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Readin’, writin’ and jobs
McCrory wants N.C. to prepare graduates for work
 
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 1:27 pm
by Amanda Raymond

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory wants to mold students into a capable workforce, whether they go to college or not.


McCrory is advocating tailored course tracks consisting of three pathways for high school students. One is for college-bound students; another is for those who plan to go straight into the workforce or community college. Students can also choose to take a combination of classes to prepare for college and careers.


“Starting in high school and continuing through our higher education system, we must ensure our students are on the right path to acquiring marketable skills that will lead to a productive and satisfying career,” McCrory said last year during his gubernatorial campaign. “My goal is for every student to get a job after they graduate – not move back in with his or her parents. To do that, we must emphasize skill attainment in our community colleges and universities, use our resources more efficiently and measure success in a comprehensive way.”


Senate Bill 14, which was signed into law last February, calls for endorsements on diplomas that deem high school graduates college-, career- or college- and career-ready. The endorsements are based on standards like course completion and overall grade point average.


The criteria for endorsements will be determined and implemented by the State Board of Education. They will be given to students beginning with the 2014-15 school year.


The goal of endorsements is to push students to learn necessary job skill and reduce the need for remedial classes in college. They also aim to engage more students in career and technical education and send more students into areas with the most employment opportunities.


Timothy Morgan, vice chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board, said he was excited about the new opportunities for students and the assurance endorsements will give employers.


“It will be a chance for students, as I understand it, to really take a deeper dive into some of those classes,” he said. “It will be better for employers also because it will allow employers to look and have a better idea of what sort of classes students took.”


CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison has already made some changes for the 2013-14 academic year that fit McCrory’s plans. The district’s budget includes money put aside for the expansion and creation of magnet schools, technical education programs and more middle college classes for juniors and seniors.


Morrison said his only concern was that schools might start to label students as college- or career-ready too early.


“We want to make sure that this doesn’t lead us, unintentionally, to start tracking students,” he said. “So, all the way in elementary or middle school we start to look at some students and say, ‘Well, you’re going to go to college, and you’re going to go into a career pathway,’” adding that proper preparation in elementary and middle school will help students make their own choice in high school.


Morrison said it is important for students to have highly developed college and career pathways as part of the future workforce.


“There’s absolutely a moral obligation to educate students at exceptionally high levels,” he said. “We also think it’s important for workplace development. If we do a good job, we really are creating a workforce for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.”


Morrison said the pathways are a step in the right direction for CMS.


“In terms of the theory behind it, we have an obligation to get students college- and career-ready,” he said.

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