Bill would create 'career ready' diplomas
by Anna Oakes
State Sen. Dan Soucek of Boone is one of three primary sponsors of the bill in the Senate.
Senate Bill 14 directs the State Board of Education to develop new curricula focused on career and technical education.
Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, high school graduates will receive diplomas designating that they are "career ready," "college ready" or both, according to the bill.
"Preparing students for the workforce is a primary responsibility for a successful education system," Soucek said in a statement. "We want to help combine the strengths of our high schools and our community colleges in order to deliver the best possible opportunities for students."
The bill allows trade specialists with real-world experience to bring their expertise to the classroom as vocational instructors with reduced licensing requirements.
The legislation also directs the State Board of Education and State Board of Community Colleges to develop strategies to prepare students for occupations that are in high demand, such as engineering. High schools and community colleges will share resources such as instructors, facilities and equipment to help meet this objective, the news release from Soucek's office stated.
The bill, which must be approved by the N.C. House of Representatives before it becomes law, has the support of the North Carolina Association of Educators and Gov. Pat McCrory.
"This legislation will help fulfill one of our major campaign platforms to provide multiple paths to success in our schools and also expand opportunity by ensuring our students are career and college ready through vocational and professional development," McCrory said in a Feb. 7 statement.