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Department of Education Eyes CTE for High School Redesign


June 13, 2013


Department of Education Eyes CTE for High School Redesign 

In blog posts this week on the Department of Education’s Homeroom blog, career and technical education took a front and center role as a great example of initiatives by high schools to improve student performance. These blogs are part of a series pushing President Obama’s high school redesign initiative, a proposal for a new competitive program to “encourage school districts to… focus on providing rigorous real-world experiences to students that will put them on a path for succes in both college and careers.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Aviation High School in Long Island City, New York, where students prepare for careers in the aviation maintenance and aerospace industries. The CTE programs at Aviation have strong business and industry ties, offer experential learning and are highly integrated with core academic courses. All of these factors help students continually outperform on academics, according to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. 

Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education, visited Cleveland High School in Seattle, Washington, where CTE curriculum focuses on project-based learning and connecting students with mentors around the community. Cleveland High School also prides itself on graduating its students truly college and career ready with the academic, employability and technical skills needed to succeed in postsecondary education and a career. 

It is important to note that the President’s high school redesign initiative is just a proposal. It is not authorized by law and is highly unlikely to receive funding from Congress in today’s fiscal “belt tightening.” Many of these ideas could be incorporated into other legislation though, and ACTE is working to include more focus on career readiness and academic/CTE integration in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and to restore funding for Perkins to a level that could support more high-quality CTE programs.  

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