NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED504102
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun-11
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Retooling Career Technical Education. Issue Brief
National Governors Association
Career technical education (CTE) rests at the nexus of governors' efforts to improve their states' K-16 education system and develop an economy supportive of innovation. Traditional CTE programs, such as carpentry, which emphasized employment in a specific trade, are evolving into programs that now educate students for a range of careers in the broader construction industry. New CTE programs, such as computer networking and pre-engineering, are being created to educate and prepare students for careers involving sophisticated scientific and technological skills and knowledge. Today, more than half the students who choose to concentrate in CTE also take a college preparatory curriculum. Despite CTE's past reputation as a less-demanding track, research proves that career technical education engages and motivates students by offering them real-world learning opportunities, leading to lower dropout rates and greater earnings for high school graduates. When CTE courses also incorporate more academic rigor, research shows that student achievement significantly increases. These findings suggest that CTE should be an important aspect of a state's broader high school redesign strategy. A handful of states have already begun to incorporate CTE into their high school reform and economic competitiveness efforts, making learning both more challenging and relevant to students' interests. The following plan can help governors accelerate this trend by reorienting state CTE programs to reflect more demanding academic expectations: (1) Connect education to economic growth industries; (2) Use the bully pulpit to promote CTE; (3) Include the skills employers demand in state standards, assessment, and accountability systems; (4) Base CTE curricula around state standards; (5) Improve the quality of CTE teaching; (6) Design quality-control measures to promote more rigorous programs; (7) Require high school students to declare a course of study; and (8) Eliminate duplicated coursework between high school and postsecondary systems. By providing the leadership to strengthen state policies and improve coordination across agencies and systems, governors can improve the outcomes for both high school students and the workforce. Those states that undertake this strategic approach to retooling CTE programs can expect more engaged and persistent graduates who have added earning potential and are better prepared to enter high-wage/high-skill occupations. Suggested resources are included. (Contains 18 endnotes and 1 figure.)
National Governors Association. 444 North Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20001-1512. Tel: 202-624-5300; Fax: 202-624-5313; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Governors Association, Center for Best Practices
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A