News from Dr. Cruz: Changing the way we think about CTE

Team AISD,

Environmental science, culinary arts, animation, welding and construction technology. These are just a few of the courses we offer at Austin ISD to equip our students with the skills they need for life after graduation. They are among the district’s Career and Technology Education offerings. 

These courses help students build core academic skills and the ability to apply them in concrete ways. Many students prefer the kind of “real world learning” that career courses offer. They may earn certification needed to qualify for jobs right out of high school.

Last year, our board of trustees voted unanimously to require ninth-grade students to enter high school under the highest graduation plan, the distinguished level of achievement. Under HB 5, students will have the opportunity to earn up to five endorsements by taking career and other courses. Every comprehensive high school in the district will offer all five endorsements.

State Rep. Paul Workman has said we should call this College Career Technical Education, or CCTE. As he pointed out, these courses prepare students for college as well as careers. Welding, for example, is a great skill for a mechanical engineer to have.

February is Career and Technical Education Month. I want to thank the many CTE staff for everything they do to support student success.  I agree with Rep. Workman: let’s change the way we think about CTE, and call it CCTE instead. After all, we want to prepare every one of our students to succeed in college, career and life.

Paul Cruz, Ph.D.