Educational Opportunity in Texas

Author: R Stell

Educational Opportunity

Skills and technology
In recent years, Texas schools have seen some improvement. The passage of our state's reading and math initiatives, the ending of social promotion, and the implementation of testing programs to determine academic progress, have all had positive effects. Education remains a priority for state spending as well as a top priority for many lawmakers.

One area of our educational system, however, has been neglected: skills and technical education for our state's students who may not be immediately college bound. Lawmakers should enact legislation that will promote skills and technical education programs in order to better prepare these students to enter the workforce and to provide for themselves.

Rather than "dumbing-down" our state's academic standards, programmatic changes will allow innovations that target students most likely to drop out of school or to perform poorly in a traditional academic environment. Changes would encourage educators to reach these students with new programs such as co-teaching of courses whereby core academic disciplines are taught in a vocational setting (i.e. geometry in a drafting or carpentry course), or the inclusion of entrepreneurial training in the classroom setting.

In a recent NFIB/Texas State Ballot, 87 percent of respondents indicate their support for additional skills and technical education courses. Texas employers need an educated, skilled workforce and the expansion of skills education options in our public schools will help address that need.

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