CTE bill heading to Governorís desk

By CMTA Staff

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

After a unanimous vote on the Senate floor, SB 147 (Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord) heads to the Governor. The bill directs the California State University (CSU) system to recognize rigorous career and technical education (CTE) courses as "A-G" college entry courses.  SB 147 will allow CSU to develop a process by which they can individually evaluate each CTE course and determine its eligibility for college entry.

Several years ago, CSU raised their entrance standards for secondary course approvals to match the University of California’s (UC) requirements, known as the "A-G" curriculum.  This had a significant impact on CTE course offerings in high schools throughout the state, as school counselors and administrators strove to enroll their student-body in "A-G" courses.  As more and more students enrolled in the approved "A-G" courses a wedge began to develop between theoretical and fine arts coursework needed to meet the "college prep" standards and hands-on, technology-rich, career-oriented programs (i.e. CTE courses).

The "A-G" requirements were originally developed deliberately for students expecting to enter the University of California school system. The pattern of study was to assure students had attained a body of general knowledge to provide breadth and perspective to new, more advanced study through essential critical thinking and study skills.

That purpose is not being fulfilled. Studies have found that students that completed the UC-determined "A-G" coursework often have difficulty performing at college-level proficiency in mathematics and English Language Arts, with nearly half having to be remediated in either/both.  The percent of students not obtaining a four-year degree has reached 40 percent.  Among those who earn a bachelors degree, many choose to enroll and go back to Community Colleges to learn marketable skills. 

The passage of this legislation reflects policymakers’ affirmation that relevant and rigorous CTE coursework should be weighed equally and be recognized by CSU.  The adoption of the UC’s "A-G" criteria as the standard for CSU has undermined the ability of students to benefit from CTE programs. SB 147 is a reasonable and important step toward reinvigorating CTE courses at the high school level.

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