Every Student Succeeds Act Trends: More States Focus on Career and Technical Education

The latest policy update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) focused on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its call for adding a measure of school quality and success. Dubbed the fifth indicator, many states are using this call to focus on career and technical education (CTE) goals. By focusing on work-based learning initiatives, industry credentials and dual enrollment in high school courses for college credit, states are showing that college and career pathways are an equal means for success.

In a growing trend across the US, 34 states are utilizing CTE indicators in their accountability and reporting systems, according to the NASBE policy update. Twenty of these states include at least one career-ready indicator and 11 others use a composite measure of college and career readiness.

Why is CTE so important? Far too many students are still graduating without the knowledge, skills and dispositions they need to be career ready. While CTE showed no affect on the number of students in a given area earning four-year degrees, students who had a greater exposure to CTE in high school were more likely to graduate, enroll in a two-year college, and be employed earning higher wages. CTE focuses on learning competencies like problem solving, critical thinking and applied learning, which are all skills needed to do well in a continuously changing work environment. Instead of separating academic and technical education, it integrates them in a way that benefits all students.

To take a deeper look at how individual states hope to measure their fifth indictor, check out the full policy update.

Advocacy & Communication Solutions, LLC, (ACS) advocates equitable, high-quality public education for all students through its work with The Ohio 8 Coalition, a coalition of the state’s eight urban school district superintendents and union presidents. These districts enroll 11 percent of Ohio students attending public schools, and can translate that knowledge to advocate for your organization as ESSA is implemented. Read The Ohio 8 Coalition case study here.

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