Career and Technical Education-Focused High Schools

Implementation, Curriculum, and Impact


Leaders in education, government, and industry raise concerns that today’s high school graduates emerge unprepared for higher education and the careers of the 21st century. Many have suggested increasing access to career and technical education (CTE) as a potential solution to these difficulties. This report profiles five large, magnet high schools focused specifically on providing CTE education alongside core academic curriculums. Contacts discuss the necessary resources to establish and operate CTE-focused high schools and provide recommendations for district leaders considering establishing CTE-focused high schools in their districts. Students at all profiled schools graduated at higher rates than their peers, and most of these schools exhibited better performance on academic proficiency tests compared to their regional peers.

Key observations from our research

1. School districts establish Career and Technical Education (CTE) focused high schools to provide CTE education integrated with academic curriculums more affordably.

2. Profiled CTE-focused high schools require multiple large, dedicated facilities outfitted with specialized equipment.

3. CTE-focused high schools cost more than traditional schools to open and operate.

4. Larger profiled CTE-focused high schools offer an average of 21 CTE programs.

5. Students graduate at a higher rate at profiled CTE-focused high schools compared to peers

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