Posts Tagged ‘Equity and Access’

New Postsecondary State CTE Fellowship Takes Equity-Centered Approach to Address Leadership Talent Pipeline Diversity 

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Today, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced a new initiative to strengthen and diversify the postsecondary state Career Technical Education (CTE) talent pipeline. The Postsecondary State CTE Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTESponsored by ECMC Foundation (Fellowship), will announce its first cohort in October 2021. 

Building state CTE systems where learners of color feel welcome, supported and have the means to succeed is critical to improving equitable CTE access and outcomes. To accomplish this, learners need to see themselves in the educators and administrators of our educational institutions and systems. Simply put, we need more diversity in the state CTE leadership pipeline. While CTE learner populations overall mirror the nation’s demographics, our state CTE leadership composition is largely White. This Fellowship aspires to take a first step at building a more robust and diverse state postsecondary CTE leadership pipeline. 

Fellowship Design and Support 

The Fellowship recruitment process is designed with intentional actions to reach professionals of color, with the goal of the majority of the Advance CTE- ECMCF Fellows being racially diverse. The strengths-based curriculum is designed to build strategic leadership skills rooted in equity and collaboration. Finally, the individualized supports, including coaches, will meet the aspiring leader where they are at. Here is a bit more about the Fellowship:

Visit the Fellowship web page for more information and a promotional toolkit to share the Fellowship with a potential applicant. The deadline for applications for the first cohort is September 15, 2021. 

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for more resources to enhance equity and access in CTE programs and talent pipeline initiatives. 

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate for Communications and State Engagement

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Communicating CTE: Recruitment Through Social Media

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

In April 2021, Advance CTE released Communicating Career Technical Education: Learner-centered Messages for Effective Program Recruitment and updated resources on messages that resonate with families about the value and benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE) and how they should be communicated to each learner to achieve effective and equitable recruitment into secondary CTE programs.

Among the updated resources for states to leverage is Promoting Career Technical Education: Social Media Guide. Social media is an important communications tool that can be used by states and local CTE intermediaries to effectively recruit learners into high-quality CTE programs, build and strengthen relationships with industry, extend advocacy to reach policymakers and build a network with other audiences about the value and promise of CTE. 

Below are some of the key findings from Advance CTE’s recent research, as well as examples of how states used social media in response.

Participation in CTE increases satisfaction for families across all aspects of their education, but equity gaps exist in the levels of satisfaction reached in some aspects of CTE by historically marginalized groups.  

With a focus on recruitment and retention, it is important for learners and families of CTE to see success stories of individuals who look like them and share similar educational, racial, socio-economic, gender and geographic backgrounds.

Make an effort to provide an equitable lens across your content when sharing over social networks. Including learner photos that represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds, learner ages and learner needs is a great place to start. For example, the National Technical Student Association (TSA) used images of historically marginalized communities by race to recruit for the Technology Honor Society. 

The vast majority of parents and learners (78 percent of prospective families and 85 percent of current families) continue to value college as the post-high school aspiration, but are more open to paths other than a four-year degree.

Families and learners both participating in and considering CTE highly value an education experience that allows learners to explore opportunities after high school that lead to college and career success. In this example, Utah used graphics of learners engaging in real-world skills training to promote its Auto Mechanics and Repairs career pathway. This is a way of demonstrating the connection from CTE courses, work-based learning settings and youth apprenticeship programs to career success.

Tag industry and workforce partners in your social media posts. They are more likely to share social content that directly includes them, increasing your post engagement. 

Across the board, CTE programs are most valued and attractive for their ability to provide real-world skills within the education system, offering concrete and tangible benefits that lead to college and career success. 

Using local examples can help explain the nuts and bolts of how CTE delivers success by making the connection between CTE and a specific career or industry, as well as highlighting partnerships with local colleges and employers that are recognizable to parents/guardians and learners.

For example, Jordan CTE localized its tweet by tagging the medical facility where learners were able to receive on-the-job training through their CTE experience and connect their passion to a career right in their community. 

While teachers, school counselors and CTE learners and alumni continue to be the sources most utilized by parents/guardians and learners for information about CTE, online sources also emerged as an important access point.

Wisconsin CTE showcased CTE to parents/guardians and learners by lifting up student success stories. One avenue to find compelling learner examples is to coordinate with statewide or local Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) and gather testimonials, photos and stories to share on social media. This tweet focused on a local learner success story to create human interest in CTE. To help expand the reach of this tweet, Wisconsin CTE used relevant hashtags and tagged the state CTSO and the university the learner was attending. This type of post is a great way to highlight CTE and the many ways CTE benefits learners. 

To understand more about the major social channels, how to create a compelling post, when to engage key audiences and how to build your CTE network, read the full social media guide here.

Brittany Cannady, Senior Associate for Digital Media 

By Brittany Cannady in Advance CTE Resources, Communicating CTE
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Video: Prioritizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in CTE Without Limits

Wednesday, June 30th, 2021

This summer, Advance CTE is pleased to partner with experts from supporting organizations of Without Limits: A Shared Vision for the Future of Career Technical Education to conduct video panels to delve into four of the five foundational commitments that connect the vision principles. 

Our first blog panel covered dimensions of equity, discussing where the field of CTE stands today in successfully achieving equity in program design and learner support; what additional resources and areas of focus are needed to advance equity; and innovative initiatives being conducted by each organization to facilitate progress. 

Much of the discussion centered around intentionality around actions to address equity, messaging about CTE in ways that meet the needs of learners, and the need for organizations to move beyond creating tools to creating consistent space to build community towards courageous action and continuous improvement. Several quotes from our panelists stood out during this conversation: 

“This work is really hard, and we need a space and community so we can empower one another, offer compassion and accountability so that we can have the stamina to engage in this work for a very long time. These conditions were not created overnight.”
– Silvia Ramos, Senior Director of Programs, National Association for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)

“Messaging should be clear and that there’s no longer a dichotomy between CTE programming and rigorous academic education programs…educators and CTE leaders at all levels need to demonstrate and communicate how CTE pathways open opportunities for all students.”
– Erica Cuevas, Associate Director, JFF

“For the most part educators get [culturally responsive education], they understand this need for global competence, but they just don’t know how to teach it….our professional development tools help teacher understand the need and how to integrate it in a way that meets their standards but isn’t a huge lift for a more open, respectful classroom.”
– Heather Singmaster, Director of Career Technical Education  and Global Cities Education Network, Asia Society

Thank you to Advance CTE’s Brian Robinson for serving as a facilitator and to each panelist for their valuable insights. 

Visit Advance CTE’s vision page to read the full vision, access vision communication and implementation resources, and view recordings of our summer Lunch and Learn webinar series focused on the five vision principles.

For more resources and tools on equity and access in CTE, visit the Learning that Works Resource Center.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in CTE Without Limits, Research, Resources
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New Skills ready network Year 1 Reports Highlight Early Innovations and State Support to Advance Quality and Equity in Career Pathways

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021

Today, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group (ESG) released an annual report and site snapshots for the first year of the New Skills ready network initiative.  The five-year initiative, part of JPMorgan Chase and Co.’s $350 million global New Skills at Work program and $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, aims to improve student completion of high-quality, equitable career pathways to gain skills needed for the future of work, particularly among learners of color and other historically marginalized learners. 

The New Skills ready network focuses on six domestic sites as illustrated in the graphic below. As a partner in this initiative, Advance CTE strives to elevate the role of state capacity and resources in advancing project priorities and gain a unique perspective on promising practices to strengthen state-local partnerships across the country. 

One key step highlighted across the snapshots is each site’s approach to connecting systems and creating a common vision and definitions. Boston, Massachusetts, centered on a shared definition of cultural wealth as a framework to discuss equitable practices in career pathway design. Denver, Colorado created the Pathways Data Framework, a shared process for defining, collecting and analyzing data across partners to fully measure progress in achieving equitable career pathways. 

Dallas, Texas, is leveraging their Dallas Thrives initiative to draw on capacity from across their region to work towards a common vision. As an early step, Nashville, Tennessee’s leadership team agreed upon common definitions of systemic racism, implicit bias, educational equity and more and has provided racial equity training to over 300 stakeholders to ground their work in a foundational understanding in what racial equity really means in their community and institutions. 

The report and snapshots also explore how sites are utilizing state leadership, capacity, and existing initiatives to guide the focus of their first year and to map future work. For example, several schools in Indianapolis, Indiana will serve as pilots for the state’s Next Level Program of Study initiative, which aims to improve quality and consistency of CTE program instruction as part of Indiana’s Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) implementation strategy. 

Columbus, Ohio will leverage statewide articulation and transfer agreements as well pre-existing statewide programs to advance equity and access to postsecondary opportunities in career pathways, including the College Credit Plus program, Career-Technical Assurance Guides, the Choose Ohio First scholarship program. The Ohio Department of Higher Education has also established an internal project team to provide state support to the larger cross-sector project team. Nashville, Tennessee’s local efforts are tapping into the state’s Tennessee Pathways’ Designation Process 

Visit Advance CTE’s New Skills ready network series page to read the full annual report and a snapshot of each site’s innovative partnerships and early accomplishments across the four project priorities. Our New Skills ready network collection page provides additional resources for strengthening career pathways.  For more information about the New Skills ready network initiative, read the Getting to Know interview with Senior Policy Associate Jeran Culina. 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Communicating CTE: New Communications Research Highlights Key Equity Considerations in Communicating CTE to Families and Learners

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

 

Today, Advance CTE released a new report and updated resources on messages that resonate with families about the value and benefits of Career Technical Education (CTE), and how they should be communicated to each learner to achieve effective and equitable recruitment into secondary CTE programs.

Communicating Career Technical Education: Learner-centered Messages for Effective Program Recruitment  is an update to messaging research conducted in 2017 on families both participating in (current) and not participating in CTE (prospective). This new research  includes an intentional focus on revealing differences in education preferences, experiences, and message and messenger impact among Black and Latinx families and families experiencing low income to advance a shared vision of CTE programs where each learner feels welcome in, is supported by, and has the means to succeed.

Encouragingly, the topline findings showed that an overarching message about ‘Preparing for the Real World’ resonated with learners and parents/guardians across participation, race, ethnicity and income: 

Through CTE, learners gain real-world skills that prepare them to succeed in college and a career that they are passionate about. 

However, the research also revealed important equity considerations that states should consider when supporting local systems in evaluating and taking steps to improve equity in program quality in hands-on particularly in regards to program quality, the impact of social capital and messenger trust. 

1. Learners in CTE have more opportunities to prepare for postsecondary education and are more confident about completing a degree. 

The findings indicated that participation in CTE increased the likelihood that learners planned to complete a degree over completing ‘some college,’ particularly among Latinx  families and families with low income.

Additionally, 80 percent of families participating in CTE are satisfied with opportunities to jumpstart their postsecondary education in high school through opportunities to earn college credit and take advanced classes compared to just 60 percent of families not participating in CTE.

State Impact: These findings reinforce the importance of states designing seamless transfers from secondary to postsecondary education across all career pathways, removing barriers to accessing early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs), and communicating these opportunities in digestible, intentional ways to families. 

2. Informed school-based messengers are key for CTE enrollment, but online sources and messenger trust are key considerations for historically marginalized families. 

While school counselors and teachers were the top two sources for both families in and  outside CTE to receive information about CTE programs, families from historically marginalized populations also consistently included online sources such as Google search and school websites in their top two sources. 

Significantly, historically marginalized learners not participating in CTE were less likely to choose school counselors as a top source than parents/guardians. While 84 percent of prospective Latinx parents/guardians would likely consult a school counselor about CTE, only 37 percent of prospective Latinx learners would. Among Black families, 74 percent of prospective Black parents/guardians would likely consult a school counselor about CTE while only 59 percent of prospective Black learners would. 

State Impact: These findings reinforce the importance of states designing communication campaigns through multiple avenues with reinforced messaging like those found in our updated messaging triangle (LINK), as well as examining systemic barriers and solutions to building more diverse school counselor and instructor talent pipelines. 

3. Families participating in CTE are more satisfied across all aspects of their education, but intentional focus is needed on achieving equitable access to hands-on experiences. 

The great news is across race, ethnicity and income, 88 percent of parents/guardians and learners participating in CTE are satisfied with their education experience compared to 75 percent of those considering CTE. This includes aspects such as quality of classes and teachers, opportunities for career exploration and skillbuilding, and even opportunities for advanced classes. 

However, equitable satisfaction by race and income was not achieved for work-based learning experiences such as opportunities to connect and network with employers and opportunities for internships. For both of the aforementioned categories, satisfaction among current Black learners dropped 1 and 2 percentage points respectively compared to prospective Black leaners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Impact: As states continue to reimagine CTE programs and work-based learning experiences in this learning recovery, this finding reinforces the importance of designing programs on the margins and removing barriers to access to ensure each learner participates in high-quality programs across all career pathways, and to realize the full impact of these effective messages. 

Overall, CTE provides the education experiences and benefits that families are looking for, but program quality is critical to achieve full message impact and effective recruitment. To read the full report and to access resources to put this research into action including a message triangle with tailoring for historically marginalized populations, please visit our Engaging Families and Learners web page. For resources on advancing equity and access in CTE programs, visit the Equity and Access page in Advance CTE’s Resource Center.

Stacy Whitehouse, Senior Associate Communications and State Engagement 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Uncategorized
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Getting to Know Advance CTE’s Work on Equity

Thursday, September 17th, 2020

The “Getting to Know” blog series will feature the work of State CTE Directors, state and federal policies, innovative programs and new initiatives from the Advance CTE staff. Learn more about each one of these topics and the unique contributions to advancing Career Technical Education (CTE) that Advance CTE’s members work on every day.

Meet Kimberly Green! Kimberly serves as the Executive Director for Advance CTE, where she has been a part of the organization for over 25 years! In the interview below, she shares a little about Advance CTE’s commitment to equity and how her federal advocacy work aligns.

Q. What are a few organizational steps Advance CTE has taken to promote equity?

A. Our organization has not always prioritized equity. It was just a few years ago – in 2018 –  that we began to make the shift to position equity as foundational to our work. We knew we had to approach this work with humility, acknowledging that we had a lot of learning, listening and growing to do. To help with this, we launched an Equity Kitchen Cabinet composed of Advance CTE members and a National Committee on Equity that included representatives of national organizations leading civil rights and equity in education work, to serve as mentors and thought partners. Both groups informed our Board-approved statement on equity

As a leader, I always strive to have our organization model what we hope to see in states. After listening and learning from our partners over the course of the year, I knew we had to turn the equity work inward, examining Advance CTE’s organizational culture and processes. Through a year-long grant from the Associated Black Charities (ABC) our staff participated in three, day-long trainings, our leadership received monthly coaching sessions from an equity expert. We conducted an internal equity audit and chose to focus our efforts this first year to revise our recruitment and hiring practices and evaluation system. This grant gave us the skills and confidence to release this statement in June of this year, which outlines a set of commitments that we are working to live up to. As the ABC grant just ended, we are investing our organizational resources to extend this internal work with our next year’s priorities being: building equity into our onboarding curriculum for all new staff; three more, full-day staff trainings; establishing a set of core values; standing up a diversity, equity and inclusion advisory group and more. 

Q. In your work aligned with federal advocacy, what have you witnessed that you are most proud of related to equity and access for learners?

A. I am proud that we advocated for and were successful in positioning equity at the heart of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V).  Our advocacy broadened the historical equity focus beyond gender equity. Through the comprehensive local needs assessment, a new requirement that we and the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) authored, ensures that policy and fiscal decisions are driven by data and prioritize closing equity gaps. 

Q. Do you have any recommended resources for states to promote equity in CTE?

A. While we have done a lot of internal work, we have also created a number of assets and tools for the CTE community under the Making Good on the Promise Series. This series examines how states can leverage data to identify and address equity gaps, rebuild trust with historically underserved communities, expand access to high-quality CTE for each and every learner and build systems to ensure learner success. This year, in partners from the National Equity Committee, we added to the series through population-specific resources, including a focus on students with disabilities, homeless youth (forthcoming) and justice-involved youth. We also will be releasing a series of assets to help states build their capacity to conduct opportunity gap analysis, a foundational step to identify where gaps exist. In addition to Advance CTE assets, the U.S. Department of Education has assets states can find here and our partners at the National Alliance for Partnership in Equity have some great resources here.

View past entries and stay up to date with the Getting to Know series here.

Brittany Cannady, Digital Media Associate

By Brittany Cannady in Resources
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Improving Equity and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students with Disabilities

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020

In 2017-18, nearly 11.8 million students in the United States participated in Career Technical Education (CTE) — 8.8 million in secondary and 2.9 million in postsecondary. Of those students, 877,938 were secondary learners with disabilities, and 126,110 were postsecondary learners with disabilities.

When students with disabilities have access to and the supports needed to thrive in high-quality CTE programs, the outcomes are promising. In general, participation in CTE courses has been tied to “a positive impact on wages, with an increase of 2 percent for every high-level class” in which a student participates.[1] This effect is reinforced for students with disabilities. Recent research links “concentrated CTE participation to improved graduation and employment for students with [physical and learning] disabilities.”[2]

However, state leaders still face challenges when attempting to equitably serve students with disabilities. Advance CTE’s latest resource, developed in collaboration with the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), outlines five actions state CTE leaders can take to ensure that secondary and postsecondary students with disabilities have access to and the supports needed to thrive in high-quality CTE programs. Specifically, Making Good on the Promise: Improving Equity and Access to Quality CTE Programs for Students with Disabilities examines how state CTE leaders can:

This resource is part of the Making Good on the Promise series, which confronts the negative aspects of CTE’s legacy and defines the key challenges learners face today. The series provides promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE to ensure that each learner is able to attain the promise of CTE — a high-skill, high-wage, in-demand career. 

Brianna McCain, former Policy Associate

[1] Kreisman, D., & Stange, K. (2019). Depth over breadth: The value of vocational education in U.S. high schools. Education Next, 19(4), 76-84.

[2] Theobald, R. J., Goldhaber, D. D., Gratz, T. M., & Holden, K. L. (2019). Career and technical education, inclusion, and postsecondary outcomes for students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 52(2), 109–119.

By Brittany Cannady in Resources
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Learning from CTE Research Partnerships: Using Data to Address Access and Equity Barriers in Massachusetts

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

As part of our ongoing blog series aimed at increasing state research on Career Technical Education (CTE), Corinne Alfeld, Research Analyst at the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and Austin Estes, Manager of Data & Research at Advance CTE, are conducting interviews with individuals who are part of successful CTE State Director research partnerships. The third interview was with Cliff Chuang at the Massachusetts Department of Education and Shaun Dougherty of Vanderbilt University. [Note: this interview, from February 5, 2020, has been edited for length and clarity].

Could you start by talking about the projects that you’ve worked on, your research questions, and how you settled on those research questions?

Shaun – It grew out of my dissertation work that was using some of the school data and then some of the statewide data from Massachusetts. It started pretty narrowly but the director of research was happy enough with what I was able to do that she talked about whether we could address some additional questions, and more data was becoming available. That more or less triggered the expansion, and then with Cliff coming into the role it became a two-way conversation that was more explicitly about what’s of academic interest and what’s of interest or of need on the practice and policy side for CVTE [career/vocational technical education].

Cliff – I would say that the particular catalyst for our most recent partnership is our desire as an agency to understand the waitlist demand issues related to chapter 74 CVTE in Massachusetts. If I recall correctly, we put out an RFR (request for responses)* for a research partner to help us analyze different aspects of who is and is not getting access to CVTE programs in Massachusetts. And Shaun and his partner Isabel at Harvard, a grad student there, their bid was selected. From that project there have been a lot of offshoots through the CTEx exchange collaboration that Shaun and others have established. We’ve been engaged in a lot of informal research inquiry as well as additional formal research that uses that data.

Could you talk a little bit about what the findings were from that project and what have been implications in the academic space but also on the policy front, how are you using those findings to change policy in Massachusetts?

Shaun – The basic findings were that in fact there is much more interest in these high-quality CTE programs, these chapter 74-approved programs in these standalone technical high schools, than can be met by current supply. This was more confirmatory evidence with a little more granularity and maybe confidence in the figures than was possible previously.

Cliff – Shaun’s team also helped us look at just the straight enrollment data comparisons, which is still not as ideal as looking at applicant data. It was helpful to have a more rigorous definition of what data protocols are needed around application and admissions. We have now made the decision to collect waitlist data systematically at the state level to allow researchers like Shaun to more rigorously analyze across the board the attributes of who’s interested in voc tech, who’s getting in, who’s applying, etc.

I think it also stimulated a variety of program initiatives on the part of state government in Massachusetts to increase access to CVTE programs through collaborative partnerships like After Dark, which is an initiative that seeks to utilize shop space in our technical schools after the regular school day paired with academics provided by a partner academic school to get more kids the technical training that we are unable to do in the standard day program structures.

I would also add that Shaun is continuing other aspects of the research now that we’re very excited about, based in part on some of the research they did do to look at longer term trends of students and their outcomes post high school.

Shaun – The first order concern is that lots of people want [access to CVTE programs] and there’s a limited amount of it, so should we have more?

The second order concern – but certainly not secondary question – is one about equity and whether or not the students who were applying and the students who were getting access look like a representative cross-section of the community at large.  We know that students who choose CTE or select a lot of it are maybe different than those who don’t, but we don’t know a ton about whether and how we expect students who are making those investments to look like the overall population or whether or not access concerns lead to equity concerns.

Cliff – We would like to look more closely at whether the gaps are simply due to application gaps – which is still an issue in terms of kids not applying – or whether there are actual gaps related to who is applying and getting in. That was the data gap that we haven’t quite been able to close yet. But Shaun was able to create some comparative data that is just based on enrollment that has allowed us to engage in these conversations. We’re having the conversation about trying to expand the number of seats available so there’s less of a waitlist, but also to ensure that access into the existing seats is equitable and doesn’t disadvantage certain subgroups over others.

Over the course of the partnership, what have been some of the major challenges and hurdles that you’ve faced? What are some of the speedbumps that you’ve hit getting things formalized up at the front?

Shaun – Fortunately, one thing that we didn’t face, although I know it’s an obstacle in many places, is processes related to how one gets permissions and access to the data. In fact, as the process has evolved, having those structures in place has made it really easy, so that if Cliff and I say “hey, we’d like to add this,” it’s a pretty easy amendment of the MOU [memorandum of understanding]. And then the people who deliver the data get approval and then they deliver it through a secure portal.

Cliff – I would also say that researchers left on their own probably would have had much less success in getting district participation in the survey study we did together. I, on the other hand, am someone with positional authority at the state level and established relationships that I can leverage to get that participation. And then I can pass it off to the research team that actually has the expertise and bandwidth to execute on the very labor-intensive data collection, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

It seems like you have a good partnership and a good synergy between the state office and the research team. If you were talking to CTE leaders and other researchers, what are some strategies and practices to make sure that partnership runs effectively and can be as impactful as possible?

Cliff – I think it’s important to have someone in the role of a researcher director type person whose job it is to facilitate these partnerships and to do some of the nitty gritty around data sharing, MOUs, etc. The other thing I would say is to have a commitment to an evidence base in terms of policymaking, and have people in the programmatic leadership who see the value of that and have enough knowledge of how research functions to parlay whatever policy or relational capital they have to support the research agenda.

Shaun – I think sometimes overcoming the incentives related to purely academic publishing restricts some of the willingness of some academic researchers to invest or to think about important questions in practice and policy. It’s being willing to realize that strong partnerships with local and state agencies means that more and better work can be done, and the work can have impact in real time. There is something very fulfilling and useful and practical about taking that approach from a research standpoint and then, if you come from practice like I did, then it helps ground the work.

Other blog posts in this series can be viewed here.

 

*Cliff explained that this is a formal process by which they solicited proposals for pay. “What’s been nice is that because it’s a partnership, Shaun has secured funding from other sources so there’s not an explicit contractual arrangement always. Aspects of the research that are ongoing are follow-ons from the original study. We have an interest in continuing to mine the data long-term to inform practice and policy.”

By Austin Estes in Research
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Three Promising Approaches to Advance Equity in CTE

Monday, June 17th, 2019

State leaders have a critical responsibility to ensure each learner has opportunities for career success and is supported in identifying and realizing his or her goals. To help state leaders identify and dismantle historical barriers and construct systems that support each learner in accessing, feeling welcome in, fully participating in and successfully completing a high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) program of study, Advance CTE launched its Equity in CTE initiative last spring.

As part of this initiative, Advance CTE has committed to developing resources to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE. To provide state leaders with promising practices, Advance CTE added three new equity-focused policy profiles to the Learning that Works Resource Center. These highlight effective practices at the state and institutional levels.

The new Advance CTE profiles explore promising programs in the following states:

To learn more about promising solutions to help state leaders close equity gaps in CTE, read Advance CTE’s Making Good on the Promise series.

Brianna McCain, Policy Associate

By Brianna McCain in Uncategorized
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CTE’s Equity Challenge

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Throughout history, and continuing today, learners of color, low-income learners, female learners and learners with disabilities have been historically tracked into terminal vocational programs leading to jobs with uncertain promise of economic growth and prosperity. While the quality of CTE programs has significantly improved since then, many of these same learners cannot access high-quality CTE programs of study that prepare them for success in postsecondary education and their future careers.

To help state leaders recognize these historical barriers and adopt promising solutions to close equity gaps in CTE, Advance CTE is launching a new series of policy briefs called Making Good on the Promise. The first two briefs are now available in the Learning that Works Resource Center.

The first brief explores CTE’s history, taking a close look at the practice of tracking learners into low-quality vocational programs and examining the different ways that certain learners have faced barriers to accessing high-quality CTE programs of study. The second brief highlights promising practices from states that are using data to identify and address access and achievement gaps by different learner populations.

Ultimately, each learner deserves to access a learning environment in which he or she is supported, feels welcome, and can acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve lifelong career success. But many of the structures and systems in place today enforce historical biases and discrimination that make it challenging for learners to access these opportunities. Reversing historical trends and expanding access and opportunity for each learner will require tough conversations, humility, and a commitment to both quality and equity.

In Delaware, for example, state leaders made a commitment to use state CTE data to expand equitable access to high-quality CTE programs. Through the regular CTE performance management process, the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) compares the population of learners in CTE programs to learners in the larger student body to identify enrollment gaps.

If a certain learner population is either underrepresented or overrepresented in the program of study, it triggers a structured protocol. DDOE staff work in partnership with local leaders to conduct interviews with teachers, learners and parents and dig deeper into the root causes. DDOE and district staff debrief about the conversations and collectively develop a report summarizing the findings of the study. Although local sites are not required to act on DDOE’s recommendations, many recognize the need and seize the opportunity for additional state support.

Conversations about equity are often difficult, but they are necessary to secure access and opportunity for each learner. Collaborative, data-driven strategies like Delaware’s CTE performance management protocol allow state leaders to identify and address inequities in an impactful way.

In future briefs, we will explore how state leaders can work to rebuild trust among communities that have been historically under-served, expand opportunity for every learner, and put mechanisms in place to ensure learner success. The Making Good on the Promise series is made possible through the New Skills for Youth initiative, a partnership of the Council of Chief State School Officers, Advance CTE and Education Strategy Group, generously funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co. These briefs and all future resources can be accessed in the Learning that Works Resource Center at careertech.org/resource/series/making-good-promise.

Austin Estes, Senior Policy Associate

By Austin Estes in Advance CTE Resources, Publications, Resources
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