So much is being said about career readiness programs, post-high school work opportunities and promotion of non-collegiate pathways. How do we continue to celebrate the academic achievement and include college-bound students that are being left out of the conversations?
Both of these future pathways are important for our students. Also, the lines between careers which require college preparation versus career/technical preparation are blurring, leading to jobs that have some combination of both academic and hands-on experiential education.
What we are experiencing now is a move of the pendulum toward career/technical education. In my professional opinion, this is a move in the right direction and that is overdue.
For too long, we have narrowed school success to be based on academic ability demonstrated in a very narrow way – namely through standardized test scores. However, we all know there are literally millions and millions of students across our nation who struggle in school and on tests, but who turn out to be remarkably successful adults.
To be clear, this is not to say that academic pathways are not important – they clearly are! We must preserve pathways into colleges and professions which require college and advanced degrees. Our nation needs physicians, lawyers, teachers and engineers – all professions which require college degrees. It is critical that we continue to provide pathways to prepare students for these kinds of futures.
Instead, it is to say that we must build up and add to career/technical education options, inclusive of adding experiential education opportunities that get students out into communities, experiencing learning first hand.
Here in Jeffco, our schools have traditionally done a good job preparing students for college. We also have one of the best career/technical education programs in the world with Warren Tech – something we hope to expand if the district’s ballot questions (5A and 5B) are successful. Ultimately, we look to the voters to have the final say in if we expand these programs or not.
Jason E. Glass, Ed.D., is the Superintendent and Chief Learner of Jeffco Public Schools; www.jeffcopublicschools.org.
If you have a question for our superintendent please submit it to Guy@NostalgicHomes.com or call it in to 303-999-5789.