Career and Technical Education

  • Over the last decade and a half, American education reform has focused on improving traditional academic curricula, with performance measured by standardized exams and related modes of accountability for schools, teachers and students.   That reform model has generated mixed results, and some have criticized the limitations of  what seems to be a “one size fits all” approach to educational excellence. Furthermore, the emergence of the global knowledge economy has placed new and challenging demands on American education. In order to prepare American students for 21st century jobs in this knowledge economy, and to deepen their engagement in the rigorous classwork that is called for, an increasing number of educators argue, the emergence of high-quality Career and Technical Education is an important development.

    This is no easy task. We must overcome the legacy of past vocational education programs, which too often tracked students from working families and students of color into low-wage, unskilled jobs bereft of opportunities for economic and social improvement. In this context, CTE must bring forward and update the most successful aspects of the vocational education tradition.

    The evidence is strong that quality CTE can provide powerful motivation for students to graduate from high school and go on to post-secondary education. Across America, only 3 in every 4 students graduate high school on time, in four years. The numbers are significantly better, however, for students with a concentration in Career and Technical Education: 9 in every 10 graduate on time. Of students who graduate high school with a Career and Technical concentration, 7 in every 10 go on to enroll in post-secondary education. After  two years, 4 in every 5 of these students have either completed their course of study and earned a certificate, or remain  enrolled in a program. [1]CTE can create a tangible connection to a desirable future, with meaningful work and good paying jobs. It transforms the classroom into an arena of accomplishment.  Its focus on real world skills and successes can instill in students a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work that carries over to their studies. For students living in poverty and/or at risk for dropping out, CTE can provide a pathway to finishing one’s education, with all that means for their futures. Educators in all the states recognize the need to place increased emphasis on the sort of contextual education represented by the CTE approach.

     
  • Eugenia Kemble Research Grants

    In honor of its founding executive director, the Albert Shanker Institute announces the creation of the “Eugenia Kemble Research Grants Program.” Tax-deductible donations to this program are welcome. Please make donations through PayPal or by check to the Albert Shanker Institute (555 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001). More information. Watch the Memorial Service.

  • Let’s Talk Foundations: Oral Language Development I

    Oral language—listening and talking—is the primary means by which young children learn about and interact with the world. This training module for early childhood educators offers simple but powerful ideas to support young children build the skills, knowledge, vocabulary, and attitudes that can help prepare them for future academic learning across the content areas. Here, we offer excerpted materials for a workshop on supporting English language learners.

  • Let’s Talk PD: Early Mathematics Development

    This training module for early childhood educators provides an overview of the research and standards on age-appropriate mathematics development, including practical takeaway materials to help assist in instructional. The most important early childhood mathematical foundations are addressed, including numerical sense and problem solving, building math vocabulary, using math manipulatives, and curriculum integration. The materials may be presented as a very intensive one-day session or broken into separate workshops. This excerpt contains materials for a workshop on curriculum integration.

  • Let’s Talk PD: Early Science Development

    This module for early childhood educators provides research-based information on early science development in the three key areas of physical science, life science, and earth science, along with applied information for improving instruction in each area. These materials can be implemented as an intensive, day-long professional development seminar or broken up into a series of workshops. This excerpt contains materials for a workshop on life science.

  • CTE Models

    Advocates of  the high quality CTE approach argue that it eschews the ‘one size fits all’ approach to education, without sacrificing rigor.

  • Common Career Technical Core and the Common Core

    The common Career Technical Core (CCTE) is a set of high quality benchmarks standards for CTE. It is a state-led initiative.

  • College and Career Readiness

    How do schools prepare students to be both college and career ready?

  • Why We Need New Workplace Partnerships for Skills Development

    This report, signed by a diverse group of labor, business and policy experts, calls for far-reaching changes in the way our country manages its work-force skills and training efforts.

  • Inaugural State of the Unions Address

    On this Labor Day, 2023, the Shanker Institute reposts AFL-CIO President and Shanker Board Member Liz Shuler's "Inaugural State of the Unions Address" as prepared for delivery on August 29, 2023.

    Good morning, everyone! 

    To our union family and friends here in the House of Labor, and everyone watching along: Thank you for being part of this new Labor Day tradition.

    Every year, we’re going to come together and talk about where working people stand in this country.

    The story we’re going to share with you today, at this inaugural State of the Unions, is our story as working people. It’s the story of a number — 88% — which I’ll come back to in a few minutes.

    But first I want to reflect on what we just heard from our speakers here today.

    Every day, I travel this country and I talk to workers — workers in unions, of course, but also working people who aren’t yet part of a union. And this is what I hear from them:

    I don’t feel good about my future. 

    I need to make more money. I need a stable job. I wish I could afford a home. I wish I had some power over my work and my life right now.

    There is a reason that song, Rich Men North of Richmond, is the number one song in the country right now. For a long time, working people in this country have felt powerless. They’ve been powerless. 

    But here is the truth we’re going to talk about today: 

    Working people are reclaiming our power. 

    Working people are taking on the companies that have exploited us for a long time now.

    The State of the Unions is on the rise.

  • The Albert Shanker Institute at 25

    The Shanker Institute turns 25 years old this month!

    The Shanker Institute was formed in 1998 to honor the life and legacy of AFT President Al Shanker. The organization’s by-laws commit it to four fundamental principles—vibrant democracy, quality public education, a voice for working people in decisions affecting their jobs and their lives, and free and open debate about all of these issues.

    From the beginning the Institute has brought together influential leaders and thinkers from business, labor, government, and education from across the political spectrum. ASI continues to sponsor research, promotes discussions, and seek new and workable approaches to the issues that shape the future of democracy, education, and unionism.

  • Creating an Innovation Ecosystem that Works for Working People

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute. In the ninth of these essays, guest authors Amanda Ballantyne et al explore how labor unions help workers navigate economic turmoil and play a crucial role in shaping sweeping societal and workplace technological changes.

    The digital transformation of the economy is disrupting workplaces, daily life and the social fabric. Workers face new challenges from advanced robotics, big data, artificial intelligence, and social media that exacerbate economic and racial inequality. Big business and Big Tech companies, supercharged by taxpayer-funded research, are imposing these changes on workers without their consent or input. This has minted a host of tech billionaires, but workers have not gotten a fair share of the economic benefits. Labor unions have long helped workers navigate economic turmoil and have a crucial role to play in shaping the technological changes that are sweeping society and the workplace.
    Read the full article.

  • Collective Bargaining and Digitalization: A Global Survey of Union Use of Collective Bargaining to Increase Worker Control over Digitalization

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute. In the eighth of these essays, guest authors Eckhard Voss and Daniel Bertossa discuss the future of collective bargaining in the face of increasing digitalization.

    In “Collective Bargaining and Digitalization: A Global Survey of Union Use of Collective Bargaining to Increase Worker Control over Digitalization,” WMP consultant Eckhard Voss and PSI expert Daniel Bertossa discuss what the future of collective bargaining looks like in the face of increasing levels of digitalization. Through an in-depth evaluation of seven key areas affected by digitalization, the authors discuss the deficits in collective bargaining, before approaching the herculean task of confronting them.

  • Reshaping the Digitization in Public Services

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the seventh of these essays.

    Digitalization is already a sweeping force throughout private and public spaces, and public services are on the forefront of this new frontier. Unfortunately, this has not been an easy process, with rights being violated and harm being caused. In “Reshaping the Digitization in Public Services,” Christina Colclough, founder of the Why Not Lab, discusses the measures needed to protect human rights and put in place safeguards to ensure digitization proceeds in a manner that benefits everyone.

  • The Future of Work in Education: Teachers’ Professional Commitment in a Changing World

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the sixth of these essays.

    Teacher shortages are an issue not just in the United States; across the planet, the issue is getting to the forefront of debate as the profession itself is under threat. In “Teachers’ Professional Commitment in a Changing World,” by Ee Ling Low et al. of the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, this issue is confronted head on. The authors take great efforts to both identify the factors that drive teacher commitment, and to identify how these factors can be implemented to drive positive outcomes for teachers for the duration of their careers.

    Read the full article.
  • Jasmine’s Day: An AI Education Story

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the fifth of these essays.

  • At the Intersection of the Future of Work and Education

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the fourth of these essays.

    In his article “At the Intersection of the Future of Work and Education,” David Edwards argues that what is truly needed is strong public education. The operation of school systems during the pandemic deepened long-standing problems of financing, segregation, inequality, and discrimination inside and between countries. Distance learning was a quantum leap in the use of artificial intelligence and other technology, depriving learners of social relationships. By consulting teachers and teachers unions on educational policy, the well-known problems of the education system can be combated, and triumphed against.

    Read the full article.

  • Proactive Union and Teacher Strategies for Shaping Technology in Education

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the second of these essays.1>

    The future is already here. Educational technologies and artificial intelligence are being utilized by schools and governments across the planet, and the frontiers are constantly expanding.

  • A.I.’s Impact on Jobs, Skills and the Future of Work: the UNESCO Perspective on Key Policy Issues and the Ethical Debate

    A special issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy (Vol. 34, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2022) featured essays on the topic of the Future of Work which were solicited by the American Federation of Teachers for a conference on the subject it jointly hosted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Albert Shanker Institute on July 13, 2022. This is the first of these essays.1>

    In “A.I.’s Impact on Jobs, Skills and the Future of Work: the UNESCO Perspective on Key Policy Issues and the Ethical Debate,” Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General at UNESCO, discusses how artificial intelligence does not necessarily need to be a boogeyman. If AI is developed with people in mind, then the inclusive possibilities of AI are infinite. Ramos discusses these possibilities, and the path to get there, while focusing on the key issues of gender and discrimination.