The Summit on Future Directions for CTE: Being Bold

future directions 

The Summit on Future Directions for CTE: Being Bold
3rd in the series

What are the core principles that should guide the future direction of CTE for the next 10 years?

This was the first question posed to Fall Summit attendees. With answers written on literally hundreds of post it notes, the work began. As is always the case with this sort of work, in the beginning the work is messy and unrefined – which is exactly what we wanted. A grouping of 14 categories was identified ranging from “all students need to be CTE students” to “career clusters and programs of study are the framework for all of education” to “increasing rigor and adopting common standards for CTE.” The spectrum of opinions was broad. Consensus seemed elusive.

Principles 2

Are you annoyed? Uncomfortable? Feeling challenged? Good! Often CTE has been in the position of being defensive, fighting for a seat at the table or protecting what we have or what we have accomplished. The Summit was about creating an environment that allowed attendees to think and discuss honestly about what we are doing that is working, what isn’t working, and what we should be doing that we aren’t. Scenarios were designed to instigate, provoke and evoke emotion, debate and require attendees to take contrary positions oftentimes having to be an advocate for the traditional ‘opponent.’ At times there was a palpable, healthy tension. The best way to share the tone and spirit of the discussion is to share some quotes from attendees:

  • “We’re stretching our brain to think outside the box and I think we can still do better. We’re on the right track for the future if we want to keep CTE in front. Otherwise someone can say that one day soon CTE is not necessary. But looking at all of this is an important part of the process.”
  • “For so many years we’ve always called ourselves as the stepchildren. We’re all tired of being that. We’re only called that because we allow it. We have an opportunity to step out of that. There will be some tension but we really have to go through this and be bold.”
  • “I think we’re afraid to make bold statements. We need to state what we really want to do. If you’re the middle child you don’t have to say so much, but if we make a bold statement then we have to stand by it.”
  • “If you look at our words: articulation, integration, globalization. We get so comfortable with buzz words, but have we made any progress? We have a lot of lovely words but do we really have articulated pathways in our schools? Where have we come from and where do we want to go?”
  • “Success is not mandatory. Survival is not guaranteed or required.”
  • “Innovation is a new idea that adds value. One of the problems that CTE has today is that we have a hard time showing our value. This group has to talk about how in the next 10 years we’re going to demonstrate the added value of what we do.”


engaged discussion

We had arrived at a certain level of consensus – most attendees agreed that we needed to do something different, to be bolder in our thinking, to be innovative, and to take a risk. But what are the principles that will guide this new bold vision? By the end of day two, Summit attendees had crafted 24 potential principles. States were asked to vote on them. Democracy was at work. The next post in this series will share the outcomes of the vote and next steps.

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