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Letters: It's much more than 'shop' class

March 26, 2013

Re "Time to revive 'career tech,'" Column, March 21

I appreciate George Skelton's advocacy of Career Technical Education (CTE), but some of the language he uses perpetuates the widespread misconception that CTE is a fancy term for "shop."

When vocational education morphed into CTE, the point was to address the high level of literacy required for 21st century careers by infusing rigorous academics into the CTE curricula. No longer do students need to opt for academic or vocational; instead, their participation in CTE leaves them prepared for work, UC Berkeley or working their way through UC Berkeley.

While director of career development for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where I was charged with overseeing CTE programs in our secondary schools, I spent a great deal of time and effort training public- and private-sector staff, community-based organizations and even other educators on the proven benefits to students who participated in well-designed CTE programs.

I found that too many people believe that CTE is merely a re-branding of what we've been doing. In fact, it is a vital and highly effective piece of high school reform.

Nicholas Rogers

Palm Springs

Thanks to Skelton for his support of SB 594, a state bill to encourage public-private partnerships in career tech education. The old college-is-for-everyone mantra is obsolete and must be replaced with a focus on training everyone for a job. For many students this may mean college, but it may also mean journeymen partnerships with unions; expanded vocational programs involving community colleges, on-site business partnerships and high schools; expansion of online job-training courses; and early identification of vocational aptitude in high schools by trained counselors.

Lou Rosen

Pacific Palisades


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