Not your father’s professional education

These inequalities have become even more noteworthy as interest in career technologies has increased. Compared to the 2013-2014 school year, the number of state revenues increased by 21 percent. According to data, in 2020-21, about 103,000 high school students studied in at least one CTE class in more than 2,000 programs. Michigan Department of Education.

Democratic Gov. Whitmer and her Republican predecessor, Rick Snyder, praised careers and vocational training as a means to improve Michigan’s economy and help non-college students find good jobs while giving way to college students. in technical fields.

“Career and technical education programs offer academic, technical, and real-world skills that prepare high school and college students for success today and rewarding, sought-after careers in the future,” Whitmer said in a recent statement. both Career and Technical Education Month.

Away from the woodworking shop of the past, today’s high-tech programs and skills-based programs aim to increase the proportion of adults with post-secondary education. Well-funded programs offer traditional CTE courses such as automotive and cosmetology, but also include options such as electronics and robotics, information technology, and dental care.

“We have students coming out of the door and earning $ 20 to $ 25 an hour,” said Mickey Spanioli, director of CTE and higher education at Heritage Southwest High School, which provides services to the Cass district.

Students who have a CTE concentration graduate from high school in four years at a higher rate than Michigan students as a whole (96 percent to 82 percent). More than nine out of 10 students who had a CTE concentration enrolled in a two- or four-year college compared to 54 percent of high school graduates overall.

Despite their popularity and academic friendliness, CTE programs have a different and less consistent flow of funding compared to K-12 as a whole.

Much of Michigan’s public education system is funded similarly across the state, with the state allocating money to local school districts and statutory schools depending on the number of students enrolled.

While CTE programs receive money from the state and the federal government, programs are mostly funded locally through millennials. In Michigan, 25 of the state’s 83 counties don’t have a village that taxes property owners to pay for career technology. Schools in these counties tend to offer fewer CTE programs and have a smaller quantitative rate for these programs because they pay less for them.

For example, before taking a career in technology in Kalamazoo County in 2019, the county’s CTE programs received about $ half a million a year from the state and a similar amount of federal funding to implement the $ 5 million program. The remaining $ 4 million (80 percent of the total cost) was squeezed out of the total budgets of the school districts and the intermediate school district, which provides services to local areas. Voting abroad has more than doubled funding for local programs.

Without CTE millage, “there are always barriers to growth,” said Campbell of Kalamazoo ISD. “You get more kids (enrolling in CTE), you have to have more teachers and you have to bill (district).”

Even in counties with CTE-billions, the amount collected varies greatly, from $ 1,005 for each K-12 student in Brunch County to $ 163 per student in Guinness.

Larry Good, president of the Skyscraper Corporation, based in Ann Arbor, describes inequality in career and technical education opportunities in one word: “Nuts.”

CTE in Michigan “grew out of local areas, not out of public policy,” Hood said. “So you had areas of the state that took homes to support that activity – including sometimes one area like Ann Arbor – and others that didn’t.”

Even like Whitmer pushed for equalization of school fundingthe state has done little to address the disparity in career technology funding, Hood said.

“The demand (for CTE) from the industry is huge,” Hood said. “(But) the state doesn’t invest a lot of money in CTE.”

“Ask, borrow and steal”

Cass County does not have a CTE millage. Students from the county’s four school districts can choose from only five high school-based career technology programs. For comparison, students from the neighboring Kalamazoo district, which took place in 2019, have 20 options this academic year and will have 25 when a new county technology center is built.

Spaniels of Cass County said she was “begging, taking and stealing” to keep several career technology programs in the county open.

“All of us at CTE are committed to giving children access to CTE with the resources we have,” said Spanioli, “but the way CTE is funded in the state creates a system of inequality.” As a result, “children (in Kas County) do not gain experience or explore different career paths, they do not know the possibilities of what their opportunities are for higher education.”

A University of Michigan study currently underway found that students from counties without CTE have access to fewer career technology programs than students in counties that support counties. Low-income students and students from minorities have, on average, fewer CTE options than non-poor and white students, according to Jeremy Guardiola, senior project manager at UM Youth Policy Laboratory.

“In counties that have and do not have settlements, there are gaps in race and socio-economic affiliation (admission to CTE),” said Guardiola. “However, the size of these gaps is smaller in counties with graces.”

School-business collaboration

Money makes a big difference in CTE registration.

In the county of Brunch, also in southwestern Michigan, the highest CTE in the state is 4.2 miles ($ 420 per year in the form of a $ 200,000 home tax with a taxable value of $ 100,000). In 2017-18, the branch had almost three times the proportion of students in grades 10-12 enrolled in traditional CTE courses, compared to the counties of Kalamazoo and Kas, both of which had no population at the time (36 percent of the branch, 14 percent in Kalamazoo, 12 percent in Cass), according to an analysis of government data Kalamazoo ISD).

Campbell said that until recently, Kalamazoo students had lost many opportunities to learn about their careers, and businesses were losing potential employees. Campbell and business leaders began a series of meetings coordinated in part by Southwest Michigan First, business consulting and community development groups, culminating in a 2019 proposal that passed with 60 percent of the vote.

The $ 1 million property tax now brings in $ 8.5 million a year for the county’s CTE, which will be used to operate the new center when it opens.

The $ 100 million center was funded by an anonymous donor. The still-unnamed mall will have 170,000 square feet – or about 30 percent more than the average Target store, and the cost double the price of a new high school.

The technical facility will be built on donated land near the Wings event center near downtown Kalamazoo, near I-94. It was designed by an architectural firm behind a similar modern CTE center, Cherry Creek Innovation Campussouth of Denver, Kahlo.

The center will be able to double or triple the 750 students currently enrolled in CTE programs at high schools across the county, Campbell said. Some of these students now travel up to an hour in one direction to get on a program at another school. When construction of the Kalamazoo Center is completed, the road from the school to the CTE will not take more than 25 minutes.

The programs will include new classes in industrial design and supply chain management that have been recommended by businesses that have helped plan the center.

“This conversation has really intensified over the last five years because labor shortages are affecting us in almost every industry,” said Carla Sones, president of Southwest Michigan First.

“If you drive right past the site of the new career training center, and continue down Sprinkle Road, you’ll see the words ‘help needed’ in front of almost every facility,” Sonnes said. pressure, into the life sciences industry and the medical device sector.

“Therefore, the business community is delighted with the concept of career technical education, the availability of a world-class center and the opportunity to play a role in defining the course curriculum,” Sones said.

“Not only because they see this as an opportunity to invest in young people and hopefully provide skills and opportunities that will help further serve the business, but also as an opportunity (for) students to recognize some of the great career options that they have in the community ”.

Kalamazoo Promise for CTE

School leaders from across the state who spoke to Bridge say they do not believe a fairer state-level funding system for career technologies is on the horizon. Campbell admits that it would be “difficult for the state to swallow the pill” to increase CTE funding to counties that chose not to pay for it themselves if other communities joined their own programs.

One example is the Alpena public schools, which run several CTE programs at their high school without a support center. “More public money would be great,” said CTE Director Joyce McCoy, “but local communities also need to show that they support it.”

“I don’t know the answer is that everyone should receive the same (services),” said Doug Bush, assistant head of the Grazio-Isabelle District of Education, which has CTE. “Our voters were willing to pay a little more. My community should not suffer, because a foreign community does not give it the same value as mine.

It is unlikely that Kasa or many other Michigan counties have a donor willing to write a $ 100 million check to a modern center like Kalamazoo.

But Sons and Campbell say expanding CTE Kalamazoo could be the same catalyst for change as Kalamazoo promise, which since 2005 offers free tuition and tuition fees at a public community college or public university for Kalamazoo public school graduates. This program has sparked similar efforts across the country, including eight in Michigan.

Campbell said he is encouraged by the fact that the community with philanthropists who have invested heavily in college education through the Kalamazoo Promise now has a donor who invests a huge amount in career technology.

Not every county may have a large donor, but local businesses can step up CTE programs through donations of equipment or perhaps staff who can be hired as instructors for high-tech programs. Similarly, schools could strengthen cooperation with enterprises to form career technology programs that fit the labor market.

It would be music to the ears of Brian Kelly, president of the Michigan Small Business Association and former lieutenant governor at Snyder.

“We need all the hands to meet the needs of the economy,” Kelly Bridge said. “Impact on a wide range of careers in our primary education system will help students make the right decisions by having more information and options to choose from. Robotics, computer science, welding, construction professions and culinary programs are all important options. “

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