Senator pushes back against single college track

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.

State Sen. Rod Wright, who authored the bill, explained his position in an Op-Ed published last month in the L.A. Daily News:

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?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Lillian Cooper

    While not every student needs to go to college, every student SHOULD have a choice. What do you want for your own children? SB381 will undermine the opportunities kids in poor communities have to lift themselves out of poverty through higher education. It is not good policy.

  • Diana

    SB381 will only serve to continue tracking for traditionally underserved students in California, just by another name. Senator Wright has neglected to consider the fact that it is not our (adults in education) responsibility to decide whether college is ‘for every student.’ Our job is to prepare all students for both college and career, providing them with the rigorous education necessary to be productive and active members of their communities, and leave their postsecondary choices up to them. This rigorous education is what will keep students engaged in their high school experiences and beyond, rather than drop out, which Wright erroneously predicts as the result of upping the ante for all high school students.

  • Hillary

    To more accurately quote Rod Wright, “Not every child needs a four-year degree to succeed (in maintaining and replicating the racial and economic disparities in our society).” Are the high-performing wealthy, suburban schools fighting for more career preparation for their students? In reality, the vast majority of their students are graduating high school college-ready, attending universities,and gaining access to a wide range of high-paying careers. Instead of insisting that low-income students of color participate in non-rigorous woodshop and keyboarding classes hardly even preparing them for minimum-wage employment, a more effective bill might focus on career skills relevant for the emerging national and global economy, with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

  • Kevin

    I am worried that this plays into the hands of the low-wage industries that want to assure a staple of cheap, uneducated labor.

    Aren’t there thousands of Career Tech courses that are A-G certified? Don’t all jobs these days–like car mechanics–require work with computers and technology?

  • Nextset

    Hillary: Until we get the ghetto youth straight on honesty, morals, and deportment in general they are not fit for much of anything including higher education. By the time these kids are 19 or 20 there is so much pathology going on they wouldn’t be allowed in a hotel as a maid or a porter.

    I am hearing a constant stream of banter about “youth” (some of them are mid 20’s) who are blacklisted for everything from car insurance, driver’s licenses, bank accounts, employment, rentals, cell phone accounts, utilities, state occupational licenses – even inability to stay somewhere for free due to sex offender registration. It seems that people are tightening up their requirements, doing more background checks and selecting the unblemished applicants for just about everything.

    I have been around awhile and I tell you this trend is getting stronger and stronger. These kids took their freedom and fashioned a rope to hang themselves with. What do you tell young people who’ve got themselves into these boxes? Move to the East Coast? They have computers also.

    We do not indoctrinate ghetto youth about their obligations or the penalties awaiting those who fail in their obligations. They only know their “rights” – and they get those wrong.

    But then they might be less happy if we taught them obligations and the purpose of public school seems to be Pacification.

  • Teacher


    Kevin suggested that there may be thousands of career tech courses that are A-G certified. Could you research how many in OUSD actually are? I know at my school, a California Partnership Academy, they all are. Many students say it is more difficult to get good grades in some “career tech” elective courses than in some core courses … so I hope your readers don’t jump to the conclusion that all courses that have a career focus are mindless and second tier.


  • Heatman

    The focus on career versus knowledge with the observation that some are not suited for advanced education is an unfortunate perspective. SB381 may not be the right instrument but we have a serious failure in public education in Oakland to teach life skills. Even the most privileged student could benefit from knowing how a car works or an electric circuit or how to make an omelet. We have ripped out all of our shops and home economics classrooms and replaced them with rows of computers. A life is not well lived without the knowledge of how to live it. Depending on others to do the work of life for you in sometimes necessary but not being able to do the work yourself is dangerous for those who pride themselves on self reliance and independence.

  • Let’s Get Real

    I think Sen. Wright’s bill is a great start in bringing back common sense to high school curricula.

    Ideally, we would love to have all children master the courses necessary to enter the college of their choice.
    Realistically, it doesn’t happen, and won’t happen without tons more in resources and funding to prepare students who need lots of extra support and motivation.

    When I look at the schools in Oakland (where I teach) I can’t help but reminisce about the schools I attended in the small New England town where I grew up.
    Students had a choice between four courses of study in high school: college, business, general, and vocational. Students chose a course of study according to their interests and ability–with parental input, of course. I’m pretty sure everyone in my class graduated (1970). Yes, I’m aware that things were a lot different then, and my school was not in an urban area. Still, I think it’s good for students to have options in their course of study. Does anyone know if schools in Oakland were ever set up this way?

    Whether we care to admit it or not, there are students who, for whatever reasons, do not have an interest in college-prep courses in high school. If they are not given the choice to develop some practical skills that can lead them to employment or to develop a legitimate business, they will very likely quit school and join the countless former OUSD students who have turned to illicit means of earning income.

  • Debora

    Diana: Do you really believe that a child born with fetal alcohol syndrome with an IQ around 90 who has been working with an IEP since first grade and in 7th grade is still working at about the 4th grade level even with intense intervention should be expected and able to be college ready at the end of high school?

    I know several of these kids because I volunteer to tutor them. They may be able to take classes at a Community College, but the damage that was done before birth to their brains cannot be undone. It can be worked with and these children / adults can be a contributing members of society, but to say that they will be able to understand abstract math, abstract science and be able to work at University level is unfair and simply not true.

    There are many careers that must be done and do not require a University education. When was the last time you went to the dentist? The office worker and the dental assistant did not have a university degree most likely. What about the vet? The technicians did not have degrees. What about the person you bought your house from? May or may not have had a degree. Roofer? Probably no degree. Heating repair person? Probably no degree. Do I respect these people less than I do my accountant? Heck no. I trust them, and depend on them.

  • Nextset

    Debora: I knew a FAS child who managed to graduate from high school (before the test was imposed) with intensive help. His mother was a morbid alcoholic and IV addict who died of end stage alcoholism (when he was in mid 20s) – she lived in bushes near the end. He joined the Navy and was stationed around the world for over 10 years (during mideast wars). He was trained for medical tech work and now lives in San Diego and works in a hospital. He had surgical repairs as a child, and his intellectual level is perhaps slightly below average with strong talents relating to equipment and machines. He is happy for the most part and he makes a good living. He’s married now, says they won’t have kids…

    He’s the first to say if not for the military he’d be dead or in jail. His foster parents got him at 15 and decided the military was the best way to manage him to self sufficiency. They hooked him up with a recruiter at 16 and made sure the learned what was required and managed same.

    Of course the public school he went to was not involved in this at all. If not for the foster parents (and the tutors they had on him) he’d have flunked out and stopped going.

    He should be ok as long as he doesn’t drink/dope. If he’d not been worked like a hamster on a wheel he’d certainly have become an addict. There was some minor use in his teen years that was nipped in the bud so to speak by the foster parents.

    The higher functioning special needs kids can do well with toughlove. This kid was told at 15 + his foster home would be closed to him 3 days after high school graduation and introduced to the recruiter early on – years before that day. He was reminded of the entry requirements throughout his last 2 years at school. He was taken on tours and trips with the other high school students being recruited and kept interested. The recruiter and the foster parents were very serious with the disipline equally matched with carrots.

    Our public schools need to do better by these kids. It doesn’t take so much sometime and the lower functioning kids doing well is tremendously gratifying for the adults in charge because they know they made a difference.

    Brave New World

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com Sharon

    US Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (2008-09 Edition, page 6) lists the occupations with the largest numerical increases in employment projected for 2006-16. At the top are (1) registered nurses, then (2) retail salespersons, (3) customer service representatives, (4) combined food preparation and serving workers, including fast food, (5) office clerks (general), (6) personal and home care aides, (7) home health aides, (8) postsecondary teachers, (9) janitors and cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners, (10) nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, (11) bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, (12) waiters and waitresses, (13) child care workers, (14) executive secretaries and administrative assistants, (15) computer software engineers, applications, (16) accountants and auditors, (17) landscaping and groundskeeping workers, (18) business operation specialists, (19) elementary school teachers, (20) receptionists and information clerks.

    Many, many upcoming job openings won’t need a college education. Some people theorize that the current fad of pushing college-for-all (a descendant of the Business Roundtable’s corporate agenda that’s been picked up by neo-liberals like the Education Trust) is a strategy to make a college degree less valuable, so to drive down wages for college-educated employees.

    In the not-too-recent past, a modest, but decent quality of life for families, even Black families in the East Bay, could be sustained by the wages of low-level – but still respectable – jobs. But those jobs (manufacturing, food processing, etc.) evaporated, and the wages of today’s low-level jobs (now in service) buy much, much less. Besides those jobs aren’t viewed with much respect. We refuse to properly honor ALL types of work, thus the stigma on vocational ed.

    So far, the power elite has been very successful at making sure the masses fixate on a scapegoat: public education. The “crisis” they’ve invented is a trick straight out of “The Shock Doctrine.” Most folks don’t do much reading or critical thinking so they won’t catch onto what’s happening. If you’re curious, look up the burying of the 1990 Sandia Report and read Gerald Bracey.

    Most people also won’t acknowledge that a caste system in the US is steadily solidifying, but the incarceration rates reflect it. Ever notice the amount of blame for all our social ills that’s being put on the public schools? Ever consider that something else might be causing all our problems?

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner CarolineSF

    As a skeptic about the notion that students should be required to complete the full A-G list to graduate (and the parent of a Class of ’09 high school graduate), I have to correct some language that may be confusing.

    Katy’s post refers to “changing … high school graduation requirements to include “A-G” courses — 15 classes needed for admission to a state university.”

    It’s not about changing requirements to INCLUDE those courses. The point is that it requires a set number of courses in set subjects to meet the A-G requirements — for example, three years of math. In general, those would be the same courses that students are required to take to graduate from high school, only with some subjects, more of them. The clearer wording would be “requiring students to complete the full set of A-G requirements.”

    No, there aren’t really career prep courses as we know them that meet A-G requirements.

    One issue with requiring that all students complete the full set of A-G requirements is that this leaves little room for other courses that many students might want to take. Those would include such subjects as psychology and journalism (the latter unfortunately useless as career prep, I say bitterly as a former newspaper journalist). The requirement also curtails an artistic student’s ability to take extra arts classes.

    Here are the official A-G requirements:

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner CarolineSF

    Oh yeah, “requirement students to complete the A-G requirements” isn’t such great wording after all. Let me rephrase myself:

    “…mandating that students complete the full set of A-G requirements to graduate.”

  • Nextset

    Sharon: I very much feel that those who are trying to impose higher requirements to graduate from High School are deliberately trying to sink the black students completely – and revel in the chaos. Thay know exactly what they are doing. They mean harm.

  • Hillary

    Sharon: According to a June 2009 Public Policy Institute of California Analysis: (1) by 2025, 41 percent of jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree—but only 35 percent of California adults will have college diplomas. If current trends persist, the state will face a shortfall of one million college graduates, (2) adults with a high school diploma or less will outnumber the jobs available to people with that level of education, (3) high school graduates are more than twice as likely as college graduates to be unemployed, (4) the diference in wages between a college graduate and a high school graduate is almost 2x higher per hour as high school graduates.

    You are right that many jobs will not require a college degree, but you fail to acknowledge the the wages and earning potential associated with these positions. I would like to set higher goals and expectations for our students than low-wage, menial labor employment. It is not about “refusing to honor or respect” low-wage jobs, it IS about giving students the opportunity to maximize their potential and enter high-paying careers. How many of the jobs that you cited are high-paying careers that do not require a college education?

    Nextset: Can you clarify what you mean by the “ghetto youth,” their “honesty, morals, and deportment,” “indoctrinating ghetto youth about their obligations” and how this relates to this blog topic examining college prep and career technical education in schools? I would suggest that you choose your words carefully because your through your ignorance and incoherent rambling commentary, you have failed to get your point across.

  • Teacher

    Re CarolineSF’s comment: “No, there aren’t really career prep courses as we know them that meet A-G requirements.”

    If you look at the approved A-G courses for Miramonte in Orinda, you will find quite a few career tech (ROP) classes that also meet A-G requirements … Art and Animation, Architectural Design, Sports Medicine, Digital Arts, Environmental Science, Journalism, etc., etc.

    Career Tech classes can also be A-G and many are … not just in the high-performing Lamorinda schools. There are plenty of ROP and career focused classes in OUSD that are approved by UC for A-G credit, whether it be for the Visual and Performing Arts requirement or the College Prep Elective.

    OUSD has a strong history with career academies and ROP courses — programs that do prepare students for college.

  • Let’s Get Real

    Hillary, what you and I and others would like to do has to be reconciled with what exists. State standards have been steadily raised over the course of my 20 years of teaching experience in Oakland. But the funding and human resources necessary to assist the large number of students who need extra help in
    meeting those standards have not been provided in the past, and certainly will not be provided in this economic climate.

    One of my major beefs with education policy-makers is their inability to see beyond theory to the practice. Raising standards and requirements does nothing but make matters worse when it is not coupled with the necessary student support to realize the achievement desired.

    So, until society is willing to put a lot more money into public education (which people already complain is soaking up too much of the budget), I think it is wise to shift some of the current funding to educational programs that will give students a greater variety of career options.

  • Katy Murphy

    Since you asked…

    Here’s a list of the career tech courses offered in Oakland public high schools last year, provided by Miya Hayes, the assistant director of School/University Partnerships at UC Berkeley.

    The `A-G’-approved courses — those that will apply to one of the 15 state university course requirements — have a little letter (d), (f), (g) next to them, and the others don’t.

    Hayes says more career tech courses in Oakland — including three at Mandela High (Fremont) — are being created and/or submitted for A-G approval in September, as part of OUSD’s new California Partnership Academies.

    Architecture Academy:
    Graphic Des (f)
    Descriptive Geometry (g)
    Arch Des: Drafting (f)
    Construction Tech

    BEST (McClymonds):
    Construction Technology
    Culinary Arts
    Small Bus Mgt

    Comp Prog
    Small Bus Mgt

    CBITS (Castlemont):
    Small Bus Mgt
    Comp Prog
    Comp Sci & Tech
    Culinary Arts
    Graphic Art Design

    Comp Application
    Intro to Computer

    EXCEL (McClymonds):
    Art of Video Prod (f)
    Legal Occupations

    Far West:
    Digital Arts
    Fashion Design

    Bio Technology (d)

    Mandela (Fremont):
    Graphic Design (f)

    Media (Fremont):
    Radio TV Broadcasting (f)
    Graphic Design (f)

    Customer Service

    Oakland High:
    Commercial Arts
    Comp Applications
    Photography (f)
    International Trade Transpo & Logist
    Ceramics (f)

    Oakland Tech:
    Adv Drafting
    Architectural Design
    Culinary Arts
    Engineering Principles
    Computer Networking
    Computer Programming
    Bio Tech 1/2 (d)

    Computer Appications

    Architectural Design
    Art of Video Prod (f)
    Computer Technology
    Graphic Design (f)
    Careers with Children

    Sojourner Truth:
    Computer Applications

  • Nextset

    It’s great to see this list of occupational courses, can we also see the course outlines and materials used?

    I believe OUSD should include hospitality industry courses also. I don’t see enough courses useful for applications to entry level and service related work. If I am reviewing 200 applications in an hour or so for 3 positions it’s nice to have some applicants listing some coursework that might give them a leg up at work. Without that, the people who get an interview tend to be the people with direct job experience. So the OUSD products are not at any advantage and they don’t easily get on the ladder.

    Remember, most of the OUSD kids are not college material and will work all their lives. We need to look at the OUSD kids – for example those entering high school – and say “how are these kids going to support themselves between ages 18 and 30?” What can OUSD do to help the students who do need help to make it in this Brave New World? And that includes helping those who may decide to drop out survive.

    I wish OUSD would have a long hard talk with the operators of Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco – perhaps even involve them in OUSD operations. I believe the DSF founder Mimi Silbert is a double PhD. She is very much in the business of education. She educates the down and out on how to survive and how to live as best they can. They don’t have to be brain surgeons but they are all expected to have three different ways of making a living by the time they leave Delancey. OUSD could do as well. OUSD certainly has the budget Silbert would envy.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner Caroline Grannan

    So I stand corrected that some career tech-type classes count as arts, and some math and science courses constitute career tech. As we can see, that’s limited, though, so I stand by my point. (I took a look for Miramonte’s curriculum and haven’t found it so far.)

    Also, by the way, the UC and CSU systems require a C in those courses for them to count, so just passing them doesn’t make it.

    (Exception: A student can make up the course credit with a D or F if he/she can show a high enough score on an SAT II test in that subject or a 3 or above on an AP test in that subject.)

  • Nextset

    Hillary: What some of the educrats seem to forget is the “lipstick on the pig” problem. You know what I’m talking about with the “ghetto youth” term. I’d don’t have to define it.

    It does little good to try to develop higher education in amoral trash underclass people. Even if you do teach them how to read, write, count, and to function enough to get a degree from a weak college – or a middling one – or even Stanford, if the student has been brought up to be dishonest, unclean, loud and used to reckless behavior, they are not viable in the marketplace.

    Now they can go into entertainment. But as you see with Michael Vick and countless other entertainers – bad morals/behavior gives them a very short commercial lifespan. Commerce won’t touch them if they can’t fit into corporate America (even in a menial position) and Affirmative Action is on the way out in this Brave New World. Besides, there are plenty of higher class private school minorities around, some imported, to take the AA seats anyway. No one is going downmarket in hiring anymore.

    To put it bluntly Ghetto Youth are usually not going to be commercially viable, even if they can read.

    So any secondary school program of education intended to make students viable for higher education and success in the marketplace needs to have a strong behavioral component. And if you are dealing with the underclass, you cannot leave any of this to their families.

    I believe educators such as Ben Chavis do iron out the bad attitudes the ghetto youth get from their families and neighborhoods. What is OUSD doing to accomplish the same?

    Academics alone will not save the students from social, commercial and legal falure. Beefing up Academic requirements to the extent some of the loony liberals speak of will cut off energy needed to train in other areas. The bulk of the urban public school kids are not college material but could be put through a meaningful high school program that leads to military or vocational careers (or qualification for same).

    I had dinner this week with a student from one of the technical schools. He was celebrating accepting a job offer. He’s about to start his first career position (outside of student training) in a large CA hospital center. He will start at $49 an hour without benefits until later. That sounds like a lot to me although he has to pay student loans for the technical school tuition and fees, higher housing & parking expenses as well as repay debt built up while in training and taking the state license and national certifications. Plus his work hours are not choice.

    He did not take college prep and did not have an easy time in high school as it was. But I think he will do well enough in this career. He is not black and his classmates in tech school generally weren’t either. (He had interesting stories about what happened to some of the blacks who started classes with him.) In his training, incorrect attitude was corrected, severely. Some people walked out because they couldn’t take being corrected.

    We need to do a lot better for the population served by OUSD. There is more out there for them if the secondary schools did a better job getting them ready deportment, attitude and behavior wise. That means not playing nice and not running things like a Black Panther self-validation encounter group. And not telling people only a four year college degree makes them a worthwhile person. Attitude affects success and the urban schools don’t want to adjust or train for that. Better schools do.

  • oak261

    The SB 381 appears to head in a much more productive direction than the A-G-for-everyone idea.

    The College Board recently analyzed their data to determine what minimum SAT score gives a 65% likelihood of achieving a 2.7 GPA (or higher) in the freshman year of college. It is about 1180. Then, ask what fraction of all 18 year olds would score a combined SAT of 1180 or above if they all took the SAT? About 10%.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner Caroline Grannan

    Nextset, regarding this comment of yours:
    “I believe educators such as Ben Chavis do iron out the bad attitudes the ghetto youth get from their families and neighborhoods. What is OUSD doing to accomplish the same?”

    it’s beyond argument that Chavis’ strategy at AIPCS has been based on getting rid of “ghetto youth” (meaning blacks and Latinos, who overall on average tend to achieve lower academic performance), and replacing them with Asian students, who overall on average tend to be the highest-achieving demographic group.

    Even Chavis’ fans have stopped denying that and are now responding to defend that strategy as a way to improve the schools.

    So is your position that you’re the last remaining informed observer who DOESN’T recognize that that’s been the secret to Chavis’ alleged success, or do you think OUSD should get rid of “ghetto youth” with “bad attitudes” and replace them with Asian students? How would that work, if so?

    (Appreciate your acknowledgment on another thread that pouring money into charter schools is not an effective strategy for improving Oakland schools, though!)

  • Nextset

    Caroline Graham: OUSD should start segregating it’s schools – separating the low functioning from the high. The schools should have objective admission requirements that are transparent enough so there would be no mystery about school assignments.

    To a large extent the groups would self-segrate. Low functioning students have no intention of signing themselves up for a program that requires the things a real school does. But.. The standards of the lower functioning schools should be worked on so that they become no lower than those in a ghetto school from 1963. Those in any program who cannot avoid violence, insubordination, narcotics, and criminal activity (including sexual acting out) would probably be sent to continuation schools that would feed them to the prison systems.

    This would accomplish several things for OUSD. First, Oakland is large enough so it should have at least one academic school that could field candidates for Ivy League Universities. Second the teaching staff should be better able to do their jobs teaching in their subjects and finding candidates to push for highest education. Third the lower functioning youth would finally be free to be themselves without the higher group in their faces. Their schools could really focus on their programs exclusively perhaps auto mechanics, motel maiding, clerical training, McDonalds U, Football as a profession, or whatever works (especially high earning technical & service work). There would be no nonsense of “you have to get ready for college”. Basic graduation and military entrance requirements would be paramount along with getting a part time job/internship/apprenticeship by 10/11th grade.

    Between the two programs in a system as large as OUSD there would be schools/programs to get students ready for Jr College and State U. Those programs would have some features of the other two. Good, Better and Best. Just like Sears.

    As far as what races predominate which schools in which decades – I don’t care. Both the students and the Teachers would know what school they signed up for, what the rules of that school are and what the deadlines and assignments were. Everybody and their mother happy.

    The Charters are busy creating such a system for OUSD right in their backyard. OUSD needs to out-Charter the Charters.

  • Colette

    Wright is doing students right, his bill helps students who do not to college by giving them skills to access to the jobs that demand skills but not college degrees (i.e. skills to access the higher paid jobs among the 59% in 2050 that won’t require college).

  • Darren

    Diana- Right now tracking IS taking place – all students are on the “MUST go to university” track. There is no other choice. I teach at a high school and a junior college where I see these kids show up with NO IDEA of what they are supposed to do now that they are out of high school. A lot of them spend 4 or more years poking along, trying to get an AA. They have no direction, no drive, and as far as I can see, no real desire to be continuing their education. PLEASE DO NOT CLOUD THE ISSUE: This bill will require all kids to get some practical skills in addition to taking the A-G classes they will need to get into university. also- What this bill will do is keep students out of mindless study-hall and teachers-aide classes, as well as making sure they are in school all day and not just going hoe after lunch as juniors and seniors when they “have all their credits.”

    Kevin- the best way to give the retail and fast food industry cannon fodder is to keep sending them a stream of kids have NO SKILLS. Also susceptible to this kind of employment are low-self esteem students who failed a bunch of classes in high school that they had absolutely no interest in doing well in and were never given a chance to explore other interests. Additionally, the current career areas where there are critical shortfalls are in high-skill, high-wage careers that the Career Tech Educational classes in high school will direct these students to.

    25% of all careers require a 4 year degree. A welder in my area can easily make $100k+ per year.

  • Nextset

    Students should not be in programs and classes where there is no reasonable expectation of completion. Period, end of discussion.

    Setting up such enrollments is a plan to do such damage to the students that they will become likely to be demoralized losers suitable for prison and the streets… Which is what is going on now that did not go on prior to the “Civil Rights Movement” of the 1960s. We did not set out to create a class of sub citizens then, we do now.

    It was decided to do this in order to advance the fiction that “all men are created equal” rather than the more tried and true notion that people are different with different interests and abilities. Once the schools were no longer in the business of identifying and honing the productive different interests and abilities, mass education became retarded and we produced hordes of misfits for our new “entitlement” programs.

    Simply put our products of the urban public schools are no longer being taught how to provide for themselves in the marketplace so the government has to indefinitely provide for them.

    My mother was once a welfare social worker in Oakland in the 1940s. There is no similarity between the work and caseload then to this monstrosity we have today. The public schools are the primary reason we have these economic cripples all around us now.

    We put the proletariat into college track and then blame them because they fail. We should blame the schools and the legislation & courts that set the rules the schools run under.

    Smart people/Smart Money will always take care of themselves. They don’t go to urban public schools for the most part. The people that are hurt by lack of social mobility are the proles.

    This bill is a step in the right direction.

  • DW

    anyone who thinks that “shop” classes are for boneheads obviously does not spend any time in a modern high school. In CA there are rigorous standards for career tech education classes. Don’t get me wrong – I am sure there might be a teacher or two out there who runs a no-brainer wood shop class…but I can tell you from personal observation there are a lot of social science, art, PE, and English teachers out there that are showing full-length movies during instructional time with little or no connection to the curriculum, giving “free days” for study hall, and giving busy work rather than teaching students to think. CTE classes are the relevant APPLICATION of things students learn in their academic courses like math and science.

  • Nextset

    Career tech education classes display “The Gap” very well. The “Gap” is made larger by the refusal of the urban public schools such as OUSD to housebreak their students.

    Well run Tech schools do not tolerate ghetto behavior and attitudes well at all and don’t pretend they have to or that the behavior is in any way to be tolerated. Heald Business College for example. Standards for dress and deportment are set and maintained. Anyone with a problem or who thinks that they “can’t be told what to do” is shown the door. The graduates of that program look and act within certain tolerances – and are sought by employers. Because they ARE housebroken. The public schools used to do the same and should again.

    But you have to actually care about the students and their prospects to do this. Not going to happen at OUSD. The Charters are here for that.