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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Article Highlights Positive Outcomes of CTE-focused High Schools

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May 2, 2014

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Article Highlights Positive Outcomes of CTE-focused High Schools

Upon seeing the headline “Vocational High Schools: Career Path or Kiss of Death” in U.S. News and World Report this morning, I grimaced and expected an indictment of a promising form of career and technical education (CTE). However, I happily changed my tune as I read on, as the article provided an excellent and thorough report on the benefits and opportunities presented by CTE-focused high schools from across the country.

The article begins by telling the story of a student at Mercy Vocational High School in Pennsylvania who will graduate this spring not only with a high school diploma, but also an industry-recognized certification in carpentry and a valued career as a cabinetmaker. The author goes on to outline common misperceptions of CTE-focused high schools and CTE overall, including that it is only for troubled or low-performing students, or limits young people’s career options.

However, the article clearly demonstrates that there are a wealth of opportunities available to CTE students to gain a rigorous academic education while obtaining employability and technical skills they can apply in their careers, whether those begin immediately after high school or after postsecondary education. It goes on to highlight the exemplary academic achievement boasted by students from CTE-focused high schools nationwide, and the growing need for professionals in many CTE fields.

The article includes insights from Principal Ray Caruthers of David H. Ponitz Career Technology Center in Dayton, Ohio, stating that, “many of [Ponitz Career Technology Center]’s graduates still continue their education… but have the flexibility of added income should they need or choose to work part-time. It’s not about discouraging students from going to college, [Caruthers] says, but making sure they have options should they choose to pursue another path.”

A crucial component to effective CTE advocacy is raising awareness among members of the media and their audiences of what 21st century CTE classrooms look like, and it’s always encouraging to see positive reporting on CTE topics. ACTE has highlighted the role of CTE-focused high schools in its previous work, including its State Fact Sheets and Driving American Competitiveness sector sheets.

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