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Response from “Ask Former Trustees – Clear Creek ISD Chapter”: Joanna Baleson, Ken Baliker, Jennifer Broddle, Bob Davee, Glenn Freedman, Ann Hammond, Charlie Pond, Page Rander, Dee Scott, Win Weber

What is CTE?

What used to be called vocational education is now ‘Career and Technical Education,’ thanks to the “The Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006” or Carl D. Perkins Law. 

The Texas Education Agency defines CTE as “a sequence of courses that provides students with coherent and rigorous content… aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions.” That is education-speak for preparing students for meaningful work and a productive life.

Why is CTE offered?

Educators and legislators agree that public education should prepare students with the skills, knowledge and expertise necessary to succeed in college, work and life. To that end, schools are increasingly preparing students for life after high school.

What careers are a part of CTE?

TEA has approved fourteen programs of study, which include 53 different ‘frameworks or specific career options. Not all districts can support all 53 opportunities, so they select which programs to offer based on the local economy, district resources, student interest and community support, among other criteria. Districts must, however, have programs in a minimum of three of the areas of study. 

Learn more about CTE and its benefits here

What are the benefits and drawbacks of CTE?

As poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” CTE is no different, as CTE programs are all about successful implementation. Done well, the programs are life-changing and a significant social contributor. Done poorly, the programs can be costly and irrelevant.

Sample CTE’s strengths:
When designed and implemented well, CTE offers:
a. a viable pathway for students to prepare for career in a certain area or for those who are not considering college or the military.
b. useful training and skills for all students who take these classes.
c. a qualified workforce ready to earn a living and contribute to their families and to the economy.
d. opportunities for success for students not academically inclined.

Sample CTE’s Concerns:
a. If not closely aligned with partnering industries and business, CTE programs can result in no jobs, few internships or viable experiences.
b. If too closely aligned with specific, short-term business needs, students can suffer a restricted high school experience and too few long-term prospects.
c. Without capable counseling services, students can gain experience in curriculum they do not want to pursue.
d. Without community support, CTE programs can be expensive, often requiring equipment and expertise that must be kept up to date.

What are the updated fourteen programs of study approved by TEA?

1. Texas CTE courses were originally organized by 16 federally defined career clusters. Texas_CTE_Fact_Sheet2-3

a) Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
b) Architecture & Construction
c) Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
d) Business, Management, and Administration
e) Education and Training
f) Finance
g) Government and Public Administration
h) Health Science
i) Hospitality and Tourism
j) Human Services
k) Information Technology
l) Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
m) Manufacturing
n) Marketing, Sales & Service
o) Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
p) Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

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