Health & Education

Career and Technical Education – Explore the Opportunities

There has been much talk over the past several years about career and technical education (CTE) and how we need to enhance and expand the opportunities for our students. However, what actions have been taken to make this a reality? Do we need legislation or do we simply need pro-active leadership in our school divisions?

 Do we need legislation or do we simply need pro-active leadership in our school divisions?

As a sitting public school board member I would say there are two primary barriers to seeing more pro-active efforts. I believe the first one is the bureaucracy, which requires many entities to be involved in collaborating, defining, developing and funding. The second revolves around mindset. There are many entities that continue to look at the way we’ve always done versus what could be done. Many aren’t able to see or contemplate what can be done because they focus on the constraints the majority of school divisions face in Virginia.

Over the last couple of years I’ve proposed considering regional opportunities. Let’s contemplate working and partnering with other school divisions and local businesses. I believe this is particularly relevant to those more rural school divisions who continually deal with a variety of challenges. Some of these challenges are very real and I would not dispute that, but there are ways to overcome challenges if we will embrace and engage in meaningful discussions to consider alternatives.

Many divisions are not open to this prospect and I believe this is to the detriment of our students and communities. Some discussions I’ve been involved in center around the issue of transportation and why this is a barrier for regional schools. Well, transportation doesn’t seem to be a barrier when it comes to Governors Schools and Special Needs. If we are looking out for the best interests and opportunities for our students, why is transportation a barrier for career and technical education?

This year I attended forums where I became aware that there are school divisions moving in this direction. In our area I was informed that Botetourt County is allowing district transfers from Craig County to fill available seats in their CTE programs. Another area is north east of Richmond. I attended a session at the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA) Annual Convention where Trane  — a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC )company — is partnering with schools to work with and support CTE programs. One of the panelists, an Area Service Manager and former CTE student, spoke of how school divisions are working together to promote a regional program. Because of the rural nature of the divisions and the lack of ability to fully fund CTE programs for each division, collaborative efforts are in progress.

Like the examples above some divisions are overcoming perceived barriers. So rather than limit our students’ learning opportunities, why not explore the possibilities by collaborating with other divisions and businesses to provide our students with the necessary skills that are very much needed in our communities.

As a sitting public school board member I would say there are two primary barriers to seeing more pro-active efforts. I believe the first one is the bureaucracy, which requires many entities to be involved in collaborating, defining, developing and funding. The second revolves around mindset. There are many entities that continue to look at the way we’ve always done versus what could be done. Many aren’t able to see or contemplate what can be done because they focus on the constraints the majority of school divisions face in Virginia.

Over the last couple of years I’ve proposed considering regional opportunities. Let’s contemplate working and partnering with other school divisions and local businesses. I believe this is particularly relevant to those more rural school divisions who continually deal with a variety of challenges. Some of these challenges are very real and I do not dispute that, but there are ways to overcome challenges if we will embrace and engage in meaningful discussions to consider alternatives.

Many divisions are not open to this prospect and I believe this is to the detriment of our students and communities. Some discussions in which I have been involved center around the issue of transportation and why this is a barrier for regional schools. Well, transportation doesn’t seem to be a barrier when it comes to Governors’ Schools and Special Needs. If we are looking out for the best interests and opportunities for our students, why is transportation a barrier for career and technical education?

This year I attended forums where I became aware that there are school divisions moving in this direction. In our area I was informed that Botetourt County is allowing district transfers from Craig County to fill available seats in their CTE programs. Another area is north east of Richmond. I attended a session at the VSBA Annual Convention where Trane, an HVAC company, is partnering with schools to work with and support CTE programs. One of the panelists, an Area Service Manager and former CTE student, spoke of how school divisions are working together to promote a regional program. Because of the rural nature of the divisions and the lack of ability to fully fund CTE programs for each division, collaborative efforts are in progress.

As the examples above illustrate, some divisions are overcoming perceived barriers. Rather than limit our students learning opportunities, we should explore new possibilities by collaborating with other divisions and businesses to provide our students with the necessary skills that are very much needed in our communities.


What education, grocery stores, and Amazon.com have in common

Kristin L. Allen | Virginia Education Coalition

In August 2017, Amazon entered the retail grocery market. Its goal: transform the economic value chain associated with traditional bricks-and-mortar grocery delivery. Its plan: expand its scope, differentiate its product, cut cost by integrating grocers and customers into its larger e-commerce platform, and lower consumer prices. , Traditional grocery chains’ market value dropped 8 percent overnight.

And this is just the beginning – we will … continuously lower prices as we invent together. – Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon World Consumer

Education and grocery stores are different industries, but both have much to learn from Amazon. Like traditional grocers, public education’s business model is based on a command-and-control, geographically-based, product delivery system that has worked the same for decades. Both take advantage of technology to improve their business model, but in different ways. Continue reading


VEC Releases its study “Impact of Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts on Rural Virginia Counties”

Kristin L. Allen

For the third year, Del. David LaRock (VA-33) has introduced Parental Choice Education Savings Account (PCESA) legislation in the Virginia General Assembly.

This legislation will allow a parent to receive approximately one-third of Virginia’s per pupil expenditure on K12 education to place their public school student in a private school or home school, leaving one-third of the expenditure to cover the fixed cost of school operations, and one-third as savings to the state and locality for re-investment in public schools.

Under a grant from EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation), VEC analyzed the economic and fiscal impact of PCESA legislation on rural Virginia Counties (see VEC Report PDF).

VEC found that implementation of the PCESA will deliver the following results: Continue reading


The Elephant in the Classroom: Mass Immigration’s Impact on Public Education

What Every Parent and Taxpayer Should Know About Immigration and the Public Education Crisis.
The total LEP cost for Virginia is $1,356,730,290. Minus the federal contribution (your tax dollars) of $11,431,525, the total cost to the state (your tax dollars again) is $1,345,298,765

Federation for American Immigration Reform

Overview

Public school districts across the United States are suffering under a massive unfunded mandate imposed by the federal government: the requirement to educate millions of illegal aliens, the school age children of illegal aliens, refugees and legal immigrant students. FAIR estimates that it currently costs public schools $59.8 billion to serve this burgeoning population. The struggle to fund programs for students with Limited English Proficiency (LEP), sometimes called English Language Learners (ELL), represents a major drain on school budgets. Yet due to political correctness, it is taboo to raise the issue even though scarce resources are redirected away from American citizens to support programs like English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Second Language (ESL).

The influx of newcomers to the public schools is helping President Barack Obama fulfill the promise he made five days before his election in 2008 to “fundamentally [transform] the United States.” Almost one in every ten students enrolled in public schools is designated as LEP. For kindergartners, the figure is 17.4 percent. In 2013, the Department of Education determined that the United States will require 82,408 new or trained LEP teachers by 2018—if school districts can find enough qualified candidates. Despite the growing LEP population, only 10 percent of teachers are currently certified or trained in ESL.1

Factors Straining Public Schools

  • A surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors crossing the border from Mexico, Guatemala,Honduras and El Salvador beginning in 2014
  • Family units entering the country illegally
  • People overstaying their visas
  • Higher-than-average birthrates among families with an illegal head-of-household
  • Around a million legal immigrants granted permanent resident status every year since 2004

In addition, the spread of “sanctuary” policies across the country—cities, counties and two states (California and Connecticut) that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies—also serves as a magnet for illegal aliens. Almost every school district highlighted in this report operates in an active sanctuary jurisdiction.2

Continue reading


Patient First No Longer Accepting New Anthem Patients

Matt Chaney | Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia’s largest provider of primary and urgent health care, Patient First, has stopped accepting new patients insured by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, citing Anthem’s “reduction in the reimbursement rates paid.”

The change, which took effect Feb. 2, also excludes all Anthem members with HealthKeepers Plus plans, even people who are existing patients at Patient First.

Continue reading