FRANKFORT, Ky. – In recent years, there has been a push to highlight career and technical education, or CTE, facilities.
It’s a move Kentucky’s associate commissioner of the Office of Career and Technical Education and Student Transition, David Horseman, says they have done well.
Showing the members of the Kentucky Career And Technical Education Task Force a slide, Horseman explained, “You can see, about two out of every three students is taking at least one career and technical education course in the pathway.”
However, following lawmaker questions, Horseman acknowledged there is still room for improvement.
Senator Mike Wilson (R-Majority Whip) questioned Horseman, saying “The commissioner made the statement that it’s impossible for us to provide CTC education to all students in Kentucky.”
Wilson then continued, “When I see this map with all the blue, there are only a few counties that are really left out. Is the issue transportation?”
Horseman responded, that was part of it. He said, “What happens, in some of those locations they have access. And, I think what the commissioner was referring to in that remark was that, by having the same programs, and when you look at it, most of the same programs exist everywhere. So, the access to the other problems may not be available.”
Leslie Slaughter, the Executive Advisor for the Office of CTE says they have commissioned studies to look at where to improve. “We did take action upon that first recommendation and commissioned the second report that you see here from Thomas P. Miller. That report gave us about seven different ideas or priorities that we could consider for how to move forward.”
Listing some of the recommendations, Slaughter said, “Everything from performance based funding, to have we might incentivize the funding model that is prioritized with the state’s workforce development goals and priorities.”
Slaughter explained, recent grants will help them with some of those issues. ”Knowing that we have some financial disparities, we have a lot of inequities in how we fund. We know the funding is not adequate right now to really meet the needs of the programs we need to offer and the number of students we need to offer those to. But then also, the structure and the governance being very disjointed.”
That’s why the Office of CTE, along with the Kentucky Department of Education is calling for unification.
“The demand is far greater than we’re able to deliver on, and we find ourselves shifting money around to subsidize the operations of the state operated ATCs,” said KDE Commissioner Dr. Wayne Lewis to lawmakers at a meeting Tuesday.
“Ohio has about half the number of technical high schools that serve more than twice as many public school students, in most cases, with more high quality program options for students,” said Lewis. “Even with 100 schools, there are population centers, like Owensboro, where kids don’t have adequate access to technical programs.
Lewis added, “Although we should not copy Ohio’s system or any other, I do not believe we can provide enough funding for 100 technical high schools across the state. We have to create a system that provides every Kentucky high school student regardless of their school district – large or small, urban or rural – with access to high quality CTE programs.”
The task force will meet again in August. They say they hope to delve more into some of the concerns raised at this meeting.