A career technical education bill that has gotten some bipartisan traction in Sacramento might check a college prep movement that’s sweeping through California school districts.
Sheilagh Polk, of the Oakland-based Education Trust-West, says she believes SB 381 is meant to have a chilling effect on districts that are thinking about changing their high school graduation requirements to include “A-G” courses — 15 classes needed for admission to a state university.
If this bill passes, all students in those explicitly “A-G for all” districts would have to take three career technical education courses in addition to the 15 college prep courses. (The bill would only apply to districts that adopted the policy after June 30, 2009, so Oakland Unified might be exempt)
Polk says that would disproportionately affect low-income and minority high school students — those who are at the center of the “A-G for all” movement — since students in other districts wouldn’t have to take career tech courses to graduate from high school.
In simple truth, not every child needs a four-year degree to succeed. Yet, we continue building a school system that pretends otherwise, overloading high school curricula with mandatory college preparatory classes that are forcing out vocational and career technical education courses. And as the push for more college tracking intensifies, the number of students who lose interest or simply give up will continue to increase.
You can read the latest version of the bill here.
Do you share Wright’s concerns about the decline of career tech? Do you think Wright is on track with this bill, or do you agree with Polk that it’s a misguided effort that will backfire against students?