This week Education Secretary Arne Duncan mentioned the role of career and technical education in two separate instances. His comments are worthy of your consideration.
In a blog post earlier this week we shared with you the announcement OVAE and the NRCCET made regarding technical assistance for five states to develop green programs of study. Connected to this announcement the Secretary was quoted as saying: “Green programs of study support the Administration’s goal of expanding a green workforce by preparing students for high-skill, high-wage jobs in a clean energy economy.” This comment, and the focus on green programs of study, should be a reminder to all of us that this administration, not just within the Education Department but across all Departments, are continually focusing on the importance of making things greener. It is of course also encouraging that the Secretary recognizes by his words the impact CTE programs can have on the green economy.
Yesterday the Secretary appeared on the Diane Rehm show on National Public Radio. He was interviewed for an entire one hour segment. Early on in the interview Ms. Rehm specifically asked the Secretary about the importance of “vocational” education and training. Within the context of the Secretary addressing college access and increasing college going Ms Rehm asked if everyone really needs four years of college. She pointed out that years ago vocational opportunities were readily available for people but the systems over the years seem to be moving away from that. The Secretary’s response, I think, was a positive one. In his response he said that he “is a big fan” of technical and vocational training programs. He said he wants to work on and give students lots of options and that we have to “find our way again” on these programs and “we” have a lot of interest in them. Later on the Secretary lauded the role of community colleges noting that they can have a huge role in getting our economy back on its feet and referred to the institutions as “an undervalued, under-recognized gem”.
During his interview the following topics were also discussed: early childhood, charter schools, college access, the drop out crisis, class size, charter schools, and accountability. If you would like to listen to the entire interview you can go to the NPR website at http://wamu.org/programs/dr/09/06/25.php#26159. The conversation regarding CTE begins about three and a half minutes into the interview and lasts for about two minutes.