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President's perspective.

It is hard to believe that I am writing my last column for Techniques. The time has flown by! As I review the past several months, it is evident that ACTE is undergoing a great change, and we will be stronger in the future due to your willingness to embrace that change.

A year ago, I was appointed chair of the Executive Director Search Committee--a major undertaking, as our association was faced with many challenges. I know you will agree that we made the right choice in selecting Jan Bray. ACTE is moving forward, and our future is bright! I would like to share some highlights of the year and our plans for the future.

The ACTE Board of Directors has embarked upon a new strategic planning process. Membership input and involvement will be accomplished through surveys, town hall meetings at state and region conferences and through our Web site. Leadership at all levels of ACTE will be included in the ongoing process. The future of our association is in all of our hands, and it is essential that we work together.

Our voice in Congress is strong? Through our lobbying efforts, the FY02 funding appropriations included an $80 million dollar increase in the Perkins basic state grant--a seven percent increase over the previous year. As we gear up for Perkins reauthorization, we have increased our government relations staff to two full-time positions. Our thanks to Nancy O'Brien for her efforts, and we welcome Alisha Dixon. Together they make a powerful advocacy team for CTE.

ACTE testified at a hearing held by the U.S Office of Vocational and Adult Education on proposed changes to the Perkins Act. We have also had several meetings with Assistant Secretary Carol D'Amico to share the needs and concerns of the career and technical education field.

ACTE has promoted career and technical education through the dissemination of promotional and educational materials to schools in celebration of Career and Technical Education Week. We also coordinated visits by the assistant secretary to CTE classrooms in the Washington area.

Our 2001 annual convention was a huge success. The Board and staff made several changes to the convention format based on recommendations from the Professional Development Committee. Our convention will continue to improve to meet the professional and leadership development needs of our members as we continue to embrace change. The 2002 convention will have policy and leadership strands in addition to division content sessions. Julia Richardson and her staff are to be commended for their efforts to make our convention the "place to be" for career and technical educators.

ACTE has brought efficiency and proper management control to its financial and accounting processes. The addition of Brenda Fritz as director of finance and operations has led to timely processing of invoices and receipts. She and her very capable staff have put into place proper internal controls that ensure all ACTE monies are properly recorded and expended in line with the approved budget. The Board of Directors is now receiving current and relevant information it needs to make strategic decisions and assure the assets of the association are effectively allocated.

Techniques continues to be the lead voice for practitioners in CTE. Career Tech Update is an excellent newsletter providing policy updates. The ACTE Business Partners are working on a campaign to enhance the field's image. Steve Ackley and his staff do an excellent job ensuring that our publications convey the message that career and technical education provides the academic and technical skills needed by all our students to succeed in the workplace.

The membership services department has seen great change and improvement. Under the leadership of Susan Nicolais and her staff, all membership services have been brought in house. State association leaders receive a monthly leadership bulletin to improve the relationship and collaboration with the national office.

An exciting online effort is being implemented. A search engine is being developed to enable anyone involved in or interested in CTE to have access to a wide scope of information, research, experts and colleagues. A redesign of the ACTE Web site will include a Members Only area, bulletin boards and chat rooms. Cliff Weiss, the newest member of our team, is director of online services leading the development of our online efforts.

ACTE is on the move, but there are several critical issues facing career and technical education, and ACTE must facilitate the discussion. The issue of quality teaching and what that means in CTE is of primary importance. Perkins reauthorization is on the horizon, and we must have scientifically-based research as evidence that our programs do the job. Teacher recruitment, retention and certification remain issues we must address. The impact of standards will be examined: many states feel the only way to improve academic achievement is with more of the same one-size-fits-all approach, rather than finding ways to help students achieve success. All of education is under a microscope, and it is my hope that career and technical educators will engage in the dialogue and lead the way in reform.

Career and technical education is a unifying voice for a diverse field of education programs and curricula. If we view ACTE as the glue that holds us together, we must be the voice for the needs of the field and demonstrate the value CTE brings to the nation's workforce and economy. Your participation in the dialogue and in ACTE will ensure that our students will receive quality career and technical education.

Thank you for a wonderful year, and thank you for all you do with all our students in career and technical education!
COPYRIGHT 2002 Association for Career and Technical Education
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Mondry, Dianne
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Previous Article:MGM 2002: Member Get A Member.
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