How states and Trump want to boost colleges and careers
College readiness and career and technical education (CTE) is becoming an even greater priority in districts, particularly in high school.
In 2019, states passed more policies related to increased CTE funding, industry partnerships and work-based learning, industry-recognized credentials, and access and equity, according to State Policies Impacting CTE: 2019 Year in Review.
In fact, at least 208 state CTE policies were enacted in 2019, compared to only about 60 the year before, according to the report produced by Advance CTE, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) and the Education Commission of the States.
A majority of the new policies are related to high school CTE programs, the study said.
More from DA: Leaders promote middle school CTE courses
“State leaders enacted a great number and array of innovative and impactful policies this year, incentivizing work-based learning and credential attainment, expanding funding for CTE and providing scholarships to learners to gain access to a certificate or degree, as just a few examples,” Kimberly Green, executive director of Advance CTE, said in a statement.
However, Trump’s education budget calls for a $5.6 billion decrease (7.8%) in education spending in fiscal year 2021.
Career tip: ‘Cars are complex computers’
School districts are now offering students higher-level certifications and credentials in CTE programs.
West Valley School District No. 208 in Yakima was one of the first systems in the nation to give students the opportunity to graduate with industry-recognized journeyman’s credentials in manufacturing, which is a higher level of employment certification than is offered in many CTE programs, Christopher Nesmith, West Valley’s director of innovation, told District Administration last fall.
“We aligned academic standards to apprenticeship standards,” Nesmith said. “For example, when students write technical blueprints, they also earn English and math credits. They earn credits in applied physics and science while working with different manufacturing materials.”
Across the country, school districts have also been rapidly updating the technology in their CTE programs.
And in automotive programs, students are having to learn to work on electric and self-driving cars.
“Anybody who thinks that an auto technician doesn’t have to be as academically prepared as a student bound for college is sadly mistaken,” Stephen H. Guthrie, superintendent of the Sussex Technical School District in Delaware, told DA. “Cars are complex computers.”
In Massachusetts, Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School received a Skills Capital Grant from the state to equip students with the latest diagnostic scan tools. The devices, which communicate with all of a vehicle’s computers to identify problems, have transformed the next generation of mechanics into IT specialists, Jim Hachey, the school’s director of vocational programs, told DA.
“Back in the day, you’d take out the carburetor and clean it,” Hachey said. “Now, it’s all about troubleshooting systems. It’s no longer just turning some wrenches.”
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