Posts Tagged ‘president’

President Visits Career Academy in Nashville, Talks CTE, Opportunity Agenda

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Following the State of the Union Address, President Obama spent two days last week touring the country to promote his “Opportunity Agenda,” a program designed to prepare the American workforce for the evolving needs of our economy.  On Thursday, McGavock High School, the largest of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, played host to the President.

“It was an incredible event that validated the work of so many people here in the city of Nashville,” said Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jay Steele.

Seizing on the President’s assertion that Career Technical Education (CTE) “makes words on a page exciting, real, and tangible” for students, Steele emphasized that the district’s academies are designed to enhance and augment, not supplant, general education. “While CTE is the anchor of the program, core gen ed. courses come alive and become more relevant.”

Dr. Danielle Mezera, Assistant Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education CTE, described MNPS as an “excellent example” of CTE blending with core academic classes to enrich students’ experience.

“Since we came in a couple of years ago, we have really wanted to supply truth in advertising [for state CTE programs,]” Mezera said. “One of our main goals has been to provide the support and flexibility to allow districts to focus on aligning secondary and postsecondary studies with their practical application and with career opportunities. Programs like teacher externships and business partnerships have been key. [MNPS] has done an excellent job taking advantage of them.”

Even before the Obama Administration announced the visit, MNPS was on the President’s radar. Early in January, the President cited MNPS for overhauling its structure and boosting graduation rates 22 percent.

Yet, MNPS’s place as an exemplar didn’t happen overnight. Rather it took years of sustained effort.

Several years ago, MNPS audited its CTE programs and discovered that they were not as effective as they could be.  MNPS teamed up with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce to comb through workforce data to identify the area’s most in-demand jobs in Nashville. Then, working with the Ford Next Generation Learning Project, Alignment Nashville, the PENCIL Foundation, and local stakeholders, MNPS decided to shift to the career academy model.

The new format promised students the chance to select particular academies of interest (the CMT Academy of Digital Design & Communication or the US Community Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance at McGavock, for instance) in 10th grade. Pairing core academic classes with CTE, students combine what they learn in science, math and language arts with courses teaching career-specific skills.

Speaking about the process, Executive Director of Ford Next Generation Learning Cheryl Carrier said, “You have to have all of the key stakeholders at the table. School districts, business partners, and government have to be at the table together and work towards a common aligned vision. MNPS and the Nashville community were able to create a five-year plan that looked at all aspects of the academy’s development, and it took off.”

That development led to an innovative CTE program that incorporates all 16 Career Clusters. Seven years into the project, MNPS now also serves as a model for the Ford PAS program, with hundreds of visitors coming each year to observe the academies and devise ways to implement similar models in their districts.

“As the President said, it’s a simple but powerful idea,” Steele said. “It doesn’t require that you change as much as some might think, but it requires you to change the way you think about education.”

In his remarks during the visit, the President emphasized changing the conversation surrounding education with a similar shift in perspective. “Young people are going to do better when they’re excited about learning, and they’re going to be more excited if they see a connection between what they’re doing in the classroom and how it is applied…Schools like this one teach you everything you need to know in college, but, because of that hands-on experience, schools like this one are able to create pathways so that folks, if they choose not to go to a four-year institution, can get a job sooner.”

The President’s citation of MNPS and Tennessee’s successful pathways was particularly gratifying for Patrice Watson, Program Manager for Tennessee’s Office of Postsecondary Coordination and Alignment. “Being there and having [the President] talk about giving students different pathways, getting the community involved in the schools, and making [reform] a community effort made it clear that he understands what we’re trying to do here in Tennessee,” she said.

CTE Student Success Career Clusters Consultant Bethany Wilkes agreed that the President’s remarks are an encouraging sign for CTE. “It was incredibly gratifying,” she said. “[The President] focused on how we can develop critical thinking skills and engage the students—that’s what we do every day.”

The President’s visit to McGavock High came on the same day that the Administration released a fact sheet going more in-depth on its Opportunity for All Agenda. That document, available here, endorses improving alignment between apprenticeships, training programs, and schools, as well as consultation with industry leaders, educators and policymakers to create job-driven training and education. In endorsing McGavock’s CTE-based programs, the President opened the door to making CTE a key component of those efforts.

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

By admin in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Obama FY14 Budget Proposal: Impact on CTE

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

President Obama yesterday released his budget for FY14 which detailed his vision and priorities for the year. Career Technical Education (CTE) played a significant part in his proposals, in the U.S. Department of Education (summarized yesterday on our blog) , the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The budget details a $12.1 billion investment for discretionary spending in the DOL, which is a 3.2 percent, or $400 million, decrease from the current fiscal year. The delayed release of the President’s budget, which is traditionally released in February, will likely mean it holds less influence than it normally would because the House and the Senate have already passed their own budgets, but it is still very important. Below are key elements of the budget proposal that would impact CTE. A more detailed summary of the DOL’s proposed budget can be found here.

Impact of Proposed Budget on CTE: U.S. Department of Labor

$8 Billion for a Community College to Career Fund: The budget calls for $4 billion in mandatory spending under the DOL for a Community College to Career Fund to begin in FY15. An additional $4 billion would be authorized under the U.S. Department of Education and the program would be jointly administered by both federal agencies. The fund would aim to:

$3.4 billion for Training and Employment Services: This funding includes programs and policy changes intended to spur innovation in the way training is delivered for workers. Aspects of this program that would impact CTE include:

Impact of Proposed Budget on CTE: U.S. Department of Commerce

$1 billion for Regional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: A one-off investment of $1 billion has been included to create up to 15 Regional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes that would bring together companies, universities, government, and community colleges to invest in the development of cutting-edge manufacturing. Leveraging the strengths of a particular region, the Institutes will be based on a pilot launched in Youngstown, Ohio, in August 2012.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

By admin in Legislation, Public Policy
Tags: ,

NASDCTEc and ACTE Release Response to President’s Budget

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                     ACTE CONTACT: Ashley Parker
April 11, 2013                                                       703-683-9312;



President’s Proposed Budget Restores Career Tech Ed Funding but Still Falls Short of Need

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) are encouraged that the Administration’s proposed $1.1 billion level funding of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) restores cuts made in FY 2013 as a result of sequestration. However, we are concerned that Washington has not prioritized investments in career and technical education (CTE) to meet the growing demand for education and skills in today’s economy.

The Perkins Act is the primary source of federal support for CTE, delivered at both the secondary and postsecondary level, and is a critical investment in developing a highly qualified, globally competitive American workforce. CTE programs utilize Perkins funding to evolve and expand to provide students with the knowledge and skills that are essential for success in high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers.

Unfortunately, recent cuts to the Perkins Act have had a negative impact on CTE programs’ ability to meet student needs. The Perkins FY 2011 allocation was reduced by $140 million, with additional reductions occurring in FY 2012. As a result of sequestration, Perkins will be further reduced by $58 million in FY 2013. The erosion of Perkins has negatively impacted high schools, CTE centers, community and technical colleges, employers and millions of CTE students nationwide.

According to LeAnn Wilson, ACTE Executive Director, “Failing to provide a robust federal investment in Perkins is detrimental to the 12 million CTE students nationwide, the business community that relies on a qualified workforce, and the future economic competitiveness of our country.”

Kimberly Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc, said, “The President’s proposal to return Perkins funding to pre-sequester levels is a step in the right direction. However, with pressures of the global economy intensifying, greater investment in CTE is needed to bolster the U.S. economy, close the skills gap, and help more students be college and career ready. The existing funding for Perkins falls short of meeting the needs of communities across the country, where employers are still struggling to find well-qualified technicians and students often face waiting lists or find that CTE programs have closed due to lack of funding.”

While several new programs proposed in the Administration’s budget have the potential to benefit CTE programs and provide students robust career readiness skills—such as the high school redesign program, STEM initiatives and Community College to Career Fund – scarce resources would be better directed toward proven programs like Perkins that increase all students’ access to high-quality CTE.

CTE is working with business and industry partners to help fill positions that are available today while preparing a qualified workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. If further reductions to Perkins continue, many effective education and employment training opportunities will disappear. In order to meet the needs of students, educators and employers, Congress must make investing in Perkins a top priority.

About ACTE

The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest national association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. For 85 years, we have been committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of our members, to increasing public awareness and appreciation of career and technical programs, and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.


The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education (NASDCTEc) was established in 1920 to represent the state and territory heads of secondary, postsecondary and adult career technical education (CTE) across the nation. NASDCTEc, through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, aims to support an innovative CTE system that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish a global, dynamic economy.

David Beckett, Advocacy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
Tags: ,

Legislative Update: Education Community Anticipates Progress on Key Issues with Obama and New Congress

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

After an intense election campaign, President Barack Obama won his second term for president last night. In the process, he was supported by battleground states — Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin — to secure at least 303 electoral votes over Mitt Romney’s 206 electoral votes. With the election period over, the education community will be watching to see if key legislation moves forward.

In Congress, Democrats kept control of the Senate, winning a total of 54 seats including two to be held by Independents. Republicans kept their majority in the House with 218 seats. With no change in congressional control in the House and Senate, the current leadership for education – U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and U.S. Representative John Kline – will stay the same. However, there will be 11 new Senators and 76 new House members. View House and Senate election winners here.

Over the last four years, a divided Congress has not made much progress on education policy. Committees from both the House and Senate have approved bills to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but it is unclear whether both sides will agree on the terms of the act. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 is due for reauthorization next year along with laws for higher education, special education, and workforce development.

With Obama in the White House for another four years, the President and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will likely continue with the Administration’s major education initiatives. The Department’s CTE Blueprint, introduced earlier this year, therefore still has the possibility of influencing Perkins reauthorization.

We will keep you updated as we learn more about the election results and possible implications for CTE.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

By admin in Legislation, Public Policy
Tags: ,

First Presidential Debate Addresses Economy, Education and Deficit

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Last night President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met in Denver for the first of three presidential debates. This debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer, focused on domestic issues, with both candidates frequently citing the need to improve public education in order to prepare students with the skills they need to succeed. When asked about how he would go about creating new jobs, President Obama stated that we have improve our education system, hire more math and science teachers, keep college affordable, and create two million more openings at community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that exist today.

Governor Romney explained that his plan for economic recovery would include streamlining workforce training programs. He referenced the finding from a GAO report that there are 47 job training programs (including Perkins, according to GAO) reporting to eight different federal agencies. Romney suggested that these programs would be better managed at the state level, saying, “Overhead is overwhelming. We’ve got to get those dollars back to the states and go to the workers so they can create their own pathways to get in the training they need for jobs that will really help them.”

Lehrer then moved on to how each candidate would tackle the growing deficit. Romney said that, firstly, he would apply the following test to all federal programs: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, he would eliminate it. Second, he would move programs that he believes could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state. Finally, he would increase government efficiency by reducing the number of employees, and combining some agencies and departments. President Obama stated that, in addition to raising revenues, he would cut programs that are not helping the economy grow. He pointed out his Administration has already eliminated a number of federal programs, including 18 ineffective education programs.

In response to a question about the role of the federal government in public education, Governor Romney said that he thinks that federal education funds should follow the student, allowing parents to decide where to send their child to school. President Obama stated that the great work being done by community colleges with business support to train people for jobs, also requires some federal support.

Obama and Romney then sparred over budget proposals and how they can impact choices about support for federal education programs. Obama questioned how Romney would be able to pay for his support of education programs when his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan’s, budget proposal would cut federal education spending by 20 percent. Romney countered by saying, “I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and—and grants that go to people going to college…I don’t want to cut our commitment to education. I want to make it more effective and efficient.” However, if Romney were to implement Ryan’s budget plan, and keeps his promise to not cut education that would mean deeper cuts for other areas of the federal government.

The next Presidential debate will take place on October 16, 2012 and will focus on foreign and domestic policy. Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Ryan will meet for their only debate next Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST and will also cover foreign and domestic policy.

Nancy Conneely, Director of Public Policy

By admin in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

OMB Delays Release of Sequestration Report

Friday, September 7th, 2012

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was scheduled to release a report on the impact of sequestration yesterday, as required by the Sequester Transparency Act. However, that did not happen, and it is now looking like it will not be released until late next week. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney had this to say:

“Given the time needed to address the complex issues involved in preparing the report, the administration will be submitting that report to Congress late next week. No amount of planning changes the fact that sequester would have devastating consequences. We need to deal with our fiscal challenges in a balanced way.”

We will let you know when the report is released, and what it has to say about the impact of sequestration on Perkins Act funding.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
Tags: , , ,

Election 2012: Candidates’ Education Positions

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Yesterday we told you about the newly unveiled Republican party platform which supports local CTE programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels. While this platform reveals where the party as a whole stands on various issues, it does not necessarily reflect the position of an individual candidate. In a new publication from NASDCTEc, Election 2012: Candidates’ Education Positions, we take a closer look at the policy positions of both Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. This document does not cover every education policy issue, but those that the candidates have made public.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy, Publications
Tags: , , ,

Republican Platform Highlights CTE

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

With the presidential election just around the corner, convention season is upon us. Republicans are meeting in Tampa this week to formally nominate Governor Mitt Romney as the party’s candidate for President. Part of the convention process includes releasing the party’s “platform” or statement of principles. The Republican party’s platform covers a broad swath of issues, including education, jobs and the economy, agriculture, and government reform. The party’s education plank underscores the value of CTE in preparing students for the workplace:

School choice—whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits—is important for all children, especially for families with children trapped in failing schools…We support the promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs that have been supported by leaders in industry and will retrain and retool the American workforce, which is the best in the world.

The platform also states the party’s belief that the status quo is not working for the higher education system, and calls for “new systems of learning” that can compete with traditional four-year institutions, including community and technical colleges, private training schools, and work-based learning in the private sector. The party also believes that the acquisition of advanced skills is necessary for the 21st century economy, and should focus on STEM fields.

Democrats will convene in Charlotte next week to officially nominate President Obama as their candidate, at which time they are expected to release their party’s platform.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager


By admin in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

More Information on President’s Career Academy Proposal

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

As we told you a few weeks ago, in his FY13 budget, President Obama proposed a $1 billion investment in career academies. In a fact sheet released by the Department of Education, there are new details to share. According to the Department:

“Through this new initiative, States would award competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and local employers, creating 3,000 new career academies and increasing the number of students served by 50 percent. This means that half a million more students would have access to programs that studies suggest can lead to higher earnings and better academic outcomes.”

As we learn more about this and other proposals in the President’s budget, we will be sure to share that information with you.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Budget Level Funds Perkins; Invests in Career Academies and Community Colleges

Monday, February 13th, 2012

President Obama released his FY13 budget today, and there is good news for CTE! The President proposed level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grants, and plans to release a reauthorization proposal that “would restructure CTE to align what students learn in school with the demands of 21st Century jobs.” While the budget does not include specifics about what this proposal will look like, a budget summary released by the Department of Education states that their proposal would increase the rigor and relevance of CTE and strengthen connections between secondary and postsecondary education. In addition to Perkins Act funding, the budget proposes an investment of $1 billion over three years to scale up career academies.

Some other highlights of the budget that may be of interest:

We are continuing to analyze the budget, and will update you on any additional information that could impact CTE.

Nancy Conneely, Public Policy Manager

By admin in Public Policy
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,