The Edmond Sun

Opinion

January 23, 2013

Making students career ready

EDMOND — Ever asked a kindergartner what they want to be when they grow up?

I love that game. I hear responses such as firefighters, doctors, mommies, teachers; you name it. One little girl told me she wanted to be a doctor, the president and a jeweler; she just wasn’t sure she’d have time to be all three.

The goal of education is to produce young people who are fully prepared for the workforce that awaits them outside of high school or college and to help them become fully engaged, productive citizens.

We in common education sometimes lose sight of this ultimate goal and set our sites only on the next frame in the unfolding picture of a child’s life — college. The end goal, however, is to prepare a student so they can find a job that pays them an adequate salary, makes the best use of their talents and skills, and satisfies their passion.

Education Week’s 2013 Quality Counts report, which was released this week, gave Oklahoma an A+ in the category of Economy and Workforce. The grade is awarded on the criteria of the state having a definition of work readiness, offering a high school diploma with career specialization, having a path in K-12 for industry-recognized certificate or license, and offering portable credits for K-12 students to earn career tech credits toward postsecondary education.

I was pleased to see this grade, but I know there is more to be done in preparing our students for their future careers. Part of this is we must work to incorporate more career counseling and work skills training in our common education experience.

To this end, I was excited to see a report this week detailing a Career Pathways Pilot Project taking place in Duncan Public Schools.

The goal of the program is to help students in the district develop a post-high school action plan that will help them determine their career pathways. Through participation, students will gain an awareness of their personal strengths, challenges and opportunities that will set them on a path of intentional instruction and guidance prior to high school graduation to ready them for college or career. The plan contains actions for students at all educational levels from elementary to high school.

The program is a collaboration between the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition, a regional economic development entity; the Oklahoma Department of Commerce; the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation; the Red River Technology Center; and GEAR Up/Oklahoma Higher Education Regents.

Duncan was considered perfect for the pilot because of the city’s robust manufacturing sector as well as a strong health care community. Duncan also has a technology center, a branch campus for higher education and a competent economic development organization.

The first meeting for the program drew more than 100 people, from employers, to teachers, counselors, cross agency partners, and members from the community – all working together toward the goal of preparing students for their futures of college or career.

I want to commend Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer and the Duncan Public School Board for implementing this program. I will be anxious to hear the outcome of the pilot. I hope other communities will consider emulating it. When we’ve prepared each student in Oklahoma for the rigors and challenges of the future work place, then we will truly have cause to celebrate.

JANET BARRESI is state superintendent of public instruction of Oklahoma. She may be reached via her website at http://ok.gov/sde/.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014

  • Instead of mothballing Navy ships, give them to our allies

    A bitter debate has raged in the Pentagon for several months about the wisdom of taking the nuclear aircraft carrier George Washington out of service to save money. The Washington, at 24 years old a relatively young vessel, is due for a costly refit, a routine procedure that all of the 11 large carriers in service undergo regularly.

    April 18, 2014

  • The pessimist’s guide to grizzly bears and Earth Day

    This coming Friday, to “celebrate Earth Day,” the Walt Disney Co. will release one of those cutesy, fun-for-all-ages, nature documentaries. “Bears” is about grizzly bears.
    The trailer says, “From DisneyNature comes a story that all parents share. About the love, the joy, the struggle and the strength it takes to raise a family.”
    Talk about your misguided “Hollywood values.” I previously have acknowledged a morbid, unreasonable fear of grizzly bears, stemming from a youth misspent reading grisly grizzly-attack articles in Readers Digest. This fear is only morbid and unreasonable because I live about 1,500 miles from the nearest wild grizzly bear. Still. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Digging out of the CIA-Senate quagmire

    Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., voted to declassify parts of its report on the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program. The White House, the CIA and the Senate still have to negotiate which portions of the report will be redacted before it is made public. But this is an important step in resolving the ugly dispute that has erupted between the intelligence committee and the intelligence agency.
    The dispute presents two very serious questions. Was the program consistent with American values and did it produce valuable intelligence? And is effective congressional oversight of secret activities possible in our democracy?

    April 15, 2014

  • Los Angeles Times: Congress extend jobless benefits again

    How’s this for irony: Having allowed federal unemployment benefits to run out in December, some lawmakers are balking at a bill to renew them retroactively because it might be hard to figure out who should receive them. Congress made this task far harder than it should have been, but the technical challenges aren’t insurmountable. Lawmakers should restore the benefits now and leave them in place until the unemployment rate reaches a more reasonable level.

    April 14, 2014

  • Many nations invested in Israel

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Yoram Ettinger recently spoke to a gathering at the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning in Oklahoma City. The event began with a presentation by Rabbi Ovadia Goldman, who told the attendee that the  upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover was an occasion for them to embrace the children of God, which is all of humanity.

    April 14, 2014

  • Coming soon: More ways to get to know your doctor

    Last week, the federal government released a massive database capable of providing patients with much more information about their doctors.
    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency that runs Medicare, is posting on its website detailed information about how many visits and procedures individual health professionals billed the program for in 2012, and how much they were paid.
    This new trove of data, which covers 880,000 health professionals, adds to a growing body of information available to patients who don’t want to leave choosing a doctor to chance. But to put that information to good use, consumers need to be aware of what is available, what’s missing and how to interpret it.

    April 14, 2014

  • HEY HINK: Hateful bullies attempt to muffle free speech

    Hopefully we agree it should be a fundamental right to voice criticism of any religion you wish. And you should have the right to sing the praises of any religion you choose. If criticism of religion is unjust, feel free to make your best argument to prove it. If criticism is just, don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace it. If songs of praise are merited, feel free to join in. If not, feel free to ignore them. But no American should participate in curbing free speech just because expression of religious views makes someone uncomfortable.

    April 11, 2014

Poll

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

Agree
Disagree
Undecided
     View Results