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Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

Legislative Update: Congress Returns, Bills Introduced

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Congress Returns to Work

The House returned to Washington this week, and the Senate is scheduled to return next week. First on Congress’ agenda is to begin negotiations to extend the payroll tax cut, TANF, unemployment benefits, and Medicare doctor reimbursements. The current two month extension of all of these provisions expires on February 29th.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee has made ESEA reauthorization one of their top priorities this spring. However, Senator Tom Harkin (IA) has said that he will not move the Senate’s ESEA bill to the floor until the House proposes a bipartisan bill. This deadlock makes it increasingly unlikely that ESEA reauthorization will happen this spring.

Congress will also get to work on their budget proposals for FY13 after President Obama releases his budget on February 6th. Many advocates are optimistic that the appropriations process will move more quickly and smoothly than in years past because of the caps set by the debt ceiling deal this summer. Much of the delay surrounding the appropriations process has been due to disagreements over the level of funding. Hopefully, the caps will provide a bipartisan starting point for appropriators.

Bills Introduced

America RISING Act

Rep. Laura Richardson (CA) introduced H.R.3748, the America Realizing the Informational Skills and Initiative of New Graduates (RISING) Act, which would provide grants to assist in the cost of compensation paid by employers to certain recent college graduates and to provide funding for their further education in subjects relating to mathematics, science, engineering, and technology.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

 

By Nancy in Legislation
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January “CTE Monthly” Newsletter: U.S. Commerce Department Calls for Investments in STEM and Manufacturing; Information Technology Career Spotlight

Friday, January 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.

The January issue takes a closer look at the Information Technology Career Cluster™, an area that is projected to experience rapid employment growth over the next several years.

The newsletter also highlights a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce that calls for greater investment in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Manufacturing Career Clusters™ to benefit the nation’s students and the economy.

The January edition of CTE Monthly can be accessed here. To view past newsletters, visit our advocacy tools Web page.

By Kara in Publications, Resources
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Legislative Update: Summer Jobs+, TANF Extended, Race to the Top

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Happy New Year! Congress is currently on recess. The House is scheduled to return on January 17, 2012 and the Senate will return on January 23, 2012.

Summer Jobs+ Aims to Increase Youth Employment

Yesterday President Obama unveiled Summer Jobs+, an initiative that brings together businesses, non-profits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. The President originally proposed investing in summer youth employment as part of the American Jobs Act which failed to pass Congress. As a result of Congressional inaction, the private sector has already pledged to create 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth this summer. The administration hopes that a total of 250,000 opportunities will be available this summer, at least 100,000 of which will be paid jobs and internships.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It’s important for their future, and for America’s.” said President Obama.

Payroll Tax Cut and TANF Extended for Two Months

Before recess the House and Senate passed a two-month extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The bill also extends Unemployment Insurance and the Medicare doc fix for two months.  The Senate has appointed conferees on the original House-passed payroll tax bill and House Minority Leader Pelosi appointed House Democratic conferees to work out a year-long extension.

Race to the Top Awards Announced

The U.S. Department of Education announced the seven winners of round three of the Race to the Top competition. The winning states – Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania – will each receive a share the $200 million grant. This round focuses on comprehensive statewide reform, as well as improving STEM education. The seven winning applications include commitments to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, improve principal and teacher support and evaluation systems and implement school interventions in underperforming schools.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Barbara Bitters Honored as White House Champion of Change

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Barbara Bitters was among 12 individuals who were recently honored as White House Champions of Change, under President Obama’s Winning the Future Initiative. Bitters is among those who strive to increase awareness of the effort to recruit and retain girls and women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Champions of Change honorees include teachers, industry leaders, students, and non-profit leaders, have each taken great strides to reduce the barriers that drive many girls and women to turn away from high-paying, highly rewarding careers as the Nation’s top innovators.

Barbara Bitters is the Assistant Director for the Career and Technical Education Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and a NASDCTEc Member. Barbara is both the state leader of the Wisconsin Girl’s Collaborative Project (www.ngcproject.org) and the co-leader of the Wisconsin STEM Equity Pipeline Project under the auspices of the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity Education Foundation (NAPE) .

As the leader for these two projects, Bitters’ focus has been to develop and refine strategies and activities that attract, serve, and support the success of girls/women and other under-represented groups to build STEM skills and to explore STEM Careers. She was the state Sex Equity Coordinator under federal vocational education requirements U.S for over 12 years. In 1980, Barbara, under an intergovernmental exchange program, served in the Department of Education as a Special Advisor on Women’s Issues and Vocational Equity to the Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education. She was co-director of the National Leadership Development Conference for Vocational Sex Equity Coordinators from 1979-1987.

Bitters is a Past Chair of the Association for Gender Equity Leadership in Education (AGELE) and is on the Executive Committee of NAPE.

Bitters said “I am thrilled to be recognized as a Champion of Change for promoting access, equity and diversity for girls and women in STEM, and I am proud of the CTE contributions to the development of STEM skills for students and the promotion of STEM Career Development.”

Bitters also shared “I am hoping that people will incorporate this critical career equity work. To get started, become a member of NAPE, and subscribe to www.stemequitypipeline.org. Another NASDCTEc Member, Mimi Lufkin, is the Chief Executive Officer of NAPE.

More information

NASDCTEc offers hearty congratulations to Barbara Bitters on her amazing achievement.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

By Ramona in News
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Third Race to the Top Competition Focused on STEM Education

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a third round of Race to the Top grants, this time specifically targeting STEM. Grants will total $200 million during this competition, but only nine states are eligible to apply: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. These states were the runners up in the last round of grants. Grants will range in amount from $12 million to $49 million, depending on state population.

The application process will have two stages. First, states will submit a portfolio of assurances confirming their commitment to comprehensively reform education in their state, including funding for education and efforts to enhance data systems, raise academic standards, and improve evaluation systems. Next, states will submit a detailed plan and budget explaining how their proposal will impact student learning and improve STEM education.

Applicants must submit part one by November 22, followed by part two by December 16. Awards will be announced in late December.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Public Policy
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Leaders Focus on Closing the Skills Gap and Increasing Innovation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Leaders concerned with America’s growing skills gap met last week in Washington to focus on solutions to this national problem.

The Atlantic, a literary and political magazine, hosted the event to brainstorm how America can regain its competitiveness in the global economy. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison kicked off the event by stressing the importance of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields as early as middle school. She also expressed her support for Career Technical Education (CTE) and emphasized the need for technical jobs and training to fulfill the country’s “responsibility to show that some of the best jobs in the world [require] technical degrees.”

A panel featuring higher education, government, and manufacturing experts described their various initiatives aimed at closing this gap.  Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) described current progress as slow, but he also stated that the nation is set to make great strides in the long-term.  From a higher education perspective, Bob Templin, President of Northern Virginia Community College, agreed that a larger number of high school graduates are not ready for postsecondary training. However, he also noted that secondary and postsecondary schools and business and industry are actively teaming together to create solutions.

View the entire event and additional resources here.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in News
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Legislative Update: ESEA, Bills Introduced

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Senate Marks Up ESEA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee met on Wednesday to begin markup the draft Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization bill introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (IA) last week. The markup was threatened with delays when Senator Rand Paul (KY) objected to the Committee meeting longer than two hours after the Senate convened on Wednesday. This is a procedural rule, rarely employed in the Senate, that is almost always waived. Senator Paul was concerned that no hearing had been held on the bill this session (10 were held last session) and he felt there was not enough time to review the bill before the markup. On Thursday, Senators Harkin and Enzi (WY) reached an agreement with Senator Paul that in exchange for dropping his objection, the Committee will hold a hearing on the bill on November 8.

The Committee reported the bill last night by a vote of 15-7. Three Republicans, Senators Enzi, Lamar Alexander (TN) and Mark Kirk (IL), joined all Democrats in voting for the bill. Senator Harkin hopes to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote before Thanksgiving.

During the markup, Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced an amendment to expand internships and apprenticeships, with the goal of alleviating dropouts and providing skills training. Because the amendment would require locals to use the money for this purpose, several Senators opposed it, but said they would support it if it were an allowable use of funds. Blumenthal agreed to withdraw the amendment and change the language, but wants to be sure that there are strong incentives for locals to use funding for internships and apprenticeships.

Bills Introduced

Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act

This week Senators Menendez (NJ), Reid (NV), Harkin (IA), Stabenow (MI) and Casey (PA) introduced S. 1723, Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.  The bill contains the provision of the American Jobs Act that provides $35 billion to create or protect education jobs, as well as jobs for police officers and firefighters.  The jobs supported in this bill are not just teachers, but any public school K12 employee.

However, last night the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the bill by a vote of 50-50. All Republicans voted against it, as did Senators Lieberman (CT), Nelson (NE) and Pryor (AR). As result, the bill will not be voted on.

Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act

Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Al Franken (MN), Mark Begich (AK), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced S. 1675, Preparing Students for Success in the Global Economy Act. This bill aims to increase student access to courses in STEM subjects and provide additional resources to recruit, train, and support STEM teachers.

Grantees must include in their applications a description of how their activities will be coordinated with other programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs. Local subgrantees must also describe in their applications how grant funds will be coordinated with programs and activities, including Perkins-funded CTE programs.

“If we don’t train our children for the jobs of the future, we won’t be able to compete in the future,” Merkley said. “Whenever I talk to companies like Intel back in Oregon, they tell me that STEM education is key, and in far too many schools, the resources aren’t there to prepare our students for careers in engineering and science. This legislation will help address this deficit.”

 

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By Nancy in Legislation
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Five New Jersey Career Technical Education Schools Rank in U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools for Math and Science

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Five Career Technical Education (CTE) schools in New Jersey ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s first-issued Best High Schools for Math and Science, including the no. 1 spot on the high-profile list.

CTE programs, which focus on delivering educational experiences that ready students with the academic and career skills for the real world, appear to have a formula needed to better poise students for high-demand jobs related to math and science. The recent ranking made by these five CTE schools shine a light on education strategies that have significant potential to prime individuals to be successful in the global economy.

The top-performing math and science school is High Technology High School in Lincroft, N.J., with 283 students. Enrollment is highly competitive, with some 300 applicants a year for 60 available spots, according to U.S. News & World Report. The other New Jersey schools ranked as follows.

To qualify for the Math and Science ranking, a school first had to be listed as either Gold, Silver, or Honorable Mention in the U.S. News Best High Schools rankings published in December 2009. That meant 598 high schools were eligible to be ranked using data from 2008 graduates. The methodology for selection is explained online.

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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New NASDCTEc Resources: Fact Sheets on Job Growth and CTE Student Outcomes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Six sectors are projected to account for 85 percent of new jobs in the United States through the end of the decade. Are current CTE programs preparing students for jobs in these high-demand sectors? Take a look at NASDCTEc’s latest fact sheets to find out, and to view other compelling reasons to support CTE!

Career Technical Education: Preparing Students in Areas of Job Growth
Career Technical Education: High Expectations, High Outcomes

Fact sheets and other resources are available in the Advocacy Tools section of the website.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Research, Resources
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Cyber Patriot Competition Promotes STEM Opportunity

Friday, September 9th, 2011

The Air Force Association (AFA) is providing a premiere national high school cyber defense competition that is designed to give hands on exposure to the foundations of cyber security. CyberPatriot is not designed to be a hacking competition, but rather the goal is to excite students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

The first CyberPatriot “games” took place in 2009, at AFA’s 25th Annual Air Warfare Symposium where seven Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) teams and one Civil Air Patrol (CAP) team from the greater Orlando area competed. The event has grown since that time to include not only JRTOC and CAP units, but has expanded to include an open division that is open to teams from accredited public or private institutions or a registered home school association.

A CyberPatriot team consists of five students and up to five alternates with each team having a coach. The students must be at least 13 years old and enrolled in grades 9-12. The teams will have mentors (technical advisors) to help students prepare for the competition and the CyberPatriot program works with coaches to find mentors for their team.

The competition uses virtual machines and tests the students’ abilities to identify several security vulnerabilities within a certain amount of time. The teams successful in three rounds of competition ultimately compete in the National Championships held in Washington, DC.
Registration for the competition ends October 8, 2011. More information about the competition, the history, and the goals can be found at http://www.uscyberpartriot.org

Dean Folkers, Deputy Executive Director

By Dean in News, Resources
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