ACTE Techniques January 2012 : Page 36

PROGRAMS OF STUDy BY ROB SHUMER AND CyNTHIA DIGBy Future and essential element of educational re-form and success, whereas others feel that it is of limited use—for “those kids” who aren’t going to make it in college and who therefore need some vocational training. One of the more prominent programs in the 2006 reauthorization of the Perkins legislation was Programs of Study (POS). This initiative includes elements that connect it with past CTE efforts, yet POS have a focus and direction that make the initiative more potent than almost anything that has been supported by federal dollars in the past. POS have been described as the old Tech Prep, only with more teeth to make secondary-postsecond-ary articulations stronger and more real. The National Research Center for Ca-reer and Technical Education (NRCCTE) has been conducting several research stud-ies on POS, as described elsewhere in this issue of Techniques . Three are quantitative and longitudinal in nature, and two have been qualitative studies of POS efforts in several states. This article is about the first of the two qualitative investigations, Six Stories About Six States: Programs of Study . This study focused on how POS were de-veloped, and especially on how technical assistance was provided to strengthen and improve them. The Six States project report gener-ated some major findings, including the power of project-based learning (PBL) and The of CTe: Programs of sTudy BY ROB SHUMER AND CyNTHIA DIGBy E 36 ducation in today’s world is very challenging. From concerns over the funding of career and technical education (CTE) to discussions about the achieve-ment gap and dropout prevention, to debates about what it means to be college-and career-ready, the role of CTE in educational reform paradoxically is both at the forefront and on the backburn-er of debate. With the focus of educational reform currently on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), college access and retention, and passing high-stakes proficiency tests, the scope and value of CTE is in uncharted waters. Some believe that CTE is an important Techniques Januar y 2012

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