According to the Madera County census 77% of the people that live in Madera County do not have a college degree. According to EDSOURCE, 18% of the students at Yosemite High School participate in Advanced Placement P classes. Of that 18%, it is reported that there is a 32% passing rate.
Almost 50% of the student population at YHS participate in the CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs, which include ag, welding, auto shop, criminology and sports medicine. More students participate in CTE programs than the AP classes at YHS.
Combined, there are approximately 309 students enrolled at YHS in CTE programs (or 47% of the school population) including sports medicine (25 students), auto shop (140 students), g /mechanics/welding/ ag science (bio and chemistry) and ornamental horticulture (144 students).
Formal vocational education received official government support as early as 1917 with the federal Smith-Hughes Act. Throughout most of the 20th century, vocational programs focused primarily on job skills and served students who were either struggling in an academic program or were just not seen as “college material.”
In 2002 California passed Assembly Bill (AB) 1412 and Senate Bill (SB) 1934, which mandated that the state develop career/tech curriculum standards and frameworks - as it has already done for the core academic subject areas, the arts, foreign languages and physical education.
The discussion about these California programs is part of a much larger question: Can the state improve the success of high school students generally, particularly the 75% who currently do not fulfill the entrance requirements to attend a four-year public university? In the case of Madera County – the 77%.
YHS was granted a CTE incentive grant and portions of all five teachers (Ms. Faria, Mr. Kirby, Mr. Lincoln, Ms. Ruhmor, and Mr. Maynez) salaries and benefits have been paid from the CTEIG and the Fresno ROP/CTE grant. This is the last year of funding from the Fresno ROP/CTE and YHS has one more year of funding for the CTEIG.
This grant was passed by the governor a couple of years ago to provide money for improvements in current programs or to establish new programs. YHS applied for a total of $350,000 in CTE grants and was awarded $99,700 last year. The YHS school board and administration chose to budget all of the grant money to salaries and benefits instead of program improvements for sustainability which was a requirement in order to show viability for the grant.
YHS had to show three years of sustainability after the grant ended so they knew the programs would continue.
Our district chose to use the funds for salaries and benefits rather than for improvements like they should have. Our district doesn’t value CTEs. What was this district’s plan for the three years of sustainability of that portion of our teachers’ salaries?
The district, in the midst of poor money management, must come up with the salaries for five incredibly valuable educators that teach nearly 50% of the students. These educators are teaching our students to be mechanics, welders, medics, and farmers just to give a few examples of the incredible potential of these students. Which of these careers should our society do away with?
The district board of trustees and Superintendent Dr. Cecelia Greenberg would like to lead us to believe that the solution is to eliminate teaching positions. These educators, and students are at the mercy of poor management that needs an overhaul.
The CTE programs serve more students per capita than any other program on campus. Save the Career and Technical Education programs.