Career and Technical Education (H.304) - May 1, 2024

Chelsea Myers (Associate Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association) testified in the House Education Committee on Wednesday concerning S.304, which deals Career and Technical Education. She noted that VSA had two stakeholder feedback meetings in late 2023.  Several core themes emerged from the first meeting including:

  • Many recommendations outlined in the APA Report relate more generally to topics in PREK-12 Education. They should not be discussed in isolation from the overall delivery system for example, school construction. 
  • Coordination and collaboration between entities to ensure equity, quality and efficiency is essential and includes the higher education system.
  • There is need for a system that does not create tension or competition between schools an instead focuses on flexibility and accessibility.
  • Expansion requires additional attention to all of the barriers discussed throughout the APA Report, including but not limited to facilities, transportation and financial and human resources.

The most important theme outlined by VSA is that, as a level of economic growth in Vermont, any changes to career and technical education should be grounded in a clear vision both statewide and in local communities.

Jay Nichols (Executive Director for the Vermont Principal’s Association also submitted testimony to the Committee relative to S.304

The VPA noted the following comments on the various Sections in S.304 as follows:

  • VPA wants students to have a genuine opportunity to participate fully and benefit from career technical education. However, we have to recognize that there will be natural scheduling conflicts especially for students in small high schools.  For example, AP History likely has only one teacher and as a student I might have to choose between AP History and Forestry.
    • They agree with enrichment and exposure to CTE programming for 6-8 students. However, they worry about this becoming an unfunded mandate. Flexibility for virtual options and other creative solutions are critical.
    • They would like to see a model CTE policy at the state level with the details spelled out. VPA is a “big supporter” of local control but believes that local control gets in the way of opportunities for students at least as far as CTE education is concerned.
    • They also “totally agree” with the VSA comments on construction aid.

They believe that a “truly independent” State Board of Education, with the resources to actually do the job effectively, would make the most sense for CTE oversight.  The State Board is supposed to be responsive to the public while an Agency may not be.

They would also like to see a statewide school calendar and embedded graduation credits in the CTE experience (perhaps even requiring them for all CTE programs”.

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