Over the last decade, Career Technical Education (CTE) has transformed from skills-focused vocational education into a robust educational environment that integrates core academics with real-world relevance. A recent story on National Public Radioâ€™s Morning Edition highlights an example of this transformation at Stockbridge Community Schools in Michigan.
Listen to the story or read the script here.
Administrators at Stockbridge have embraced CTE because they recognize the value of equipping students with both academic and technical skills. Reporter Sarah Alvarez noted that â€œWhen kids from the rural mid-Michigan school district of Stockbridge go looking for work, they have to go pretty far. There are no jobs here to speak of. That means theyâ€™re competing against applicants from bigger, richer districts for jobs. Thatâ€™s made the school system willing to embrace technical education in a big way, even when it had a serious image problem as second rate education.â€
According to the report, Stockbridge offers courses such as alternative energy, underwater robotics, and marketing that equip students with the high-level skills they need to compete in postsecondary education and the workplace.
But like other CTE schools and programs across the nation, Stockbridge suffers from cuts to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act â€“ the main source of federal funding for CTE. One teacher reports storing old equipment from shut-down CTE programs in his classroom. Alvarez also describes the difficulty of attracting CTE teachers from industry where they can earn much higher salaries.
Though budget cutbacks create challenges for CTE programs, Stockbridge and other CTE schools across the nation continue to prioritize CTE because they are seeing such positive results for students.
CTE State Directors are committed to advancing this new direction for CTE. Read more in Reflect Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education.
Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager