Academic Excellence Through Career and Technical Education
Comments borrowed from 2002 International Center For Leadership in Education, Rexford, New York
Education, employment, and economic development in the United States are at a crossroads. They have all arrived at this critical juncture at the same time because of the interrelationship among them. The United States is transitioning from an industrial-based economy with strong remnants of an agrarian economy to an information, knowledge-based economy. This transition has led to the interconnection of education, employment and economic development issues.
We no longer work in our parents' workplace. The increasingly sophisticated workplace requires three sets of skills of most workers:
Strong academics, especially English language arts, math and science, as well as technology skills
Technically specific skills for a chosencareer cluster
Virtues such as honesty, responsibility, andintegrity
A Changing World
In the past two decades, business has been the prime mover behind school reform. The push began when business underwent fundamental changes in the 1970s and 1980s. As a result, there was a change in the type of skills needed in the workplace and an increase in the level of competency needed in basic academic skills. Those higher standards have been incorporated into the current education paradigm. For example, to respond to the desire of employers to have workers with better reading skills, schools added more literature to the curriculum. But there was still a disconnect in understanding. What educators did not understand was that the work world demanded skills for reading a different type of material. Career and technology education courses are uniquely equipped to help make this shift and bridge this gap between school, business and the real world.
What’s in a Name?
The trend in contemporary K-12 vocational education is away from the use of the word “vocational” to label these programs. In 1994 Texas was one of the very first states to change the label and have adopted the term “career and technology education”. Most of the nation has now followed that lead with terms such as “career and technical education” or "professional-technical education”. The changing terminology reflects a changing economy, in which technical careers have become the mainstay.
CTE Means Success
Career and Technology Education provides Americans with a school-to-career connection and is the backbone of a strong, well-educated workforce, which fosters productivity in business and industry and contributes to America's leadership in the international marketplace (ACTE 2004). Career and Technology Education gives high school students experience in practical, meaningful applications of basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, thus improving the quality of their education, motivating potential dropouts to stay in school and giving all students leadership opportunities in their fields and in the community.
What is Career and Technology Education?
Career and Technology Education is both a concept and a program. Career awareness activities are provided for students in grades PK-5. Career exploration activities are provided for grades 6-8. Identifiable career and technology education courses are provided for students in grades 9-12. Connections with post secondary education, colleges, universities and business and industry, provide opportunities for students to graduate from high school not only with a diploma but with a certificate, a license and/or college credit hours.
There are 11 million secondary and post secondary career and technical education students in the United States. Across the country, career and technology education programs are offered in about 11,000 comprehensive high schools, several hundred vo-tech high schools, and about 1,400 area vo-tech centers which serve as magnet schools for high schools in their immediate area.
The average Career and Technology Education students are academically successful students interested in meaningful work and a higher education. They are motivated to learn and tend to excel in math and science, as well as technical reading and writing.
Grades PK - 5; Career Awareness
Helps students develop awareness of themselves, an awareness of the world of work, and an appreciation for all work. Work at this level is defined as accepting responsibility for the completion of a task at home or at school.
Grades 6 - 8; Career Investigation
Helps students develop an understanding of, and positive attitudes toward, themselves and toward society. By looking at the community and occupational clusters, students begin to evaluate their own interests, abilities, and values in relation to the career areas they investigate. At this level, students intensify their look at how school course choices are important for their future endeavors. Students learn how to set goals, with particular attention toward high school planning.
Grades 9 -10; Career Exploration
Involves all resources in the school, home, and community and allows students to explore specific careers/occupations through simulated work place experiences, on-site observation, or exposure to role models through mentoring or job shadowing. Through in-depth exploration students are able to further understand the correlation between school courses, career choices, and how/why career and education decisions are made. Students continue to develop an understanding and positive attitude toward work, themselves, and society.
Grades 11 - 12; Career Preparation
Affords students an opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills in a variety of career paths they may choose to follow after high school and assists them in making and following their career and educational goals. Students are provided with job-seeking and job-keeping skills training to prepare them for paths leading to work, technical/training programs, community college, four-year college, or military service.
Career and Technology Education Programs:
Are identifiable, but also integrated with other programs
Enhance students' career development knowledge, skills, and abilities
Are articulated across all program areas
Have a clear structure that includes leadership, SCANS competencies, high academic standards, and high workplace competency standards
Are accountable, and assess the career and educational development outcomes achieved by participating students
It is the policy of ESC-20 not to discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex or handicap in its CTE programs, services or activities as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
Es norma de ESC-20 no discriminar por motivos de raza, edad, color, origen national, sexo o impedimento, en sus programas, servicios o activades CTE, tal como lo requieren el Título VI de la Ley de Deprechos Civiles de 1964, según enmienda; el Título IX de las Emmiendas en la Educación, de 1972, y la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973, según enmienda