The recent decision to offer alternate diplomas for CTE [Careers & Technical Education] programs makes so much sense! Why? Because CTE programs give students an opportunity to learn skills about jobs they are interested in at this time in their life. There is a direct correlation between what students are interested in and their ability to learn about it.
This doesn’t mean that at some point in the future a student might change their mind…maybe they will. However, while their interest in something is high, it makes sense to take advantage of that and offer educational programs that fully engage students in the process of learning. Some students learn best in a classroom; others from ‘hands on’ experiential learning and doing things repetitively, while others learn by observing people doing the things they are interested in. The simple fact is; students learn and become educated in many ways, especially when they have an interest in something at a young age.
No one disputes the importance of a Regents diploma and a college education. Some students may not be ready for college when they’re 18 or 19 years old. However, if they have an interest and passion in something, they will learn about it. As they become older, more mature and gain work experience, they may become ready for college and even graduate school. We must remember that people can go to college at any time in their life.
CTE is a much needed and welcomed educational component that not only keeps students in school, but also inspires them to learn practical skills they can use now and build on during their career. A CTE diploma also benefits businesses looking for employees with specific skills to fill job vacancies. CTE is an important alternate pathway to a diploma and certainly as valuable to some students as a Regent diploma is to others.
CTE could also mean Careers Through Experience. The definition of career is: “ones progress through life or a particular vocation.” and according to the US Bureau of Labor, today’s students will have 12-15 jobs during their career. A career which will be an accumulation of experiences that help them grow, learn and become an educated and contributing member of society.