Gino DiCaro

CTE bill passes Assembly Education Committee

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, July 10, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

After passionate testimony from the author, Senator Rod Wright, SB 381 passed 6-3 from the Assembly Education Committee on July 8th.  The bill promotes equal access for students to both college-prep "A-G" and Career and Technical Education (CTE) coursework in our high schools.  It was introduced as a reasonable step toward reinvigorating CTE courses in high schools.

CMTA co-sponsored SB 381. New amendments will require a school district that adopts additional graduation requirements to meet college admissions requirements to also adopt coursework geared towards entry-level employment skills in business or industry.

Over the coming decades, the California economy will be offering exciting and well-compensated employment for students who acquire high level technical skills in manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and many other industry sectors. These jobs often require less than a bachelors degree, but require a rigorous curriculum that includes core academics and applied learning opportunities. However, enrollment in CTE classes has plummeted over the last 20 years as classes and teachers have been relentlessly cut back.

"Curriculum narrowing" is a recognized phenomenon in the majority of California’s public schools. Students no longer have the curriculum choices of previous generations.  The traditional school day (6 periods in high school) has now been consumed by coursework to meet growing pressure on districts and students to:

  1. Produce high test scores in math and English (Academic Performance Index),
  2. Pass the California High School Exit Exam, and
  3. Complete the University of California’s college prep A-G courses.

If this weren’t enough pressure, local districts are also being lobbied by the California State University system and others to move beyond the state graduation requirements and adopt new local graduation requirements requiring all students to complete UC’s "A-G" coursework with satisfactory grades.  This campaign further narrows curricular choices and is undermining student access to other curriculum. The Education Code mandates that high schools prepare all students for either a postsecondary education or entry into the workforce.  High schools shifting to a sole "A-G" mandate are consequently not meeting the second mandate and ignoring a large population of students.

SB 381 would provide students with more opportunities for success upon high school graduation.  

SB 381 now faces a tough vote in front of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  Please send letters of support for this very important legislation.

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