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Rethinking the Traditional High School-College-Career Continuum

This essay challenges our present-day two-tiered system, which despite efforts to create pathways to college and careers still sorts students along predictable racial and class lines, shutting many out of opportunities for economic and social mobility. Looking to more flexible models pioneered in Switzerland, Cleveland, San Antonio, and elsewhere, authors Robin Lake, Georgia Heyward, and Tom Coyne argue that systemic change, not improvements to existing career and technical education programs, is required.

“If we become enamored with add-on programs that fail to address the underlying weaknesses and inequalities in K–12 education,” write Lake, Heyward, and Coyne, “students will not have better opportunities than they already have.”

Explore other essays in this collection: Thinking Forward: New Ideas for a New Era of Public Education

PANEL DISCUSSION – Rethinking High School to College and Career Pathways

How can we create valuable career connections that encourage student creativity and agility while avoiding the pitfalls of the past Leaders and experts on the new generation of career-technology education programs from Colorado, Washington state, and Switzerland discuss the reinvention of career preparation to meet the needs of students and business in a changing economy, and what it really takes to create an integrated, equitable, and forward-looking career prep system.

  • Suzi LeVine – Commissioner of the Washington State Employment Security Department, former Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein
  • Gretchen Morgan – former Executive Director, CareerWise Colorado
  • Maud Daudon – Executive Leader, Career Connect WA, and former CEO of Seattle Chamber of Commerce
  • Moderator: Beth Hawkins – Journalist, The 74 Million

This panel occurred on Nov. 8 as part of the Center on Reinventing Public Education’s 25th-anniversary event in Seattle.

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