Posts Tagged ‘Washington State’

Idaho, Iowa Pass Bills to Bolster their States’ Workforce; Washington, Idaho Expand Scholarships

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

As the legislative session moves forward, states have passed bills that will expand Career Technical Education (CTE) funding, strengthen workforce initiatives and expand scholarships that benefit CTE learners.

Idaho Expands CTE Program Funding

In Idaho, Governor Otter signed a bill to expand funding for high-performing career and technical education programs in grades 9-12 in high-demand fields. The Idaho State Department projects that there will be a shortage of 49,000 workers by 2024 in Idaho. By investing further in high-quality secondary CTE programs, Idaho creates a workforce pipeline that will help to address the “skills gap” and job shortage that the state faces.

Gov. Reynolds Signs Future Ready Iowa Bill

In Iowa, Governor Reynolds signed legislation that establishes programs in Registered Apprenticeship development, voluntary mentorships and summer youth internships. The legislation also establishes summer postsecondary courses for high school students that are aligned with high demand career pathways, as well funds and grants related to an employer innovation fund and Future Ready Iowa programs, grants and scholarships.

The legislation is the latest piece in Gov. Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative, which aims for 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce to have education or training beyond high school by 2025. Currently, 58 percent of Iowa’s workforce has  education or training beyond high school, and that percentage must increase in order to fill the 65,000 current open jobs in Iowa.

States Expand Opportunity Scholarships that Benefit CTE Learners

Additionally, states have been expanding postsecondary scholarship programs, which will allow more learners from different backgrounds to engage with CTE. In Washington, Gov. Inslee signed a bill that expands the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to allow high school graduates to receive the scholarship to help pay for certificates and professional technical degrees offered at the state’s technical and community colleges.

As part of their continued focus on CTE, in Idaho, lawmakers passed another bill, which expands the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship to benefit adult learners. The scholarship originally only benefitted Iowa high school graduates, but the bill will allow the State Board of Education to direct up to 20 percent of scholarship funds to Idaho adult residents striving to finish a degree or certificate.

These bills will make postsecondary CTE accessible to more learners from diverse populations, which is critical as states face a shortage of skilled workers.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Public Policy, Uncategorized
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Unpacking Putting Learner Success First: Personalized and Flexible Learning

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

A little over one year ago, Advance CTE launched Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE. This document, which was developed using input from a broad array of stakeholders, calls for a systematic transformation of the education system grounded in five principles. This blog series will dive into each principle, detailing the goals and progress made in each area.

For more resources related to Putting Learner Success First, including state and local self-assessments, check out our Vision Resources page.

All learning is personalized and flexible.

States across the nation are moving towards the direction of competency-based learning systems, but too often this work is undertaken with the mindset that academic and CTE courses are separate systems.

Academic and CTE courses and curricula must work together to provide a seamless, flexible and personalized path for learners from secondary to postsecondary and careers. This requires states to fully align academic and CTE standards across K-12 and postsecondary, and to expand competency-based systems so that all learners may access them.

Those who have signed onto the principle have committed to accomplishing this objective through the following actions:

Since the launch of Putting Learner Success First, Advance CTE has been conducting research and policy scans to raise up examples and promising practices related to this principle. Now, when state leaders focus their attention on personalized learning and systems alignment, they have access to multiple resources.

Principle in Action

Relevant Resources

Ashleigh McFadden, State Policy Manager

By Ashleigh McFadden in Uncategorized
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States Pave Way for More Flexible, Integrated Pathways to Graduation

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Putting Learner Success First: A Shared Vision for the Future of CTE reinforces the principle that all learning should be personalized and flexible. Education should meet learners where they’re at, allowing them to pursue pathways and experiences aligned to their career interests. To that end, a number of states this summer have taken steps to expand flexible pathways to graduation by amending graduation requirements and exploring opportunities to enhance career advisement and integrate workforce skills throughout the K-12 curriculum.

In Connecticut, for example, Governor Dannel Malloy signed SB1026, amending graduation requirements set to take effect this year. Those requirements were adopted in 2010 in an effort to raise expectations, but were too prescriptive in terms of which courses learners would need to take to graduate. Specifically, the requirements increased the minimum number of credits needed to graduate from 20 to 25 and specified that students would need to earn eight credits in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), nine credits in humanities, three in career and life skills, and three and a half in other areas, including a senior demonstration project.

The new law makes some changes to the required number of credits but ultimately provides school districts and learners more flexibility on the path to graduation. For one, students will now be required to earn nine, not eight, credits in STEM, but local school boards have the liberty to choose which courses qualify. Additionally, the law gives students the option to receive credit by demonstrating subject matter competency through alternative means, such as work-based learning, Career Technical Education (CTE), virtual learning and more. And instead of the senior demonstration project, learners must complete a mastery-based diploma assessment.

Washington Takes Credit Equivalencies Statewide

Over on the west coast, Washington State’s budget for the 2017-19 biennium includes provisions to accelerate the state’s ongoing credit equivalency work. Under the enacted budget, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is directed to help expand and support the implementation of course equivalency credits statewide. This builds upon an ongoing state effort to streamline graduation pathways and allow students to earn math and science credit by demonstrating competency through technical coursework. Since 2015, the State Board of Education has established course equivalency frameworks for 32 courses, including the Core Plus curriculum, a model developed in partnership with the Boeing company to help students develop knowledge and skills in manufacturing.

Additionally, the budget provides for a competitive grant fund to help school districts implement the course equivalency frameworks, such as by developing rigorous assessments, raising awareness and providing professional development for educators.

Rethinking Education and Workforce Development in Idaho, Michigan and California

Meanwhile, efforts are underway in Idaho, Michigan and California to align K-12 education with workforce development priorities. In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter’s Workforce Development Task Force, launched by executive order in January, released its findings and recommendations from a five-month study into the state’s workforce development needs. Among the task force’s recommendations are strategies to connect K-12 education to career pathways, strengthen career advisement in the state, expand CTE programs and apprenticeships, and incentivize schools to integrate workforce skills into secondary curricula.

In Michigan, the Career Pathways Alliance —  a Governor-led, cross-sector effort — released a series of 16 recommendations to dramatically strengthen career preparation at the secondary level. Proposals range from continuing a statewide communications campaign to enhancing career counseling efforts and introducing more flexibility into the Michigan graduation standards, an effort currently making its way through the state legislature. While many of the Alliance’s recommendations require legislative approval, State Superintendent Brian Whiston issued a directive immediately after the recommendations were released to begin implementing some of the strategies.  

Meanwhile, California is taking steps to develop and integrate computer science standards into K-12 curricula. The state’s budget directs the superintendent to convene a Computer Science Strategic Implementation Advisory Panel to provide recommendations for implementing K-12 computer science standards. Specifically, the panel’s recommendations, which are due to the superintendent by July 2019, will address professional development for teachers, define principles for meeting the needs of K-12 students, and identify strategies to expand access to computer science education.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Public Policy
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