On NPR recently, Cory Turner observed some of the ways American education might be able to improve.
One of the best practices he highlighted was to "Fix Career And Technical Education (CTE)." He writes:
You know, the classes formerly known as "voc-ed" — auto repair, welding, carpentry, etc. The report suggests that, in the U.S., many schools have failed to adapt their CTE offerings to fit the needs of the modern economy, preparing students for jobs of the past instead of matching them with today's employers.
It's strange given the mantra heard often from U.S. policymakers and educators, that today's schools should prepare students to be "college and career ready." In reality, Takumi, the Hawaii Democrat, says many schools "have kind of pushed career to the side." As a result, too often students need college in order to be career ready.
To make matters worse, in the U.S. CTE also has a perception problem. Stephenson, the Utah Republican, says "it is considered a second tier for low-performing students . . . That is our tradition in America."
It's a chicken-or-egg problem. Whether that perception created the current reality or was created by it, both need to change.
At the Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, we take both college AND career readiness seriously. While most students go on to attend four-year colleges, like NYU and SUNY, they also leave UAGC prepared for a 21st century careers.
That means they innovate, rather than imitate. They collaborate in order to compete. They accept responsibility, so that they can take on more responsibility.
We reject the tradition that CTE is a second tier for low-performing students. Instead, we place the values of the modern economy, embodied in the core values of our school, at the center of our college and career curriculum. We hope more schools join us in this reality.