Your Monthly News & Updates, January 2017
As 2017 kicks off, we are thrilled to welcome Ms. Lul Tesfai to our team. Lul will lead our workforce development and career and technical education (CTE) work. In this newsletter, Lul shares her insights on the education policy landscape, our ongoing CTE work, and how she became interested in education policy. We also have six new projects that are just beginning, so read on! 
Insights on the CTE Landscape in 2017

CNA Education's team has a new member! As Senior Policy Director, Lul Tesfai will lead our efforts to strengthen the CTE research base and support current and developing CTE programs, particularly those focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Lul's research expertise includes policy and strategy development for adult CTE. She most recently served as a Director of Policy for the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, where she refined the reauthorization strategy for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and provided technical assistance to Congress. She also has experience in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis of discriminatory federal, state, and local government housing policies and housing mobility initiatives.

In this short article, Lul shares her thoughts on the current education policy landscape and on how CNA Education's work is contributing, and will continue to contribute, to the advancement of CTE in the United States.

In a companion interview, Lul shares her insights on the most promising CTE policies in place, how CNA Education will use those policies as a catalyst for our work, and one of the greatest challenges to assessing CTE effectiveness.
New Projects in 2017

CNA Education is kicking off 2017 with an exciting span of research topics. Our team will explore school discipline, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability requirements, chronic absenteeism, and gender gaps. Learn more about our research and project leads below!

State-Level Issues in Implementing and Reporting for ESSA
PI: Daniel M. Leeds, Ph.D.
As states implement ESSA accountability requirements, they must work through several issues, such as deciding how to develop accountability measures, determining the best use of accountability measures, and deciding how to design state and local report cards to meet federal requirements. CNA Education is examining the key issues states face as they implement and report for ESSA to help state education agencies make informed decisions.

Leaks in the Engineering Pipeline
PI: Juliana Pearson, M.A.
Though gender diversity in the engineering field has grown in recent decades, stark gaps remain. Women earn 19 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees and make up only 13 percent of the engineering workforce. Research indicates that gender and racial disparities persist in K-12 and postsecondary education, but there is little research on whether female high school students who express interest in engineering pursue engineering-related careers. Using state-level data from Virginia, our team will examine how gender gaps change as students advance through the engineering education and career pipeline, providing a snapshot of gender disparities in engineering during a single school year. This preliminary descriptive study will provide a foundation for further longitudinal research on postsecondary and career trajectories for female CTE students who focus on engineering.

Career Readiness: An Industry Perspective
PI: Michael Flory, Ph.D.
Whereas college readiness has several established measures, education systems often struggle with how to measure, or even define, career readiness. So what can we learn from how the real world looks at career readiness? CNA Education is conducting a study to document how a high-wage, high-growth industry determines the career readiness of recent graduates. The goal of this research is to provide critical information to states as they review and revise career readiness policies under ESSA.

School-Level Analysis of Teacher Performance and Student Achievement
PI: Steve Lee, Ph.D.
Building on a 2016 evaluation of Maryland's Teacher and Principal Evaluation (TPE) model, CNA Education is working with the Maryland State Department of Education to further examine the relationship between teacher effectiveness scores as measured by the TPE and student growth and performance on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. Our team will also examine whether effective teachers have a disproportionately large effect on PARCC scores in certain settings (such as in schools with high or low minority or poverty rates).

Chronic Absenteeism
PI: Simone Robers, M.A.
Chronic absenteeism (defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year) is the single strongest predictor of dropping out of school, and it is of growing concern for educators and policymakers. Students who are chronically absent tend to struggle with reading and are eight times more likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime. CNA Education is analyzing data from the National Crime Victimization Survey and its School Crime Supplement, among other sources, to provide a comprehensive picture of chronic absenteeism and truancy in public schools across the nation.

Money Talks: Supporting ESSA Implementation
PI: Daniel M. Leeds, Ph.D.
CNA Education is reviewing ESSA protocols for district budget data analysis and developing a series of materials to help states implement them effectively and efficiently. ESSA currently requires that state education agencies report "the per-pupil expenditures of federal, state, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual non-personnel expenditures of federal, state, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds, for each local educational agency and each school in the state for the preceding fiscal year." CNA Education will offer a number of useful materials to state education organizations and local school districts, including a training guide defining ESSA protocols, a video series, and other training materials.

CNA Education released a special edition podcast on the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from its decade of administering the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Appalachia, one of a network of ten laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences. Listen in as Dr. Patricia J. Kannapel, former director of REL Appalachia, and Chris Sun, former deputy director, share highlights and lessons learned from CNA Education's work providing extensive technical assistance and research support to educators and policymakers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.   Listen here.

The number may surprise you -- the annual national cost of developmental education is estimated at $7 billion. Many students leave high school underprepared for college, resulting in the need for developmental course work once they enroll. In 2008, over half of Florida community college students required remediation. Florida has implemented two major policies within the last decade to reduce the cost of developmental education, and CNA Education is evaluating these policies' effectiveness. In this short article, CNA Education researcher Dr. Julie Harris explains how CNA Education is conducting the evaluations and shares some of our findings and their implications.
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