Road to ESSA Implementation: USDE Publishes Final Regs and Provides more Guidance

December 1st, 2016

United States CapitalEarlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) released a new batch of final regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—bipartisan legislation that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). These rules cover the law’s accountability, reporting, and state planning provisions of ESSA and come on the heels of an earlier— and highly controversial— set of proposed regulations for the law’s so-called “supplement-not-supplant” provisions.

While final rules for ESSA’s supplement-not-supplant provisions are still being worked out, this week’s set of final regulations make a number of important changes to the draft version released earlier this summer.

In many respects these final rules stipulate a more realistic timeline for the law’s implementation. For instance, states now have until the 2018-19 academic year to identify the lowest 5 percent of schools— schools that would then be eligible for comprehensive improvement under ESSA— whereas before that requirement would have gone into effect in the 2017-18 school year under the earlier proposal. Similarly, state ESSA plans are now due by April 3 or September 18, 2017 in order to give state education agencies more time to meaningfully engage stakeholders ahead of the law’s accountability system going into effect (another aspect of ESSA that will not be fully implemented until the 2018-19 school year).

Of particular note for the CTE community are other rule changes governing the law’s accountability system, specifically the new ESSA requirement that state accountability systems include at least one non-academic measure of school quality or student success which, under ESSA, may include measures of career readiness. Under the earlier draft version these additional indicators would have needed to be supported by research finding that “performance or progress” on the measure increases student academic achievement or graduation rates. Advance CTE, along with the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) urged USDE to broaden this standard slightly to ensure that a greater number of high-quality career readiness indicators could be incorporated into states’ new ESSA accountability systems.

Encouragingly USDE heeded this suggestion and the final rule now requires that such measures, “increase student learning, such as grade point average, credit accumulation, or performance in advanced coursework, or for high schools, graduation rates, postsecondary enrollment, persistence, or completion, or career success.” A summary of these final rules are available here and the full document can be found here.

On Capitol Hill, the new ESSA regulations were met with mixed reactions.  Referencing the powers at his disposal via the Congressional Review Act—a law that would allow the Republican controlled Congress next year to throw out the proposal entirely— Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he, “will carefully review this final version before deciding what action is appropriate.” Ranking Members of the Senate and House Education Committees, Patty Murray (D-WA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) issued a more supportive statement saying, in part, “While we are disappointed that this final rule doesn’t go as far as we would have hoped, we commend the Department of Education for listening to stakeholders . . . This rule will provide states and school districts with much needed stability and clarity as they work to submit state plans and implement statewide accountability systems.”

In other ESSA-related news, USDE recently released new non-regulatory guidance for states and local districts to support the law’s ongoing roll-out. These releases covered topics ranging from meeting the law’s new English Language Learner requirements under Title III, guidance for how to effectively use ESSA Title II funding to support teachers and high-quality instruction, and additional guidance aimed at helping states and districts provide a “well-rounded education” under Title IV of the new law.

Be sure to check back here next week for another update on states’ efforts to implement ESSA.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Betsy DeVos Nominated to Head U.S. Department of Education

November 30th, 2016

B99468301Z.1_20161123141018_000_GOR18773B.1-0President-Elect Donald Trump has been busy the past few weeks identifying individuals to fill key cabinet-level positions in his new administration. Just before Thanksgiving Day Trump announced that Betsy DeVos would be his nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education (USDE). Her nomination will need to be considered by the Senate Education Committee (HELP) next year and is subject to confirmation by the full chamber.

Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who heads the Senate HELP Committee, applauded DeVos’ nomination saying, “Betsy DeVos is an excellent choice. The Senate’s education committee will move swiftly in January to consider her nomination.” The chairman also noted that he looked forward to working with her on the ongoing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and on the forthcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the next Congress. While much is known about DeVos’ positions on secondary education, particularly her steadfast support charter school policies and school choice, her views on many postsecondary issues remain somewhat less understood at this time.

Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), the lead Democrat on the Senate HELP Committee, issued a more measured statement regarding the nomination saying, in part, “I look forward to meeting with Betsy DeVos and talking to her about her vision for the Department of Education and whether and how it includes expanding access to educational opportunities for students across the country.”

Mrs. DeVos is best known for her political advocacy in the state of Michigan promoting pro-charter school policies. She also is the Chairwoman for the American Federation for Children—an advocacy organization focused on promoting school choice policies at the federal, state, and local level among other endeavors.

DeVos and her husband Dick are also ardent financial supporters of the Republican Party, particularly in their home state of Michigan where Dick ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2006. Through this work, the couple has been extremely successful in enacting pro-school choice policies in the state of Michigan to promote charter schools via voucher programs and tax credits among other policy prescriptions. Mrs. DeVos’ husband also founded and runs the West Michigan Aviation Academy— a theme-based charter school in Grand Rapids, MI focused on the aviation and engineering fields.

While Mrs. DeVos’ views on CTE are unknown, her upcoming nomination process in the 115th Congress will shed more light on this critical topic and more. With Senators Murray and Alexander set to lead the HELP Committee next year for their respective parties, and further changes to the committee composition likely, Advance CTE will continue to monitor and engage with this process to ensure CTE and related federal legislation are prioritized by the incoming USDE leadership team.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager

Two weeks left to apply to the 2017 Excellence in Action Award!

November 29th, 2016

Submit your program of study for this nation-wide award that recognizes innovative and exemplary programs across the 16 Career Clusters. In its fourth year, the Excellence in Action award has recognized 26 programs of study from across the country representing the best of  Career Technical Education (CTE). Join this cohort and submit your application to the Excellence in Action award by December 14. Iowa

Why Should You Apply?

Receiving the Excellence in Action award means your program of study will be showcased on a national level through conferences, webinars, in the media, on our website and in our blog. It’s a chance to show the rest of the country how your program of study prepares students for successful and meaningful careers through high-quality CTE. If you want to see examples of some stellar programs of study, take a look at the 2014, 2015, and 2016 winners.

For questions about the application, or application process, email awards@careertech.org or call 301-588-9630.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Getting to Know … Maine

November 21st, 2016

Note: This is part of Advance CTE’s blog series, “Getting to Know …” We are using this series to help our readers learn more about specific states, State CTE Directors, partners and more.

State Name: Maine maine dept of ed

State CTE Director: Margaret Harvey, Director of Career Technical Education, Maine Department of Education

About Maine: In Maine, the state Board of Education is the eligible agency that receives and distributes federal Carl D. Perkins dollars. These funds are split evenly between the secondary and postsecondary sectors. At the secondary level, state law requires all students to be able to access CTE programs, which they can do through one of 27 CTE instructional facilities. There are two types of facilities: CTE Centers, which are administered by local education agencies, and CTE Regions, which are governed by a cooperative board representing districts in the region. Since Maine does not have comprehensive high schools, students receive academic instruction through their sending high schools and CTE instruction through CTE Centers or Regions.

Additionally, Maine has a proficiency-based graduation system that enables students to receive a secondary diploma by demonstrating competencies aligned with the Maine Learning Results standards. Earlier this year, the legislature updated the policy to enable CTE classes to satisfy some of the proficiency-based graduation requirements, considerably increasing the opportunity for secondary students to pursue CTE courses. Maine is further working to integrate technical and academic standards through CTE Intersections Workshops, which convene CTE, math and English Language Arts teachers to discuss intersections in their curricula. By 2017, the state aims to have completed intersections for 11 program pathways.

Maine recently revamped their teacher certification requirements to enable more business and industry experts to enter the classroom. They also adopted a regional calendar law to ensure students could attain the industry recognized credentials available in their programs.

Postsecondary Counterpart: Maine secondary and postsecondary CTE institutions maintain a close partnership to enable students to have a smooth transition to postsecondary education. Maine secondary CTE also communicates with the Maine Department of Labor to create pre-apprenticeships and mentorships for Maine students.

Programs of Study (POS): Maine has adopted ten Career Clusters® and 25 related pathways at the state level, and local schools and districts are able to develop their own programs based on these frameworks. Programs must be aligned to national- or state-certified industry standards and undergo an approval process by the state Department of Education, including review by an industry stakeholder group. Each program is reviewed by the Department of Education every six years, with an abbreviated review every three, though local CTE administrators conduct more routine program assessments through required Program Advisory Committees (PAC) and Center Advisory Committees (CAC). These committees review programs regularly to ensure they continue to meet industry standards and local industry needs.

Notable in Maine: The state has made efforts in recent years to support the transition from secondary to postsecondary through statewide articulation agreements and the Bridge Year program. Four statewide articulation agreements — in culinary arts, electrical, machine tool and, soon, auto technology programs — enable students to apply credits earned in high school towards a postsecondary degree at one of Maine’s public colleges and/or universities. Additionally, Maine encourages school districts to enter into their own articulation and dual enrollment agreements with corresponding community colleges, universities, and private postsecondary institutions to ensure students have a seamless pathway.

The Bridge Year program is a cohort-based early college program that starts during the junior year of high school. Bridge Year is designed to prepare students for college and careers through technical instruction, career assessments and advising, job shadowing experiences and dual credit coursework. In 2013, the state legislature passed a law to provide funding for dual enrollment CTE programs such as Bridge Year and enable students to earn high school diplomas and postsecondary credit through such programs. In the 2015-16 academic year, 224 students were enrolled in Bridge Year and were projected to earn 3,360 postsecondary credits.

Moving forward, Maine plans to take advantage of the state’s new proficiency-based graduation requirements to promote the benefits of CTE and encourage and allow more students to enroll.

Austin Estes, Policy Associate

This Week in CTE: It’s Apprenticeship Week!

November 18th, 2016

We’re celebrating apprenticeship week this week honoring the role apprenticeships play in helping businesses train accomplished employees, and offering a way for learners to gain the skills they need to be successful in the workplace, while earning a wage while doing so. Below you’ll find a number of resources highlighting the importance of supporting apprenticeships at the national, state and local levels, to ensure learners are prepared for a lifetime of career success.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Connecting the Classroom to Careers: Leveraging Intermediaries to Expand Work-based Learning, brief explores the role of intermediaries at the school, region and state levels, who coordinate between educators and employers to develop critical work-based learning opportunities for students. Learn more about South Carolina’s Apprenticeship Carolina program, which provides critical support to education institutions and employers around the state’s growing Registered Youth Apprenticeships and adult Registered Apprenticeships.

POLICY OF THE WEEK

Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky (TRACK) is a youth pre-apprenticeship program that stands out as an innovative example of effective collaboration between the Kentucky Labor Cabinet, the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education, employers and labor to strengthen students’ career pathways and the talent pipeline. Learn more about TRACK through a webinar we held with Appalachia Regional Comprehensive Center.

PROGRAM OF THE WEEK

Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua, Ohio, is a two-year full-time academic and technical high school that includes a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program of study, with a pre-apprenticeship fully embedded into the program. The pre-apprenticeship program offers students the option of continuing on in a Registered Apprenticeship or non-registered apprenticeship, full-time employment, or additional postsecondary education and training, depending on the opportunities provided by the employer sponsor and student choice. Students have access to apprenticeships with 23 employers, providing them with a multitude of paths to continuing into a career of their choice, such as Cammi Clement, who graduated from UVCC, became an apprentice at Emerson Climate Technologies, and was offered full-time employment and tuition reimbursement upon completion of the program.

EVENT OF THE WEEK: Save the Date!

Save May 4th-5th, 2017 for Apprenticeship Forward, a national conference of leading practitioners from the apprenticeship field including industry associations and employers; unions and labor-management partnerships; community-based organizations; community colleges; high schools; and workforce boards–as well as federal and state policymakers from throughout the country. The event will focus on three critical challenges facing the expansion of apprenticeship:

  • Increasing industry engagement across a range of sectors and firms;AF logo large
  • Addressing equity while diversifying the apprenticeship pipeline; and
  • Implementing new public policies that can take apprenticeship to scale.

Apprenticeship Forward will feature engaging plenaries and breakout panels as well as interactive discussions between attendees about their efforts within specific industries and with specific groups of students and prospective workers.

Sponsoring Partners include:  National Skills Coalition, New America, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, Advance CTE, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Governors Association, and Urban Institute

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications

Putting the Learner First in Career Technical Education

November 15th, 2016

Now that the election has finally come to a close, it’s time to refocus our energy on solving the challenges USCC_FOUNDATION_ID_RGB_1360pxfacing this country. And one of those challenges is connecting people to jobs. On average, employers have been adding 178,000 jobs per month this year. That’s 178,000 opportunities for businesses to connect with the talent they need to be competitive and 178,000 opportunities for people to access the jobs and careers that lead to economic self-sufficiency. However, with hopes that the economy will continue to experience growth, there is less optimism that business will find the workers they need to fill this expansion.

This challenge is particularly acute given the large population of workers nearing retirement and the need for employees to have a different set of skills and competencies than in the past. To address this challenge, this country needs to commit to new approaches that ensure young adults exiting our education and training systems are not only prepared to make the transition into the world of work but are also prepared to be drivers of innovation for this economy. In other words, how do we move students from being career ready to career competitive?

Career Technical Education (CTE) advocates, Advance CTE, and their partners representing a variety of stakeholders are answering that very question. Charting a new pathway for CTE, Advance CTE’s vision is focused on building the talented workforce this country needs to compete by “putting the learner first” in CTE programming. A key tenant of this effort is providing opportunities for learners to make meaningful connections with employers; yet, this type of access cannot occur without implementing new models of employer engagement and leadership in CTE.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s (USCCF) recent youth employment series highlights demand-driven approaches for chambers and other business associations looking to help America’s economy grow, businesses remain competitive, and provide students access to opportunities for success. In alignment with the Advance CTE vision for a revitalized CTE, USCCF’s work focuses on developing and implementing sustainable processes for employers to inform, validate, and participate in the implementation of career pathways. The four-part series includes:

USCCF is committed to putting the learner first by organizing the business community in new ways.

Learn more at YouthEmploymentWorks.org.

Erica Kashiri is Director of Policy and Programs at USCCF’s Center for Education and Workforce.

Choice and options among two of many reasons Finland gets Career Technical Education right

November 15th, 2016

Guest blogger Elizabeth Radday, Learning Support teacher at The Marvelwood School, recently spent six months in Finland, where she studied how their innovative vocational education system works for all students, including students with learning disabilities. Here she shares five lessons she learned about vocational education in Finland. This post is part of our ongoing series exploring international Career Technical Education (CTE) systems with Asia Society.

By guest blogger Elizabeth A. Radday

I recently returned from a six-month stay in Finland as a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching grantee. I went to Finland hoping to learn more about education for students with learning disabilities at the upper secondary (high school) level and came home with a new outlook on vocational education. Finland, a country that has consistently been at or near the top of international tests of educational comparison such as the PISA, not only has great education for students through age fifteen, their upper secondary model is one that other countries should look to as an exemplary model of vocational education.

I fell into vocational education in Finland because that is where I found most special needs students. However, I was reminded over and over again that students choose to enter vocational school and it is not a system where kids with learning disabilities are tracked into a path with a dead end.

What do they get right that we can use a model to move the United States toward a respected system of vocational education for high school students? Here are five lessons I learned about vocational education in Finland.

1. Vocational education is a choice.
In Finland, there is an almost equal split between students who choose to go to vocational school and general upper secondary school (the traditional high school). And choice is a key word in that sentence; it is one of the most important reasons Finnish vocational education succeeds in Finland in ways it doesn’t in other countries.

During the winter and spring of ninth grade, students apply to their top five upper secondary school choices. I have heard over and over from parents, teachers, and students, that where students go for high school is truly their choice. Most students feel no pressure from their parents to go on to one path or the other, and both options lead students on successful career pathways of their choice. Parents emphasize that they want their children to be happy and successful in whatever path they choose, so they encourage their children to make the choice they feel fits them best.

Students gave me a variety of reasons why they chose one school or another, but they all emphasized it was their personal decision. Some say they chose a general upper secondary school, or lukio, because they have hopes of attending a university and studying for a certain career that will require higher education like being a doctor or teacher. Others chose a lukio because they weren’t sure what they want to do as a career yet, and lukio gives them three more years to figure that out.

Students who chose a vocational path knew what they wanted to do and were eager to learn skills for that career. Some were motivated to start working and earn money after only three years of school and didn’t have to go to university. Some were looking for a practical and well-defined future in a specific field. Vocational school is highly respected and seen as the more practical, well-defined, and more secure path for many students!

Read the rest of this article and learn more about Finland’s system on Education Week’s Global Learning blog

States Lift up and Implement Putting Learner Success First

November 14th, 2016

36 States signed onto Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign 

26,000+ Copies of Putting Learner Success First shared

3,600+ Page views of careertech.org/vision

7 National articles/blog

States across the country are working hard to implement the guiding principles of Putting Learner Success First, and share the vision with the array of stakeholders it takes to make the vision possible in their state. State leadership is critical to the success of this vision, and here are some of the ways states have committed to supporting Putting Learner Success First:

In Indiana: “We presented the Vision and supporting materials to IACTED, our association for CTE District Directors in September and to Indiana ACTE leadership at their fall conference. The principles are embedded in our 3-year action plan that multiple agencies, organizations and business/industry partners have signed on to support. We can share more details in weeks to come.”

In South Dakota: “Our office will incorporate the vision into professional development opportunities for teachers and we will use the principles to guide state led efforts.”

In Arkansas: “Arkansas Department of Career Education will provide leadership to encourage school districts to join the efforts of this initiative to prepare every learner for educational and career success. This initiative will be folded into state initiatives through the Rockefeller and Wal Mart Foundations to support the whole community to support education of all students to prepare for success in careers. Professional development will be conducted throughout the state with administrators, teachers, counselors, and business and industry to promote awareness and collaboration.”

In Nebraska: “We are now sharing the document as we conduct our stakeholder engagement meetings across the state. We are holding 14 regional meetings inviting employers, policy makers, community leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, parents and students to participate in a visioning session for the future of CTE in Nebraska. We use the document as one of the foundational pieces to set the stage for the roundtable discussions”

In Arizona: “It has been presented to the CTE stakeholders in Arizona and will be crosswalked with our Arizona CTE Strategic Plan.”

In Kansas: “From the state perspective, it’s our goal to marry Advance CTE’s new vision of putting learner success first with our state’s new vision for education that Kansas will lead the world in the success of each student. We’ve actively engaged our all education stakeholders across the state as we move in a different direction and are excited to align and spread Advance CTE’s new path forward to improve educational opportunities for all of our students.”

36 states have signed onto the Putting Learner Success First sign on campaign (Map 1), while 21 have done the legwork to share and implement the vision in their states (Map 2).

Map 1

Map 1

Map 2

Map 2

 

A number of these states have presented the vision at state-wide meetings, on panels, to educators and partners, getting the word out about how to use the vision.

If you haven’t signed onto the campaign yet, you can do so here and make sure your state is represented. If you’re looking for ways to get the word out about the vision, or how to incorporate it into your own work, be sure to check out our vision resources page where you’ll find a PowerPoint slide deck, talking points and a leave behind fact sheet you can use in your own presentations.

Also, be sure to join us for a webinar tomorrow, November 15 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm ET to hear an update on Putting Learner Success First.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

Election 2016 Update

November 10th, 2016

United States CapitalAmerica went to the polls on Tuesday and, in what was a surprise turn of events for many, Donald Trump won the race for President of the United States. The Senate, which many were closely watching to see if it would flip towards Democratic control, will retain a slim (51 votes) GOP majority. Republicans also defended their majority in the House of Representatives, retaining 239 seats in total (218 are needed for control of the chamber). Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, is expected to return to the Senate and continue on in his current role as co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus.

At present, it is still difficult to predict a Trump Administration’s education priorities, as it was not a primary focus of the candidates on the campaign trail. The President-elect recently created a transition page, which can be viewed here, articulating some of the broader education policy goals of his new administration. Trump has also expressed enthusiasm for returning more control over education to state and local entities while calling  for the elimination or dramatic downsizing of the U.S. Department of Education. Along with these wider policy pronouncements Trump has also voiced support for “vocational training” while on the campaign trail. The Vice President Elect, Mike Pence, also has had a track record of support for Career Technical Education (CTE) in his home state of Indiana (read more on that here).

In addition to these revelations at the federal level, there was also quite a lot of state-level CTE policy of note on this year’s ballot:

  • In California, voters approved a $9 billion bond to create the 2016 State School Facilities Fund, directing money to fund school construction and modernization projects across the state. A sum of $500 million from the fund will be appropriated for updating CTE program facilities. The measure passed despite criticism from California Governor Jerry Brown, who called the investment large and inefficient.
  • measure in Oklahoma that would have levied a one-cent sales tax to increase revenue for public education and teacher salaries was rejected. The proposal included a 3.25 percent allocation to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, which amounted to approximately $20 million.
  • Oregon voters passed Measure 98 to establish a College and Career Readiness fund. The measure calls on the state legislature to allocate $800 per pupil, which can be used to establish and expand CTE programs, college-level educational opportunities (including dual credit programs), and dropout prevention programs in high schools.
  • And South Dakota voted to amend the state constitution and allow the state technical college system to be governed separately from the Board of Regents. Under Constitutional Amendment R, the legislature will now determine a new governance structure for the state’s four technical institutes.

As things continue to evolve in the capitol, Advance CTE will continue to educate new policymakers regarding the value of supporting high-quality CTE. Be sure to check back here as events continue to take shape.

Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager & Austin Estes, Policy Associate 

This Week in CTE

November 10th, 2016

TWEET OF THE WEEK

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

As the election passes, with little details from the campaign to draw on, Education Week reflects on what a Trump administration may mean for education.

RESOURCE OF THE WEEK

Check out this new infographic on how U.S. executives view the skills gap and its impact on the American workforce.

RESEARCH OF THE WEEK

A new study took a look at the effects of programs of study on high school performance and found enrollment improved students’ probability of graduation by 11.3 percent, and that each additional CTE credit earned increased their probability of graduation by 4 percent.

Katie Fitzgerald, Senior Associate, Communications 

 

Series

Archives

1