With STEM careers on the rise, policymakers and administrators alike are scrambling to discern which young students are prepared for future success, which aren't, and why.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) assessment is a test aimed to gauge eighth grade students on problem solving, goal achievement, and technological understanding.
“when are we ever going to use this,” they (i.e. every kid ever) whine[s].
Give Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) a seat at the table
Career and technical education (CTE) has seen a remarkable increase in popularity over the past twenty years when compared to other education reforms—such as common core. Despite this unusually long running trend, the question of whether or not CTE is here to stay is still a debated topic. However, one thing that is clear: CTE is tremendously beneficial to young students. In this post, we will explore some of the reasons why this educational pathway may just stick around, and how it can provide students with real-world skills and career connections.
Rise in Popularity
The media has shown a great deal of interest in career and technical education, most notably since 2004 where mention of CTE has grown more than tenfold. In the last seven years, media attention of CTE has doubled. We’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of articles on the subject, having risen more than a hundredfold in the past two decades. Career and technical education has been on a steady upwards slope, and many claim that this is due to the lack of controversy that surrounds it compared to the increasingly controversial Common Core and No Child Left Behind programs. A more in depth analysis of this data can be found here.
Research suggests that CTE’s rise is not just a fad, given its long-running and steady popularity, but the result of a larger movement. Skills training is becoming ever more sought after in today’s education atmosphere, given its direct alignment with various careers. As long as there are jobs that require specific skills, it is safe to assume that career and technical education is here to stay.
Benefit for Students
It is vital for students to learn the necessary skills that would make them a valuable asset in the economy and prepare them for higher education. More important than learning how to be a good student is learning how to work with a team and how to apply certain skills in the workforce. CTE allows students to get a jumpstart on learning these real-world skills, and the sooner they begin the more likely they are to get hired and stand out from their coworkers.
Not only does career and technical education help students develop sought after skills, it often provides a way for them to make career connections early on. Some schools offer a CTE career center that helps students connect with local companies, and others host a career fair that allows students to explore and talk with companies in their fields of interest. Career and technical education is empowering students to reach higher and achieve things they never thought possible.
For more information about the wide variety of careers available to students in technical fields, check out this resource: Making Career Connections in the STEM Classroom.