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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008 - 11:00pm

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EMSC Committee


Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Update on Initiatives to Expand Access to Quality Career and Technical Education Programs


November 10, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Discussion


What are school districts and BOCES doing to expand access to quality Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs available to students?  What policy issues should the Regents Statewide CTE Task Force examine?  


Reason(s) for Consideration


Review of Policy

Proposed Handling


This item will come before the Regents EMSC Committee for discussion at its November 2008 meeting.  A panel of practitioners from school districts and BOCES are being invited to the November meeting to discuss current activities underway to expand access to quality CTE programs statewide. 


Procedural History


The Regents established a policy on Career and Technical Education in 2001.  The Regents have discussed Career and Technical Education a number of times in the last several months as described in the following section on Background Information.  


Background Information


The use of Career and Technical Education as a means by which students can achieve state academic standards is a core concept underpinning the 2001 Regents Policy on Career and Technical Education. The Policy created the Program Approval Process, which has raised the bar for program quality. Approved CTE programs:


  • incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements;
  • include coherent and rigorous content, aligned with challenging academic standards, and relevant career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education and beyond;
  • include articulation agreements between secondary and postsecondary programs—including the opportunity for secondary education students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to acquire postsecondary education credits; and
  • lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.


              Since the adoption of the CTE Policy in 2001, the Board of Regents has continued to focus on issues concerning increasing access to quality CTE programs throughout New York State.  Most recently:


  • In December 2007, the Board of Regents Committee on Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC) discussed a report on career and technical education (CTE) programs in New York State that provided information on program quality, data enrollment trends, and CTE’s role in the P-16 agenda as a gap-closing measure. The Regents agreed that further discussion was needed in order to determine what policy directions should be developed to expand access to and participation in CTE programs in New York State.  The Regents directed staff to develop a framework for a Regents Statewide CTE Task Force that will make recommendations to the Regents for policy and/or regulatory changes.


  • In January 2008, the EMSC Committee convened a meeting at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn, New York. The meeting focused on CTE in New York State to review systemic improvements to expand the use of CTE as a strategy to close the achievement gap by providing multiple pathways to high school completion and beyond. In February 2008, the EMSC Committee discussed possible policy adjustments that could be made to address some of the barriers to quality CTE programs that had been identified during the December 2007 and January 2008 discussions. At the direction of the Board of Regents, staff have been developing a framework for Regents Statewide CTE Task Force that will focus on program quality, barriers to access, and flexibility in delivery. A list of possible nominees to the Task Force is being developed by the Department to be reviewed by the Board of Regents.


  • In September 2008, the Regents Higher Education Committee discussed several policy questions about increasing the supply of certified CTE teachers in New York State which was one of the barriers identified in earlier discussions. An internal workgroup continues to work with the field on issues concerning the preparation of CTE teachers; increasing the number of institutions that prepare CTE teachers, including Community Colleges, and certification flexibility.  


  • The Department created the Career and Technical Education Resource Center (CTERC) under contract with the Questar III BOCES to conduct a series of professional development CTE regional conferences around the State. These conferences are scheduled into the Spring of 2009. The CTERC also provides technical support to the highest needs districts to promote the use of CTE programs to enhance student performance.   


  • The Regents convened a Career Development and Occupational Skills (CDOS) Standards Review Content Panel.


              This month, the Regents asked for their next discussion on this topic to include practitioners in the field about what CTE initiatives are being implemented in school districts and BOCES and to continue the discussion about new policies and initiatives that should be considered.  A panel of practitioners is being invited to attend the November EMSC Committee meeting.   






Timetable for Implementation
































Building Quality CTE Programs: Meaningful Pathways through High School and Beyond




Foundation: The Regents Statewide CTE Task Force will build upon previous reform and program improvement initiatives of the Board of Regents and the State Education Department. In 2001, Regents CTE policy was implemented to increase the rigor and quality of CTE programs in the State, and to build CTE programs in schools and BOCES that are a first-choice option for students to achieve state learning standards.  One of the main vehicles established to ensure CTE program rigor and quality was the Regents CTE program approval process.


Resources: The Regents Statewide CTE Task Force will draw on the foundation elements of the original 2001 Regents CTE Policy and  a number of other resources including economic and workforce trend data and  the recommendations of the New York City Mayoral Task Force on CTE,


Substance: As the Task Force addresses these goals, it will develop strategies to advance as recommendations to the Board of Regents:


Program Quality: focusing on issues to define what is expected of students, how curriculum can consistently meet the increased levels of rigor required to keep learning relevant to career preparation, assessment, and teacher preparation and certification.


Barriers to Access: including strategies for closing gaps to ensure that all students have access to and succeed in CTE programs, specific efforts to reach out to and support the participation of target populations including students with disabilities and English language learners, strategies to ensure gender equity in CTE, and career awareness and counseling strategies to ensure that parents and students are well-informed about opportunities available through participation in CTE; and


Delivery Pathways: including how and where CTE programs are offered, the development of multiple pathways to attain required learning standards, the articulation of secondary and postsecondary CTE programs, and strategies for the engagement of employers as partners in the preparation of students to succeed in the workforce, including the availability of workplace internships.


A 2000 report to the Regents on CTE Policy offers a productive starting point for the next policy discussions. For example, the “Implementation of Career and Technical Education Proposal” (February 6, 2000) Phase 2 responsibilities include continuing work with other CTE stakeholders to:


  • explore for Regents approval industry-based  assessments and integrated curriculum models
  • “identify external assessments for approval as alternatives to the Regents examinations;” and
  • develop an item bank for CTE assessments.


New York State’s concern with CTE technical assessments in 2000 prefigured the current federal emphasis on the measurement of technical skills attainment. The United State Department of Education is directing states to develop technical skills assessment systems that are on par with those required for the core subject areas.



The Regents initiative to update New York State’s Learning Standards continues with a review of the Career Development and Occupational Studies Learning Standards (CDOS). Groundwork on this process has begun under the leadership of Regent Saul B. Cohen. Content experts from many constituent groups have been contacted and Content Panel members met on November 5, 2008.


We anticipate that the concurrent activities of the Regents Statewide Task Force and the Content Panel will create a synergy that will produce forward-looking standards and models. The results of their combined activities will create new benchmarks for future statewide CTE initiatives.


On a national level, New York State CTE standards, CDOS, have recently been presented as exemplars at the national meeting regarding the implementation of CTE programs of study (i.e., the Career Clusters Institute). In June 2008, the USED highlighted New York’s CDOS Standards as a model for emulation in the following slide:

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How can State policy encourage contextual learning for all students? How can CTE be strategically employed as a gap-closing and transition measure?


Implementation of the Regents 2001 CTE Policy is responsible for significant gains in the quality of CTE programs in New York State; however, program approval has not been widely adopted in the LEAs. Are there ways to create even more flexibility for students to meet graduation requirements that would foster wider access to quality CTE?


Are modifications to CTE teacher certification needed for expansion?


As reported to the Regents at the September 2008 Higher Education Committee meeting, the Department continues to address shortages in certified CTE teachers  An internal workgroup comprised of EMSC and Office of Teaching Initiatives staff has identified key issues around shortages or inappropriate CTE certification and developed strategies that will begin to address this critical component. The work of this internal workgroup will be provided to the Regents Statewide CTE Task Force for its consideration.


What further enhancements should be considered as we advance the Program Approval Process to the next level?


Preliminary discussions targeting ways to strengthen the Program Approval Process have begun by considering revision of the “all aspects of the industry” concept. Exposing CTE students to all aspects of an industry has come to be narrowly defined as “work-based learning opportunities.”


An improved emphasis on a broader preparation of students in all aspects of an industry would require a paradigm shift in many CTE programs, especially those found within our BOCES and technical high schools. This new approach would provide students with an understanding of all aspects of the industry to include the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills. Schools/BOCES would need to develop curriculum and classroom practices that will enable a student to not only learn the technical skills but also the 21st Century skills necessary in the industry for a variety of occupations. A partial list includes:


  • Personal work habits
  • Technology production skills
  • Labor issues
  • Finance
  • Business planning
  • Management
  • Health, safety, and environment
  • Community issues


In this new paradigm, automotive students, for example, would spend time developing skills in dealership management and entrepreneurship, learning the procedures for financing an automobile purchase, the skills required and importance of customer service, learning how automobiles are designed and marketed and the interpersonal, thinking, planning, and teamwork skills that are necessary for success in any of the occupations found within the industry. Students would also be able to discuss the industry at large including the emerging trends, skills, and technologies required for employment. Broadening instruction to include all aspects of the industry creates the opportunity for students to secure technical and transferable skills for success in postsecondary studies and careers.



The five major goals are found in the New York City Task Force report and coincide with the major themes contained in the most recent five-year state plan to the United States Education Department. These goals are:

  • Meet 21st-century standards through the attainment of academic and technical proficiency in the applied learning context that CTE offers;
  • Expand the paths to graduation by promoting integrated coursework exposure to all aspects of an industry, hands-on learning
  • Engage industry leadership to ensure the continued relevancy of CTE programs
  • Prepare graduates for postsecondary success
  • Increase opportunity and access


See the June 2008 USED Office of Vocational and Adult Education presentation, “OVAE’s Technical Assistance Opportunities for  Programs of Study” at: