I missed this Liz Bowie story on Maryland’s effort to scale up career and technical education. Bowie does a nice job balancing the tensions and trade-offs, and lots of people I respect are behind the Maryland plan, but this still makes me nervous:
At the end of the 10th grade, students would have to qualify for the career or academic paths by passing a test or some other measure that showed they were prepared for basic, entry-level college classes. The Kirwan plan estimates about 65% of students in the state would meet that bar by 2030, boosted by other parts of the education package, such as more pre-kindergarten and intensive support for students at schools with high poverty rates.
Is this just another form of tracking? Even assuming everything goes as planned, what happens to the 35 percent who don’t meet the bar for either pathway?
I’m working on a paper on this very topic right now, and we’re finding that states aren’t paying close enough attention to determine whether their college and career pathways are equally rigorous and accessible for all students. We’ll have more to say on this soon!
–Guest post by Chad Aldeman