I was in San Francisco to participate in The Atlantic’s City Makers summit, a forum to address how technological innovations can mitigate issues of poverty, inequality and workforce development. A number of mayors, in town for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, joined us. As these local leaders know well, cities have become the center of our most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. But cities have also become centers of innovation where partisanship is put aside and mayors and other leaders come together to confront these challenges and build consensus around creative, practical solutions.
And cities are coming up with new ways of working across the public and the private sectors, because the old models just don’t work anymore. Governments are operating with far fewer resources at a time when cities are facing far bigger challenges.
Thomas Perez offered a unique analogy for the U.S. Department of Labor during a visit to Forsyth Technical Community College on Tuesday, saying that the department he heads as secretary is like the online dating website Match.com.
“We try to match job seekers who want to punch their ticket to the middle class with employers who want to grow their business,” Perez said during a roundtable discussion at the college with local members of the biotech industry.
This week, the full House and Senate will consider bills to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The Senate will begin debating and amending the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), a bipartisan measure that was passed unanimously by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in April. The House is scheduled to complete its work on the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), which has languished for months after debate originally was started on the House floor in February.
As we previously reported, the Senate’s Every Child Achieves Act is the product of bipartisan negotiations between HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). Notably, the bill includes a provision, based on an amendment sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) during the committee markup, requiring the reporting of student attainment of CTE proficiencies on state and school report cards. This information is already collected under the Perkins Act, so this provision will provide parents, teacher and policymakers with information on student achievement in CTE without creating new reporting burdens. Other CTE-related issues that will likely be considered during the amendment process on the Senate floor include promoting teacher professional development focused on integrating academic and CTE content in the classroom, expanding college and career guidance programs, supporting career exploration in middle grades, and encouraging states to adopt college and career readiness performance indicators in their accountability systems.
The phrase college and career readiness is used constantly, along with an assumption that there is a common understanding of what this term means or aspires to achieve for students, employers and our nation. Yet, when you start to unpack the term, what becomes crystal clear is that there is no clarity. While there is some agreement that college readiness means preparation for credit-bearing, college-level coursework without the need for remediation, such agreement doesn’t exist when defining career readiness. And it all gets even less clear if you ask people to explain college and career readiness as one term, not two.
Cletus Andoh and Radcliffe Saddler are just two of 3.3 million students across the country who are celebrating their recent graduation from high school, but their path to a diploma was unlike that of most of their peers. Because of that difference, they will spend Tuesday at the White House discussing the future of education reform for the “Celebrating Innovations in Career and Technical Education” event as part of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative.
Andoh, 17, who will continue his education at Syracuse University in the fall, and Saddler, 18, who’s beginning his career as an associate analyst for IBM Market Development and Insights, are two of six students who make up the first graduating class of P-TECH, a public school in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, formally known as the Pathways in Technology Early College High School.
On a party-line vote of 16-14, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS-ED) appropriations bill on Thursday, following on the heels of House appropriators who passed their own version of the bill out of committee on Wednesday. Like in the House, the Senate bill also proposes level funding for the Perkins Basic State Grant at $1.118 billion, with a slight cut in Perkins National Programs ($3 million in the Senate compared to $3.6 million in the House version). The committee chose to maintain state grant funding for CTE despite tight FY 2016 budget caps, and a $1.7 billion cut in education funding overall in their bill.