California students must take an arts class or a foreign language to graduate from high school, but a bill on the governor’s desk would let students choose a career course instead. The sponsor, Assemblyman Warren Furutani, D-Gardena, hopes the option will engage students who might otherwise drop out.
Common Core, which strongly opposes the idea, looks at Granada High School, where vocational options include:
* Hospitality to “learn grooming and proper work ethic.”
* Fashion Apparel to “learn sewing machine basics.”
* Landscape Design to “grow flowers, ornamental plants and vegetables.”
* Food for Singles to learn culinary “short cuts, new techniques, budgeting their food dollars, and multiple uses of appliances.”
“Education is about more than workforce preparation,” Common Core argues. “It’s about building creativity, wonder, cultural literacy and citizenship, for starters.”
California’s college-prep curriculum includes arts and a foreign language. However, the students who’d prefer “Hospitality” are not planning to apply to a state university.
The problem I see is that the bill includes no funding to develop high-quality classes that would prepare students for real careers, most of which will require some additional training at a community college or in an apprenticeship program. Potential drop-outs might be motivated by Cooking for Chefs. It’s hard to believe anyone sees Food for Singles as a reason to stay in school.