Report Calls for More Career & Technology Education at Montgomery County Schools

A study team is recommending that Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) make more of an effort to prepare students for careers, not just for college. Education Strategy Group Fund, a consulting firm based in Chevy Chase, was hired by MCPS to analyze the district’s efforts to prepare students for an ever changing workforce.

According to The Washington Post,

Montgomery County has created “a clear and commendable culture of high expectations” in its public schools, but career preparation “has been marginalized as a priority, sometimes being inaccurately perceived as the antithesis of the college-going culture.” Presented to the school board Tuesday, the report recommended a string of changes, starting with a new vision for career readiness and more meaningful collaboration with key employers.

The 75-page report notes that enrollment in career and technology education lags behind the state average and that relatively few students — about 10 percent of 2016 graduates — complete a program, which requires multiple courses.

The study’s authors note that career and technology education (CTE) has widened in scope over the years, preparing students for jobs in health care and information technology as well as more traditional areas such as construction and automotive repair.

The consultants suggest that MCPS educate parents and students about career readiness opportunities and dispel the stigma associated with CTE programs. The study’s authors also note that MCPS does offer some top-notch CTE, but access to these programs is not consistent across the school system.

CTE should be redefined as offering rigorous academic coursework, state-of-the-art technical instruction, and real-world experiences, the report said. According to the consultants, in a 21st-century economy, more opportunities exist for workers with industry credentials, two-year college degrees, and other postsecondary certificates.

The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, known as the Kirwan Commission because it is chaired by former University System Chancellor Brit Kirwan, is reviewing statewide CTE programs as part of its charge to evaluate a wide range of issues relating to K-12 education in Maryland. Click here to read Kirwan Commission coverage on the Conduit Street blog.

For more information, read the full article from The Washington Post.