In the last two decades of education reform, a great deal of emphasis has been put on sending high school graduates to college. President Obama in his 2009 State of the Union address proclaimed that by 2020 America would “once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world” (though he hedged that a bit by later saying simply that everyone would need some kind of post high school education.)
We’ve repeatedly used college enrollment and completion as a measure of K-12 success. While the modern reform movement paid lip service to “college and career,” policies have always suggested that college is the superior part of that team.
Now it is finally occurring to some folks that A) college is not necessarily the best choice for all students and B) the world needs people who do what Mike Rowe always called the jobs “that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.” Done well, new studies show, it can boost both academics and wages for students.
It might even help solve the mystery of the missing non-college educated male workers. And so Career and Technical Education (CTE) is coming back into its own.