CTE students: Lazy, stupid, irresponsible?

The local school district mailed its annual back-to-school publication to residents last week.

I took particular note of the information about student attendance at BOCES, our regional vocational education provider.

Attendance in BOCES’ Career and Technical Education programs, New Visions programs, Unique Placement programs and Career Academy are privileges that cost our school district substantial amount of funding. To attend these programs, students must annually complete an application and sign a contract for consideration to be approved for attendance. Students displaying poor attendance, poor behavior and/or poor academics thus violating their contract are subject to removal from these programs anytime.

I read that as:

  • Vocational kids are a drain on local resources.
  • Vocational kids are irresponsible.
  • Vocational kids are stupid.
  • Vocational kids should be punished for not being academically apt.
  • Parents shouldn’t expect their vocational program student to get any help from the home school.

If you were the parent of a kid who’d rather tinker with an engine than read Emily Dickinson, would you get the message that the local school didn’t want your kid?

Or am I over-reacting?

2 thoughts on “CTE students: Lazy, stupid, irresponsible?

  1. I can see where this message would sound like the principal was not taking students seriously. However, after teaching in a career center for 15 years, I understand c where this principal was coming from. We had excellent teachers and programs at my career center. The problem was no one at the high school appreciated these people or programs. The focus was totally on the college prep and above students. Our career center was the dumping ground for all unwanted students. There were four inner city schools that came to my center, and all the high schools used our school to get rid of troubled students for half a day. Even if the college prep students wanted to attend, the high school guidance counselors told them no. So, I do understand why this type of letter was sent to parents.


    1. I know that CTE doesn’t get much respect. I’ve heard one of our leading business owners who didn’t want to attend college (and didn’t) talk about being discouraged from wanting to go to BOCES, so I know that happens. I just don’t understand the attitude. Who do principals and guidance counselors get to service their cars and clear their drains? Who grew the sweet corn they eat and who built their homes? Despising trades strikes me as suicidal.

      Even assuming you thought like this, would you send this message to every resident of the district when the school has a building project coming up? That does not strike me as a well thought out public relations strategy.


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