Expansion of High School Trade Schools (Vo-Tech) – Is it the Golden Arrow for Shelby County?

I have been giving this a lot of though lately after I have heard from so many in our community about education and what its real goal should be.

After thinking about it, it seems to me that political definitions of education like those used by the president and secretary of education do the most to set children up for failure. Not every child is going to go to college, but every adult has to eat, sleep, breathe, etc.. With that said, I believe the statement “every child college and career bound while well-intentioned, does not go far enough. I would say that the goal would be:

“Every adult who leaves our schools has a marketable skill to make a livable wage or is prepared go to college”.

Seems really simplistic when you look at it but it has some distinct differences for every child college or career ready. I think that their has been significant focus on college but as a population make-up, we need significant focus on skills. Most of our children cannot afford and will not go to college, but they still must making a livable wage or we have no chance to overcome any poverty condition.

So what is a possible answer? Creation of Regional Trade Schools

A trade school would be a high school that had its basic common core requirements but would provide a multitude of technical vocational career paths for any child who chooses to take a career path. We would strategically locate these schools in different regions of the county as part of our portfolio district. Mainly by converting underutilized high schools into trade schools managed by an appropriate appointed board.

In coordination with many of our high performing academic high schools all over the county, these schools would provide a choice that many of our students in every municipality may be interested in, including children in the ASD.

Lot’s of discussion and planning around this. But on its face it could have significant implications on the future tax base and business recruitment value proposition to the Memphis area. I plan to discuss at our retrat.



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