Posts Tagged ‘student outcomes’

CTE Research Review: Q&A with Shaun Dougherty on the Impacts of CTE Access on Learner Outcomes in Connecticut 

Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

This research review series features interviews with three CTE researchers— Julie Edmunds, Shaun Dougherty, and Rachel Rosen — to highlight new and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) research topics being pursued and discuss how state CTE leaders might leverage these to make evidence-based decisions. This series is conducted in partnership with the Career and Technical Education Research Network, which is providing new CTE impact studies and strengthening the capacity of the field to conduct and use rigorous CTE research.

For the final post in this series, Advance CTE caught up with researcher Shaun Dougherty to learn more about the outcomes of his study, The Effects of Career and Technical Education: Evidence from the Connecticut Technical High School SystemThis study took place at The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS), an independent district of choice composed of 16 high schools where all students who attend the school participate in some form of CTE. The technical high schools in this study offer between 10 and 17 programs of study compared to the two to four typically offered at traditional comprehensive high schools. These findings suggest that student participation in CTE programs can improve graduation and college enrollment rates, and labor force participation, especially for male students. These findings should be meaningful to state leaders who are interested in improving CTE data quality to improve programming and learner supports.

How do your research findings advance the CTE field’s understanding of ways to better serve learners?

My findings in Connecticut and an earlier study in Massachusetts suggest that increasing access to high-quality CTE-focused schools can improve high school graduation rates, test scores, and early workforce experiences (earnings especially). These findings suggest that ensuring access to high-quality CTE is important, especially in areas where there is high demand for it among students. In Connecticut, we show that the benefits accrue to males only, but in Massachusetts, the impacts are broader-based and larger for students who come from less financially advantaged backgrounds. 

What is also important about both of these contexts is that students are attending CTE-dedicated high schools, which is the least common form of CTE instructional delivery in the United States. Students explore multiple programs in 9th grade and then make an informed decision about what program of study to pursue for the rest of their high school experience. Within the program they choose, they then have a relatively stable set of peers and instructors, and there is alignment between content in the state graduation requirements, such as math and English Language Arts (ELA), and their technical area of study. Each of these dimensions of the experience tends not to exist in CTE delivered in comprehensive high schools or regional technical centers.

What findings would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

In particular, I’d highlight the following:

You find male students enrolled in Connecticut’s Technical High School System (CTHSS) are more likely to graduate high school and experience a notable wage increase compared to males attending traditional high schools, yet this effect is not seen among female students. What do you make of this finding? 

There are two things worth noting here:

Can you tell me about how you were able to leverage the state’s longitudinal data system, the value that this process brought to your work, and about any limitations you encountered??

We matched the CTHSS admissions records to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) longitudinal data system sequentially using the following criteria: SASID, exact match on first and last name plus birth year, first initial and exact match on last name plus birth year and month, and exact match on last name plus exact birth date. The reason for the sequential match process is reporting errors in the CTHSS application file on birth dates, spelling errors and uses of nicknames in the application file that parents and/or students fill out by hand. A failure to match after applying all of these criteria leads to the observation being omitted from the sample. Our resulting match rate was 95 percent yielding a final sample of 57,658 student applications.

From the CSDE longitudinal data system, we obtained information on each student’s race, gender, free or reduced-price lunch status, English learner and special education status (i.e. presence of an IEP).

The CSDE data also provided information on short- and medium-term educational outcomes including standardized test scores prior to and during high school, attendance, and high school graduation, as well as information on college attendance drawn from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Further, through the P20Win process, students in our sample were matched to Connecticut State Department of Labor (CSDOL) data. This CSDOL match is facilitated by Department of Motor Vehicle records that contain gender, birth date, and first and last name and is matched to the CSDOL data using social security numbers. CSDOL personnel then matched the resulting data to the CSDE data using an exact match on birth date and gender and a fuzzy match algorithm on the student’s name.

Failure to match applicants in the CSDOL data may have been driven by several factors including never having a driver’s license in the state of Connecticut, name changes due to marriage or other factors, moving out of state prior to or upon the completion of high school or failure to participate in the labor market after high school perhaps due to college attendance. Our labor market data ends in the 1st quarter of 2018. Therefore, we restrict this sample to the years 2006 to 2012 so that we have a potential for at least six quarters of data on each applicant.

Without the matching to the workforce outcomes, we would be left to wonder or speculate about what happened to most students, since there is no real evidence of impact on college-going (nor should we expect it early on for students who attended schools that emphasize manufacturing and skilled trades). Thus, the linkages were critical to being able to provide policymakers with relevant, detailed answers  

The primary limitation is that we cannot see workers who moved out of state, who were employed by the federal government, who work for unreported wages, or who are independent contractors. However, our takeaway is that our findings are likely an underestimate of the benefits of CTE. 

What new questions has this work raised for you that could be applied to future research?

The two biggest questions this work has raised for me so far are:

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional publications examining career-centered education models and Advance CTE’s 50-state report on equity in CTE early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) released earlier this year.

The work of the CTE Research Network Lead is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education with funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act through Grant R305N180005 to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work of the Network member projects is supported by the Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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CTE Research Review: Exploring the Impact of P-TECH Model on College and Career Readiness Outcomes in New York City

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

This research review series features interviews with three CTE researchers— Julie Edmunds, Shaun Dougherty, and Rachel Rosen — to highlight new and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) research topics being pursued and discuss how state CTE leaders might leverage these to make evidence-based decisions. This series is conducted in partnership with the Career and Technical Education Research Network, which provide  CTE impact studies intending to strengthen the capacity of the field to conduct and use rigorous CTE research.

For the second post in this series, Advance CTE spoke with MDRC’s Rachel Rosen about the findings from her studies, Bridging of the School-to-Work Divide and the On-Ramp to College. These studies explore the impact that participation in New York City (NYC) P-TECH model schools has on improvement in learner outcomes for New York’s student’s college and career readiness. The NYC P-TECH Grades 9-14 (P-TECH 9-14) high school model involves a partnership among the New York City Department of Education, the City University of New York (CUNY), and employers collaborate with the schools implementing it. The schools prepare students for both college and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields by allowing them to earn an applied associate degree in addition to a high school diploma and gain relevant work-based learning experiences within a six-year timeframe. 

These studies compared the impact that attending one of NYC’s P-TECH had on the number of dual enrollment credits learners earned, and the passage rate of the state readiness Regents exam as college and career readiness metrics. Comparison groups of students for this study were created naturally through New York’s lottery admission system. Researchers were able to observe the outcomes of those who were admitted to a P-TECH and those who were offered seats in other schools. By the end of two years of high school, 42 percent of P-TECH 9-14 students had passed the English Language Arts exam compared to 25 percent of a comparison group of students enrolled in other high schools. There was also a positive impact on passing the regents math exam with 43 percent of P-TECH students passing it by the end of two years, compared with 40 percent of comparison group students.

Based on these findings, policymakers may be interested in learning more about how to leverage the P-TECH model to replicate positive outcomes for learner populations most underserved by traditional school models. 

How do your research findings on the P-TECH school model advance the CTE field’s understanding of ways to better serve learners? 

One of the important things about the P-TECH study is that it is a causal study, so we can confidently say that the results we are seeing are directly caused by students being enrolled in the P-TECH model as compared to an alternative model. The P-TECH model was developed from proven elements of other models that are also backed by rigorous evidence. These elements include early college high school models, career academies, and small schools of choice. P-TECH is a tightly aligned model where there is good coordination between secondary, postsecondary, and employers that provide a lot of cushioning for students at these critical transition points where, in other models, they might be left to their own devices.

What findings from the Bridging of the School-to-Work Divide and the On-Ramp to College studies, would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

We believe that CTE leaders will be really interested in the positive impact that we’re seeing for students who are participating in P-TECH: P-TECH 9-14 students signed up for dual enrollment programs at higher rates and both attempted and earned more college credits than the comparison group students by the end of four years of high school. It is important to note that the students in the study sample intentionally had weaker academic performance in eighth grade than the overall student population enrolled in P-TECH 9-14 schools (more than 70% of them were testing below proficient in both math and English Language Arts (ELA) in 8th grade).  Another important demographic piece for leaders to consider is the impact that attending a P-TECH high school has for learners traditionally underserved by comprehensive high schools. Our sample reflects learners who identify as Black and Hispanic, and who come from neighborhoods where the median income is below the city average, and they are experiencing positive outcomes with dual enrollment and passing the Regents exam. 

Focusing on Bridging of the School-to-Work Divide, which indicates that the P-TECH model has positive impacts on students’ college and career readiness, what do you know about how specific elements of P-TECH contribute to this impact?

There are a couple of elements of the P-TECH model that we think contribute to student success and readiness for work-based learning and dual enrollment courses:

Taken together, all of these elements position students for success not only in high school but in their work-based learning experiences and to dual enroll in college courses. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Regents Examinations are New York’s statewide standardized examinations that students take to demonstrate proficiency in core high school subjects. Students are required to pass these exams to earn a Regents Diploma.

Based on the findings in both studies, your team found that P-TECH students tended to concentrate more on CTE courses than control groups, either through accumulating greater numbers of CTE credits in high school or by taking CTE-aligned courses through dual enrollment.

What factors appear to drive that trend? And are there any implications here for CTE leaders and educators? 

Yes, the P-TECH model has an explicit focus on preparing students for careers through CTE classes. The schools were set up to make these CTE classes available in high school and CTE courses were also offered at the colleges as part of the applied associate’s degrees that students can earn. 

The comparison group in this study is made up of students who applied to P-TECH, but who did not win a seat through the random admissions process. Some of those students may have ended up in other high schools across New York City that also offer CTE coursework if that was important to them. However, we’re still seeing that P-TECH students earned more CTE credits than that comparison group students, and we believe that it is due to the very tight focus on CTE in these schools.

CTE leaders should certainly consider the role that industry partners have in helping to ensure alignment across the courses students take, the associate degree coursework, and standards for the industries they represent. The industry partners had some input into which CTE classes would help students be more prepared to secure jobs within the industry, or at least if not with the industry partner itself, then the industry that the partner works in. There is a lot of communication about how to best prepare students for entering these industries.

On-Ramp to College digs into the differences in dual enrollment participation based on gender, revealing that female students enroll in college courses at higher rates than males.

Can you explain what you learned about this pattern and any insights you gained about supporting male students’ college enrollment? 

There is an interesting paradox that is frequently observed across the higher education and CTE literature where, despite being more likely to enroll and graduate than their male peers, female students experience lower levels of accrued impact from participating in CTE.

Since the P-TECH model has a combined focus on both higher education and career readiness, we wanted to see how the gender differences might play out for students in this environment. Consistently, we saw female students in both the P-TECH high schools and the comparison schools were much more likely to dual enroll than male students. This was not, however, translate into higher pass rates of the Regents exam.  While male and female students were passing the Regents at similar levels, the female students were more likely to take up the opportunity for dual enrollment than their male peers. And this pattern was held across all seven of the P-TECH schools in this study, so it seems unrelated to the program type.

In our sample, about 21 percent of students have special education designations, but within that group, almost 80 percent of these students are male. When we compared this to the general education population, we found that the male-female gap closed somewhat, but not completely. From a policy standpoint, this tells us that there is more that could be done to support students who have special education designations in dual enrollment. 

Finally, what new questions has this work raised for you that could be applied to future research?

The study is still ongoing and we are currently working on our final analysis. Generally speaking, the big open question is focused on the impacts of P-TECH on postsecondary attainment.

Other questions we’d like to explore include:

The work of the CTE Research Network Lead is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education with funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act through Grant R305N180005 to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work of the Network member projects is supported by the Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Visit the Learning that Works Resource Center for additional publications examining career-centered education models and Advance CTE’s 50-state report on equity in CTE early postsecondary opportunities (EPSOs) released earlier this year. 

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate 

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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CTE Research Review: Q&A with Julie Edmunds on The Evaluation of Career and College Promise

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

This series features interviews with three researchers— Julie Edmunds, Shaun Dougherty and Rachel Rosen — to highlight new and relevant Career Technical Education (CTE) research topics being pursued and discuss how state CTE leaders might leverage these to make evidence-based decisions. This series is conducted in partnership with the Career and Technical Education Research Network,  which is providing new CTE impact studies and strengthening the capacity of the field to conduct and use rigorous CTE research.

For the first post in this series, Advance CTE conversed with researcher Julie Edmunds to learn more about the outcomes of her study, The Evaluation of Career and College Promise, that evaluates North Carolina’s CTE dual enrollment pathway. The study is based on demographic and academic achievement data for 525,000 students in grades 11 and 12 who participated in North Carolina’s Career & College Promise CTE Pathway from 2012 to 2019, and a comparison group of similar students who did not participate in it.

As state CTE leaders seek replicable, high-impact strategies to implement dual enrollment and pathways programs, Edmund’s study presents a state-level glimpse into the impact and cost-effectiveness of these programs. This ongoing evaluation includes three sub-studies that build upon existing projects funded through grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), two in New York City and one in North Carolina. 

How do your research findings advance our understanding of how dual enrollment can enhance the learner experience?

We know many students are taking college-level CTE courses while they are still in high school, but we know very little about who takes these courses and whether they matter for students. Our findings suggest that these courses do have positive impacts; therefore, policymakers may want to look at ways of expanding access to CTE dual enrollment to more students. 

One interesting finding is that the female students are just as likely (in some cases, more likely) to participate in CTE dual enrollment than male students, a trend that is different than most CTE programming. This does make us wonder if offering dual enrollment courses might be a way to make CTE courses more attractive to female students. 

 

What findings would you highlight for state CTE leaders in particular?

Our findings show that CTE dual enrollment pathways led to positive outcomes for students in their transition from high school to college. Students participating in dual enrollment pathways graduated from high school at rates 2 percentage points higher than their peers, and they were also 9 percentage points more likely to enroll in postsecondary education, particularly in community colleges. The results were even higher among historically marginalized students (see graphic below). To help more students realize these benefits, state leaders will want to think about putting policies in place to support dual enrollment. For example, many states cover the tuition costs of these courses, which helps ensure that access to dual enrollment is more equitable. 

What have you and your team learned about the availability and use of high-quality data on dual enrollment pathways and outcomes in North Carolina?

North Carolina has very rich student-level data (course-taking, behavior, completion, academic performance, etc.). Over the past 10 years or so, the state has been working on creating a longitudinal data system that links students from PreK to the workforce. These linkages have allowed us to look at the longer-term postsecondary impacts of participation in dual enrollment courses. In states where there is no link between education and workforce sectors, there would be no way to assess the high school and postsecondary programs. This poses particular challenges for CTE, where the outcomes are intended to make a difference in students’ experiences both during and after high school. A longitudinal identifier that follows students over time is the most crucial part of the data system.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the significance of developing a cross-sector research agenda? What commitments (e.g. staff-time, resources, etc.) are necessary for successful implementation?

Because CTE has long-term goals relative to post-high school preparedness (both career and college), a cross-sector research agenda is necessary to meaningfully answer impact questions. As I noted in the previous question, the key enabling factor is a data system that allows for the linking of students across sectors. 

CTE dual enrollment is, by its very nature, a cross-sector program where high schools and colleges need to partner to ensure effective program implementation. Our past research suggests that effective dual enrollment partnerships benefit from several key factors:
1) a willingness for each side to understand where the other is coming from; 2) a focus on meeting the needs of students, even if it involves rethinking policies; and 3) staff who understand multiple perspectives, such as those who have worked in both K-12 and higher education, and who have a specific time allotted to dedicate to the partnership.   

What new questions has this work raised for you that could be applied to future research?

I sometimes think that we end our research projects with more questions than we have answered. Here are a few that we are thinking about now: 

  1. We want to understand more about how students are using their CTE dual enrollment courses. Are students applying these credits to workforce-focused majors? Are they using these credits and any credentials they have earned in their careers?
  2. We also have some evidence that CTE dual enrollment might be moving some students away from four-year colleges and into two-year institutions. We’d like to understand more about this. Is this because students recognize that what they want to do does not require a four-year degree? Are CTE dual enrollment students more likely to see community college as a valid, and much less expensive, way to get their first two years of college? Is it shifting their aspirations in some way; if so, how? 
  3. Then, there are lots more questions about the implementation of CTE dual enrollment programs and how that implementation might differ from dual enrollment programming focused on college transfer.  

Overall, there is so little research on CTE dual enrollment that there are so many topics to consider.  

Visit Advance CTE’s Learning that Works Research Center for additional resources regarding dual enrollment, including a recent State of CTE report on Early Postsecondary Opportunities (EPSOs). 

The work of the CTE Research Network Lead is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education with funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act through Grant R305N180005 to the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The work of the Network member projects is supported by the Institute. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

By Stacy Whitehouse in Research
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New Research Shows Positive Employment Outcomes for CTE Learners

Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

One of the most important considerations for learners choosing to enroll in secondary and postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs is whether that pathway will lead to a successful career and a good salary. The new Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) requires states and local recipients to set goals around post-program outcomes for CTE concentrators. Several recent studies suggest that learners are finding gainful employment and increased salaries after completing CTE programs. 

A study in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice analyzed data from the California Community Colleges CTE Outcomes Survey. Using three years of survey data from over 46,000 former CTE participants, the researchers found that these learners reported positive employment outcomes and obtained greater increases in wages than they were earning before beginning their program.

Another study using administrative data on a cohort of high school CTE concentrators from Washington State found that CTE learners who go on to college, compared to non-CTE learners, are significantly more likely to enroll in and complete vocational programs. They are also more likely to earn postsecondary credentials such as associate degrees and industry certifications, especially in the applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and public safety fields. Additionally, secondary CTE learners who do not go on to college are also more likely to obtain full-time employment within the first three years after graduation compared to non-CTE learners. 

Lastly, a study of admissions and learner outcomes within Connecticut’s system of 16 stand-alone CTE high schools found that males who attend a technical high school are 10 percentage points more likely to graduate than comparable males who attend a traditional high school. Male learners attending technical high schools in Connecticut also have approximately 31 percent greater post-graduation quarterly earnings, higher 9th grade attendance rates and higher 10th grade testing scores than comparable males. There was no evidence that female learners had significantly different outcomes based on the type of school attended. 

As CTE month comes to a close and states finalize their Perkins V plans and invest substantial resources in CTE programs, the findings in these three studies highlight the value that CTE programs have in positive academic and employment outcomes for learners. Additionally, these findings reaffirm the value CTE programs have in preparing learners for the real world and the many postsecondary paths they can pursue. The Washington State and Connecticut studies found that CTE concentrators were slightly less likely to go on to college than comparable learners but still more likely to earn vocational credentials, obtain full-time employment with higher earnings, and have better attendance and test scores than comparable learners. State leaders are encouraged to continue investing in these programs proving to work for learners in their states. 

Other Notable Research 

A report on Idaho’s education and earnings gap revealed that those with bachelor’s degrees earn substantially more in income than those with less education. Among its recommendations, the report suggests the state adopt explicit policies encouraging school districts to develop secondary CTE course sequences or certified programs focusing on two to three specific career pathways that play to their local strengths. 

Brian Robinson, Policy Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
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CTE in the News: Learning that Works

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Across the nation, Career Technical Education (CTE) programs have evolved from their former job-tracking model, and are now demonstrating significant outcomes in students’ academic achievement and work preparation, according to a recent TIME Magazine article.

Programs in states like Arizona are smashing the old image of CTE. About 27 percent of Arizona students opt for the tech-ed path; those students are more likely to score higher on the state’s aptitude tests, graduate from high school and go on to higher education than those who do not, the article said. For example, in East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, 98.5 percent of whose students graduate from high school.

However, decision makers who could increase access to quality CTE programs are still unaware or not convinced of CTE’s value, said some advocates.  John Huppenthal, Arizona State Education Superintendent, said CTE is a “tough sell to the state’s education establishment.”

“It doesn’t have the prestige of a college-prep course,” he says, “and it costs a lot more than two-dimensional education to do it right.”

It is clear that shifting perception of CTE is still much needed despite the progress made in sending students to college, providing access to valuable postsecondary credentials and preparing them for high-demand jobs. Highlighting CTE programs that send the message that CTE is learning that works, needs to be heard.

Do you have a CTE program that works? Add your program to NASDCTEc’s CTE Success Map.

Erin Uy, Communications & Marketing Manager

By admin in News
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Executive Order Increases Oversight for Colleges Serving Veterans

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Over the last several years, the for-profit education sector has been under the microscope here in DC. The Senate HELP Committee launched an investigation and held a series of hearings on deceptive marketing practices and student outcomes. The U.S. Department of Education issued rules on program integrity and gainful employment. Now President Obama has issued an Executive Order that would provide greater oversight for institutions of higher education that serve veterans and their families. While the Executive Order is aimed at protecting veterans “from aggressive and deceptive targeting” primarily by for-profit institutions, it could impact not-for-profit institutions that serve veterans as well.

More specifically, the Executive Order would require institutions to disclose more transparent information about financial aid and student outcomes, require the Department of Defense regulate recruiting practices at military installations, trademark the term “GI Bill,” establish a centralized complaint system for students, and improve support services.

For more information, see the White House press release.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
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Department of Education Releases Plan to Improve Measures of Postsecondary Success

Monday, April 16th, 2012

In response to President Obama’s goal of increasing the number of college graduates, the Department of Education has developed an action plan for improving measures of postsecondary student success. This action plan is based on the recommendations of the Department’s Committee on Measures of Student Success, which found that the “current federal graduation rate measure is incomplete and does not adequately convey the wide range of student outcomes at two-year institutions.” The Committee also found that “data are not collected on other important outcomes achieved by students at two-year institutions.”

The Department’s Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success seeks to provide more complete information on student persistence and completion by augmenting current postsecondary measures of student success. For example, graduation rate reporting required for institutions of higher education will be broadened to include part-time and other students who have previously attended postsecondary education.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
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New NASDCTEc Resources: Fact Sheets on Job Growth and CTE Student Outcomes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Six sectors are projected to account for 85 percent of new jobs in the United States through the end of the decade. Are current CTE programs preparing students for jobs in these high-demand sectors? Take a look at NASDCTEc’s latest fact sheets to find out, and to view other compelling reasons to support CTE!

Career Technical Education: Preparing Students in Areas of Job Growth
Career Technical Education: High Expectations, High Outcomes

Fact sheets and other resources are available in the Advocacy Tools section of the website.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By admin in Research, Resources
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