ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
Editorial Note: The following was written by ACTE Executive Director LeAnn Wilson in response to an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun. That op-ed can be found here.
On January 1, William Durden published an op-ed titled, “Creating a credible alternative to college.” Unfortunately, while his desire for an improved education system is clear, he completely overlooks the clear solution – stronger investments in today’s high-quality career and technical education system.
Today, what used to be known as “vocational education” is referred to as career and technical education (CTE). CTE encompasses dozens of career pathways and prepares students for both college success and a wide range of high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers. CTE is academically rigorous (CTE students are more likely to meet college and career readiness goals) and student demand is high: more than 90% of students take at least one CTE class.
Mr. Durden’s piece suggests that “the nation needs a robust, well-respected job-preparation alternative to college that begins in high school and seamlessly continues into advanced education and training” – and CTE is that system!
Mr. Durden goes on to warn that “teaching technical skills merely to meet the requirements of a current job is not sufficient.” He is exactly right, but the CTE system of today has already moved away from that approach. CTE doesn’t just teach a specific set of skills meant for careers limited to existing workforce needs. Rather, today’s CTE offers a strong set of academic, technical and employability skills embedded in broader Career Clusters that prepare students to be lifelong learners and advance along career pathways. And, while education in the skills trades is critical to American economic competitiveness and can lead to high-wage careers (e.g. the average salary of a plumber is $55,000), one has to look no further than the city of Baltimore for examples of new and innovative CTE programming that prepares students for careers of the future as well.
For instance, Baltimore City Public Schools offer a robust array of CTE pathways, from information technology and engineering to health and biosciences. What’s more, these programs allow students to earn industry-recognized credentials from companies like Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft, all while still in high school. Students also have the opportunity to earn professional certifications, and each year city high schoolers become certified EMTs, nursing assistants and pharmacy technicians, among other careers.
Lastly, Mr. Durden seems to argue that educational alternatives to four-year colleges don’t exist. In reality, there are over 1,700 2-year colleges across the country, and just like at Baltimore City Community College and the Community College of Baltimore County, many of these postsecondary institutions partner with local secondary schools to offer early college credit through CTE programs of study. These programs offer students the opportunity to work in fields ranging from cybersecurity to veterinary medicine to business management.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve CTE. Dedicated educators and professionals work to do this every day. But instead of ignoring existing CTE programs, advocates should focus their efforts on ways that the new Congress and Trump Administration can expand opportunity for all students. Two major items on the federal legislative agenda in particular could help to do this.
First, Congress should reauthorize and update the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to reflect innovations in the CTE ecosystem and restore Perkins funding to 2010 levels. Funding cuts have real consequences, and Maryland has since seen an adjusted 24 percent decrease in federal Perkins dollars. Second, Congress can increase access to community colleges and certification programs by making important changes to financial aid eligibility during this year’s reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Robust, comprehensive and rigorous CTE exists as a path to the middle-class for millions of Americans. But student opportunities are often hampered by misconceptions about today’s CTE and/or plagued by inadequate funding. With the support of Congress and stakeholders across the country, every student can have a shot at the American dream.
LeAnn Wilson is the executive director of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the nation’s largest nonprofit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents tens of thousands of educators, administrators and other education professionals across the country.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 01/18/2017 at 01:27 PM in In the News | Permalink
Career and Technical Education, CTE
What states have policies for stackable credentials, integrated education and training, and alignment across education and other services to support career pathways systems? National Skills Coalition has the answers, with a set of state scans released in December. These briefs include short descriptions of the relevant policies in each state.
Stackable Credential Policy: 50-state Scan: This publication identifies 19 states with stackable postsecondary credential policies, including requirements that credits earned in certificate and associate degree programs be accepted at the next level of education as well as policies that provide funding to support stackable credentials at the postsecondary level.
Integrated Education and Training: 50-state Scan: This brief finds that 18 states support basic skills education delivered in the context of CTE, including grant funding, program requirements and state adult education and workforce strategy.
Alignment: 50-state Scan: This scan identifies 12 states that have policies that require and/or fund the alignment of a variety of elements of a career pathways system for low-skilled adults, including integrated basic education and skills training, career counseling, support services, high school equivalent credentials, industry-recognized and stackable postsecondary credentials, and industry engagement.
To be included in the scans, state policies must be broad in scope and applicable statewide.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/12/2017 at 12:11 PM in State and Local Issues | Permalink
ACTE and Advance CTE will soon be publishing our fourth annual state policy year-in-review, taking an in-depth look at the state policy activity related to CTE over the past year. Join us on January 25 for a webinar summarizing the trends that will be explored in this paper!
State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review Wednesday, January 25, 2016 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET
Join ACTE and Advance CTE on January 25 from 2-3 p.m. ET as we take a look back at the state CTE policy trends from 2016. This webinar will unpack the findings of our fourth annual report, “State Policies Impacting CTE: 2016 Year in Review,” which will be released the same day at www.acteonline.org/AdvocacyPublications. To register, visit http://careertech.org/webinars.
Featured speakers include:
Posted by CTE Policy Watch on 01/09/2017 at 08:29 PM in State and Local Issues | Permalink
Recently, President Obama asked each member of his cabinet to write an “Exit Memo” to highlight the Administration’s accomplishments over the past eight year, and identify those policy areas where further effort is needed in the years to come. Secretary of Education John King noted the 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which included new provisions to the federal K-12 education law that can help support secondary CTE. He also continued to push for the America’s College Promise proposal, which would provide two years of free community college for all students, as well as other innovative practices, like a pilot project to expand Pell Grant eligibility to students in dual enrollment programs, that could make postsecondary education more affordable.
At the Department of Labor, Secretary Tom Perez noted their continued efforts to support the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law by the president in 2014. He also emphasized the department’s work on apprenticeships, including $90 million provided for the ApprenticeshipUSA initiative, and the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium, which encouraged colleges to make it easier for apprentices to earn credit for their work. You can find all these Exit Memos here.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 01/09/2017 at 11:43 AM in Executive Branch | Permalink
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) has jurisdiction over a number of ACTE’s legislative priorities, including the forthcoming reauthorizations of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and the Higher Education Act.
In the 115th Congress, the committee’s 12 Republicans and 11 Democrats will continue to be led by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a former U.S. Education Secretary and university president, and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a former educator.
The committee will also welcome three new members, including Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a co-founder and co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus. When Senator Kaine’s appointment was announced last month, ACTE issued a press release congratulating him. He will join two other Senate CTE Caucus co-chairs, Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) on the committee.
The two other senators newly appointed to the committee, Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), a former Congressman and Governor, respectively, were both first elected in November 2016. ACTE looks forward to working with Senators Kaine, Young, Hassan and the other HELP members in the new congress.
For a full list of the committee and more information on its newest members, check out this blog from EdWeek.
Posted by Jarrod Nagurka on 01/06/2017 at 12:35 PM in Advocacy Resources, CTE Caucus, In the News | Permalink
CTE Caucus, HELP, Maggie Hassan, Tim Kaine, Todd Young
Increasing high school students’ access to industry experts is a key priority across states, according to a new report from Advance CTE, and alternative teacher certification approaches are not enough to fill the gap.
The State of CTE: Increasing Access to Industry Experts in High School, developed in partnership with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at American Institutes for Research, features results from two surveys, one of 47 State CTE Directors and one of 260 local CTE teachers and administrators from 26 states. Key findings include:
The publication recommends that states expand certification policies to include part-time and co-teaching licenses; develop agreements with postsecondary institutions to have faculty with industry expertise teach dual enrollment courses; develop initiatives for industry experts to act as mentors and career coaches; enhance industry awareness of opportunities to engage in the classroom; and approach all of this in a systemic way.
UPDATE: Register for a companion webinar Monday, January 9 at 3pm ET/12pm PT.
Posted by Catherine Imperatore on 01/04/2017 at 11:55 AM in Data and Research, State and Local Issues | Permalink
Earlier this year, states submitted either a Unified or Combined state plan to implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, originally signed into law in 2014. State plans were due in the spring, and covered the program years from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.
Now that plans have been formally approved by the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture (depending on included programs), they are available for public review, search and download from the Department of Education’s website at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/wioa/state-plans/index.html.
You can download plans by state, or search by key topic areas. With more connections than ever between WIOA and CTE, it is important for CTE stakeholders to understand their states implementation plans. This is a great resource to review to see how your state stacks up and to glean best practices from other states as implementation moves forward.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 01/03/2017 at 02:57 PM in Executive Branch, WIOA | Permalink
Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced its first Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grant competition, newly authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act. This new grant program builds on the prior “Investing in Innovation (i3)” competition and is designed to support “state and local efforts to develop, implement and take to scale innovative and evidence-based projects.”
In this new competition, however, both states and local school districts are eligible to apply for funding, and they may also collaborate with a wide range of groups to implement projects.
Three types of grants will be available:
Applications for EIR grants are due April 13, 2017, but an intent to apply should be submitted by February 13. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2017, although the total available is still subject to congressional appropriations.
Posted by Alisha Hyslop on 12/30/2016 at 11:42 AM in ESEA, Executive Branch | Permalink
It was recently announced that Andrew Puzder is the president-elect’s choice to run the U.S. Department of Labor in the new Administration. Like education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, Puzder’s background is in the private sector, he is the current CEO of the parent company for the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr, and this will be his first time holding public office. As secretary of labor, Puzder would be responsible for overseeing many federal employment and training initiatives, including most programs authorized under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Registered Apprenticeship system and Job Corps among others.
While his company reportedly provides some benefits for job and career education and training to certain employees, he has also been a proponent for the increased use of automation in business to reduce labor costs. A critic of the Affordable Care Act, increasing the federal minimum wage and expanding worker protections through regulations, it’s likely that Puzder will focus his efforts on rolling back federal labor rules, and not on workforce training issues. In any case, he will appear in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for a confirmation hearing (the date for this hearing has not been announced) before his nomination is voted on by the full Senate. Follow us on the CTE Policy Watch Blog for more transition updates.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/13/2016 at 02:24 PM in Executive Branch | Permalink
This week, the House and Senate are expected to vote on yet another stopgap funding bill for Fiscal Year 2017. As we reported in September, Congress approved a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to provide temporary funding for the federal government through December 9. A CR is intended to put the federal budget on autopilot by continuing current funding levels for federal programs, including Perkins, until a long-term agreement can be reached. Earlier this fall, Congress seemed poised to pass a full-year funding bill before adjourning in December, but at the request of the incoming Trump Administration, this new CR will punt important funding decisions into April.
We previously noted that the CR passed in September included an across-the-board cut to keep overall spending within the required budget caps for the year. Because of the way Perkins funds are budgeted and dispersed, the cut (a total of $5.5 million overall) impacted Perkins Basic State Grant advance funding that began rolling out to states on October 1.
Based on revised figures from the U.S. Department of Education, 30 states saw reductions in their Perkins October allocations. The cut could be restored (and has routinely been in years past) if Congress approves a full-year funding bill. Though the new CR would adjust the across-the-board cut down slightly to 0.19 percent, states will likely not receive any supplemental funds—leaving the initial cuts in place for the foreseeable future.
This ongoing budget dysfunction will not only create funding uncertainty for states and local CTE programs who need to prepare budgets for the 2017-18 school year, it will also cause confusion when Congress is supposed to begin work on FY 2018 funding in the coming months. Let your Members of Congress know that they need to restore the cuts to Perkins.
Posted by Mitch Coppes on 12/08/2016 at 12:53 PM in Federal Funding | Permalink
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