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Pennsylvania ESEA Waiver Includes CTE

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August 22, 2013

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Pennsylvania ESEA Waiver Includes CTE

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education approved Pennsylvania’s application to waive key requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as No Child Left Behind. Pennsylvania’s waiver was the 41st approved since the department began issuing waiver in 2011.

In the face of congressional gridlock on the reauthorization of ESEA, the department began issuing waivers from provisions in the law, such as adequate yearly progress (AYP), in exchange for state-developed plans to “prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teachers and leadership.”

Pennsylvania’s waiver takes into account the work the state has done in developing CTE programs of study, and will now include industry standards-based competency assessments in the accountability system when calculating school performance. Additionally, the accountability system will give schools credit for all courses resulting in college credit for students – not just Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. This may include CTE dual enrollment or articulated courses.

Accountability systems that include career readiness standards, like the one proposed in Pennsylvania’s plan, will help to encourage schools to promote CTE courses to more students and to align them with industry standards and college-level learning. These efforts will be very interesting to watch as the system is implemented.

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