School closures in Kansas highlight need for more career education

Originally published by CBS Topeka - November 28, 2020

A recent survey shows that Kansas parents believe their kids need more career and technical education.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down schools and created a massive disruption in Kansas’ education system, a recent survey done by K12/Qualtrics has found that many parents are unhappy with the options available to their students to prepare them for future careers.

According to K12/Qualtrics, 88% of parents agree that career and technical education programs are the best solutions to train the future American workforce.

However, this contrasts with the CTE options available for Kansas students, with less than 150,000 students enrolled in such programs in the 2018-19 school year at the secondary level. The study said CTE at that level has been proven to have higher median salaries within the first 8 years after graduation.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 2016-17 school year, 41% of Kansas high school CTE concentrations focused on STEM and STEM-related careers; 16% of high school CTE concentrations focused on Arts, Audio-Visual Technology and Communication; 3% of high school CTE concentrations focused on Business Management and Administration and 14% of high school CTE concentrations focused on Health Science.

“We’re witnessing a significant contingent of parents affirming their confidence in the success of career-oriented education,” said Dr. Shaun McAlmont, President of Career Learning Solutions at K12. “On both sides of the aisle, Americans agree that we must invest in education systems at the local level to prepare students for a competitive job market, and in order for our economy to compete with China and other emerging economies on a global scale.”

K12/Qualtrics also found that 78% of parents agree the U.S. should invest in CTE options at the K-12 education level to address the fact that China has a faster-growing and more lucrative technical industry than the U.S. does.

“An investment in career readiness education would help the U.S. mitigate the threat of foreign competition while helping millions of students better prepare for careers in fields that are critical to our economy,” said Dr. McAlmont. “Career learning is an academic solution for an economic problem, and we must address the opportunity to bring more students these education options with utmost urgency.”

According to the study, only 27% of parents believe the current job market is strong for young adults, while 18% believe the job market will worsen within the next year.

For more information or to see the full study, click here.

For more information on CTE in Kansas high schools, click here.

To learn more about Stride, Inc. (formerly K12 Inc.), visit

KEYWORDS: Career Readiness, Careers, Thought Leadership

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