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ESEA Waivers Making Career-ready Progress in Some States

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September 5, 2012

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ESEA Waivers Making Career-ready Progress in Some States

Recently, the Department of Education approved its 33rd state waiver application for release from key provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. While a majority of those applications were lacking in specific details on CTE accountability, we did find quite a few that made great progress in including “career readiness” in their college- and career-ready goals. Over the next three days I will discuss these states’ applications and what they mean for CTE.

In the first group of applications are several that brought CTE programs and real career readiness to the college- and career-readiness discussion. Those states include Maryland and North Carolina.

Maryland selected three indicators of college- and career-readiness which include graduation rate, attendance and career attainment. Career attainment in this case represents completion of CTE programs of study that provide students with academic and technical knowledge and skills, include a work-based learning component, and culminate in early college credit and, occasionally, industry certification.

North Carolina has developed four indicators of college- and career-readiness including ACT scores, graduation rates, Work Keys job skills assessments and a new program called future-ready core. Future-ready core is a new set of required courses for graduation, and requires students to take six credits of CTE coursework.

Moving more students toward college and career readiness is a goal all schools should be striving toward, and we are hopefully that the measures taken by these states will accomplish that goal. As they go forward, it will be important to continue measuring their success and where improvement can be made. As long as states include CTE in their accountability systems, like these states have, there should be no problem in implementing these types of programs to attain college- and career-readiness for all students.

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