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Marisa Saunders (213) 280-3235,
Dan Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Think Twice Review of Career and Technical Education Report

Lexington Institute report both over-reaches and under-reaches

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 18, 2014) – A recent publication from the Lexington Institute makes the claim that schools are failing to unleash the potential of Career and Technical Education (CTE).  The report claims that too many CTE programs offered by today's high schools are outdated and fail to produce 21st century workplace skills. However, a review of the report out today finds that it reinforces a harmful existing mindset of CTE rather than a path forward.

Updating Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century was written by Kristen Nye Larson and reviewed by Marisa Saunders and Jaime L. Del Razo, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.  The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) produced the review with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The report showcased effective CTE models underway in the U.S. and suggests elements for replication in other schools.  It identified three strategies for replication: (1) partnerships with businesses; (2) improved accountability measures; and (3) innovative curriculum options.

The reviewers found that the report does not identify or produce evidence on the proposed practices.  Furthermore, it fails to provide rationale for why the recommended practices are key to improving CTE experiences or opportunities for students.

More important, the review finds that the report focuses on workforce readiness and does not identify postsecondary readiness as a critical component.  It reinforces the belief that CTE and a college prep curriculum are mutually exclusive.

The reviewers note: "The report is limited in its usefulness, both in practice and policy. It both over-reaches and under-reaches."  The report makes broad claims that are "superficial, inconsistent, and lack a coherency."

The fatal flaw of the report is in its inability to capture the potential of CTE – preparing students with a range of skills and knowledge they need for a 21st century workplace.

Find this Think Twice Review on the Great Lakes Center website:

Find Updating Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century on the web:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publication. The project is made possible with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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