Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for a renewed emphasis on career and technical education (CTE) in America's schools. Not the old "vocational" approach, where some students are tracked to enter a trade upon graduation from high school, while others are prepared to enter degree programs in college. No, Duncan is challenging educators to fuse career and college preparation curricula to prepare high school graduates to make smart decisions about pursuing higher education; and to be qualified to enroll in BA or BS programs, or a career certification programs, or both.
Here's an excerpt from Duncan's speech, which was timed to coincide with the release of a Harvard University study, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century (PDF), on the topic.
"There is a lot of talk these days about the need to boost college and career-readiness. But the truth -- and I include myself here -- is that most of the current debate is about college-readiness. Too often, career-readiness is an afterthought. . . The bar for a career-ready student is just as demanding. CTE students also must have the academic skills to be able to engage in postsecondary education and training without the need for remediation. The cause of strengthening CTE programs should never be an excuse for reducing rigor and tracking students away from pursuing a college degree."
To read Secretary Duncan's complete remarks, click here.
-- David Markus, Editorial Director, Edutopia