Posts Tagged ‘texas’

DC, Texas Improve Data Systems; Colorado, Ohio’s Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, many states have passed bills that will help to improve data systems and expand opportunities for learners.

Data System Improvements

Recently, data system improvements have been a focus of policy efforts in order to better support and hold accountable districts, institutions and programs, as well as allow learners, employers and policymakers to stay informed.

In the District of Columbia, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Workforce Development Systems Transparency Act, which requires the District’s Workforce Investment Council to detail the District’s spending on adult education programs and workforce development education programs, as well as the performance outcomes of those programs, in a public report. The performance outcomes information will include employment rates, median earnings, credential attainment, and completion rates. The first version of the report will include information about programs managed by seven DC entities, such as the Department of Employment Resources, and by 2020 programs administered by an additional 14 entities will be included in the report.

In Texas, the University of Texas System launched an updated version of the database Seek UT to include University of Texas graduates’ earnings in the hopes of showing the benefits of higher education. The database utilizes Census Bureau data and provides information on student’s median incomes for every program offered after one, five, and ten years after graduating, the percentage of students who went on to continue their education and the median loan debt for different programs. The database is viewed as a “work-around” of the current ban on a federal database that would link student-level education data to national employment data.

Community Colleges Offer Bachelor’s Degrees

Elsewhere, states are passing laws to expand community college offerings and to address the shortage of skilled employees.

In Colorado, a bill that allows Colorado’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing recently became law. The bill was passed without the governor’s signature or veto. In a letter explaining this decision, Governor Hickenlooper cited concerns over limited stakeholder engagement by the bill’s proponents and potential conflicts between the various agencies that oversee higher education in the state.

In response to these concerns, the letter directs the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) to convene stakeholders to determine how to best align programs with industry trends. This law was allowed to pass in response to a severe shortage of nurses in Colorado and after reports that more nursing disciplines require a masters or doctoral degree than in previous years.

Similarly, in Ohio, three community colleges received state approval to offer bachelor’s degrees in microelectronic manufacturing, aviation, unmanned aerial systems, land surveying and culinary and food science. These programs still need to receive accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission before the community colleges can offer the degrees.

Once accredited, these programs will help to achieve Ohio Governor Kasich’s goal to have 65 percent of the state’s workforce earn an industry recognized credential or degree by 2025. Governor Kasich has already showcased his support for community colleges to offer baccalaureates through the introduction and passage of legislation that supports this.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Welcome to Heather Justice, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

Monday, March 5th, 2018

Heather Justice may be familiar to many within the Advance CTE family from her work at the Tennessee Department of Education, where she led major initiatives to transform the state’s CTE teacher professional development model and revised the state-promoted industry-recognized credentials list.

Now Justice is ready for her next challenge as Division Director of College, Career, and Military Preparation with the Texas Education Agency in a state with more than 1,200 school districts.

“It’s exciting to take some of the work Texas has already done and utilizing that to build across the state and thinking about the impact you can have for over 5 million students,” Justice said.

Justice’s path into CTE was a bit of a side-step, as she first began in the hospitality industry managing kitchen and hotel operations after graduating from Florida State University with a degree in business. Part of that work included training kitchen and hotel staff, a role that Justice fell in love with and realized that she wanted to continue this work as a teacher. So, she pursued her master’s degree in education and taught high school marketing and accounting in Tennessee.

Justice then went on to work as a finance consultant for the then-mayor of Knoxville, Bill Haslam, who was running for Tennessee governor. Shortly after Haslam’s gubernatorial inauguration, Justice was hired by the Tennessee Department of Education as a special projects consultant for the college and career readiness division.

Over the next seven years, Justice would go on to become the Director of Talent and Improvement and then Executive Director of CTE, and play a key role as the state transformed its programs of study offerings. Specifically, as the Director of Talent and Improvement, Justice reimagined the way that professional development could be delivered in the state and shifted to a regional approach that empowered and leveraged teacher leaders to lead communities of practice. As part of this shift, she trained the state CTE staff to provide this regionalized professional development by shifting their work from compliance to support.

Another point of pride for Justice was the state’s work to overhaul its industry-recognized credential list, which had more than 200 credentials. Justice led the work to winnow that list to 53 credentials that were recognized and valued by industry based on a set of rigorous criteria. Additionally, the Department of Education signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) system that ensured students who complete a credential on this list are guaranteed to earn articulated postsecondary credit with TCAT.

Now in Texas, Justice is excited to build on some of the great work happening including the state’s early college high schools and STEM academies as the state continues its work to value college and career readiness and connect CTE to traditional college preparatory models. A major focus will be a regional approach, recognizing Texas’ geographic diversity and how industries such as energy have different needs on the Gulf Coast, compared to West Texas.

“It’s about letting those regional influences really shine,” Justice said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate, Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Uncategorized
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Welcome to Quentin Suffren, Texas’ New State CTE Director!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Quentin Suffren admits he’s not your usual State Director for Career Technical Education (CTE).

For more than 16 years, Suffren worked in both the nonprofit and private sectors, leading large-scale education projects such as managing data and reporting systems with the New York-based Amplify Education, implementing a teacher evaluation system with The New Teacher Project in Houston, Texas, and serving as the chief academic officer for The Learning Institute.

In August 2016, he joined the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to serve as the Executive Director for College, Career and Military Prep, which includes the state’s CTE office.

The TEA reorganized last year, and as a result, CTE gained a higher profile within the department when the state joined the Pathways to Prosperity Network, which is a group of states working to build seamless career pathway systems that link high school, work and postsecondary education. The career pathways initiative is what brought Suffren to the agency, and since joining in August, has been working to coordinate the state’s efforts.

“What became really clear as I joined TEA, a lot of those pathways run directly through CTE,” Suffren said. “This puts CTE in the limelight and acknowledges that it is direct preparatory pathway to college and careers.”

In his new role, Suffren said he is looking forward to finding new and better ways to increase students’ access to high quality career pathways, expanding college and career counseling for all students and their parents, and removing barriers to work-based learning.

“It’s not college or career anymore. It’s both, and CTE is a huge part of that,” Suffren said.

Andrea Zimmermann, Senior Associate of Member Engagement and Leadership Development

By Andrea Zimmermann in Advance CTE State Director, Uncategorized
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Study: State Strategies for Financing CTE

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Education has released a new study that explores how states fund their Career Technical Education (CTE) systems beyond the formulas prescribed in the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins).

The study, prepared by the National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education, focuses primarily on how state funding, which is often used to off-set the higher cost of technical instruction, is distributed to local secondary and postsecondary programs. The report used survey data collected by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) that asked State CTE Directors how categorical funds were distributed during academic year 2011-12, as well as the use and perception of performance-based funding for CTE.

In short, the survey found that state approaches to CTE funding varies in emphasis and complexity, and no single approach will meet the needs of every state. The study also called for more research to better understand what impact, if any, the each of the state funding approaches has on program and student outcomes.

Financing Secondary and Postsecondary CTE

State financing approaches broke down into three main categories: foundational funding only, funding for area CTE centers and categorical funding.

Foundational Funding Only – All states distribute basic state aid to finance secondary education programming using a variety of formulas. In this approach, local administrators decide how to distribute funds across instructional priorities, including CTE. Nine respondents indicated they rely exclusively on foundational funding. At community or technical colleges, 30 states reported distributing funds to postsecondary institutions through block grants and not distinguishing funding for CTE.

Funding for Area CTE Centers – Through this method, funds are dedicated to support programming at area CTE centers that deliver CTE services to part-time students. Centralizing CTE programs can be a cost-effective strategy. Seven states reported having separate state funding for these centers at the secondary level and sometimes use a categorical funding approach to distribute funds.

Categorical Funding – This approach dedicates funding to support career-related instructional services and typically targets state funding for the exclusive use of CTE programming. In fact, 37 states earmarked state funds for secondary CTE using one of the following formulas: student-based (21 states), cost-based (7 states) and/or unit-based (9 states). At the postsecondary level, seven states indicated providing categorical funding, while most opted to allocate funding through basic state aid.

Performance-based Funding

Just seven states use performance-based formulas to allocate secondary CTE funds by tying funding to performance measures such as placement of CTE students into postsecondary education or employment, attainment of industry-recognized credentials or CTE completion rates.

For federal Perkins dollars, two states (Texas and South Carolina) do this for secondary CTE. Five states (Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Missouri and West Virginia) indicated using this formula to allocate state CTE funds on the secondary level.

At the postsecondary level, four states (Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and North Dakota) reported using this approach with state funding, while none reported doing this with Perkins funds.

For the vast majority of states that do not use performance-based funding, the most common reason was a lack of understanding from state leaders. Almost half of states expressed an interest in adopting this approach to allocate a portion of their Perkins funds; however, training would be necessary if required by legislation.

Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate

By Andrea Zimmermann in Research
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State CTE Policy Updates: Texas Edition

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

State Map

Earlier this month, Governor Perry of Texas signed into law five major education bills all of which are related to or directly impact Career Technical Education (CTE) in the Lone Star state. Below is a high-level summary of each of the bills.

HB 5
The most significant bill is the 100+ page HB 5, which addresses a wide array of issues, many of which have a direct impact on Career Technical Education in the state.  The most significant changes are that students now only need to take five end-of-course exams for graduation, down from 12 exams, and revisions to the high school graduation requirements. While the end-of-course assessments used to count towards 15% of a student’s grade, a student’s performance on the assessments can no longer be used for this purpose or to determine class rank (which is significant given Texas’ policy of open access to public institutions of higher education for those students in the top 10% of their class or “the 10 percent rule”).

As far as the changes to the graduation requirements, currently, all students are automatically enrolled into the Recommended High School Program, a curriculum set at the college- and career-ready level and aligned with most admissions requirements at the state’s public four-year institutions. Students can choose to opt down into a lower diploma track. Texas was the first state in the country to adopt such graduation requirements at the college- and career-ready level for all students.

Under the new system, however, students will be automatically enrolled in the “Foundation” program, requiring four years of English; three credits in mathematics (including Algebra I and geometry), science (including biology and chemistry or physics), and social studies; two credits in the same language (including computer programming languages); five elective credits; and one fine arts credit.

Students can also pursue CTE-focused endorsements in STEM, Business and Industry, Public Services, Arts and Humanities, and Multidisciplinary Studies, which requires a fourth year of math and science (or advanced CTE courses), two additional elective credits, and some concentration of CTE courses, which is largely undefined in the legislation. Students can also graduate with “distinguished level of achievement” by completing the Foundation requirements plus a fourth year of mathematics (including Algebra II), a fourth credit of science, and an endorsement.  Importantly, only students who graduate at the “distinguished” level will be able to take advantage of the automatic state college admissions under the top 10 percent rule.

A few other key provisions include:

HB 2201: Increase in Advanced Technology and Career-Related Courses
This bill requires that the State Board of Education identifies and approves at least six advanced CTE and/or technology application courses that may satisfy the fourth credit of mathematics (required for endorsements and the distinguished-level diploma.  The Act specifically mentions personal financial literacy as one option of an acceptable course.

The law also changes earlier language, allowing students to substitute their third and fourth years of mathematics and science courses with “advanced career and technical course[s] designated by the State Board of Education as containing substantively similar and rigorous and academic content.” Finally, this bill directs the State Board to establish a process for reviewing and approving applied science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses to count towards students’ mathematics and science requirements, after they have completed Algebra I and biology. [Note: This bill has been wrapped into HB 5].

SB 441: Texas Fast Start Program
This bill requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to identify and develop models to support “fast start” programs at Texas’ junior colleges, state public colleges, and public technical institutions that effectively enable students to obtain postsecondary certificates and degrees at an accelerated pace. The fast start programs can incorporate competency-based learning techniques, must be accessible to a range of adult leaners, and must be deployable statewide.

HB 3662: Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program
This bill establishes the Texas Workforce Innovation Needs Program to provide districts and institutions of higher education opportunities to create and offer innovative programs designed to prepare students for high-demand careers. The awarded programs must focus on student engagement through competency-based learning anchored in the goal of students earning postsecondary certificates or degrees and incorporate CTE dual enrollment or early college opportunities. A major goal of this bill is to develop model programs and practices that can be shared statewide.  The Act takes effect in September 2013; it is unclear exactly when sites will be selected.

HB 842: CTE & College Credit
This bill clarifies and broadens the state’s current dual enrollment policy to allow students to earn concurrent academic credit for a course or activity, including an apprenticeship or another training program, that leads to an industry-recognized credential, certificate or associate’s degree and is approved by the Texas Higher Education Commission.  The bill goes into effect for the 2013-14 school year.

HB 809: Employment Information for Secondary School Students
This bill requires the Texas Education Agency to provide employment projection data to school districts in support of CTE planning based on data received on a quarterly basis from the Texas Workforce Commission.

There has been significant coverage of these policy changes – some positive, some not-so-positive (including this piece from Representative Mark Strama: Why I Voted Against HB 5) but now the hard work begins of implementing the education overhaul.

 

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

By Kate Blosveren Kreamer in Public Policy
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CTE in the News: HISD looking to help graduates land jobs

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Houston Independent School District unveiled a $4 million proposal aimed at helping secondary students land jobs in the refining and global transportation industries, which are experiencing growth in the city, according to a recent Houston Chronicle article.

HISD plans to launch “intensive career training programs” at five high schools next year. Those programs would put students on a path to earn an industry certification in a trade and an associate’s degree from Houston Community College.

“Nationally there’s a lot of talk about college and career readiness, but college is what’s emphasized,” said Alisha Hyslop, an assistant director at the Association for Career and Technical Education, in the article. “This effort really seems to blend both in a seamless manner.”

Erin Uy, Communications and Marketing Manager

By Erin in News
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