Career training starting early for some students

July 1st, 2009

Louisiana is at the center of a debate surrounding high school education requirements. A bill that is expected to be signed by Governor Bobby Jindal will allow high school students to opt for a “career diploma” instead of a traditional diploma. To receive this diploma, students will take alternative career courses instead of college prep courses.

The national debate is over where to set the bar for high school graduation. Supporters of the new diploma believe it will help struggling students stay in school and prepare them for various careers and community or technical colleges.

Critics of the possible law doubt the curriculum will be strong enough to reach the proposed goals. They also think it short changes students in the long run because a large number of future jobs will require a college degree.

I believe this is a positive direction for high school curriculum. Critics of the proposed law need to understand that education is not “one size fits all.” Not every student wants to go to a traditional four year college, some don’t want to continue education at all after high school. These students should not be ignored. I also think critics should take a second look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics career projections, they will see that many of the careers students are preparing for in community and technical colleges are some of the fastest growing careers today.

This program is not meant to lower standards for high school students – it’s providing another path to their success. This is a step in the right direction for high school education, hopefully other states will soon follow Louisiana’s path.

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