House passes 'career-ready' diploma bill
by Anna Oakes
Gov. Pat McCrory has succeeded in achieving one of his campaign goals with the passage of Senate Bill 14 by the N.C. House of Representatives Wednesday.
The bill, "Increase Access to Career/Technical Ed," establishes high school curriculum tracks for career- and college-ready graduates. Beginning in the 2014-15 school year, high school graduates will receive diplomas designating that they are "career ready," "college ready" or both, according to the bill.
Critics, including commenters on WataugaDemocrat.com, say the purpose of public education is to prepare students for participation in civic society -- not solely to land a job -- and that a career track could limit students' opportunities.
The proposal didn't encounter many opponents in the General Assembly, however, as it passed the N.C. Senate unanimously Feb. 7 and received 110-1 approval by the House.
State Sen. Dan Soucek of Boone was a primary sponsor of the bill in the Senate.
The bill reforms licensing requirements, allowing specialized individuals to instruct students in the classroom regarding job-specific skills needed for future careers. The bill directs the State Board of Education and State Board of Community Colleges to develop strategies to prepare students for high-demand careers. High schools and community colleges will share resources such as instructors, facilities and equipment to help meet this objective.