Vocational and career-exploration programs sometimes carry a negative stigma that they are only for students who are not planning to attend college, asserts teacher Kristen Swanson. In this blog post, she writes about the importance of such programs, the connection of career-readiness to the Common Core State Standards and offers three ways to "make career exploration cool again." She suggests telling students and parents about the benefits of exposing students to careers in fields they are interested in, help students take on authentic career-oriented roles and use technology, such as Skype, to bring professionals into the classroom.
A national survey shows that teachers, students and parents differ in their beliefs about what a high-school curriculum should provide. While 48% of students and 42% of parents said the main purpose of high school is to get students ready for college, just 9% of educators agreed. One educator said the results may be misleading, however. "Teachers see mastery of the subject as a form of college preparation," she said. "The academic content standards are very, very high, and the rigor provides the foundation for college."
Republican Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed most of South Carolina's proposed $5.7 billion budget, saying that it would have forced him to accept $700 million in federal economic-stimulus funds, including money for education. Legislators said they will attempt to override the veto today, but the issue may land in court.
Tens of thousands of teachers are facing job uncertainty as school districts determine exactly what the federal stimulus package will mean for their bottom lines. As officials weigh where to spend the $100 billion earmarked for education, they say it's a balance of saving jobs and driving education reform, while also making sure they are not saddled with a large budget shortfall when the stimulus money is taken away in two years.
Educating children with autism can be pricey, and public schools are bearing the brunt of increasing costs. While some say investing in education now may help states reduce later expenses, others say it's time to discuss "how much are we willing to invest in making individuals who are disabled, and sometimes profoundly disabled, have a meaningful level of membership in society," said Gil Eyal, a Columbia University sociologist who has researched autism.