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Who's at the Leading Edge of Career-Tech Ed Policy?

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As more people talk about the importance of college and workplace readiness, the evolution of career and technical education is worth keeping an eye on. In a recent brief, the Education Commission of the States describes state-level efforts that it considers "ahead of the curve" in developing top-notch CTE programs.

It ain't voc-ed anymore, folks. Take a look here. States are infusing career and tech ed work into high school curricula and giving it core course credit. They're incorporating it into their accountability systems to ensure it's rigorous. They're creating what they say are new-age career tracks that will produce young people with enviable, practical skills, not just an impressive command of English literature (okay, there has been a tiny controversy about Louisiana's career diploma. But I digress...).

True, despite his calls for a better-trained workforce, President Obama flat-funded the Perkins Act, the main federal career and tech-ed law, in his proposed fiscal 2010 budget. But still, a lot is happening to reshape career and tech ed, even as it struggles to outgrow its Rodney Dangerfield position in the high school world.

The Association for Career and Technical Education has lots of policy papers and issue briefs on this, as does the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (I know, what a mouthful, huh?).

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Career and Technical Education is the future of education in America. We can not afford to miss the boat. We need to provide out students, particulary in urban settings, with a quality colege preparory education AND industry recognized credentials that provide pathways to employment and post secondary schools.
Catherine Rickert
[email protected]
former School to Career Coordinator

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