Published on 2012/02/21

Put The Focus Back On Career And Technical Education

Put The Focus Back On Career And Technical Education
Supporting career and technical education at the middle- and high school level is vital to developing students for the workforce. Photo by Argonne National Laboratory.

Career and Technical Education in the United States has always been the low hanging fruit on the tree of learning from the Federal perspective. This means it is the first item cut from budgets when financial constraints are pending.

In 2010, federal reports contradicted their own findings. On the one hand, they stated that students who are in Career Academy achieve higher grades, have a better attendance rate and are more likely to graduate then students not involved in Career Academies, yet they cut funding because, apparently, there was no evidence to support positive outcomes.

This is not unique of Career Academies; higher achievement results are a parallel factor with involvement. The more involvement a student has in the learning institution such as sports or fine arts the better focus and higher achievements result.

But in the local districts and schools, Career Academies and incentive activities/programs are the adrenalin gland that brings life to students’ achievement. That is why I am creating “Real Steps Career & Education Foundation” (RC&E). A non-profit entity that will work directly with high schools and middle schools to create, implement and ensure successful Career Academies across multiple disciplines. These academies will teach industry certifications, learning skills for higher education and job readiness for real world situations and later take the endeavor national.

Higher Education needs better prepared students with their learning skills already fine tuned. Students need to know what type of learner they are and be able to adapt the instructional type to match their learning style. High schools focus on teachers understanding and using differentiated teaching models and approaches to reach more students. Why wouldn’t it make sense for someone entering into higher education to at least know themselves in the same respect? The sooner this can be taught the better, middle schools should be the next candidate for approach.

The funding to make this happen is the main obstacle. With Career and Technical Education (CTE) funding being cut, who is going to foot the bill to make it happen? It is the parties who will benefit the most, local and domestic businesses. That is why it makes sense to approach this effort from a non-profit standpoint, allowing the local businesses that will hire these students to help fund the endeavor with federal and state governments providing supplemental funding.

On a personal note, this is the way I needed to approach it. I want to be able to go to any school and offer to help, and if the school can’t pay for the startup cost, I couldn’t just walk way. I will get the job done regardless of payment. These academies (if designed properly) can become self funding within 1-3 years and begin generating additional revenue for the school or school district.

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Readers Comments

Simon Lang 2012/02/21 at 8:37 am

I agree wholeheartedly. I think that if we start encouraging students at the highschool and middleschool levels to get excited about technical education, we’re also going to create more interest for community and career colleges. Moreover: we’re going to start pumping them full of students that are there for advanced educations, not just remedial education or using the college as a way to get to university

    Criskot 2012/03/02 at 1:07 pm

    We agree> In a critique in so far as to how the glohnceoty is applied, the idea of replacing the teacher-as-guru just doesn’t fly. And in the current economic crisis it is apparent that the motive for a shift to online learning via posted text modules is economic and not altruistic.However, as a provider of online services we do believe in the medium, and we have had great success with it at the secondary educaiton level. Our online courses are hosted by a state certified content specialist. Our goal is not to change the method of content delivery but rather to mirror it in a virtual medium. That the relationship between novice and scholar is preserved and that students have as much chance to interact with their peers in the virtual environment as they do in a brick and mrotar setting. In this way the virtual medium can be applied to and enhance current academic offerings.We have applied this format to home instruction (where studetns are not able to attend, remedial, and in school and after school full course offeirngs. Students from different districts from around the state participate providing a greater dynamic in the classroom experience. The openness of the virtual context allows the moderator to bring in experts or guest lecturers who would not normally be available. This is where those wishing to use this new medium will find their success.The academic professional cannot be replaced in this new equation. But this new equation will give that professional a wider platform with greater reach and more potential. Our imaginations are the only limit on this brand new vista. Unless of course we relegate it to just posting text modules online, then that in itself will stifle any creativity.Much Kind Regards,Fred De Sena VP Innovaitons in Onlien Education, Inc.

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