Is College Ready The Same As Career Ready?

April 19th, 2010

Forty eight states have joined together to create a de facto national k-12 common core curriculum-see www.ccsso.org. One of the issues they are struggling with is whether the curriculum standards for college ready and career ready are the same. Though the terms”college ready” and “career ready” have been used together in many education plans in recent years, a paper from the Association for Career and Technical Education argues they are not the same and for refining the differences. “Career readiness involved three major skill areas: core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete situations in order to function to function in the workplace and in routine daily activities; employable skills that are essential in any career area; and technical, job-specific skills related to a specific career”. This position would differentiate career readiness from college readiness.  Some state officials cannot understand how the same mathematics is needed for a selective university and a community college welding program.

One way out of this dilemma is to specify that the common standards apply only to the more complex jobs such as a licensed practical nurse and not a physical therapy aide. This seems to be the direction the 48 state consortium is going, and it might work if they are very clear about what types of  college career programs  they are talking about.