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Career-Technical and Adult Education News

       

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  • June 19, 2016 9:17 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    On June 15, 2016, the Department’s office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a “Dear Colleague” letter regarding gender equity in CTE programs.  The letter summarizes legal obligations for recipients of Federal funding that offer CTE programs (“Recipients”), which serve to ensure equitable access to CTE programs.   The letter does not add requirements to applicable law, but provides information and examples to inform Recipients about how the Department evaluates whether covered entities are complying with their legal obligations. 

    The letter can be accessed by clicking here.


    Overview of Dear Colleague Letter

                Although disproportionate gender enrollment alone does not violate Federal law, Recipients must conduct their admission, recruitment, and counseling practices in a nondiscriminatory manner, and respond to substantially disproportionate enrollment of individuals of one sex by reviewing their policies and practices and, if applicable, addressing any unlawful sex discrimination or stereotypes in those policies and practices.

     

    1.     Sources of Federal Law: Recipients’ obligations to prevent and remedy sex discrimination in CTE programs arise from various different sources of legal authority.  (Sources of legal authority include: a) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; b) Title IX Guidelines; c) the Methods of Administration (MOA) program; d) State Educational Agencies; and e) the Perkins Act.)


    2.      Specific Recipient Obligations: In order to ensure equitable opportunity for all students to participate in CTE programs, a Recipient:

    ·       Must recruit a diverse pool of students and may not discriminate on the basis of sex in recruitment activities;

    ·       Is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex in the admissions process and may not use any test or criterion that has a disproportionately adverse effect on individuals of one sex;

    ·       Must ensure that its counseling practices and appraisal materials are nondiscriminatory.

     

    3.     Title IX Procedural Requirements: The following procedural requirements are important for the prevention and correction of sex discrimination and play a critical role in improving equitable access, participation, and retention of students in CTE programs:

    ·       Notice of Discrimination: Recipients must publish a notice stating that they do not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education programs and activities they operate.

    ·       Title IX Coordinator: Recipients must designate at least 1 employee to coordinate their compliance with Title IX and notify all students and employees of the name or title and contact information for this person.

    ·       Grievance Procedures: Recipients must adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for the prompt and equitable resolution of sex discrimination complaints. 

     

    4.     Title IX Discriminatory Practices: Recipients must also take steps to eliminate any discriminatory practices that discourage continued enrollment and achievement. Title IX protects students from discrimination on the basis of marital and parental status, as well as on the basis of pregnancy, with respect to admissions to CTE institutions.  In addition, Title IX prohibits sex-based harassment by peers, employees, or third parties that is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate or benefit from the school’s education programs and activities. 

     

    5.     Case Examples: To help illustrate the legal requirements described above, the Department’s dear colleague letter provides hypothetical examples of how a recipient could fail to comply with federal law related to equitable access to CTE programs and the actions a recipient could take to remedy violations.  Listed below are two examples incorporated into the letter:

     

    Example 1: Recruitment and Promotional Activities

                A high school is planning to sponsor a career day for all students to promote its information technology program. This is the only promotional effort that the high school will undertake for its information technology program. All of the current students and recent graduates of the program who will be invited to speak at the career day are male, even though some female students are currently enrolled in and have recently graduated from the program. The high school has not revised its promotional materials in a number of years, and all of the materials distributed at the career day depict males and use male pronouns to refer to students in the program. The high school only distributed these promotional materials at the career day and did not distribute them to members of the student community who did not attend the career day. The inclusion of only male students and graduates as speakers at the career day and promotional materials depicting only males and using only male pronouns may perpetuate the stereotype that information technology is a field for men, and, thus, may violate Title IX guidelines.

     

                To remedy this potential violation, the high school could alter its plans for the career day and include presentations from both male and female current students and graduates of the program about their experiences in the information technology program. The materials distributed at the career day could depict both males and females performing information technology-related tasks, include information about information technology-related jobs and college programs, and use gender-neutral pronouns. The school could also ensure that the materials depicting more gender diversity are sent to all members of the student community. In addition, in future years, the school could ensure that its career day and promotional materials are both gender-neutral and inclusive.

     

    Example 2: Admissions 

                A community college requires students who wish to enroll in its construction management program to have taken classes in construction technology in high school. Few female students are enrolled in the college’s construction management program. Each year a number of female students who express interest in the program are not able to enroll because they did not take classes in construction technology in high school. Title IX and the Guidelines prohibit schools from using admissions criteria that have a disproportionate adverse effect on students of one sex unless the criteria are validated as essential to participate in the program and are shown to predict success in the program. The college has not determined whether the previous classes in construction technology are essential to participate in or predict success in the construction management program.

     

                To remedy this, the college could convene a committee to study whether taking previous classes in construction technology is essential to participate in the construction management program. If the committee determines that although previous classes in construction technology are helpful, they are not essential to or do not predict success in the program, the college can eliminate this admissions requirement. To make up for any potential knowledge gaps, the college could offer an introductory class in construction technology to all students who did not take classes in construction technology in high school or who want a refresher course. Alternatively, or in addition, even if the committee determines that the previous coursework is essential or predictive of success, the community college could explore whether outreach programs or partnerships with its area high schools could encourage all students to take the necessary prerequisite courses to build a more equal pipeline of students prepared for admission to the Program.

     

    Prepared by Ohio ACTE Legislative Counsel, Terrence O’Donnell and Will Vorys, Dickinson Wright PLLC Law Firm

  • June 10, 2016 9:29 AM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    Auditor Dave Yost warns schools and local governments of increased email scams. These scams potentially affect public money and data. One school targeted was Big Walnut schools in Delaware County; an email purportedly from the treasurer was sent to an employee requesting a money transfer of $38,520 to a vendor. The scammer used logos and markings of the district’s email. These kinds of scams are called “spear-fishing,” and they target specific employees. Employees should also beware of “ransomware” applications that are installed through infected links of attachments. Once installed, they “encrypt data and require payment of ransom to recover it.”


    Dave Yost sent a mock email to 100 of his own staff, and 19 opened the link within the email. He says these attacks are “sophisticated” and “widespread.” To guard against these attacks, the auditor’s office recommends backing up data, updating anti-virus software, establishing protocol for email requests of money, and review employees’ contact information.


    To read more about these online scams, click here


  • June 08, 2016 1:19 PM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    The June EMIS reporting dates related to the report card have been announced. 


    During the week of June 6, follow-up reporting of career-tech concentrators who have left school will begin. During the week of June 20, reporting begins for career-technical assessments for the 2015-2016 school year.


    To read all of the EMIS reporting dates, click here

  • June 02, 2016 1:09 PM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    Students at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center praised career-technical education this past weekend at their graduation ceremony. Liam Smith, a culinary arts student from Graham High School, claims that career-tech and Hi-Point prepared students for real life and allowed them “to pursue a job, a career, or… something that we love.”


    Another student, Brett Rappold, compared career-technical education to the animated film, Shrek, stating, “Shrek said that odgres are like onions because onions have layers, and ogres have layers. Education should have layers, too, and that’s what Ohio Hi-Point offers us.”


    The students who spoke all praised Hi-Point Career Center for their educators and the depth of their instruction. Hi-Point students earned certificates of completion for a variety of programs, including health and nursing, auto technology, multimedia marketing, welding, electronics engineering, and many more.


    To read the full article from the Bellefontaine Examiner, click here




  • June 02, 2016 12:57 PM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    Despite the heavy influence placed upon them, four-year colleges aren’t for everyone. In 2015, the unemployment rate among graduates between the ages of 21 and 24 was 7.2%, and the underemployment rate was 14.9%. Furthermore, the class of 2015 was the most indebted ever, and 42% of those graduates have jobs that don’t require a college degree. In order to help students navigate whether a four-year college degree is the right decision for them, Megan Elliot of CheatSheet created a list entitled, “3 Types of People Who Should Not Go to College”:


    “1. You’re not sure what you want to do.”


    Students who enter college spend a lot of money on their education, which can be wasted if a student doesn’t know what they want to do.


    “2. You want a career that doesn’t require a four-year degree.”


    Instead of paying for a degree students do not need, students can choose to join apprenticeship and training programs, which is where career-technical education centers become crucially important.


    “3. You don’t thrive in a traditional academic environment.”


    Some students do not enjoy or succeed within a traditional college setting. Career-technical centers can be a better option for students who prefer hands-on work or more engaged, classroom environments.


    To read the full article from CheatSheet, click here.


  • June 01, 2016 9:38 AM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

    Paolo-DeMariaweb.jpgIn a unanimous vote May 11 by the State Board of Education of Ohio, Paolo DeMaria was selected as the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction to lead the Ohio Department of Education.

    “We are excited to announce today Paolo DeMaria as state superintendent of public instruction. We started this process by seeking input from educators and the public about the desired qualities of the next superintendent. We worked with Ray and Associates, a firm specializing in educational executive leadership recruitment, and received a total of 44 applicants,” said Tom Gunlock, President of the State Board of Education of Ohio. “Through a rigorous process of closely reviewing qualifications, discussion by the State Board of Education and interviews, we are excited and ready for Paolo DeMaria to lead the Ohio Department of Education as we continue to build upon and improve education for the students of our great state.”

    “I love Ohio and want our children to be the very best they can be. There are so many smart and energetic people working in education as teachers, administrators, policy makers and advocates, and Ohio has what it takes to be the best,” said Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s incoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Ohio Department of Education has the great task of working with districts to prepare our students for success as they enter college and career. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to serving the people of Ohio.”

    Paolo DeMaria most recently served as Principal Consultant for Education First Consulting, LLC. Previously, he served as Executive Vice Chancellor at the Ohio Board of Regents and Associate Superintendent for School Options and Finance at the Ohio Department of Education. DeMaria served as Director of the Office of Budget and Management for Governor George Voinovich and Chief Policy Advisor for Governor Bob Taft.

    DeMaria is a native of West Virginia but has called Ohio home for over 30 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics from Furman University and a master’s degree in Public Administration from The Ohio State University.


  • May 26, 2016 12:59 PM | Ohio ACTE (Administrator)

                Navigating transgender issues continues to be confusing and overwhelming for school districts.  Districts are often faced with perplexing questions and complicated requests from both students and employees, which can lead to controversy in the district and the community.  Without clear cut guidance, it is difficult to discern the correct way to handle these issues as they arise.  However, this area of law continues to rapidly evolve and it is important for school districts to remain abreast of the changes as they occur.  Recently, the federal government issued a strong pronouncement to districts on transgender student rights, of which all school districts should be aware.

     

                In a recent Dear Colleague Letter, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice articulated “significant guidance” on the rights of transgender students.  In this guidance, these federal agencies are clear in their strong support of transgender rights, stating that a school “must not treat a transgender student differently from the way it treats other students of the same gender identity.”  In addition, the Dear Colleague Letter definitively states that transgender students be permitted to participate in sex-segregated activities and access sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity.

     

                While this recent pronouncement does not include any new policy positions, and no new laws or regulations governing transgender students have been created, the Dear Colleague Letter leaves no question as to the stance of these two federal agencies on transgender issues.  The new guidance also includes a Q&A containing advice for school districts on supporting transgender students and ensuring safe, non-discriminatory environments for them.

     

                Though the federal agencies have made their position clear, the policy statements and guidance do not have the force of law.  Therefore, the guidance is not necessarily binding upon school districts across the country.  It will instead be up to the courts to establish more definitive rules related to discrimination against transgender individuals and interpretation of gender identity in general.  As school districts continue to find themselves at the center of litigation, challenges, and controversy related to transgender rights, it is clear that the educational landscape across the country will continue to transform.  As a result, it is important for school districts to follow developments in the law to ensure compliance with the ever-changing law and reduce the risk of legal liability.  


    By Megan Savage Knox


    Megan Savage Knox is an education attorney with the Columbus-based law firm Bricker & Eckler.  Megan represents and advises public school districts in all aspects of education law, with an emphasis on Title IX issues and compliance. 

     

  • May 19, 2016 3:52 PM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    Cami Clement, a senior in Upper Valley Career Center's HVAC/R program, was recently featured in a New York Times article covering the job search process for recent and to-be graduates.


    In her interview, Clement, age 18, explains how she has already been offered a full-time position with a Emerson Climate Technologies, a local company.


    "My job search was a bit different than a lot of other high school students’. I didn’t have to do a lot of searching. In fact, the employers came to me. I was offered a job shadow for Emerson Climate Technologies based in Sidney, Ohio. After touring the facility for the day, I was given the opportunity to be an apprentice. I jumped on that offer as quick as I could. My first day was June 1, 2015. I mostly worked with the older employees so that I could get a feel of how the equipment ran and operated. Not too long after that, I was able to maintain, modify and tear down compressors all on my own.

    After almost a year of working at Emerson, I was offered a full-time position as a buildup technician after high school. Not only was I offered a full-time position, but they also offered to reimburse me for my college tuition. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of weight that’s been lifted off my shoulders. I’ve always wondered how I was going to be able to pay for my college years, not to mention the amount of debt that would be staring me on the face. It is such a relief that I won’t have to worry about what most 18-year-olds coming out of high school do, and for that I am grateful. Now I will be able to work full time while I attend school during the evening."

    Click here to see the full article.

  • May 19, 2016 3:15 PM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    The Ohio State University's College of Pharmacy and the Cardinal Health Foundation have partnered to create Generation Rx, which offers free, age-appropriate materials for educators to use while teaching on the appropriate uses of prescription medications. This partnership was formed as a result of House Bill 367, which now requires all public educational institutions to educate students about the dangers of opioids and the proper use of opiate prescriptions.


    Generation Rx's resources are designed to educate teens about the "importance of using medications safely, as well as teaching teens key skills to turn down invitations to misuse and positive alternatives to cope with the demands of life." Click here to learn more.


    Another resource available to Ohio's educators is the Start Talking! drug prevention program. Start Talking! is rooted in research that shows youth are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents and adults talk with them about substance abuse than youth whose parents do not. Click here for more information.


    Click here for a letter from Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Lonny Rivera.

  • May 18, 2016 10:32 AM | Meg Schultz (Administrator)

    According to an article by WOSU, construction trades, such as welding, masonry, and electrical, are in high-demand, yet each year these programs have openings.


    Danny Wilson is one of handful of females graduating this year after studying carpentry. According to WOSU, in the 2013-2014 school year, only five women were enrolled in construction trades in Columbus technical schools. Wilson has become a spokesperson to middle school students by encouraging younger girls to pursue professions like carpentry. Currently, five women have enrolled in the carpentry program for next year.


    After graduation, Wilson has a full-time job offer with benefits and college tuition reimbursement with a construction company based in Westerville, Ohio.


    To read the full article by WOSU, click here

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