Sunday, April 25, 2010

Open East End Panel and CTE - for PPS (part 4 of many)

PPS plans for Career and Technical Education do not sufficiently meet the criteria for a comprehensive overhaul of CTE programming.

In the East End, the district's recently unveiled plan for Career and Technical Education (CTE) consists primarily of:

consolidating the Culinary Arts and Health Sciences programs at Westinghouse;

discontinuing the Cosmetology program at Westinghouse; and

adding an Information Technology, Business and Finance program at Milliones.
This is not a real overhaul, as dictated by the PPS School Board, and these CTE options do not adequately reflect the preferences expressed by parents, students, teachers and community members at the DeJong community dialogues.

The top individual and online CTE choices at the dialogues were:
  1. Engineering Technology
  2. Construction & Trades
  3. Health Sciences
Although there is reportedly a plan for bio, computer, engineering and environmental technology at the Sci Tech school, these opportunities are apparently open only to the small number of students who were chosen through the weighted lottery process to attend the Sci Tech school. (In addition, the Science and Technology school lost its auditorium to make room for an Early Childhood center. It is not clear how space for these new CTE components would fit into a facility that is already losing amenities due to lack of space.)

Consumer Services such as Culinary Arts were at the bottom of the list at the community dialogues and yet are included in each of the District’s proposed “triads” (North, South and East regions). In addition, there is no provision for training in environmental/green technologies, a field that will be a major source for jobs in the near future. Only HVAC, machinist and welding are listed for Construction and Trades, a field that is rich with opportunities for good paying jobs, and no plan has been provided for students in the East region to participate in even these limited offerings. In general, participants in the community dialogues requested that CTE offerings be based on sound research into projected demand for the skills in question.

The District should provide information as to the job market data on which CTE recommendations are based and should offer CTE options for all students that are better aligned with community preferences. A citizens' panel on CTE should be convened to assist with these tasks.

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