Save career and technical education programs from their death spiral

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, June 6, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This article was co-authored by CMTA's Nicole Rice and the State Builing and Construction Trades' Jeremy Smith

Imagine if California schools had reduced student access to science instruction by eliminating 1,500 courses, resulting in 50,000 fewer enrollments in science … all in just a single year. This would have triggered outrage by the media, the public and our elected lawmakers. 

Well, this is what happened to middle and high school Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and students over the course of just one year, after years of steady decline. These statistics were reported by the California Department of Education, which compiled enrollment data for the most recent school year available (2012-13); they found that school districts reported 1,366 fewer CTE courses, resulting in an alarming reduction of 50,000 in course enrollments in career technical education. 

Since giving districts flexibility in spending for programs that included CTE under the Schwarzenegger administration in 2008-09, followed by the Brown administration’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) that began this year, we have witnessed the wholesale diversion of CTE resources away from their vocational purposes. And with the loss of those dedicated dollars, we have seen precipitous drops in course offerings, student enrollment and even the retention of CTE trained instructors. 

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