The world is changing at a rapid rate and as a result the nation’s education system has a new range of issues to face. A confluence of occurrences — national fiscal challenges, a flattening globe, and the winds of technology – has given rise to new economic challenges that have been impacting all sectors of our society, including education.
But with those challenges also comes opportunity, particularly for career technical education (CTE) – a system that addresses the nation’s needs to educate and train the economy to success. Recognizing the responsibility we have as leaders in the CTE community to combat these challenges, State Directors across the nation have taken the helms of rethinking how CTE serves individuals, the economy and society.
Recently, we have undertaken a major revamp of the guiding principles that have mapped our course for CTE in recent years. Acknowledging global influences, the evolution of the economy and the interconnectedness of all education stakeholders – from secondary to postsecondary, and educators to industry leaders – State Directors have a created a formal, unified plan for the way we will lead CTE into this new era.
That new plan is laid out in Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education, which is a vision paper that is designed to serve as a guiding document to lead a new, progressive course for CTE. While spearheaded by State Directors, the vision paper is a product of teamwork that involved educators and administrators of all education levels, a mix of education associations, student groups and industry leaders. The principles reflect the effort to include and align the priorities of our valued stakeholders, who are all needed to successfully take CTE to the next level.
This vision paper highlights the major areas in which we recognize CTE must transform in order to best serve individuals. However, this is more than just a call to action. Our vision paper includes specific tasks that we have imposed on ourselves and ask of our peer stakeholders to implement. The tasks and vision are framed around the themes of five principles:
- Global competitiveness
- Partnerships with employers
- Student success in education and careers
- Comprehensive programs of study aligned to the national Career Clusters’ framework
- Results-driven systems
Already, CTE has played a leading role in equipping individuals for the jobs of today. While State Directors are looking to maintain our responsibility, we also accept the new, challenging task of preparing individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. A door has opened for CTE to showcase the value it holds for individuals and the nation as a whole. We have chosen not to squander this opportunity and the plan in our vision paper demonstrates just that.
June Sanford, President