ACTE Releases Paper on How Career, Technical Student Organizations Expand Career Readiness for Students

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) today released “Expanding Career Readiness Through Career and Technical Student Organizations.” The paper illustrates how students participating in career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) strengthen their career readiness through co-curricular programming in such areas as leadership development, academic and career development, professional development and community service.

National dialogue has escalated around the concepts of college and career readiness but most of the focus has been on academic skills alone. The paper is part of ACTE’s Career Readiness Series, which concentrates on how elements of the CTE system support students’ academic, technical and employability skill development. CTSOs provide students with different opportunities to learn all three skill sets, which American business and industry say are necessary in today’s workforce.

More than 1.5 million students participate in a CTSO, and research has shown that participating in CTSOs has a definite impact on students’ overall career readiness:

  • Students who participate in CTSOs demonstrate higher levels of academic engagement and motivation, civic engagement, career self-efficacy, and employability skills than other students, and the more students participate in CTSO activities, the better the results.
  • In a study of student performance measures, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) high school seniors significantly outperformed their non-FBLA counterparts on four performance measures: ACT scores; SAT scores; GPA; and graduation rate.
  • According to the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, participating in leadership and professional development activities in a CTSO raises students’ educational aspirations.
  • Students who participate in school organizations in 10th grade have higher high school grade point average and are more likely to be enrolled in college at 21 than other students.
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New National Commission to Help Reshape the Future of Community Colleges

For only the third time in their 110-year history, community colleges are preparing to take a holistic look at their broad and continuously evolving mission with the naming this week of the landmark 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.

The commission was appointed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and comprises 36 individuals who represent a broad array of constituencies and expertise from education, business, policy and communications. The group will work to examine the challenges and opportunities confronting the nation’s largest and fastest growing higher education sector.

“We have very intentionally selected commissioners who bring diverse viewpoints and backgrounds,” said AACC PresidentWalter G. Bumphus. “That includes a few friendly critics who have consistently challenged community colleges to increase accountability and improve student outcomes.”

Over the next 10 months, the 21st-Century Commission will meet in person and virtually to examine the community college mission in light of current economic realities. President Obama has challenged community colleges to educate an additional 5 million students with degrees, certificates or other credentials by 2020, at a time when beleaguered state budgets have resulted in drastic cuts in state funding to the colleges. The first commission meeting will be held Aug. 12 in Washington, DC.

“We do not intend to be timid or superficial in confronting the hard choices and need for innovative thinking our leaders face in the coming decades,” Bumphus said.   “We will focus the collective intellect of the commission on such issues as use of disruptive technologies to speed learning and the redesign of structures, calendars and processes to better match the needs of our increasingly diverse student population. We will also not shy from criticism, such as our perceived need to be all things to all people.”

Guiding the commission’s work will be three nationally-known experts on community colleges who will serve as co-chairs: San Diego Community College District Chancellor Emeritus Augustine Gallego, Cuyahoga Community College President Jerry Sue Thornton, and Dr. Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement and former chief operating officer for the Education Commission of the States.

Community colleges currently enroll close to half of all U.S. undergraduates.  Enrollments have surged by double digits over the last 2-3 years, reflecting a deep and lingering U.S. recession and persistently high unemployment rate that has caused families to seek lower cost college alternatives and workers to throng to the classroom for new skills or careers.

The new commission marks the third such effort to realign the community college mission to reflect national needs and changing times. The Truman Commission (1947) challenged higher education to provide universal access based on its belief that then-junior colleges could broaden and further democratize their mission by becoming community colleges. Four decades later, the AACC Futures Commission (1988) set forward a reform agenda designed to strengthen the comprehensive mission the Truman Commission originally proposed.

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What’s the Most Expensive College? The Least? Education Dept. Puts It All Online

Students and families can compare colleges’ tuitions, the pace at which they are rising and the net cost of attending each college on a new Web site the Department of Education made public on Thursday, fulfilling a legislative mandate.

The new lists, required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, show the institutions with the highest and lowest tuitions, the highest and lowest percentage tuition increases over the last two years, and the highest and lowest net price — that is, the actual price full-time students pay, including room and board, after financial aid like grants and scholarships are taken into account.

In each of several categories — public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, four-year and two-year — the most expensive institutions and those whose costs are rising most rapidly will be required to report to the Education Department why their costs are so high and what they plan to do about it.

“This allows students and families to see the highs and lows of the distributions and highlights those good-performing institutions,” said David Bergeron, a department official.

Information about colleges that are not among the highest 5 percent or lowest 10 percent in their category, he said, can be found on the department’s College Navigator site.

A separate report to be released Thursday shows that community colleges — long seen as the affordable route to higher education — are increasingly unaffordable for American families. From 1999 to 2009, tuition at public two-year colleges increased 71 percent, while the median family income declined 4.9 percent, adjusted for inflation, according to a study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.

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Posted in Funding, Postsecondary (13-18). Tags: . Comments Off on What’s the Most Expensive College? The Least? Education Dept. Puts It All Online