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Department of Education Recommits To Career And Technical Training

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By: Sayre Quevedo

The United States Department of Education recently issued recommended reforms for Career and Technical Education (CTE). The proposal, titled, “Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education,” is a rough outline of what the department believes are the necessary steps to strengthening vocational programs and their role in young people’s lives around the country.

Some might find the report suprising considering President Barack Obama's previous budget strategies which defunded Career and Technical Education programs. In July, 2011 Obama proposed budget cuts that would have reduced funding to vocational schools by 20 percent and increased funding for overall education by 11%. The budget followed Obama’s plan to push the United States from 9th to 1st in terms of college enrollment throughout the world. 

The report focuses on reforming the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provided $1.3 billion dollars to CTE programs across the United States. The reforms are aimed at creating greater efficiency in developing and maintaining vocational programs. 

The outline focuses on the relationship between the labor market and education, and the role of state governments in developing and maintaining career and technical training programs. “Effective, high-quality CTE programs are aligned not only with college- and career-readiness standards, but also with the needs of employers, industry, and labor,” the report states. “They provide students with a curriculum based on integrated academic and technical content and strong employability skills.”

The report points to four core principles as the basis for the changes it hopes to make. Below is a summary of each principle:

-Alignment: States will receive more guidance on establishing programs that are relevant to in-demand jobs and high-growth industries in their areas.

-Collaboration: Secondary and postsecondary schools will establish relationships with employers to improve career and technical training programs.

-Accountability: States will have more power to pick and choose which programs to fund. The report also calls for clearer performance indicators and incentives for employers and educators who perform well.

-Innovation: States help develop and implement new models and techniques at the local level. They will also be responsible for having policies in place to support programs.

Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

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