Career & Technical Education

Future Directions for New York State Career & Technical Education Fall 2009

In 2001 the Board of Regents approved a policy for Career and Technical Education (CTE) that provided greater flexibility in curriculum and courses for high school students who wanted to pursue CTE programs and also meet graduation requirements. At the time, implementation of Learning Standards and revised graduation requirements created time constraints that limited students’ ability to participate in CTE. The policy offered students the option of meeting the new graduation requirements through CTE programs that provided academic credits.

While the Regents CTE Policy helped maintain certain levels of participation it has not broadened access to CTE for all students.

CTE Future Directions Initiative

A CTE work group was established to carry out a statewide initiative that will help define and promote a broader role for CTE in the educational plans of our students. The work group, supported by the New York Comprehensive Center, consisted of approximately thirty individuals from State Education Department (SED) offices representing secondary, adult, and postsecondary perspectives, and from the New York State Department of Labor, which serves as a key partner in many of SED’s CTE and workforce development efforts.

With input and direction from national researchers, a CTE Statewide Reactor Panel (see Attachment A), and statewide surveys results, the CTE work group developed topics for further study (see Attachment B) and a series of action steps. The work group proposes these action steps to provide more options for students as they plan for high school graduation and beyond.

Student-centered Priorities

The CTE Future Directions work group has identified four student-centered priority areas and two systemic needs.

The student-centered priorities target integrated academics, flexibility in meeting graduation requirements, recognition of the interdependent nature of academic and technical skills, and, the linkages between learner levels. The student-centered priorities respond to the needs of a wide range of students including, English language learners, the “forgotten middle,” students with disabilities, and accelerated students.  

The systemic issues address the transition to a new CTE data collection system and the review of approaches to CTE teacher preparation and certification.

Detailed below are the priorities that will guide our work. Some of the action steps proposed can be carried out administratively while others will require Board of Regents approval.

1. Integration of academic and technical content must be available to all students

Currently students enrolled in approved CTE programs have access to integrated academic coursework. This flexibility has helped a number of those students to stay in school and graduate.

Proposed Action Steps

    • Require all students to take an integrated course that incorporates technical knowledge and/or includes a career focus.
    • Permit an approved integrated CTE course to be used as preparation for the associated Regents examination.
    • Develop the instructional supports and strategic interventions needed for students from diverse populations to fully participate in their chosen CTE programs.
    • Develop curriculum guidance that would incorporate technical content in academic courses in various subjects across learner levels.
    • Provide better pre-service and in-service professional development to teachers to ensure an understanding of the connections between the New York State learning standards in Career Development and Occupational Studies and the various other tested and non-tested content areas.
    • Increase CTE opportunities for students by creating continuity between local high school programs and those at the BOCES.
    2.   Rigorous technical studies and assessments must be recognized as a viable component of graduation requirements.

Students now enrolled in CTE approved programs take an industry recognized technical assessment that is in addition to the current graduation requirements.

Proposed Action Steps

    • Allow a score of 55-64 on a required Regents examination to satisfy the graduation requirement for a CTE student who successfully completes an approved CTE program that includes a technical assessment.
    • Develop options that use the passing of a technical assessment as a factor in graduation decisions.
    • Institute a CTE “required elective” as part of a complete high school program.
    • Permit additional graduation credit (currently limited to two credits) for student participation in recognized work-based learning experiences.
3.        Achievement in CTE should serve as documentation of a student’s readiness for college and career.

A diploma documents the attainment of academic skills. Comparable recognition does not exist for the acquisition of 21st Century Skills that are demanded in high school courses of study. Additional forms of evidence need to be available to document all of what students know and are able to do.

Proposed Action Steps

    • All students should be required to develop graduation plans that include career exploration and academic and technical skill proficiency goals.
    • All students must pursue graduation through a “dual concentration” approach. The “dual concentration” approach requires all students to create an electronic career skills portfolio as soon as they start to build academic credits towards graduation. This portfolio will chart the acquisition of work and life skills that will follow them through high school and beyond. An emphasis on the interrelationship of academic and 21st Century Skills will show students connections between academics and career and work readiness skills. Dual concentration is for all students.
    • School transcripts should specifically list CTE programs of study successfully completed by students along with any industry-recognized certifications earned.

    • 4.        Linkages between learner levels must be a component of student graduation plans

    Career and technical education can be an important vehicle to teach vital academic and 21st Century skills needed for success in school and the workplace.  If students start a skills exploration process in middle school, they will be able to better chart their course through high school and postsecondary studies. Their graduation plans, consisting of a portfolio of skills and a map of courses, will follow them from middle school to high school and beyond.  

    Students whose graduation plans specify how postsecondary studies align with their career interests (e.g., completion of a two- or four-year degree, further technical training for industry certification, and apprenticeships) graduate to the next level of their education prepared to succeed.

    Proposed Action Steps

      • Provide professional development for guidance counselors and other school staff in developing student graduation plans.
      • Formalize the use of DOL Career Zone in schools tied to required graduation plans for all students.
      • Develop middle level intervention strategies that employ CTE as the vehicle for academic skill acquisition for at-risk populations.
      • Create more dual credit options in secondary CTE programs so that students can successfully transition to postsecondary studies.
      • Share, through a statewide CTE center, best practices for linking learner levels.

    Systemic Priorities

    The CTE Future Directions Initiative includes two systemic priorities: the transition to a new CTE data collection system and the review of CTE teacher preparation and certification.

     1.        Transitioning to the Student Information
    Repository System (SIRS)

    The systemic need that ties all of our priorities together is the need for more complete CTE data. A more accurate picture of CTE program performance will guide CTE and academic program development. Full participation in CTE data reporting through the SIRS will shed light on the practices and organizational models that contribute to student success.

    Proposed Action Steps

    • Make formal training widely available to BOCES, the Regional Information Centers, and local education agencies to properly coordinate and report CTE data.
    • Use SIRS data to provide more detailed information about CTE student performance on school report cards to encourage community discussion on the effectiveness of local programs.
    • Establish a CTE Statewide Data Center to foster, promote, and support best practices in generating complete CTE data.

    2.   CTE teacher preparation and certification should change
    to meet the need for qualified CTE teachers.

    SED continues the process of reviewing current certification requirements to identify options for increasing flexibility without compromising quality. Successful implementation of the student-centered priorities depends on strengthening instruction from a systems perspective focusing on teacher quality, pre-service and professional development, and teacher retention.

    Proposed Action Steps

    •  Develop strategies that promote the recruitment preparation, certification and retention of CTE teachers
    • Focus teaching certification requirements on content and pedagogy so that CTE teachers are experts in teaching their respective disciplines
    • Address the problem of teacher candidates with advanced degrees who cannot teach CTE because the combination of their educational and work experience does not match the requirements for CTE certification.

    Researchers consulted by the work group

    Reactor panels convened by the work group

     Foundational Study Topics Developed by the CTE work group

    CTE in New York State

     The 2001 Regents CTE Policy

Last Updated: April 29, 2015