Students need a choice of practical pathways, including career tech says Georgetown economist Anthony Carnevale in a New York Times interview.
Carnevale, who runs the Center on Education and the Workforce, worries the new Common Core standards will set the single-curriculum pathway in stone, despite lip service to applied learning.
In theory, the Common Core says, we just want you to be able to do a certain set of things, we don’t care how you learn it. But when I look at the assessments, basically it looks like very academic kinds of learning goals to me.
Today’s career tech isn’t a rehash of the old voc ed, which was “drummed out of the curriculum because it put all the females in home ec, and all the boys in the construction trades,” he says. Career and tech education can be integrated with high educational standards, but it “requires a different kind of teacher, a different kind of curriculum, different equipment” and funding.
C.T.E. is still the red-headed, illegitimate child at the family reunion in many ways. The path from high school to Harvard is still the one we all honor more, and that is a very academic pathway.
. . . it’s not practical to send everybody to Harvard. It is practical to send everybody to college. . . . (C.T.E.) . . . can produce higher high school graduation rates for less advantaged kids, higher math scores, more going to college.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is now backing career tech, says Carnevale. President Obama has been talking up certificates and two-year degrees for years.
The retirement of the baby boom generation will create 32 million job openings, predicts Carnevale. Economic recovery should produce 20 million new jobs. “That’s a huge opportunity, and now’s the time when the country needs to step up and meet it.”