Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

CTE Programs Provide Valuable Lessons

January 18, 2011 1 min read
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To the Editor:

I was surprised when I read your article “Experts Begin to Identify Nonacademic Skills Key to Success” (Education Week, Dec. 23, 2010) because school districts across the country have been teaching students the skills and knowledge necessary to be college- and career-ready through career and technical education. CTE programs embed academic concepts within courses and teach students how to apply academics to the real world through application and example. These programs also address the nonacademic skills you reference, including learning dependability, teamwork, creative thinking, and a work ethic.

The article also noted that two out of five traditional college students and more than half of nontraditional ones will take at least one remedial class; a possible remedy is with CTE. CTE programs work to integrate academic, employability (noncognitive indicators), and technical skills into their programs to ensure students are college- and career-ready.

According to the Southern Regional Education Board, students at schools with highly integrated, rigorous academic and CTE programs have significantly higher student achievement in reading, mathematics, and science than do students at schools with less integrated programs.

A recent article in The Miami Herald, “Study Less, Earn More, at Least in the Beginning,” pointed to Florida state-employment data that indicate students who earned a career-focused associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate from a Florida community college earned more money, in many cases, than someone with a bachelor’s degree, because they graduated with workforce-ready skills.

As administrators, school districts, and policymakers discuss how to ensure graduating students are college- and career-ready, CTE programs are providing a solution by preparing students and adults with the skills and knowledge necessary to be competitive in today’s global economy.

Jan Bray

Executive Director

Association for Career and Technical Education

Alexandria, Va.

A version of this article appeared in the January 19, 2011 edition of Education Week as CTE Programs Provide Valuable Lessons

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