Modernization of career and technical education underway

State Board of Education adopts rules empowering students to choose meaningful education and careers

DES MOINES – Members of the State Board of Education today adopted state rules for career and academic plans that school districts must develop to help students prepare for success in college and the workforce.

The rules represent the first step in the implementation of House File 2392, which was signed into law on May 26 to modernize secondary career and technical education (CTE) in the state and to provide students with equitable access to high-quality programs. 

Part of being college- and career-ready is to have a meaningful plan for the future. Our students’ career readiness is more important now than ever before,” Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said.“Projections show that more jobs will require education and training beyond high school. We want to ensure that every student has a plan to acquire the skills to be successful after they graduate – whether that be in college or the workforce.”

The new rules lay the framework for the implementation and development of individual student career and academic plans and set standards for career information and decision-making systems. All students enrolled in eighth grade must develop an individualized career and academic plan that they will review and revise each year until high school graduation. School districts must select a career information and decision-making system approved by the Iowa Department of Education as a tool to support the overall plan.

The rules also require the development of school-level teams consisting of school counselors, teachers, administrators and work-based learning representatives to guide the students through their career and academic planning.

Department leaders recommended that State Board of Education members adopt “emergency” rules as authorized by House File 2392 so that schools will be positioned to select a career information and decision-making system from a list of approved vendors for the 2016-17 school year.

“The emergency rules were based on recommendations from key stakeholder groups – school counselors, administrators, as well as members from postsecondary institutions and business and industry,” said Jeremy Varner, division administrator for the Department’s division of community colleges and workforce preparation. “The enactment of the rules allows time for the Department to review and evaluate career information and decision-making systems for inclusion on an approved list for schools to select from at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year.”

Public Comments

While emergency rules enable work to begin immediately, the Department requests feedback through a public comment period open until 4:30 p.m. on July 26. A public hearing will be held on July 26 from 10 to 11 a.m. in the second-floor State Board Room of the Grimes State Office Building, 400 E. 14th St. in Des Moines. At that time, comments will be accepted orally or in writing.

 About CTE Reform

House File 2392 builds upon recommendations released last fall by the Secondary Career and Technical Education Task Force and marks the first major revision to CTE policy in Iowa since 1989.

Formerly known as vocational education, CTE consists of programs that integrate technical and academic skills with work-based learning experiences to better prepare students to succeed after high school, whether that be in the workforce or in postsecondary education. In Iowa, CTE programs prepare students for a wide range of careers, including agriculture, computer science, advanced manufacturing, engineering and culinary arts.

Next steps for the implementation of House File 2392 will focus on the development of proposed rules for the restructuring of career and technical education and work-based learning programs. The Department plans to hold regional listening sessions later in the summer to answer questions and seek input as they are developed. Once drafted, comments will be solicited through an electronic process.

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