Hands-on education — integrating vocational and academic skills — will get a boost in California as the state school board approves new frameworks for what’s now called career technical education. The Sacramento Bee profiles an exemplary school that offers a Manufacturing Production Technology Academy.
Students learn a concept in geometry, then use it to build a project in shop. They learn a theory in physics, then build a device that proves it. They learn composition skills in English, then write business plans for the products they’re making.
The approach on this Elk Grove campus — blending vocational training and academic skills with an eye toward the 21st century job market — is one that education leaders would like to see at high schools across California.
Vocational-plus education is hard to do well. Some vocational programs go light on academics or teach low-demand skills. Education Trust West’s Russlynn Ali tells of a boy who got a floor-laying certificate without being able to identify a right angle and a girl whose school offered nine cosmetology classes but only one chemistry class.