Career Tech Education gets a hearing

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 11, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

High School students wishing to attend University of California must fulfill what is known as the "A through G" requirements: a certain number and type of courses designated to prepare students to succeed in higher education.  The competition for admission to UC schools is so great that students exceed these requirements, taking additional A through G type courses to show admission officers that they are more qualified than other students who have only met the minimum requirements.  

The problem with this process is that A though G courses do not include many career technical (CTE) choices.  Over the last few years, about 4,000 CTE courses have been qualified for A through G status, but half of those are in the Arts, some are in information technology, and only a few are in industrial, building or automotive subject areas. Students who want to take these classes and pursue an engineering degree, for example, in the UC system could lose out to other students who take only A through G courses.

SB 1543 (Richard Alarcon, D-Sun Valley) would attempt to remove this bias by encouraging the UC system to not discriminate against students who take rigorous CTE courses. This would let students fulfill University course requirements and also take career technical courses without fear that they will be disadvantaged during the University admissions processes.  

CMTA supports this bill because our members are telling us that there is a great need for more skilled workers in the state. In a recent survey, 58 percent of respondents say that sustaining or acquiring a skilled workforce is one of the top three challenges they face in California.  In a national survey, 80 percent of manufacturers expect a short supply of production workers in the future.  

At the same time we face this growing need for skilled workers, the number of students enrolled in CTE courses has declined.  In 1987, 74 percent of high school students enrolled in CTE classes, while in 2005 that number had decreased to only 34 percent!  We need to remove the barriers to enrolling in CTE.

The bill passed out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously and is headed to the Senate floor.
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