Magazine article Techniques

Revamped NPS Brings More Focus to CTE Issues

Magazine article Techniques

Revamped NPS Brings More Focus to CTE Issues

Article excerpt

A NEW VENUE AND A NEW AGENDA FOCUSES AND ENLIVENS THE 2008 NATIONAL POLICY SEMINAR.

IN MARCH, ATTENDEES AT THE ANNUAL ACTE NATIONAL POLICY SEMINAR (NPS) GOT MORE than they bargained for. With a new hotel and a completely reorganized agenda, career and technical educators were more than energized to bring the career and technical education (CTE) message to Capitol Hill.

A NEW BEGINNING

This year marked the first time ACTE held a special briefing for first-time attendees. This addition to the NPS agenda was the result of prior attendee feedback and the desire to help those who had not experienced a Capitol Hill visit. ACTE Advocacy Associate Jamie Baxter led attendees through what they might encounter as they enter the halls of Congress. Topics that were covered included the Congressional process, a rundown of some key terms, and how attendees can get the most out of their time on the Hill. As one first-time attendee put it, "It was my first time attending NPS and I was very impressed! It was a very educational and rewarding experience!"

GREAT IMAGE

This year, ACTE moved the Opening General Session to be the first main event of the conference. Amy Walter, one of the top political forecasters and editor-in-chief of Washington's premier daily briefing on American politics, The hotline, shared her thoughts and insights on the current political environment and the upcoming election. With a bit of humor and great knowledge, Walter gave the attendees some material to think about as they contemplated the messages they were taking to their Senators and Representatives.

As part of the Opening General Session, ACTE awarded its first Image Award, which recognizes "individuals who have brought positive attention to the CTE field, thereby enhancing the image of CTE and career and technical educators."

The inaugural Image Award was presented to Ken Smith, a news anchor and reporter for WRAE in Raleigh, North Carolina. Smith has been a long-time local advocate of CTE and a School-to-Career volunteer. His career volunteerism activities include serving as the chair for the Sanderson High School Business Alliance for several years; participating yearly in both school-based and county-wide career fairs; organizing station tours for students interested in the commercial arts/media industry; creating job-shadowing experiences; evaluating practice interview sessions; and being a classroom speaker.

With his parents in the audience, Smith not only thanked ACTE for his award, but spent time showing his passion for CTE and the importance it has not only in North Carolina, but in the nation. For his contribution to CTE, and for his inspiring and heartfelt comments, Smith received a standing ovation.

QUALITY PROGRAMMING

ACTE listened to previous attendee feedback when it built the programming aspect of NPS. The ever-popular and extremely important Issues Briefing gathered all the attendees together to share what's going on related to CTE and what messages ACTE members should share with their Senators and Representatives. Some of the issues covered included:

* Fiscal Year 2009 Budget and Appropriations

* Perkins Implementation

* No Child Eeft Behind

* Workforce Investment Act

* Congressional CTE Caucus

This session is designed to give attendees a wealth of information so that they are prepared to discuss these issues during their Hill visits. For more information on these issues, ACTE has uploaded the PowerPoint presentation on the NPS Web site at www.acteonline.org/nps.

In addition to this session, ACTE presented a panel of Congressional staff members who shared their insights into the current political landscape and where the momentum on some of these issues is headed. Attendees had time to ask questions of these Washington insiders and gain some additional information.

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