Strengthening Transition by Encouraging Career Pathways: A Look at State Policies and Practices

Sarah Kim

Katherine L. Hughes and Melinda Mechur Karp
American Association of Community Colleges
2006

This report summarizes current state policies and practices to facilitate student transition from secondary to post-secondary schools and work, an instructional division that the authors would like to see disappear. The report argues not for a leap from one style of schooling to another but for a smooth path combining academic and technical coursework across levels. Because this isn't reality in most states, the authors write, we experience such undesirable outcomes as high dropout rates. The report finds that high school career and technical education (CTE), for example, remains mostly separate from traditional academic programs, despite longstanding efforts to integrate the two. This is a problem, because for CTE to succeed, its students must have just as rigorous an academic education as those in college-prep courses. Some states are finding innovative ways to integrate different educational options. Missouri's school accreditation programs, for example, require that CTE provides dual credit. Although the report doesn't give much new information, it does a decent job summarizing current state policies and commenting on their successes and failures. It's online here.