May 25 — 5:11 pm, 2011

Students promote platform for better career/technical ed

The District’s facilities master plan calls for a complete overhaul of career and technical education (CTE) programs. The Mastbaum chapter of Youth United for Change is working to ensure their platform for improving CTE is heard.

YUC Mastbaum students presented the platform – listing 16 demands across five areas – to the School Reform Commission in April. Recommendations include:

  • Parent and student engagement in the CTE planning process;

  • Reprogramming of funding streams to better support CTE programs;

  • Year-round structured professional development for principals and teachers to better integrate academic and technical coursework;

  • Promotion of post-secondary opportunities through CTE programs; and

  • Access to CTE certification and diplomas for students transferred to disciplinary schools.

Last year, the District – which has more than 100 approved CTE programs across 30 schools – convened a team to look at high school reform initiatives, including an evaluation of the CTE structure. Clyde Hornberger, executive director of the highly regarded Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, took part. Out of it came proposals similar to those outlined in YUC’s platform.

"We are delighted that YUC has a similar stance with regard to our platform. We know that Clyde has meet with YUC and influenced their understanding of a quality CTE model," said Ted Thompson, deputy chief of secondary school reform.

"As we continue this collective work in harmony with the facilities master plan, we look forward to keeping all stakeholders informed of our progress," he said.

But Mastbaum 11th grader April Chilton said students have not been fully engaged in the process.

"Only CTE students know how it is to sit in our shop class and not have enough computers, books, etc.," she said. "We need adults to take time to formally include us in all conversations related to our CTE schools."

YUC is also calling for Mastbaum students to be involved in schoolwide planning processes and in hiring new principals, an effort they hope would ensure that leadership knows what CTE schools need.

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