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Ohio Tech Schools See Bump in Admissions

Michael Nutter

March 15, 2018

Attendance at career and technical schools is on the rise, but when students choose to pursue alternative kinds of education, district officials face new challenges in tracking data and ensuring their students are succeeding.

President Trump championed job training and career-oriented education in his State of the Union Address this year, citing it as a major part of his administration’s effort to build a better equipped American workforce for the 21st century economy. But this political push isn’t coming from just one side of the aisle — a number of politicians like former President Barack Obama, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have also made a point of praising alternatives to traditional academia.

A whopping 125 new laws and policies regarding career and technical education were instituted across the U.S. back in 2015, many of which bolstered these schools with additional government funding. A Meltwater analysis claims that within the last four years, media mentions regarding “career and technical education” have increased four-fold. With a swelling wave of bipartisan support, as well as soaring costs associated with traditional colleges and universities, technical schools across America have received more exposure in the last decade than ever before — and they’re flourishing as a result.

The Path to Success

Career and technical schools offer courses that prepare students for a specific career path. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, such programs can be classified in one of three categories: (1) consumer and homemaking education; (2) general labor market preparation; and (3) specific labor market preparation. Students in most states can opt to begin a technical education in the 11th or 12th grade.

Technical schools place largely the same standardized graduation requirements on students that traditional college-preparatory schools do. For example, officials from the Eastland-Fairfield Career Center emphasize that programs at technical schools include “teaching, performing arts, pre-engineering,” and stress that their own school “is trying to do more to bridge the disconnect between education and the private sector.”

To that end, the U.S. Department of Education reports that “in 2011-12, two-thirds of the states reported CTE [career and technical education] graduation rates that were ten or more percentage points higher than the graduation rates for all students (33 states and the District of Columbia). Over half of all states…reported CTE graduation rates of 95% or higher in 2011–12.”

The results these schools are generating have clearly made an impact on students everywhere. Ohio, the first state to make career-oriented education available to all students, reported in 2014 that 22% of all high school students were enrolled in career or technical schools.

In short, it’s clear that technical education is on the rise, and that students are succeeding as a result.

Keeping Up

Generally, when a student decides to pursue a technical education, he or she is required to split time between their main school and a technical center. Districts are required to track the hours a student spends in all facilities, monitor attendance, and report academic performance. This poses a new challenge to administrators, who must coordinate with other reporting stakeholders to understand exactly how much time students are spending in each respective facility.

It’s important that districts report data correctly, especially because government funding is determined in part by the percentage of time that students spend at their “main” schools. If districts report fewer hours than they should, they get less funding than they really need. So how can districts make it easy to understand how much time students spend at different facilities?

That’s where the Percent of Time Module for Vinson’s CheckPoint EMIS platform comes in, as districts can use it to track where students spend time throughout the day, check the data for any mistakes, and find the person responsible for correcting them.

CheckPoint delivers more precise reporting to stakeholders throughout the EMIS process, and lets Treasurers and Superintendents rest easy knowing the record sets they submit will be both accurate and compliant with Ohio law.

Put your EMIS worries to rest and get both technical and traditional schools in your district the funding they deserve.

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