College & Workforce Readiness

Is ‘Career Ready’ Getting the Short End of the Stick?

By Catherine Gewertz — March 18, 2010 1 min read
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“All students college and career ready” is getting to be a veritable mantra among educrats, with “all students proficient” joining cassette tapes as quaintly outdated. If you’ve somehow napped through the steady flow of rhetoric coming out of the Obama administration in the last year and you want proof of this college-and-career-readiness drumbeat, you need go only so far as the president’s recent blueprint for reauthorization of the ESEA (currently known as No Child Left Behind). (See our story here.)

What does the career readiness part of all this mean, though, and how would it manifest itself in schools? Some experts aren’t convinced that the common standards have what it takes to prepare kids for 21st-century employment. Others are skeptical of the whole argument that any one set of skills can cover the diversity of skills needed in the economy’s wide range of jobs. (See my story on the first public draft of the common standards for folks who articulate some of these views. See also a blog posting here by our intrepid Capitol Hill reporter Alyson Klein that touches on the “readiness” question as it pertains to the ESEA blueprint.)

In that light, I was interested to see a recent package of stories in USA Today that explore the idea of career readiness. They bring the ideas to life in a way that could help offset the tendency to bury the “career” part under the “college” part of the readiness rhetoric.

Those of you interested in the evolving shape of career and technical education might also be interested in a new “vision” of CTE that is being unveiled today by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium. Details are still under embargo; we’ll report more to you on this when that embargo lifts.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.