Common Core Standards: Opportunities Rise for CTE

As the education community dissects the details of the recently-released Common Core State Standards, leaders of the initiative remind the education community that these standards do not address all of what students need to be college and career ready. In fact, career technical education (CTE) has its own distinct role to play in outlining the career skills that students should acquire to achieve readiness, said Gene Wilhoit, Council of Chief State School Officers Executive Director and a leader in the standards movement.

At a NASDCTEc webinar just days before the Common Core released its math and language arts standards this month, Wilhoit said “these are academic standards that need to be mastered by a CTE or college student. They are essential but not necessarily sufficient…..they are not everything that a student would need.” He added that CTE has a “tremendous opportunity” to step forward and fill in the gaps of the nation’s college and career ready agenda. The Common Core Standards allow room for curriculum that integrates rigorous academic standards with relevant career training, Wilhoit said.

Further, he noted the significant advantages a CTE student would have in an obtaining an educational experience that was aligned to core academic standards and enhanced by a career-focused curriculum. He added that CTE programs that provide students access to earn credentials or certifications would certainly put students at a greater advantage in the competitive workplace.

Wilhoit’s statement should put to ease the concerns some over what impact the Common Core may have on CTE’s approach to college and career readiness. In a previous blog, we noted comments of Dane Linn, Education Division Director of the NGA Center for Best Practices, who said that the Common Core Initiative had CTE specifically in mind when adding exemplars of technical writing and technical manuals in their common core document.

NASDCTEc is working to identify how the Common Core aligns with the Career Clusters Knowledge and Skills Statements, which will begin a re-validation process this fall. A designated committee will assess the Knowledge and Skills Statements, which identify the core career and academic competencies a student needs, and implement any relevant alignment with the Common Core initiative. Further, the Knowledge and Skills Statements will also have to be recalibrated to reflect NASDCTEc’s new vision, which calls for all students to be college and career ready.

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