March-April 2009


Welcome to CTE Connections! This will be a bi-monthly update from the CTE Center. We want to keep you posted on legislative news, current events, valuable research studies, resource materials, and, of course, alert you to our own products, resources, and services as they become available. For past postings, please see our archives page.


CTE Center Update



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CTE in the Community


UH Scientists Help Maui Educators Teach New Ways to Learn Science

The Honolulu Advertiser 3/5, reader submitted

This year, Maui teachers who attended local Inquiry Science workshops brought a whole new perspective on teaching science back to the classroom. And something more. Real live scientists from the University of Hawai’i on Oahu. In partnership with the UHM Curriculum Research and Development Group (CRDG), Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology (WIT) Project was able to bring over three CRDG professors and graduate fellows to support teachers at five Maui County schools. The scientists are all Fellows of the National Science Foundation GK12 program that regularly supports Oahu classrooms.


2008 Year in Review- Legislative Update


FY 09 Appropriations Process Finally Concludes

NASDCTE, 3/11/ Conneely

On Wednesday March 11, President Obama signed the FY 09 omnibus spending bill into law. This $410 billion law closes the books on the FY 09 funding process. Despite NASDCTE’s efforts to highlight the importance of stronger support for Perkins Basic State Grants and Tech Prep, only flat funding from FY 08 was included in this bill for these programs. While this is an improvement over the initial Bush budget, which began this process and called for the elimination of funding for Perkins supported programs, it will still present challenges for us as we strive to serve our students. For Tech Prep specifically, this funding level will again fall below the hold harmless level included in the law and create further funding complications, especially for small states.


Congress will now turn its attention to working on appropriations bills for FY 2010. The President introduced his budget outline for FY 10 earlier this month. However, the outline did not include specific funding levels for most programs. The detailed administration budget is expected to be introduced in late April.



Publications and Research


Research Center Podcasts on iTunes

The National Research Center for Career and Technical Education recently announced that its popular podcasts are now available for direct subscription on iTunes . The podcasts are tied to the NRCCTE research agenda and consist of short interviews with researchers from around the country. During the podcasts, the researchers overview their respective studies, why the research is important and what educators or administrators might be able to do with the research findings. Users will first need to download the free iTunes software.



Around the Country


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National News


A Jobs Bill for the College-Educated

Inside Higher Ed. 2/23, Ledermen

The economic stimulus package that President Obama signed last week has been compared by supporters and many a commentator to the depression-era Works Progress Administration. The stimulus legislation, like its predecessor, is designed to create and save jobs especially for men and lesser-educated Americans who-because they tend to be disproportionately represented in lower-skill jobs-tend to be affected most powerfully by economic downturns. But much as the rhetoric surrounding the stimulus legislation has portrayed it as focusing on creating jobs related to "shovel ready" infrastructure and other projects, significant numbers of the jobs that will be either created or saved by the financial package will require at least some kind of college degree.


Educating 'Middle-Skill' Workers

Inside Higher Ed. 2/27, Moltz

To the chagrin of many in technical education, the bachelor's degree still hogs the spotlight in the minds of most students. Now, days after President Obama challenged the government to assist everyone in attending at least one year of college, many scholars and business leaders are hoping to make a strong public case for the value of the associate degree and work skills credentials.


Obama Budget Aims to Make Higher Education More Affordable

The Wall Street Journal, 2/26, Tomsho

Rather than sending college students to private lenders for federally guaranteed loans, the Obama administration proposes directly loaning the money to students and using an estimated $47.5 billion in savings over the next 10 years to increase Pell grants for low-income students. Some private lender kickback scandals and reduced loan availability have increased such direct government funding in the past year, but the changes could be "one of the biggest changes in the history of federal aid to college students”.


President Obama's Education Speech

NASDCTE, Legislative Update, 3/11, Conneely

On March 10, in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President Obama outlined his plans for education reform. The President’s five goals include investing in early childhood education, improving standards and assessments, improving teacher quality, promoting innovation, and providing students with quality higher education.


The President gave his speech in the context of improving the sagging economy, and began with some sobering statistics:


“…[O]f the 30 fastest growing occupations in America, half require a Bachelor's degree or more. By 2016, four out of every 10 new jobs will require at least some advanced education or training.”


In order to confront this reality and remain a global economic leader, the United States must bring its educational system into the 21st century. The President noted that other countries are preparing their students “not only for high school or college, but for a career.” Our schools must reform their curricula to be more in line with 21st century demands and to teach students such skills as problem solving and critical thinking that they can then take with them to future careers. As he originally proclaimed in his address to a joint session of Congress last month, President Obama encouraged students to complete at least one year of college or technical training. He praised community colleges as “a great and undervalued asset” that prepare students and adults for high wage, high demand jobs. The President also called on Congress to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act in an effort to provide Americans with advanced training in preparation for a successful career.



Tips for Teachers


The Dallas Morning News (1/5, Unmuth) reported, "Thousands of teachers are sharing videos on a website called Teacher Tube, started in March 2007 by Jason Smith, 39, the superintendent of Melissa ISD in rural Collin County, and his brother Adam, 29, an engineer." The website "now has about 220,000 regular users, more than 54,000 videos and is averaging about 800,000 visitors to the site every month." Adam Smith noted that "videos that incorporate songs, visual aids, and math and science tend to be popular on the site." According to the Morning News, "teachers from across the country are sharing instructional videos for kids, raps and jokes on the website often shown at teacher training sessions," and "many teachers use the videos in class." The article noted the mechanics of the site, and added that "teacher Tube is just one example of how technology, and particularly social networking websites, are changing education. Other sites include School Tube, which is aimed more at kids producing videos, and Curriki, where teachers share lesson plans."




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