CTE: A Five Year Plan to Help Link Planning to the Budget

May
2007
Shaaron Vogel, Area A Representative

"Money, money, money makes the world go around, world go around!" But first we need a plan! The System Office and the Department of Education are working together to develop a fiveyear plan for Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the State of California. In January they began the inclusive process with a series of three two-day meetings. There are 45 participants from a wide variety of groups of representatives who are critical to the functioning of the CTE system including industry, high school faculty, and Economic and Workforce Development Program representatives, to name a few. The Academic Senate has two faculty members included in the conversation.

This planning process was first driven by the requirements of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006, often referred to as Perkins IV. It is a federal requirement that all states that get Perkins monies have a state plan. The last few years the Governor has also provided large sums of money for CTE initiatives. The Legislature has had an increased interest in vocational/career education systems. Since so many people want to help us and our students, it was decided a joint discussion and focus was needed.

Both the community college and the K-12 systems decided what we really needed was a state plan for both systems that not only addressed Perkins but also gave us a vision and plan for the next five years.

The joint meetings have kept the participants working the entire time and have allowed for a great deal of conversation and exchange of ideas. In the first meeting the group came up with a vision and mission statement and some guiding principles, which will serve as the basis for the future direction of CTE. In the mission, vision and principle statements the ASCCC faculty representatives were able to ensure that key guiding principles we believe in were preserved and highlighted. Some of the words included are: become contributing members of society, high-quality education, integrate academic and technical skills, creativity, passion, achieve goals, and access for all.

In the second meeting the group discussed the goals and specific criteria to use to assess the progress of the systems in achieving what they have planned. The goals will enable us to decide how to implement the plan and assess its effectiveness. Some of the Perkins items included in this discussion were: programs of study, teacher supply and quality, career guidance, student support services, professional development, system alignment of curriculum, industry's role, life-long learning, and the ever present continuous improvement/accountability link. Many questions were raised, including the following. Does a college get funding if they only have one program of study? How do we credential our faculty and should we change the minimum qualification guidelines? What is professional development, and who should do it? How is curriculum developed and by whom? What will happen to rural colleges if we get funding based on high wage, high skill and high demand industry since many of them do not have programs that meet these criteria but have programs that are vital to their local community and their economic needs? They can not afford to lose their funding. Yet to be decided is how to define the criteria of program size, scope and quality. Needless to say this was a day spent reminding those in the discussions of the community college Title 5 language on the "ten plus one"! The two faculty representatives were helped in this endeavor by other community college deans and System Office leaders. Some of the definitions we are discussing could involve Title 5 changes in the future, so a clear direction is needed and analysis of its impact must be reviewed.

This initiative on the part of the Department of Education and the System Office has been productive and enlightening for all the participants. Certain themes about issues in the workforce came to light and we were able to discuss them in more detail. A few of these were: the aging workforce, the increase in diversity in workforce, dropout rates in high schools, completion rates in community colleges, perception of value of vocational roles, skill levels needed to succeed, basic skills issues, concurrent enrollment, and career pathways. It was repeatedly shared how as educators we must link the academic and vocational skills needed for a student to successfully transition to the workforce and become a life-long learner. In the last two-day meeting at the end of May discussion will focus on funding, particularly how to utilize the Perkins money.

It is the money, and who gets what, that will be the harder issue to deal with.

So many people are getting a piece of the pie right now and their funding amounts may change in the future.

In the 2007 proposed budget the Governor has requested $52 million to expand CTE course offerings and programs, about $33 million for the CCC Student Success Initiative (student services and matriculation) and $18 million more for nursing. Perkins IV comes with about $43 million dollars. All but five districts get in the $100's of thousands of dollars to support vocational programs on their campuses with seven districts receiving from $1 million to over $4 million. The group will be discussing what to do with Tech Prep funding, if anything, and whether to set aside a 10% reserve from the 85% that comes to local colleges. There are many changes on how colleges may spend the money combined with increased accountability for its usage.

We are very aware of the Accreditation Standards that want a linkage between planning and the budget process. Now the State of California is making a CTE plan to help with its budget process. We need to stay knowledgeable on where the funding is, what strings are attached, and how this will help our students. Do you know how much Perkins/VTEA money your campus gets and where it goes? Do you know about the changes local college plans must include to get their funding? Stay tuned for more on this subject. If you would like more detail I have a brief summary of some of the finer points of Perkins IV that came from a presentation done by the Department of Education. Just contact me at vogelsh [at] butte.edu to receive a copy of that summary.

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