry.”

As described by the Education Department, the Learning Registry is not a website or a repository; rather, it is a “communication system that allows existing educational portals and online systems to publish, consume, and share important information about learning resources with each other and the public, while respecting the privacy of individual users.”

The source’s creators hope to provide a tool for teachers to find the resources they need to directly support teaching and learning. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the Registry “an important step toward reaching our goal of personalizing learning and differentiating instruction.”

According to its main page, the Learning Registry system is an open technology framework to which anyone can create and publish content for uses such as sharing metadata describing learning resources; ratings, reviews, comments and other annotative data; and alignment to educational standards.

View Learning Registry’s technical guides to learn more.

By Kara in News, Resources
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Legislative Update: ESEA, i3 Grants

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Education Department Announces Highest-Rated i3 Applicants

The U.S. Department of Education this week announced the 23 Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applicants who will receive grants, provided that they obtain private sector matching funds by December 9, 2011. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

“Investing in these vital innovations across the country has the potential to dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student performance and to do so cost-effectively” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models that will prepare more students for college and career.”

Two applicants stood out to me as projects that could be aligned to CTE. First, the North Carolina New Schools Project’s Validating Early College Strategies will partner with 8 rural LEAs to implement early college high school strategies in 18 high schools serving high need students. Second, the goal of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative’s Career and College Readiness Transformations project is to improve student achievement and increased graduation rates, and increased access to and success in college through links between education and work.

You can find more details about all prospective grantees here.

Senate ESEA Hearing

On Tuesday, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of ESEA in response to Sen. Rand Paul’s (KY) objections during the committee markup last month. During opening statements, Ranking Member Sen. Mike Enzi (WY) said that states must take responsibility for accountability and make sure that students are college and career ready in a way that works for students.

Witnesses, who included school superintendents, administrators, teachers, special education advocates and other education policy representatives, discussed the pros and cons of the draft ESEA bill passed by the committee. They spoke about the burdens that the current law has placed on teachers and administrators, as well as the value of local control versus federal involvement in education. Witnesses were concerned about the draft bill’s elimination of performance targets.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Building 21st Century Skills through Sustainability Education

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Guest Blog Post By Victoria Waters, CEO and Founder of Green Education Foundation (GEF), [email protected]

According to a 2008 United Nations Study, there may be as many as 6.3 million new solar power jobs by 2030, and as many as 3.5 million jobs centered on improving the energy efficiency of buildings. Are our students ready to compete for those and other new economy jobs? The demand for “green collar” workers is coming, and in many cases is already here. Today, unfortunately, we are being outflanked; Brazil and China lead the world in renewable employment globally, according to a 2010 study by Clean Edge, a clean-tech research firm. The imperative is recognized at the highest levels; in September 2010, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated, “As the President says: ‘This is not just going to boost our economy in the short term; this is going to lay a platform for the future.’ Education and sustainability are the keys to our economic future—and our ecological future.”

The opportunity to empower and prepare the 14 million students enrolled in CTE programs is profound. According to a 2009 study by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, more than half the expected newly available clean-energy jobs will be accessible to workers with high school degrees or less. The study states that an investment of $150 billion a year in clean energy — roughly one percent of national GDP — would result in 1.7 million new jobs, with roughly 870,000 of them accessible to workers with high school degrees or less.

In CTE programs nationwide, momentum is building; the NASDCTEc is working to infuse sustainability into each of the 16 National CTE Career Clusters. For example, in the context of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster, educators will consider with their students the impact of an input selection on profitability, environmental impact, and the health and wellness of workers. Green Education Foundation (GEF)’s innovative School as a Teaching Tool lesson set for K-8 and Green Building Course for high school students are being leveraged by a number of CTE programs to incorporate sustainability concepts into the Architectural and Construction cluster. The Green Building Course and the School as a Teaching Tool use the school as a learning laboratory to conduct extensive building energy and water audits, and the high school course requires students to present recommendations for building improvements to school administrators, including energy rebate information and retrofit opportunities.

One critical unaddressed component that is key to delivering on the promise of sustainability education is teacher enablement. Today, educators often do not have the experience or training to confidently teach sustainability in the context of their subject matter. GEF is launching a Green Teacher Program for K-12 faculty with the goal of providing the knowledge, skills, and curricular resources essential for teachers to integrate sustainability education into their current disciplines.

GEF and NASDCTEc understand that empowering K-12 students and their teachers with sustainability education is vital to a paradigm shift, to change our collective thinking and our future. What do you think? How can we better prepare our young minds for a sustainable future? We welcome your thoughts and the opportunity to continue the dialogue at [email protected] .

Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

By Dean in News, Resources
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Duncan to Grant Waivers from NCLB Requirements

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Due to Congress’ failure to act on reauthorization, the U.S. Department of Education announced that it plans to offer states relief from some of the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act in exchange for states’ support of the Administration’s education reform policies.

Melody Barnes, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said during the announcement, “America’s future competitiveness is being decided today, in classrooms across the nation. With no clear path to a bipartisan bill in Congress, the President has directed us to move forward with an administrative process to provide flexibility within the law for states and districts that are willing to embrace reform.”

States will be given the opportunity to apply for a waiver from certain requirements in the law. These applications will be peer reviewed by individuals outside of the Department, but the final decision will belong to Secretary Duncan. The waivers would take effect during the 2011-2012 school year. Further details about the waivers will be released in September. However, rumors are swirling that states would be given waivers from NCLB’s 2014 proficiency deadline and more funding flexibility, in exchange for adopting college- or career-ready standards, creating differentiated accountability systems, and adopting teacher evaluation systems.

While the Secretary has clear legal authority to grant waivers from the law, it is not clear that he has the authority to make them conditional on support for the Administration’s reform policies.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Sec. Duncan: “Voc. Education Hit Its Heyday in the 60s and 70s”

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Leaders in industry and education convened last week to unravel factors contributing to the current skills gap and to debate possible solutions that would strengthen the workforce. Though many panelists, including heads of Google, Snap-On, and the Manufacturing Institute, and keynote speaker Senator Mark Warner (VA), voiced support for Career Technical Education (CTE), one major participant was less optimistic about the role of CTE.

After sharing her observations of successful vocational programs in countries such as South Korea and Finland, an interviewer asked her guest, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, why America doesn’t talk more about career readiness. Duncan replied that “Vocational education hit its heyday… in the 60s and 70s,” and that the country has backed off of the approach since then.

Duncan said that vocational training needs to prepare students for viable careers in fields like technology and healthcare, and not in outdated fields. When asked why he thinks the “heyday” of vocational education was a half-century ago, the Secretary stated that:

“At that point, we maybe had a clearer sense of what we were preparing students for. And my concern today – there are some amazingly high-performing ‘voc’ and career programs in high schools – but you honestly have too many schools today that are still preparing students for the jobs of 30 or 40 years ago. So for me, it’s – are you getting industry-recognized credentials? Are you getting a certificate? Are you getting a piece of paper? Are you getting the training that’s going to lead you to a good job and to a career coming out of high school? And we want to put a lot more resources behind places that are doing that.”

Click here to view Sec. Duncan’s interview (begins at 16:53).

Today’s CTE programs are vastly different than the vocational education programs offered 50 years ago. NASDCTEc developed a new vision for all CTE programs last year that clearly frames principles and actions to ensure high-quality CTE nationwide. States and CTE programs across the country have taken enormous steps to provide students with multiple options and transferable skills through innovative programs. CTE students can participate in a variety of pathways, each providing real-world opportunities for knowledge and skill attainment.

Still, Duncan continues to point to the same measures – rates for credential and certificate attainment, graduation and placement – as the most convincing evidence of a CTE program’s effectiveness. The lack of outcomes data for CTE programs was part of the Department of Education’s rationale for cutting CTE funding in FY 2011.

If your state or CTE programs can provide positive statistics in the above areas, please share this information with NASDCTEc and your Members of Congress. Providing this data is a critical step towards showing the impact of CTE on your state and saving CTE funding!

Please send examples of CTE success, including state or program data, to Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst at [email protected]

By Kara in News, Public Policy
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