On Wednesday, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a major report on the state of career and technical education (CTE) in America.
The study, titled Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, calls for a more comprehensive career pathways network that better serves American youth in high school and beyond
Secretary Arne Duncan began his remarks with a challenge for educators: prepare students for futures of their own making. “I start with the basic premise that it is the responsibility of K-12 educators to prepare all students for both college and a career. This must be ‘both/and,’ not ‘either/or.’ High school graduates themselves – not the educational system – should be choosing the postsecondary and career paths they want to pursue.”
He praised the report for envisioning “a new system of career and technical education that constitutes a radical departure from the vocational education of the past. The need for the transformation is pressing. I applaud your report’s frank discussion of the shortcomings of our current CTE system and its call to strengthen the rigor and relevance of career and technical education.”
Secretary Duncan spoke candidly about some of the problems plaguing CTE programs across the country, but argued that too many people “assume that career and technical training is for the last century, not this one.”
Before taking questions from the audience, Secretary Duncan closed out his remarks with a call to action: “I am admittedly impatient for reform. But patience is not called for in the face of opportunity gaps. Children get only one chance at an education. They cannot wait on reform. It is time to finish the transformation of the old vocational education system into the new CTE.”
To read Secretary Duncan’s complete remarks, click here.