Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can Career and Technology Education Reduce the Cost of Dropping Out?

I saw a great graphic on Michael Smith's Principals Page Blog this morning that I wanted to share with you:

 I agree with the blog's author when he states that, "It's both sad and tragic. Students need to do better. Families need to do better. Schools need to do better. Our country needs to do better."

As I talk to more individuals and groups across the country, there is always a huge concern about dropout recovery. But what there isn't enough discussion about is the importance that should be placed upon career and technology education and the various programs that we offer.

We have our traditional CTE programs (i.e. Agricultural Education, Business and Information Technology Education, Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Health Careers Education, Marketing Education, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), Technology Engineering, and Trade and Industrial Education), but we also have dropout recovery programs, a young offender/probationer project, school-to-work, skills centers, which are occupational training programs and related services for incarcerated adults and for juveniles in detention centers (academic education, occupational training, and life skills are integrated into one delivery system), and Tech Prep.

We also offer Business and Entrepreneurial Services and Business and Industry Development programs and a myriad of other programs to assist in the growth and development of business and industry. In other words, career and technology education is aimed at economic development, as is all forms of education, but CTE is more flexible and easily adapted to state and local industry needs.

But the bottom line, for me anyway, is that education boils down to the individual and CTE offers the best opportunity to capture and assist those "1 in 4 students" that drops out of high school. That has long been one of our goals as our mission statement says, "We prepare Oklahomans to succeed in the workplace, in education, and in life."

So can CTE really reduce the cost of dropping out? ABSOLUTELY!

But we need your help in spreading the word about CTE. Many people I meet seem to have a pre-conceived notion about what we do and I know for me, people are amazed when they find out about the wealth of services that we offer. It's my hope, that the more you help spread the word, the more likely that these "1 in 4" students will know the value of what we have to offer them. And their return is quite simply a better life for themselves and their family.

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