An earnest attempt to achieve rigorous career preparation in Louisiana would include not just changes to our diplomas, but also changes to how we reward schools and school systems in our accountability system. It would include changes in funding for career coursework, apprenticeships and internships. It would address the credentials required for professionals who teach and mentor young adults. And it would involve a concerted effort to inform the caretakers who shape so much of what adolescents choose to do with their lives.
White’s goal is to assist his students in attaining at least a “middle class wage” following college graduation. Perhaps he has a point. Many employers claim that college grads lack even basic professional skills.But White’s approach shouldn’t be seen as a national panacea for public education. Rather, his proposal serves as an example of why states and localities should be empowered to make their own decisions about school curriculum, structure, and method. It’s likely that White understand the needs of the families in his state better than a federal board would, and is devising this particular plan to better serve them.[Mortar boards image courtesy of Shutterstock]