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Secretary Duncan Visits CTE Lab


October 25, 2013


Secretary Duncan Visits CTE Lab

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan toured the new nanotechnology lab at Wheeling High School in Wheeling, IL, before sitting down for a panel on STEM education with Wheeling students and teachers.

While Secretary Duncan’s visit was spurred by the official opening of the nanotechnology lab, the panel discussion focused on the importance of STEM education and preparing students with skills for today’s jobs. Participating in the discussion with the Secretary were students from Wheeling’s other career and technical education programs—health sciences and industrial, manufacturing and engineering systems.

According to Associate Superintendent Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Wheeling’s focus through its CTE programs are to have every student set career goals to work toward during high school, provide a sequential pathway of courses following those career goals that leads students beyond high school, and to have students graduate with a diploma plus an industry certification and/or postsecondary credits.

Following this mission, the school has worked to integrate academic and technical coursework to help students apply knowledge across disciplines. A student on the panel stated that the technical reading done in the nurse assistant program improved her vocabulary and literacy skills beyond what her academic courses could and impressed her supervisor during her nurse assistant clinical at a nearby nursing home. Another student told that the topics she’s learning in her physics and calculus classes overlap with those she’s already covered in her engineering coursework, and have helped her improve her performance and problem-solving skills.

Career and technical education programs like those at Wheeling High School are essential to preparing today’s students for the high-skill, high-wage jobs of today and the future. As Secretary Duncan said during the panel discussion, we must continue to build on and expand these types of programs.

Tell your Members of Congress to invest in CTE using the ACTE Action Center, and share your personal stories of how CTE at your school has been impacted by federal policy through our new “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

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