Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

August 2, 2006

Doesn’t Spellings ever need a plumber?

Statement by Secretary Spellings on Congressional Reauthorization of the Perkins Vocational Education Act:

Secretary Spellings today made the following statement on the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act:”Congress deserves credit for making some needed reforms to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education program. For the first time, Career and Technical Education [CTE] programs will be held accountable for continuous improvement in performance, measured by the academic proficiency of CTE students. Success will be determined through valid and reliable tests, including No Child Left Behind assessments in reading, math and science. These changes will help ensure that students graduate with the academic skills valued by employers and colleges alike. We now look forward to working with Congress to promote accountability, high standards and rigorous coursework in our high schools, essential to staying competitive in the global economy.”

Poor CTE programs, I can see schools dropping them rather than trying to make them fit into NCLB. I don’t think CTE programs should be “dumping grounds” for students who don’t measure up to NCLB standards (such as they are.) I do think Spellings and other have missed the point, students are attracted to CTE because it doesn’t require the same academic proficiency as college bound students.

We need talented people to become electricians, plumbers, and cooks and to be respected for the qualities required by these professions. Math is important to electricians but does the electrician have to learn trig? The fact that NCLB cannot differentiate between the types of learning and achievement required for different professions, demonstrates the fundamental problem with “one size fits all.”

Besides, when are students in Texas going to have the opportunity to try CTE classes with the new requirements of four years of math and four years of science to graduate?

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