Posts Tagged ‘race to the top’

Deal Reached to Cut Federal Programs by $38 Billion

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Late Friday night President Obama and Congressional leaders reached a deal that would avert a shutdown and fund the government for an additional week to allow time for both sides to work out a longer term funding bill that will fund the government through the end of September. Congress passed a week-long continuing resolution (CR) which includes $2 billion in cuts, all of which target transportation programs. The figure for cuts reached in the deal for the long-term bill is $38.5 billion (including the $2 billion in the two week CR).

While details have not yet been worked out, here is what we have heard from sources:

In a statement released on Saturday, the White House said that “The two sides agreed to cut $13 billion from funding for programs at the Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.” We do not know where those cuts will come from, but details are expected to be released sometime today.

The House is scheduled to vote on the long-term CR on Wednesday.

By admin in Legislation
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State of the Union Focuses on Education, CTE Student Sits with First Lady

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

In his second State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama set a broad agenda for improving the economy and maintaining the United States’ status as a global super power. Calling this our “Sputnik moment,” the President urged Congress, private businesses and the American people to work together to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.

Recognizing that the world has changed and that a high degree is no longer sufficient to earn a family sustaining wage, Obama focused on the ways that education can help turn around the economy. First, he cautioned against “pour[ing] money into a system that’s not working” and highlighted the ways that his Race to the Top grants have reformed education through the adoption of new standards. He also stated that Race to the Top should be the foundation for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind this year. Among the other education priorities that he addressed were: raising the status of the teaching profession, increasing the number of STEM teachers, making postsecondary more accessible and affordable, and training individuals for new careers and new jobs.

He also stressed the importance of community colleges in meeting the demands of out fast-changing economy and singled out Kathy Proctor, a student at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina who is earning her degree in biotechnology at the age of 55 because the furniture factories in her town have disappeared.

However, despite the President’s call for greater investment in things like innovation, education and infrastructure, last night he proposed a five-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending beginning this year. This comes after House Republicans have pledged to return appropriations levels to FY08 or FY06 levels. So while we don’t know what spending levels will look like after the CR expires in March, it seems certain that there not be any funding increases this year.

On a brighter note, Brandon Ford, a junior at the Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering at West Philadelphia High School was invited to be a guest in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box last night. Brandon was recognized for his participation in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition, in which teams from across the globe compete to create production-ready, highly fuel efficient vehicles. Brandon and his team went up against corporations, universities and other well-funded organizations from around the world, advancing all the way to the elimination round.  Congratulations, Brandon!

By admin in News, Public Policy
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Republicans Propose Tech Prep Cuts

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

On Thursday Rep. Jim Jordan (OH), head of the Republican Study Committee, introduced the Spending Reduction Act of 2011, which aims to reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion by 2021. This bill first proposes setting FY11 non-security spending levels at FY08 levels, and thereafter setting FY12 to FY21 levels at FY06 levels.

Second, the bill would repeal or eliminate a variety of programs in an effort to reduce the deficit. One of the programs slated for repeal is Title II of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. While President Obama last year proposed consolidating Title II Tech Prep funding into the Title I Basic State Grants, this bill would eliminate that funding.

Among the programs singled out for rescission are those in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which includes the Community College and Career Training Grants that were just announced by the Administration last week. The bill would also rescind unobligated funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes funding for Race to the Top and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

While this bill may pass the House due to the new Republican majority that has made deficit reduction a major priority, it is unlikely to pass the Democratically-controlled Senate. However, NASDCTEc will be watching this bill closely and will be advocating on the Hill for maintaining Perkins funding. But we may need your help! If the bill progresses through the House, we will likely contact you for state specific information on the impact of cutting Tech Prep funding, and may need your help in contacting key members of Congress that represent your state or district.

By admin in Legislation
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Race to the Top Creates Focus on STEM Initiatives

Friday, September 10th, 2010

With the announcement of the 10 Race to the Top Finalists comes an increased emphasis on STEM education improvement. The U.S. Department of Education classified STEM as a “competitive preference priority” on the Race to the Top application in the hopes of encouraging states to increase these types of programs.

A recent blog from Education Week, STEM Education to Get Boost From Race to Top Winners, highlights this focus on STEM by providing examples of how select states are using their grants to implement new STEM initiatives, including:

STEM is one CTE area that is in high demand for students as well as qualified teachers. A recent report from Georgetown University stated that by 2018 there will be 8 million STEM jobs available. In addition, a report from the National Association for Alternative Certification, focusing on the need for qualified STEM teachers, noted that, “Just 23% of 12th grade students scored at or above the proficient level in math on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).”

Both of these statistics show the need for enhanced STEM initiatives. With the Race to the Top grant money, states will be able to provide additional funding for these types of programs in the hopes of addressing the current and future needs of STEM in both education and the workforce.

By admin in News, Public Policy
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Race to the Top Assessment Winners Announced

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Today, the Department of Education announced more than $330 million in Race to the Top assessment grant awards to the consortia of states that submitted applications. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will receive $170 million and the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will receive $160 million. The goal of these two consortia is to develop a “new generation” of math and English language arts assessments for third grade through high school that will be aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The assessments will be put into place by the 2014-2015 school year.

PARCC is a coalition of 26 states and will test students’ ability to read complex text, complete research projects, excel at classroom speaking and listening assignments, and work with digital media. The consortia will replace the single year-end high stakes test with a series of assessments given throughout the year. PARCC’s application stated that its assessment system “will provide the tools needed to identify whether students—from grade 3 through high school—are on a trajectory for postsecondary success and, critically, where gaps may exist and how they can be remediated well before students enter college or the workforce.”

SBAC is comprised of 31 states that will test students using computer adaptive technology that will ask students tailored questions based on their previous answers. The consortia will still use a single test at the end of the year for accountability purposes, but will create a series of interim tests throughout the year to let students, parents, and teachers know whether students are on track. You can see which states are included in both of the consortia here.

In a speech this morning at Achieve, Inc. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that states in both consortia have agreed to set the same achievement levels or cut‐scores on their  assessments and that the Department will ask them to collaborate to make sure student test results are comparable across participating states. Duncan also laid out how these assessments differ from existing state tests, including the use of smart technology, immediate feedback, accommodations, and the use of formative assessments that document student growth. Finally he said that “for the first time, the new assessments will better measure the higher‐order thinking skills so vital to success in the global economy of the 21st century and the future of American prosperity. To be on track today for college and careers, students need to show that they can analyze and solve complex problems, communicate clearly, synthesize information, apply knowledge, and generalize learning to other settings.”

As you may be aware, there was a third group of states, the State Consortium on Board Examination Systems, that applied for $30 million in funding under the competition to support assessments at the high school level. However, this group did not win an award.

By admin in News, Public Policy
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Ten Race to the Top Winners Announced

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the round two winners of the $3.4 billion in Race to the Top grants.  These winners are:

  1. Florida
  2. Georgia
  3. Hawaii
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Maryland
  6. New York
  7. North Carolina
  8. Ohio
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Washington, D.C.

The 10 winning States have adopted rigorous common, college- and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.

There was no immediate word on how much money each winner will receive, but awards will be based on States’ student population. In the first round of grants, Delaware was awarded $100 million and Tennessee received $500 million. In a statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that this round of finalists was very competitive and that the Department hopes to have a round three of grants, using $1.35 billion requested in the President’s FY11 budget.

By admin in News, Public Policy
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Race to the Top Finalists Announced for Round Two

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This afternoon, in a speech at the National Press Club, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the finalists for round two of the Race to the Top grant competition. There were 19 finalists, out of 36 that applied for the remaining $3.4 billion in grant money:

Each state will send a group of five representatives to Washington, D.C. in early August 9 to make their case to the review panel. Duncan said that there could between 10 and 15 winners, which will be announced in September.

By admin in Public Policy
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House May Move on Education Jobs Fund This Week

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The House is expected to vote on the Supplemental Appropriations Act this week. There will be two votes – one on the war funding and one on the package of additions/offsets to the Senate bill. The bill contains $10 billion for education jobs and $4.95 billion for Pell grants. In order to pay for these provisions, $12 billion in rescissions must be made including $800 million in education funding:

However, the bill still faces opposition from Republican members. House Minority Leader Boehner has said, “We’ve heard all kinds of rumors about how it might be considered, but we are not going to facilitate the passing of tens of billions of dollars of wasteful government spending on the backs of our kids.”

By admin in Legislation
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ACTE Leadership Forum Focuses on Preparing the Future Workforce

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Yesterday ACTE hosted a National Leadership Forum to discuss policy and practice around preparing today’s students for the workforce.  Topics included skills attainment, CTE’s role in economic development, certifications and assessments, and federal policy.

Glenn Cummings, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Vocational and Adult Education, outlined the Administration’s goals for preparing students:

Kelly Hastings from Senator Michael Enzi’s (WY) office talked about the urgent need for WIA reauthorization this year. Despite the scant attention paid to WIA, Senator Enzi is passionate about it and is optimistic that it could be reauthorized this year. Among his priorities are: a dual customer approach, better coordination across the four titles of WIA, innovation, and flexibility. She stated that there would not be “wholesale change” of WIA in the next reauthorization, but that Congress will tweak the existing law to meet the needs to today’s workforce.

Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, chair of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and hinojosaphoto_highresCompetitiveness, joined us during lunch to offer his perspective. He spoke about being elected to Congress from a district with a 23% unemployment rate 16 years ago and a current unemployment rate of 6%.  He credits the investment in human capital and education for the dramatic decline in unemployment.

If there was one point that I heard over and over from several speakers it was that during a time of 9% unemployment there are jobs going unfilled because of the lack of skilled workers.  CTE is a means to develop pathways of education and training to get people appropriately matched to these jobs.  At a time when 15 million people in this country are unemployed, no job should remain unfilled.

By admin in Public Policy
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Thirty-Five States and D.C. Apply For Round Two of Race to the Top

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Yesterday was the deadline for states to apply for the second round of the Race to the Top grants and the number of applications was down to 36 from 41 in round one. Grants from this fund will be awarded to states that “have raised student performance in the past and have the capacity to accelerate achievement gains with innovative reforms.”  In their applications states must outline their plans for reform in these four areas: college- and career-ready standards and assessments, highly effective educators, data systems that support student achievement, and turning around their lowest-performing schools. States will also get competitive preference if they have a comprehensive STEM plan in place.

There is $3.4 billion available to states in this phase of the completion, and 10 to 15 states could win grants. The winners will be announced by the end of September. The Department of Education awarded a total of $600 million to round one winners Delaware and Tennessee in March.

By admin in Public Policy
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