I am a strong supporter of Career and Technology education in our public schools.
Too many elected officials want to talk about college readiness without remembering that many of our students cannot or will not go to college for many different reasons. Our public schools must prepare these students to enter the workforce and, in many cases, achieve a certificate for a trade such as plumbing or electrical services. These students need to understand what employers expect and they need to be prepared to meet those expectations.
One of the unintended messages the Texas Legislature sends to these students is how they named the different degrees offered in high schools today. A student can receive a "distinguished" degree by taking the most rigorous classes. A student can receive a "recommended" degree by taking a combination of rigorous courses along with other electives. But, a student who is not headed for college and is planning to enter the workforce after high school is awarded a "minimum" degree. Is this the message we want to send to those kids and their families? I don't think so.
Our schools need to reinforce the message that college will probably offer them a better financial future, but going straight to work can be just as honorable and valuable to their families and their communities.