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Robert Mauro, Retired PA CTE Director

To begin, I have a very hard time with the ACTE-publicized figure that 94 percent of HS students graduate having enrolled in a CTE course. This is a half-truth, and it is wrong for you to promulgate it. The Data Point occupational subject areas are nice, but the courses are often taken as electives and avocational---cooking, business law, etc. These can be valuable, but they do not meet Perkins or many state-level standards. Lee Ann Wilson does some good things, but this 94 percent business is "over the line". Am I incorrect?

In my opinion, the only students who should be tracked in this type study are those with approved CTE programs. Unfortunately, Perkins does a poor job of tracking graduates. NCES could do the country a favor by doing a study to obtain a truly valid eight year number. Otherwise it is really meaningless. Please think it over.

Catherine Imperatore, ACTE

Thanks for your comment! You are correct that the 94 percent enrollment figure includes courses in Family and Consumer Sciences and basic labor market preparation like Keyboarding, which are categorized by NCES as non-occupational CTE. If you just look at what NCES classifies as occupational education, it’s 85 percent enrollment. That latter figure could include courses like Business Law that may or may not be part of a program of study.

ACTE takes an inclusive view of what is defined as CTE. We support a broad member base, some of whom teach both introductory courses and the more specific occupational courses. We use the 94 stat to reflect that breadth.

And we’re in total agreement that we need more and better data! There are big gaps, and the NCES and OCTAE datasets are so different. We would love to see NCES do in-depth, longitudinal research on CTE and we have been advocating for that for Perkins reauthorization.

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The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for careers. Our mission is to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce. Please contact us at publicpolicy@acteonline.org.

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