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Thursday, 11 January 2007 02:08

Local Focus On Vocational Ed. Taken Up By State

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slide36Amador County Public Schools, under the leadership of Superintendent Mike Carey and Board of Trustee member Pat Miller has refocused the district on the importance of vocational education. This as the number of workers to perform specialized jobs requiring skills and training, but not necessarily a college degree has grown as a need in our rapidly developing state. Miller, upon his election, made the growth of the voc ed programs locally a priority. Dr. Carey has also focused on the vocational ed pathway for students by forming the Schools Business Alliance, a local group of business owners and school officials, that looks for opportunities for kids to work in local businesses as interns of sorts, and seek educational experiences and training for their future while in still high school.

slide38 Several popular and successful programs have been developed for local students including the medical Arts academy, in conjunction with Sutter Amador Hospital, a culinary academy, floral and agricultural opportunities, as well as others.

Today the State Board of Education today will vote on giving our local officials a hand. Today the Board is widely expected to approve curriculum frameworks for "career technical education." The board's vote centers on about 500 pages of proposals and documents that detail just how schools and districts should teach skills related to 15 growth industries in California. If approved the guidelines will establish, for the first time in California's public school history, a systematic approach to the teaching of skills for occupations so that students can enter the workforce right out of high school as well as those that will require more training in college.

slide39 Previously, when it came to vocational training in the state's public schools, "there were no strategies or suggestions or ways to implement what you wanted to teach," said Jack O'Connell, the state superintendent. "This will provide a road map for teachers to help their students better understand the standards," he said. The completion of the curriculum framework comes as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is putting his support behind career technical education. His 2007-08 budget proposal includes $52 million to improve the quality of vocational courses and increase teacher recruitment and training. Schwarzenegger reiterated his "love" of career tech education Tuesday night in his State of the State speech.

In March, the governor is scheduled to host a summit on career technical education, bringing government and business representatives together "to review existing career technical education curricula, outline industry needs over the next decade, identify how curricula can meet these needs and evaluate how schools can best prepare students for the workforce," according to a statement from the Governor's Office. That sound like what Amador County Officials have been doing for nearly three years.

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