Career Technical Education (CTE)
“It’s a myth that Career Technical Education (CTE) meets the needs of low performing kids from low performing schools,” writes JoEllen Lynch, the Executive Director of Springpoint, a Carnegie Corporation grantee. In a blog published on the Getting Smart website, Lynch takes on the debate over CTE as an alternative pathway, arguing that the credential requires a higher bar of learning and therefore is a poor option for struggling students. She says this is one more reason for high schools to prepare all students at a college-ready level, even those who do not plan to attend college. Lynch writes, "It all gets back to the same thing — are the students educated to a level where they can achieve in ‘training’, apprenticeships, community college or college? Are we committed to the resources and do we have the approaches to get students there?"
Lynch points out that industries in our modern economy require the same level of skills as colleges. "I think folks with good intentions think that CTE will solve the problem of unemployment for low performing kids. We know that is not necessarily the case. If we just want to add to the options for fully prepared kids, then CTE just adds to the pathways for them. Fine to do that if they are quality market-driven programs embedded in a college/career-ready curriculum. In a system with lots of resources, it’s a good thing to do for those kids who want it. It will not, however, improve the outcomes for the vast majority of our kids who are not fully prepared. It’s those kids we continue to worry about and seek to educate.”