CTE State Plans
Condition of Education
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
CTE State Plans
Secretary DeVos recently announced the approval of the first six career and technical education (CTE) state plans under the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), which was signed into law by President Trump in 2018. Perkins V encourages states to expand opportunities for every student to access coursework that will put them on the path to success. Each state — Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire — crafted a plan to fulfill its promise of offering a robust CTE option for students, following consultation with its key constituents representing education and workforce, business and industry, and parents and community leaders.
"Thanks to the President's leadership, the new [Perkins V] law gives local leaders the flexibility to make investments in the highest impact areas of local need," the Secretary said. "We know many well-paying, in-demand jobs require CTE training, but not necessarily a college degree and the associated debt…. High-quality CTE programs are a critical way to help learners of all ages and get our economy back up and running at full speed."
The Department's press release highlights several noteworthy elements from each of the approved plans.
States must periodically review and revise their plans throughout the four-year period, as necessary, to reflect changes in the state's goals and strategies.
Additional details about the plans can be found on the agency's Perkins V State Plans web site.
The White House, the Department, and other federal agencies continue to release guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19. Many of the latest documents are listed below. Please visit the Department's COVID-19 information and resources web page for the most current information, and any questions for the Department may be directed to COVIDemail@example.com.
- Coronavirus.gov, CDC.gov/Coronavirus, and USA.gov/Coronavirus
- President's Guidelines for Opening Up America Again
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Coronavirus Rumor Control
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President's Guidelines for Opening America Up Again (covering K-12 schools, child care programs, and day camps)
- CDC Considerations for Institutions of Higher Education
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) Fact Sheet on Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak
- OESE Indian Education Formula/Title VI Flexibilities Letter
- OESE Fact Sheet on Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 While Serving Migratory Children
- Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) Guidance for Interruptions of Study Related to Coronavirus (updated May 15, 2020)
- OPE COVID-19 Title IV Frequently Asked Questions
- Federal Student Aid (FSA)-issued Coronavirus Information for Students, Borrowers, and Parents (updated May 22, 2020)
- Adult Education and Family Literacy Actand COVID-19 — Frequently Asked Questions Part #3
- Federal Register notices of waivers granted under Section 8401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by OESE, Section 3511 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by OESE, and the CARES Act by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE).
- Department of Agriculture Extends Flexibilities, Paves Way for Meals for Kids to Continue through Summer
- Call to Action by the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board
Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump discussed the need to support the most vulnerable children and families with mental health resources on a call with state and local leaders, and Secretary DeVos hosted a web conference for reporters to hear about online education strategies with state- and school district-level administrators.
On May 21, the Secretary announced the 2020 class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. This program was established by Executive Order in 1964 to honor academic achievement by graduating high school seniors. It was expanded in 1979 to honor students in the arts and in 2015 to honor students in CTE. Each year, 161 students are named, including at least one young man and woman from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American families living abroad. Another 15 students are chosen at-large, 20 students are scholars in the arts, and 20 students are scholars in CTE. This year, some 5,300 candidates qualified based on outstanding ACT or SAT scores or through nominations by Chief State School Officers, partner organizations, and the National YoungArts Foundation's nationwide YoungArts competition. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars — appointed by the President — selects the finalists based on their academic success, school evaluations, transcripts, and essays, as well as clear evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. (Note: Unfortunately, given the current situation regarding COVID-19, the Department will not be able to bring the Scholars or Commissioners to Washington, D.C., this year, but a plan is being developed for online recognition.)
Also on May 21, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced Tabatha Rosproy, an early childhood educator from Winfield, Kansas, as the 2020 National Teacher of the Year. Rosproy is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. Her inclusive classroom is located in Cumbernauld Village — a retirement community and nursing home. The inter-generational program serves typically developing and special education preschoolers and facilitates daily interactions with residents who serve as volunteers ("CBS This Morning" video interview).
She will spend a year representing educators and serving as an ambassador for students and teachers across the country. Over that time, she plans to spotlight the importance of quality early childhood education for all, with an emphasis on social-emotional health.
Secretary DeVos called to congratulate Rosproy and praised her on Twitter for "rethinking school and giving the young and young at heart a learning opportunity that extends beyond classroom walls."
Condition of Education
Earlier this month, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released "The Condition of Education 2020," a congressionally mandated report to the country on education in America today. The report presents 47 indicators under four areas: pre-primary, elementary, and secondary education; postsecondary education; population characteristics and economic outcomes; and international comparisons. In years past, it has also spotlighted several issues of policy interest (blog post).
Among the interesting data, educational attainment rates for 25- to 29-year-olds increased at all levels between 2000 and 2019. During this time, the percentage with high school completion or higher increased from 88% to 94%, the percentage with an associate's degree or higher increased from 38% to 49%, the percentage with a bachelor's degree or higher increased from 29% to 39%, and the percentage with a master's degree or higher increased from 5% to 9%.
Odds and Ends
- On May 22, 20 high-achieving graduates from schools across the country attended a special commencement ceremony held by the President and First Lady at the White House. Students ranged in age and education level, with some attaining a high school diploma and others receiving undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (videos 1 and 2).
- The new interest rates for Federal Direct Loans for undergraduate students will be 2.75% in 2020-21, down from 4.529% in 2019-20. This beats the previous record low interest rate of 2.875%, which was applicable in 2004-05. Interest rates on Federal Director Loans for graduate students will be 4.3%, down from 6.079%, while interest rates on Federal Director PLUS Loans will be 5.3%, down from 7.079%.
- Applications are available for Charter Schools Program (CSP) grants to developers for the opening of new charter schools and the replication and expansion of high-quality existing charter schools. (Note: The deadline for applications is June 19.)
- Also, the Department extended the application deadline for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program to June 30.
- Moreover, applications are available for the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program, designed to help states increase the number of qualified mental health service providers serving students in school districts with demonstrated need. (Note: The deadline for applications is July 13.)
- In an introductory video (in English and Spanish), Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director of the Department's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) Lorena Orozco McElwain outlines her personal background and OELA's mission.
- In another video, Carey Wright, State Superintendent of Education for Mississippi and a member of the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), shares how Chief State School Officers are responding to declining 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading scores.
- A NCES First Look report provides statistics about the use of technology for homework assignments in grades 3-12, based on data provided by public school teachers about their homework practices and their understanding of information technology available to their students outside of school.
- Also, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Director Mark Schneider authored another blog post: "New Directions for Next Year's Funding Opportunities."
- FEMA released the "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season" to help emergency managers and public health officials best prepare for disasters, while continuing to respond to and recover from the Coronavirus.
Quote to Note
"Our nation mourns for every life lost to the Coronavirus pandemic, and we share in the suffering of all those who endured pain and illness from the outbreak. Through our grief, America stands steadfast and united against the invisible enemy. May God be with the victims of this pandemic and bring aid and comfort to their families and friends."
President Donald Trump (5/22/20), in a proclamation honoring the victims of COVID-19
On June 2, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, the Department's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will be paying tribute to its 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program by showcasing "Success Stories" of how the VR program helped change the lives of students and adults with disabilities. Check out the video trailer online. Also, register online.
Then, on June 4, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, the Department's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is hosting the first in a series of webinars focused on ready-to-use resources, tools, and practices from OSEP-funded grantees to support the educational, developmental, and social-emotional needs of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities through remote and distance learning.
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