The Past, the Present and the Future

Article excerpt

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is going through some changes now, as it has in the past, and we will use the history we have to move forward into the future. The challenges we face as career and technical education (CTE) educators are sometimes overwhelming. But at the same time, education and the workplace are changing, and ACTE is moving forward to help the CTE community meet the challenges of this new environment.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our membership is valuable to our success as an association. Without you we would not exist. ACTE is an advocate for its members and will continue to be on the leading edge of change and the challenges CTE faces. Membership growth is important to our future survival as an association. ACTE is the answer to the challenges our country is facing in the workplace. Preparing today's students for tomorrow's workforce is one of the answers to our nation's economic crisis. The partnerships ACTE has formed with business and industry will be vital in this endeavor.

We are faced with new challenges every day. As career and technical educators we believe the Common Core initiative is based on CTE principles. The stakeholders are beginning to realize the value that CTE brings to Common Core initiatives across our nation. Traditional education leaders across the United States are seeking the advice of CTE educators. History will repeat itself as CTE will again step up to the educational challenges we are facing. It is an exciting time to be a career tech educator!

Advocacy and Public Policy

ACTE's advocacy and public policy staff were actively engaged throughout the year in promoting policies, building coalitions and collecting data and research to support the CTE field.

Budget and funding issues remained a priority as staff met continually with appropriations staff on Capitol Hill. In large part due to ACTE advocacy, Perkins was level-funded in FY 2012 and was on a similar path for FY 2013, even despite a very difficult federal funding environment. ACTE worked in coalition with organizations like the Committee for Education Funding to fight cuts such as a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut.

ACTE continued work on a host of other legislative initiatives, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) reauthorizations, claiming a major victory as Perkins was pulled from a proposed consolidation of workforce programs in the House WIA bill. Staff prepared for Perkins reauthorization by communicating with the U.S. Department of Education on its Blueprint for Reform, releasing a set of ACTE Guiding Principles and a response to the CTE Blueprint.

The School Reform Task Force completed work on a set of recommendations viewed through the "career ready" lens, and several states used ACTE's "What is 'Career Ready?" definition to develop career-readiness policies. Work on Common Core continued; ACTE hosted a joint webinar with America's Promise featuring Missouri's Common Core work, and the Common Core web page was launched.

Over 300 blog posts were written to communicate ACTE's advocacy work and important research and data relating to the field, including introduction of a new Election Watch blog series. A major updating of the CTE state profiles began and several new issue sheets were produced, as well as a new monthly newsletter targeting Hill staff.

Online Communications

ACTE's online engagement with the membership and wider CTE community continued to primarily be through its website, www.acteonline.org, and the social networks Facebook and Twitter. Web traffic for 2012 followed the same trends as in years past, with greater interest during the academic year than during the winter holidays and summer, and an appreciable spike in the build-up to CareerTech VISION. Absolute visits and page views were down historically, though at a smaller difference than membership, suggesting that the site itself and its primary content were still appreciable draws for members and the community. …