- In an op-ed for EdSurge, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten voiced her support for the nation's fast-changing career and technical education opportunities.
- Spotlighted by Weingarten is Connecticut's Technical High School System, which makes a variety of externship opportunities available to students.
- Along with externships, Weingarten says the most successful CTE programs must provide work opportunities to students via business partnerships and effectively establish relationships between those employment fields and academic subjects.
The op-ed contrasts today's CTE with the vocational ed of old, pointing out that a modern woodworking class, for example, includes instruction on reading blueprints and using machinery, while an automotive class might teach about fuel cells or the design of electric cars.
As President Barack Obama pushes for free community college to make high-demand job skills more accessible to American workers, it's important to note that some of those same skills can arguably be offered in high school CTE programs. Perhaps these programs can even be paired with the Obama initiative. Would it be a stretch to imagine the associate's degree as a sort of high school diploma of the future?
One notable stat laid out by Weingarten in her piece: 75% of all U.S. high school students graduate on time, but that number jumps to 90% among CTE students — and 70% of them go on to college.