The relative newness of modern CTE means a wealth of coverage opportunities for education reporters, including local innovations. Here are a couple big-picture themes to consider:
- Many CTE models are relatively recent, and their effectiveness is not yet proven through rigorous evaluation. Education reporters will want to keep an eye out for evidence of CTE’s effectiveness in raising wages, improving postsecondary attendance and retention, and securing job placements.
- Another set of issues to watch involves the credentials awarded by CTE providers (such as “certificates,” “certifications” and “stackable” credentials (see Glossary). Do these non-degree credentials have real value in the job market for graduates, and what skills do they represent? How do prospective students decide which credentials will offer the best returns in job opportunities and wages?
- Given vocational education’s checkered history, equity remains a significant concern. On the one hand, the rise of CTE has renewed worries that students will be steered away from four-year college preparation based on ethnicity, race or socioeconomic background. Other scholars, on the other hand, have concerns about unequal access to and participation in high-quality CTE programs, particularly as they grow in popularity.