December 3 2007 - California's GetREAL coalition say that an expansion of career technical education (CTE) would help reduce crime and the state's 'unacceptably high' drop out rate.
Stephen Walker, CEO of Minorities in Law Enforcement said:
"First, we congratulate State Senator Darrell Steinberg for taking the lead on this important issue as chair of the Senate Select Committee on High School Graduation.
"The fact is, kids who drop out of school are four times more likely to end up in prison than those who earn a high school diploma," said Stephen Walker. "We believe very strongly that robust career technical education programs will help reduce the drop-out rate by making school more relevant for students, and by helping them learn the skills needed for rewarding employment. There's no better crime deterrent than a meaningful education and a job."
"Our prisons and youth facilities are filled with people who dropped out of school," added Lance Corcoran, Chief of Government Affairs for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. "If we're serious about reducing the state's prison population, then we better get serious about keeping kids in school and helping them prepare for meaningful employment. But instead of expanding CTE programs, we're cutting them."
The GetREAL coalition's co-chair, Jack Stewart, president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, observed that despite the proven benefits of CET, over 14,000 career technical education courses have been cut from California's schools over the past twenty years.
"The sharp decline of CTE instruction partly explains why California's dropout rate is nearing 40%," he said. Stewart pointed to a study conducted by the Gates Foundation in March 2006. The study found that 81% of drop outs said more 'real world' learning would have kept them in school. "And that's precisely what CTE offers - hands-on learning and the opportunity to learn the skills needed for today's 21st Century jobs."
The GetREAL coalition includes:
- the State Building & Construction Trades Council
- California Manufacturers & Technology Association
- California Farm Bureau
- Western States Petroleum Association
- Johnson & Johnson
- California Agricultural Teachers Association
- California Business Education Association
- California Industrial and Technology Education Association
- California Space Authority
- New Hope Charities
- Child Abuse Prevention Center
- Richmond Children's Foundation
- California Association of Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors
- Minorities in Law Enforcement