Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Career Technical Education: In California it's an endangered species

Career Technical Education: In California it's an endangered species:

Career Technical Education: In California it's an endangered species

 As superintendent of MetroED and the largest Career Technical Education (CTE) center in Northern California, I often visit with legislators in Sacramento to discuss the future of these programs. Last year, I was disappointed that many CTE programs were in danger of closing at the end of the school year due to the new Local Control Funding Formula and a lack of dedicated funds.

However, this year in Sacramento, these programs are a hot topic.
In February, when three MetroED board members and I met with Senators Jim Beall, Bob Wieckowski and Jerry Hill, Assembly Member Nora Campos and Ian Johnson and Megan Stanton-Trehan from the Department of Finance, they were all open to discussing the future of career education and improving accountability for the programs.
This is a timely issue because in January, Gov. Jerry Brown released a proposal to fund the programs for three more years. Unfortunately, the allocation is half the amount allocated to CTE prior to 2007, and it leaves the future beyond three years in question. But given fears that the programs could be eliminated entirely, it's good news. It sets the stage for restructuring programs and making CTE accountability a large piece of the new legislation and California Education Code.
The accountability piece will require that CTE programs be monitored and data is collected.
In early December, Linda Darling-Hammond and Soung Bae released a Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education brief titled: "Recognizing College and Career Readiness in the California School Accountability System." The report said "all students will ultimately enter a career regardless of whether the timing of the career begins after postsecondary education or directly after high school. Therefore, it is imperative that career readiness, operationalized as technical and 21st century skills and dispositions, along with college readiness, be supported and developed in all students."
This is a mantra I have stated for several years, and finally I see it coming to fruition.
Last year, in an op-ed piece in the San Jose Mercury News, I requested that legislators count the number of students completing CTE Career pathways, internships, and programs giving college credit in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs. This year Linda Darling-Hammond made a similar request and three recommendations: record a percentage of students who successfully complete Career Technical Education: In California it's an endangered species:

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