The Perkins Act
The Perkins Act of 2006 places a high importance on integration of academic and Career Technical Education content. One of the key purposes of the Perkins Act is to promote the development of services and activities that “integrate rigorous and challenging academic and career and technical instruction.” There is a requirement on local schools, as they create plans for their Perkins funds, to demonstrate how they will “improve the academic and technical skills of students…through the integration of coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical education programs…”
The Colorado Plan
At the secondary level, CCCS supports and advocates for the improvement and development of new CTE courses that are aligned with rigorous challenging academic content standards and student academic achievement standards adopted by CDE in compliance with NCLB. One method to achieve this is to find academic content that is inherently present within a CTE course and teach those skills through applied lessons. An excellent example of this is the well-known Math-in-CTE research project conducted by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education. Another approach is full integration of academic course content and CTE content in a way that both academic credit and CTE elective credits can be awarded.
A first step toward academic integration is creating a cross-walk of academic standards that are resident in a CTE curriculum. CCCS is supporting the creation of a cross-walk of academic standards that are resident in a CTE curriculum through the continued expansion of a Colorado interactive CTE standards website. This on-line tool allows CTE teachers to build courses based on industry defined standards. CCCS is working to complete the CTE standards website that includes information on pathways, standards, and courses in each of six current CTE concentrations: Agricultural and Natural Resources; Business and Public Administration; Hospitality, Human Services and Education & Training; Health Sciences and Public Safety; STEM, Arts, Design and Information Technology; and Skilled Trades and Technical Sciences.
Once this is complete for all programs, the next steps include:
- prioritize which academic standards should be taught;
- create clear processes for how to integrate academic content in CTE courses;
- provide professional development opportunities on these processes; and
- share model lesson plans for academic integration.
Inherent in this approach is a strong relationship between CCCS and the Colorado Department of Education, as the foundation of statewide development of rigorous and challenging courses aligned with academic content standards. CCCS is also researching and investigating promising practices that currently exist in academic integration and showcase these promising practices on the CCCS website and through professional development opportunities.