As City Prepares to Redouble Focus on Career and Tech Programs, Fariña Names New Leader

photo by jessica glazer
Students at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School. ( Photo by Jessica Glazer )

The longtime principal of “Coop Tech” is the city’s new head of career and technical education.

John Widlund is well-versed in the city’s programs mixing practical skills and academics, having started teaching electrical installation at just 19 years old through an apprenticeship program. Twenty years later, and after a seven-year stint leading the School of Cooperative Technical Education, he will be overseeing CTE programs citywide Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the teachers union have all promised to ramp up their support.

“One hundred and twenty thousand kids each year are touched by our CTE programs,” de Blasio said in June, “and we are going to strengthen them and we are going to make them available to even more.”

Read more about it here.

Labor Secretary Says Apprenticeship Efforts Key to Skilled Work Force During Triad Visit


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

“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.

Read more here.

ESEA Reauthorization Bills Head to the Floor in House and Senate

cte policy blog

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.

Read more about ACTE’s thoughts on CTE in the ESEA bills here.

Finding Clarity in Career Readiness through Partnerships


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.

Read more from Kim Green, Executive Director of NASDCTEc here.

Early College High Schools are Off to a Promising Start


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.

Read the article here.

Perkins Funding Bills Advance in House and Senate

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.

Read more from ACTE here.