Earlier this week at NASDCTEc’s annual Fall Meeting, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, delivered a strong call to action to the CTE community. Highlighting Gallup’s research on the education system the economy in America today, Busteed urged attendees to leverage this data to reframe CTE in national and local conversations about education and careers.
Gallup conducted a national poll of students and found that students become significantly less engaged each year they are in school. More than 75 percent of elementary school students identify as engaged, while only 44 percent of high school students report feeling engaged at some point during the school day.
Busteed noted that there are reasons for student disengagement. Student success is measured through graduation rates, SAT scores, and G.P.A., which rarely – if ever – takes into account the student as a whole person. While these measures are certainly important, hope, mentorship and the opportunity to work on long-term projects are stronger indicators of success.
“What are we doing to identify entrepreneurship in our schools right now?” said Busteed. “We identify athletic talent with ease, we identify IQ; we don’t work to identify the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. There are no indicators the education system uses to determine who will be an effective or successful entrepreneur.”
To that end, Busteed cited a recent interview with Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, who called grades and test scores worthless predictors of successful employees.
Just as internships are valuable experiences for students, teacher externships can be incredible opportunities that may be key in helping connect classroom curriculum to the modern workplace. Given the typical capacity issues for work-based learning, 3 million teacher externships would be the equivalent of more than 50 million student internships.
Businesses also value a stronger partnership with higher education. Currently, only 13 percent of business leaders think there is “a great deal” of collaboration between higher education and employers, while almost 90 percent favor an increased level of collaboration.
What implications does this research have for CTE? High-quality CTE programs provide all the opportunities Busteed called essential to student success: a focus on employability skills and technical skills, mentorship through work-based learning, and curriculum that is made relevant by tying learning to the real world.
Busteed left the group with a final charge – the CTE community needs to better communicate career technical education not as option B, but instead as a staple of all students’ educational experience.
To view Busteed’s PowerPoint, please visit our 2014 Fall Meeting page.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate