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 Leaders and LaggardsLead, Hunt, or Get Out of the Way?

New updated information about where each state is in, not only education reform, but Workforce training, 21st Century Teacher Force and more can be found at the U.S.Chamber Foundation’s website called Leaders & Laggards. (As a parent and teacher, I find the term “laggards” insulting to our kids. “Laggard” –  straggler, loiterer, lingerer, dawdler, sluggard, snail, idler, loafer; a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others).

uschamberpipeCommon Core’s famous for stating it can have our students ‘college ready’, now it claims ‘career ready’, too.

Since the Chamber is “so concerned” with a ‘talent pipeline’, here’s a resource you’ll definitely want to use in your state. It’s titled, Preparing Students for the World of Work: The Need for Career Readiness Data.” Wow, more need for our students data. Here’s how they are selling this angle, States have recognized the challenge and taken proactive measures to help students better prepare for their futures by adopting more rigorous college- and career-ready standards. Included in this mix are more than 40 states and the District of Columbia that have signed on to the Common Core State Standards, which “are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. Common Core provides the baseline for all students to be ready for careers or college, leading to their eventual participation in the workforce.”

Did you know that’s there has been a movement in recent years to have our states create legislation to ensure Common Core via Career Tech Education?! Yes, I found the evidence on the website for “Career Tech Education (CTE) Policy Watch.” (see: http://ctepolicywatch.typepad.com/ )

What you need to know:

From the 2013 document, “State Policies Impacting CTE, 2013″, the following excerpt, 2013 was a major year for career and technical education (CTE)! All but three states had legislative or regulatory action in the 2013 calendar year that impacted one or more elements of CTE. This level of engagement by state legislatures, state boards of education, governors’ offices and state agencies can be attributed to the growing awareness that CTE is key to engaging learners at all levels, closing the skills gap and bolstering America’s competitiveness advantage.”

Below is an image from the 2013 report highlighting the states’ action regarding embedding Common Core via CTE (Career Technical Education).

CTEWhy This Matters:

Many folks are under the impression, Common Core ends at 12th grade. But, I’ve repeatedly shown documents, facts, and research (as have others) that have proven post-secondary schools have been aligned ON PURPOSE with Common Core. This report details how each of the United States has greased the wheels legislatively to embed Common Core via Career Tech Ed. I urge you to look at any of the “Tech Thursday” posts to see the in-depth ties of CCSS (Common Core State Standards) to post-secondary CTE (Career Tech Education).

As an example, here’s what the state of residence in NC had accomplished up to 2013 in Common Core post-secondary moves legislatively.
“North Carolina  took some financial burden off of students who are seeking industry certifications and credentials. Under Senate Bill 402, students enrolled in public schools and in CTE courses are exempt from paying fees for one administration of an exam that leads to an industry certification or a credential. Also under this bill, schools will now receive one point per student (toward the School Achievement Score) enrolled in CTE coursework who earns a Silver, Gold or Platinum level on a national work readiness assessment, although this still needs to be reviewed by the General Assembly in collaboration with the Department of Public Instruction and is subject to change. The North Carolina State Board of Education approved a set of endorsements for their high school graduation requirements, first mandated under legislation that passed in early 2013. Specifically, students can earn the Career Endorsement, one of two College Endorsements and/or the Academic Scholars Endorsement. 

All four endorsements require students to complete the Future-Ready Core requirements in math (which are aligned to the Common Core State Standards) and earn at least a 2.6 GPA (which guarantees graduates’ placement into credit bearing courses at the state’s community colleges). Students earning a Career Endorsement must complete a CTE concentration, earn an industry-recognized credential and take a fourth year of math aligned to their post-high school plans. Students earning the first College Endorsement option must take a fourth year of math aligned to their post-high 12 school plans.”  You’ll need to see what your state did, ACTE-ASDCTEc_State_Policy_Review_2013

Click on the map below to see where your state ranks.

Leaders & Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card

report cardCA

CA repot cardCalifornia: Academic Achievement

Despite improvement since our last report, student performance in California is very weak. Fourth graders stand 9 percentage points below the national average in the percentage at or above the proficient level on the NAEP math exam. The national average is 42%.

Academic Achievement for Low-Income and Minority Students

California earns a failing grade on academic achievement for low-income and minority students. Only 13% of African-American 4th graders score at or above the proficient level on the NAEP reading exam.

Return on Investment

Student achievement in California is above average relative to state spending after controlling for cost of living.

Truth in Advertising: Student Proficiency

California posts mediocre marks on the credibility of its student proficiency scores. The grade is based on the difference between the percentage of students identified as proficient in reading and math on the 2011 state exams and the percentage identified as proficient on the 2011 NAEP reading and math tests.

Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness

California earns a high grade preparing its students for college and careers, with 27% of students passing an AP exam.

21st Century Teacher Force

California does a weak job of creating a strong teacher workforce. The Golden State does not effectively identify excellent teachers or remove ineffective ones.

Parental Options

California does a good job providing parents with strong school choice options. The state has a fairly strong charter school law, and information on school report cards and charter options is easy for parents to find.

Data Quality

California did not receive a grade for this metric because the state did not participate in the Data Quality Campaign study.


California receives a very poor grade employing technology to provide quality instruction and personalized learning. Its funding policies do not incentivize more digital options, and state infrastructure is not sufficient to support digital learning.

International Competitiveness

California earns a below average grade preparing its students to compete in a global economy, with only 23% of students proficient in reading and math compared with an international standard.

Fiscal Responsibility

California receives below average marks on fiscal responsibility. Only 77% of the state’s pension is funded, and its most recent pension contribution was 72%.

Download PDF

Lets see how the other states fared:

state report cardsstate report card1state report card2state reort card3state report card4state report card5


Here’s a short video from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, titled Talent Pipeline Management.”

The above is a cutesy video to address the ‘skills gap.’ Somehow, Common Core aligned workers will solve this “dilemma.”


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