NYC promoting technical education; Washington corporate leaders actively engaged in STEM, tech education here

The Manhattan Institute reports on an encouraging New York City initiative. Headlined “Keeping New York City on the Cutting Edge of Technical Education,” the story emphasizes the importance of tech ed. This is the time of year 8th grade students in NYC get letters letting them know of their acceptance to the high school of their choice.

One of the most striking trends this year: how many young people from all parts of the city and all backgrounds chose what used to be called a “vocational” high school program – now renamed and reimagined as “career and technical education,” or CTE.

Once one of the most disparaged forms of American education, CTE has emerged in the past decade as one of the most promising approaches to preparing young people for the future. A changing economy is putting a premium on technical skills. Educators, employers and policymakers nationwide see the value in helping younger students start to plan their careers. And New York City is in the vanguard of the movement – a veritable laboratory for the nation.

It’s a good story, with recommendations Washington policymakers may wish to emulate. One example resonated with us.

And several New York innovations – including company-sponsored “early-college high schools,” where students earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree – are being replicated nationwide.

Sounds a bit like Running Start. And the model made us think of Raisbeck Aviation High School in Highline. The school has often been cited for excellence and innovation. From its website,

The Washington State Legislature has recognized our school as an Innovation School, a Washington Achiever School, and a Lighthouse Model of STEM Excellence.
Last year, U.S. News & World Reports bestowed gold status recognition on our school for outstanding performance in preparing all students for college…Over the years, we have developed a world-class Career Readiness program that includes students being mentored by professionals in the aviation/aerospace industries and interning in high-demand workplaces. 

It’s also a good reminder of the importance and contributions of the aerospace cluster anchored by The Boeing Company, a cluster that values and relies on technical education. Other examples include the Boeing Academy for STEM Learning,  a tech scholarship program launched by Microsoft and Boeing, and the many businesses behind Washington STEM.

Reviewing the demands and opportunities of tech ed, the Manhattan Institute writes,

Bottom line, unlike the old vocational education, CTE isn’t easier than a traditional academic high school education. It’s harder, for schools and students.

And while we may have things to learn from NYC–undoubtedly, we do–it’s nonetheless encouraging to report that Washington also may have a few things to teach the rest of the nation with respect to technical education.