We agree with The Bee editorial (Feb. 25) and Trustee Brooke Ashjian’s opinion piece (March 11) regarding the need for more access to hands-on career-technical education (CTE) in Fresno Unified School District. However, we must not repeat the mistakes of the past and make decisions that segregate kids into exclusive tracks or separate vocational schools. All students need to be exposed to education that gives them the widest array of options. We cannot start narrowing kids’ futures for them.
All students can benefit from skill building experiences in the trades or technical fields, but it is they and their families who should choose that elective coursework. A recent NPR news piece reviewed CTE courses in a high school that provided certification to students in pharmacy assisting. One student paid his way through college with that certificate; others turned it into a full-time job. Students deserve educations that give them choices like that.
In contemplating enhanced CTE in Fresno, we cannot view it as an option for “some kids” that is separated from a complete high school experience. What we know to be true is that CTE courses can engage students and reconnect them with the whole of their education.