CTE Programs Must Prep Grads for Real-World Jobs

By Cepeda, Esther J | AZ Daily Star, April 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

CTE Programs Must Prep Grads for Real-World Jobs


Cepeda, Esther J, AZ Daily Star


It's the time of the year when you can't throw a rock without hitting a parent or a teenager bragging about college acceptance letters.

You're far less likely to hear about the plans of students who really have no desire to go to college and aren't sure what the world might have in store for them -- especially considering the risk of poverty, shorter life spans and other ills that researchers tell them will happen to someone having less than a college degree.

The National Center for Education Statistics projects that at the end of the current academic year, about 3.3 million students will graduate from high school. In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, the center noted that the percentage of high school seniors enrolling in college in the fall immediately following graduation was 68.2 percent, with more females enrolling (72.2 percent) than males (64.7 percent).

Failure to transition to postsecondary schooling is often seen as a financial issue. But some portion of the graduates who decide against college simply don't want to face more time sitting in a classroom waiting for their "real" lives to begin.

Yet there are too few workforce preparedness programs for what amounts to nearly a third of our high school graduates. And many of the available programs hardly make the grade.

The Lexington Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank, has issued a report charging that many of the 17,000 high schools across the country that offer career and technical education (CTE) use outdated instructional models that underestimate the students they aim to serve.

"Tech schools sometimes falsely assume that students don't need or can't handle a high level of rigor and use this as an excuse to provide lower-quality instruction," writes Kristen Nye Larson in "Updating Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century. …

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CTE Programs Must Prep Grads for Real-World Jobs
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