Monday, October 13, 2008

Make Your Voice Heard and Our Students Win!

Right now in the great state of Texas there is a debate over recommendations for a uniform GPA calculation. Dr. Paredes, Commissioner of Higher Education, has made some rather disparaging statements with regard to CTE courses and the uniform GPA. You and I know that CTE courses are designed to challenge students and prepare them for both college and career. Moreover, students that participate successfully in CTE courses are better prepared to compete in today's global marketplace.

Below is the text of a letter sent by Robin Painovich, who is the Executive Director of the Career & Technology Association of Texas. I would request that you contact Dr. Paredes and voice your concern...we cannot allow our CTE courses to be relegated to the proverbial 'back seat.' Our students deserve better!

Text of letter begins here:
Commissioner Paredes,

This note is to respectfully request that all career and technical education (CTE) courses be included in the uniform GPA calculation and increased weight be provided for CTE courses offered for dual or articulated credit.

In our meeting last week, you suggested the discussion be framed in the context of college readiness, acknowledging that career and college readiness are one in the same. Yet when discussing CTE, you stated that CTE courses are “largely irrelevant” to studies in a four year university. In fact, just the opposite is true. Additionally, there are a host of CTE courses that count for credit at two year community and technical colleges and transfer up to degree programs in four year universities.

By not including CTE courses, even our brightest students will have no incentive to enroll in challenging college level courses like Engineering, Accounting, Drafting for Architecture, Medical Terminology and will instead enroll in courses that will contribute to a higher GPA for the purposes of college admission. Incidentally,
Engineering courses in the Project Lead the Way program are CTE courses that
articulate for credit at Texas State University, Texas Tech and University of Texas at Tyler from 32 Texas school districts. Several CTE courses in the Hospitality and Tourism cluster articulate directly to the University of Houston’s world-renowned hotel and restaurant management degree program. Through local articulation agreements between colleges and districts, there may be even more CTE courses accepted for credit at two and four year institutions that we are unaware of at the state level.

As you may be aware, districts incorporate college level coursework into CTE courses to help students prepare for studies in higher education and earn college credit through dual or articulated credit. If four year universities were more familiar with CTE course offerings, content and curriculum, additional articulation agreements would manifest.

You also stated that the arts should be included in the calculation, allowing some enrichment courses to be included to the exclusion of others for the purposes of
predicting success in pursuing a baccalaureate degree. CTE courses in clusters such as Manufacturing, Information Technology, Business Management, Finance and many more are considered enrichment courses that fulfill required credits in the Recommended High School Plan, just like enrichment courses in Fine Art.

CTE courses are rigorous, include academics and provide relevance for academic studies. The State Board of Education is currently revising K-12 CTE TEKS and incorporating college readiness standards into CTE courses.

Including CTE courses and dual and articulated CTE courses for increased weight would provide an incentive for students to pursue college level coursework in high
school. Including CTE in the calculation would support the state’s effort to prepare students to enter college and the workforce. Including CTE would more fully advance the goals of Closing the Gaps.

Again, I ask that all career and technical education (CTE) courses be included in the
uniform GPA calculation and that additional weight be provided for CTE courses offered for dual or articulated credit.

Kind regards,

Robin Painovich

A special hearing regarding this issue is scheduled for October 22 at Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The public comment period ends October 22. All comments should be submitted to Natalie Coffey, Senior Program Director, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, TX 78711.

Please make your voice heard...our students deserve the best we can offer them and CTE courses are part of that rigor.


  1. Estie;

    I did happen to see this article and the remarks about Career and Technical Education classes. I find it very offensive to say the least coming from an "educated" individual who has the ears apparently of the Texas Education Agency.

    On one hand we have Achieve Texas and on the other hand our CT&E classes are "essentially irrelevant". Go figure?

  2. Hi John! Thanks for responding!

    I know what you mean; it's very frustrating. I am working with my district to help the TEA 'rework' the CTE TEKS for Business, Finance, and Marketing so that our courses 'meet the rigor required' by the Higher Education Board.

    Pardon me..but seeing as I am ATC certified in all of the courses I teach, my curriculum already meets the rigor required.

    I've made up my mind to become involved politically...I don't know if my voice will make a difference, but my students-your students-all students are worth the effort!