This is such an interesting article and topic.
“Now it is finally occurring to some folks that A) college is not necessarily the best choice for all students and B) the world needs people who do what Mike Rowe always called the jobs “that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.” Done well, new studies show, it can boost both academics and wages for students. It might even help solve the mystery of the missing non-college educated male workers. And so Career and Technical Education (CTE) is coming back into its own.”
“Mishandled CTE can end up replacing a full education with simple vocational training, reducing public education to a provider of free meat widgets for selected employers, but opening up a limited future for the students who receive the narrow education. CTE programs are most effective when schools partner with relevant industries, but that partnership can’t be one-sided, with schools subordinated to HR departments. Badly mishandled CTE can also become a dumping ground for “problem” students, a type of education that some students are encouraged to “settle for” by adults who have decided that the student just isn’t smart enough or good enough for college education.”
Jeffco has the expansion of Warren Tech programs due to demand and most of our high schools are implementing some form of technical education access, as parents and community members, we need to be diligent in ensuring that students still receive the same education as those who are college bound. Some students may opt for the technical education pathway now but later decide they want to pursue a college degree, so we need to ensure that they have the college entrance requirements covered when they graduate high school.
Many businesses have opted to partner with high schools around the country, using CTE programs as a way to ensure they have a hiring pool, but that’s not the proper way to use CTE and it doesn’t serve students well for their futures.
Several of our alternative high schools, including Brady High School, do this very well, ensuring students in these programs have multiple pathways and opportunities available to them upon graduation. Brady, Warren Tech, and Longview all have developed significant wrap around services for students beyond the basic requirements and include well-planned internships and experience that students can use on their resume.
Because we know that some education beyond high school requirements is the desire for most employers and the very futures of our students depend on these programs, our support for well-planned technical education is crucial. Special thanks to the principals and teachers in these programs for their extra diligence and time!