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A Think Twice Review of:

Updating Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century

Think Twice - Mar 18, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - The Lexington Institute

Author(s) - Kristen Nye Larson

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 The report claims that too many CTE programs offered by today's high schools are outdated and fail to produce 21st century workplace skills. 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.

Reviewer(s) - Marisa Saunders and Jaime L. Del Razo, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University

A review of the report found that it 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."