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Monday Memo 2014-02-24

The "new" Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education; industry credentials held by ¼ of all adults - earnings substantial; why it’s critical we have high expectations for our students; smart versus hard work – it makes a difference; CareerTech renaissance continued; Charles Machine Works - Meridian Technology Center; career readiness helps advance student creativity; individuals get recognition from State Chamber survey results; and my schedule for the week.
Monday Memo 2014-02-24

Charles Machine Works CEO Tiffany Sewell-Howard

“If everything is under control, you are going too slow.” – Mario Andretti, race car driver

The "new" Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education

Recently, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U.S. Department of Education officially announced its name change to the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education. The office will continue to be responsible for administering federal CTE programs, as well as adult education programs, but the new name is more reflective of today's programs. This change is consistent with Oklahoma’s transition some years ago.

Industry credentials held by ¼ of all adults; earnings substantial

The U.S. Census Bureau has finally recognized industry credentials in its census work, and the first reports show the incredible power of these heretofore ignored tickets to the American workforce.

“Getting an academic degree is not the only way for people to develop skills that pay off in the labor market,” said Stephanie Ewert, a demographer with the Census Bureau’s Education and Social Stratification Branch and co-author of the report, “Measuring Alternative Educational Credentials: 2012.”

The report supports prior research from Georgetown that indicated having an industry credential gave an economic advantage over having just a college degree. In fact, industry credentials added economic advantages to individuals with them regardless of other degrees held except for master’s degrees. Bottom line: If you want to make more money, earn a CareerTech industry credential and then continue your education in college. This is especially valuable information considering many of these credentials cost much less than other forms of postsecondary education.

I would encourage everyone to click on the report above and read it carefully. CareerTech is THE best economic deal in town!

Why it’s critical we have high expectations for our students

The following link is to an incredible Ted Talk regarding adversity. It speaks to the importance of pushing all our students to exceed their expectations regardless of life circumstances. It speaks to the importance of us not labeling and then setting lower expectations for our students because of their life circumstances. This is a must-see for anyone tempted to be concerned about students’ short-term stress or self-esteem instead of their long-term self-esteem. "Our responsibility is not simply shielding those we care for from adversity, but preparing them to meet it well."

Smart versus hard work – it makes a difference

Should we attribute a student’s success to being smart or working hard? The American tradition is to attribute it to being smart, but more research is showing hard work is the key. In the classic book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell shows time after time that great success was rarely the result of some naturally phenomenal talent. Hard work always trumped natural talent. In fact, he set a hard number to the hours of hard work required to be successful: 10,000 hours.

Carol Dweck of Stanford has done extensive research on this issue. She discovered the power of crediting success to hard work versus natural talent when working with students. The following link is to a great short blog with graphics on this subject:

CareerTech renaissance continued

The following is a great overview of CTE, including coverage of programs at tech centers.

From repairing a $150,000, piano-sized machine in Grant County (Ky.) High School to running a school bank branch in Mason, Ohio, to curing horses and other animals on a Butler County, Ohio, school farm, more high schools are offering career classes aimed at filling workforce gaps. "The career education movement is alive and well today because more jobs are going unfilled that require technical training," said Samuel Stringfield, director of the School of Education in the University of Cincinnati's College of Education. To read more, click through to USA Today's article.

Charles Machine Works - Meridian Technology Center

Charles Machine Works leans into manufacturing in America.

THEN: Partnering with Meridian for more than 30 years for safety training, computer skills training, employee development and service on advisory councils for welding and machining programs, CMW – Ditch Witch – needed key personnel project management training for two product lines. The plantwide continuous improvement initiative included training on:

  • Lean manufacturing.
  • Programmable logic controller training.
  • Department of Transportation regulations awareness training.
  • Conversational Spanish.

NOW: Committed to providing American-made products, CMW employs more than 1,300 people in Perry, Okla. Financial impacts from the lean initiative are still being measured, but the company has already realized significant improvements in staff efficiency, inventory reduction and plant layout. (contributed by Debbie Newsom)

Career readiness helps advance student creativity

The career readiness strategic purpose requires schools to develop, among other skills, creativity. Many think of creativity as an innate ability. Research is showing creativity, much like intelligence, is molded through education. The following are some creativity resources for those working in this space.

The Link: International Creativity Month: Found on ipl2 – news and information, this resource highlights Randall Munson’s newsletter and illustrates how creativity is implemented in workplaces, in education, with food, with children and across cultures.

The Center for Creative Learning: This site’s owners believe that people of all ages can improve their skills and ability to use creative and critical thinking, solve problems and make decisions and that research on learning styles helps us to understand how people develop and use their talents in unique and personal ways. The site offers free resources, e.g., a newsletter, journal article reprints, sample activities and ideas on assessing creativity (Assessing Creativity: A Guide for Educators and Assessing Creativity Index: a database of creativity tests and inventories).

Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching: Created by Iowa State University, this site includes links to online resources and techniques for creative teaching and evaluating creativity.

The Torrance Center, University of Georgia: This site provides PowerPoint presentations, podcast lectures, activities and resources on creativity.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?: This presentation is the most highly viewed TED talk of all time. Robinson argues that we've been educated to become good workers rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

Is Creativity Innate or Can it be Learned?: This post found on the CareerTech Testing Center blog highlights a study released by Adobe, “Creativity and Education: Why It Matters.” The Phenomenons Called Curiosity and Creativity: Another post found on the CareerTech Testing Center blog highlights the concepts of curiosity and creativity. (submitted by Kerry Eades)

Individuals get recognition from State Chamber survey results

During the recent satisfaction survey conducted by the State Chamber of Commerce, several individuals from our system were recognized by our industry partners. Letters have been prepared that will be sent to the individuals and their superintendents commending them for their support of business and industry in Oklahoma. (contributed by Matt Litterell)

The schools and individuals are as follows:
Kiamichi Technology Center – Charley Hayes
Moore Norman Technology Center – Chris Lange and Patty Daniel
Francis Tuttle Technology Center – Fred Green
Indian Capital Technology Center – Georgiann Belton and Kathy Adair
Wes Watkins Technology Center – Kelly Grego and Wade Walling
Great Plains Technology Center – Kevin Henson
Central Technology Center – Lori Lee and Ryan Leforce
Southwest Technology Center – Lori Miller
Northeast Technology Center – Tony Cordray

Schedule for the week

This schedule is subject to change without notice:


Non-work day Conference call with SDE


Meeting with Sharon Schonthaler
Meeting with Matt Litterell
Senior leader meeting
Oklahoma Academy reception


Legislative briefing with ACTE
National Technical Honor Society Legislative Day
Meeting with assessment specialists
Meeting with Pat McGregor
Special Commerce meeting
Meeting with Speaker Hickman
Meeting with Gov. Fallin and Oklahoma PTA
Meeting regarding GED Testing Service


Meeting with Jan Gordon
Tulsa Editorial Board
Tech Center Superintendents’ meeting
Meeting with Burns Hargis
Meeting with Oklahoma City Schools officials


Tour of Noble Foundation

See you around!

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