LIMA - "Career technical education is a great alternative." Educators hear this all the time and there is nothing they hate more.
"It is not an alternative. It is a great option and it allows students to figure out what they are passionate about and then go into that passion," said Sabrina Kidwai, of the Association for Career and Technical Education.
Members of the association, including local career center officials, talked to The Lima News on Monday about the perceived negative perception people, including legislators, still have about career and technical education.
"There needs to be a respect, that I don't see, for working men and women," Apollo Career Center Superintendent Chris Pfister said.
Officials said most people, from state officials to parents, push that college is the only option for students.
"People get caught up in ‘everybody has to go to college,'" Pfister said. "And if you say, ‘Well, not necessarily,' that is blasphemy."
Christina Gardner, of the state association, points out that students in career technical education have many options for the future. And many of those options don't include the debt with which most college students graduate.
Despite the negative perception, people enrolling in career technical education is on the rise. Nationally, 9.66 million were enrolled in 1999, compared to 15.6 million in the 2006-07 school year.
Career technical education has for years been doing the types of things Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland wants to see happening across all of education, officials said. Community service and senior projects are common at career centers, Pfister said.
"These projects pull everything together," he said. "They have to demonstrate it is not just what you know, it is what can you do."
The governor had proposed a study of career technical education, but Pfister is hearing now that it may not make it through the final budget. The study would determine both programming and funding of career technical education.