Legislation allows college or workforce certification for students
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill into law this month designed to prepare more high school students for life after graduation.
Senate Bill 14, signed by McCrory in Asheboro on Feb. 18 for his first official piece of legislation as governor, places a new emphasis on career and technical education (CTE) for students who may or may not choose to attend college. With North Carolina expected to see an increase in the number of technical jobs in coming years, Senate Bill 14 will help prepare high school students for a 21st century workforce.
“We must ensure our education system provides opportunities and pathways for our students to get the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfill their post-graduation goals,” McCrory said in a press release. “Whether that be entering the workforce or continuing on to getting a higher degree. I am proud to have this be the first piece of legislation I sign into law.”
Under the new law, the State Board of Education will devise a curriculum focused on career and technical education. A strategy developed by boards of education and the State Board of Community Colleges will concentrate on increasing the number of students enrolled in CTE programs.
Graduating students will receive a diploma endorsed career ready, college ready or both. High schools and community colleges are encouraged to share available resources such as equipment, instructors and facilities as part of Senate Bill 14, and licensing requirements for CTE teachers will be revised in an effort to get more qualified professionals into classrooms.
“As long as children have the opportunity to decide what path they want to take, and we don’t earmark certain students with certain endorsements, I think it’s a good idea,” said Thomasville City School Superintendent Keith Tobin. “We do have students now who would like to go ahead and focus on a specific skill and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
A partnership with the Yadkin Valley Career Academy helps TCS students develop technical skills for potential careers while continuing a possible future in secondary education. Thomasville High School also offers masonry and carpentry classes on campus that allows students to experience a trade hands-on before graduation.
“I would love for all of our kids to go to a four-year university and earn a degree,” Tobin said. “In reality, that’s not true for everyone. There are some out there who want to get a skill level and go out and start their career. There’s a place for folks who may need to go to community college, earn a skill and not go that four-year route. I still stress the more education, the more skill, the more training you have, the better chance you have at being successful and able to compete with the other folks out there.”
With the new law slated to begin next school year, Tobin expects to see the revised curriculum soon.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.