Should Technical Education be on the "cut list?"

There was an article in the Wichita Eagle this morning talking about the discussing the budget crunch their school district faces. They are anticipating that there will be programs that must be eliminated. Currently, technical education does not influence the individuals making these decisions. The Bush administration has been trying to eliminate funding to technical education for years to fund the No Child Left Behind act. Should technical education be the first programs to cut?

As you may know, technology changes at a very rapid pace and the need for updated equipment and advisement is a constant, making it a challenge to stay up-to-date. The rising costs of quality materials and supplies contribute to the fact that technical programs cost more to provide than many other programs.

While the cost is high to provide technical programs, the cost not to provide the programs may be much higher. It's clear that four year college degrees and all academic type programs are not for all students. Without technical programs available will leave some students with no options in their career path and no future hope of securing a decent, honest career. This contributes to a higher dropout rate leaving these students with no skills to obtain a job. Many of these students will work for low wages struggling to live from paycheck to paycheck. Some may also seek assistance from the state, while others may turn to theft, robbery, selling drugs, or other illegal crimes to compensate as their means for survival. High crime rates also contribute to our extremely high cost of operating jails and prisons. Many of these students probably would rather have an honest and decent job, but have never had the opportunity presented to them. In addition, every student should have the opportunity to have a piece of the "American Dream" and be able to have the pride that comes from being successful.

According to the National Assessment of Vocational Education (NAVE) report career and technology play an important part of high school curriculum. These courses prepare students for the world of work and post secondary education. They also report that two-thirds of America’s young people do not obtain a four year degree and at least 25% of them go directly to work after high school.

Time magazine wrote an alarming article called "Dropout Nation." I found it interesting, as it talks about vocational educations as one of the solutions to Americas Dropout Rate. In addition, towards the end of the article it talks about a student using auto body repair as a career path and as a motivator to keep him in school. Click here to read the full story.

They had an additional article "Arnold Sells His Road to Success." "I have talked to many kids who tell me they don't want to go to college, so why graduate?" says the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "They don't see an end goal. They can't visualize it." Click here to read the full story.

I believe it is crystal clear, that technical and vocational programs need to be available for these students so we can welcome their differentiations. We need to help them discover their talents and capitalize on each of their strengths to produce employable individuals, rather then watching them fall through the cracks of society. It’s clear that it is a much wiser choice to provide the training for these students to learn how to earn and contribute to society.

So what do you think...should the technical education programs be the first on the "cut list?"

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Tags: budget, cuts, education, eliminated, programs, technical


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