CTE and the College and Career Readiness Agenda

The shift away from a focus on high school graduation to a focus on college and career readiness has set off an important resurgence of collaboration between educators responsible for core academics and Career and Technical Education (CTE) educators. The implementation of the Common Core has ignited a thoughtful and positive conversation about the meaning of college and career readiness. Traditional stereotypes, such as applied learning is unimportant or that every high school graduate should go to a four-year college, are being replaced by an understanding that there is a continuum of postsecondary options; that students need to be engaged in a curriculum that is relevant; and that multiple, complex factors (not just academic skills) determine an individual’s college and career success. Toward that end, involving CTE in plans for Common Core and college and career readiness design and implementation likely will lead to greater success.

Career and technical education can be an important partner in implementing a college and career ready agenda. Some considerations for implementation include:

  • State and local Common Core teams can involve CTE leaders and teachers when planning awareness, curriculum redesign, and professional development.
  • CTE strategies for math integration and enhanced literacy strategies already exist and have been tested to demonstrate student results. They enhance student learning in CTE, as well as develop transferable skills to standardized academic tests. Professional development for CTE instructors needs to be scaled up and use of strategies supported and monitored.
  • Career and Technical Education has developed resources and strategies that can help create a fuller definition of college and career readiness. 
  • Career and Technical Education already embeds many aspects of career readiness, including career specific technical knowledge, and an emphasis on projects, and career exploration.
  • To develop a full program for college and career readiness, state and local leaders need to seriously consider other aspects, including self-discipline, knowledge about college application and financing, and knowledge about career exploration, career development, and personal career management.

How are you incorporating CTE with your college and career readiness strategies?

Hans K. Meeder is President of the Meeder Consulting Group, LLC, and has previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Matt Fleck is a consultant with Meeder Consulting Group and former Director of Indiana State CTE.

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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