CTE Leadership Bullish on the Future
The spring meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium was in Washington, D.C. from March 28-31. This year’s theme was “Career Technical Education: A Defining Moment for Excellence and Innovation,” and staff reported that in part due to tough economic times, the CTE community sees this as a defining moment for CTE in education reform and work force preparation. More than one speaker said: “This is the best chance CTE has had in a long time to put itself forward because the benefits of CTE are so clear.”
Overriding themes of the conference were career pathways, articulation from secondary to postsecondary programs, national core education standards, employability skills and assessments, assessments, assessments. There was also a great deal of discussion around NASDCTEc’s new vision for CTE entitled “Reflect, Transform, Lead.” It lays out five inter-related principles on the role and future of CTE. One of them specifically references career and technical student organizations.
Staff also reported seeing many of SkillsUSA’s friends including Board Member Wayne Kutzer. The consortium board announced during it’s business meeting on Wednesday that another old friend, Milt Ericksen, Arizona’s Deputy Associate Superintendent of Career Technical Education, will become the new ex officio SkillsUSA board member from NASDCTEc next August.
Unlike the recent past, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education was much in evidence throughout the conference including Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier, Deputy Assistant Secretary Glenn Cummings and several staff members. The conference was a joint initiative between NASDCTEc and OVAE and in her closing remarks, Brenda Dann-Messier said: “This is a permanent partnership. As a community we need to be assertive and insert ourselves [into education reform] because what we have to offer is so important. The work of CTE is central to the work of all of the administration departments.” She assured the directors that she is and will be persistent in getting CTE written into the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.