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2013 NPS: Iowa CTSO Student Gains New Perspective

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March 21, 2013

2013 NPS: Iowa CTSO Student Gains New Perspective

By: Sanjay Koduvalli, Iowa TSA Vice President, Johnston High School

I'm sitting here, at the 2013 National Policy Seminar in Washington, D.C., with some of the brightest young minds I have ever met. We've been called here for one purpose, to talk to our legislators about the importance of CTE funding to Iowa's well-being.

Throughout the course of this conference, I have increasingly gained a new perspective on education. For as long as I can remember, the plan of action promoted for students has been college. I realize now that a four-year degree is not the best route for everyone, because college may not develop the skills necessary for every career path. A trade school, two-year degree, a junior college or career academy is an excellent path for many students. And of course, nothing provides more valuable experience for the upcoming workforce than participation in the desired career. Students have always been encouraged to postpone their biggest decision, what career to pursue, for a later time. Yet this push can have catastrophic results. Students should experience these career opportunities from a very young age, and focus their efforts on their career interests. Somewhere along the way, a line formed between education and preparation for work. We must eradicate this line using CTE, or we face a future of unprepared, debt-burdened college graduates who are qualified only for the next level of education, and not for the workforce America so desperately needs them to be a part of. Now it is our turn to send out this information to our legislators.

As we tell our stories to policymakers, I see understanding in these amazing people, as they sympathize with our cause. They each let us know that they believe our role is important, and definitely something they will keep in mind in the months to come. We all share a smile, knowing we have fulfilled our role.

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