Jim Stone Quoted in “The Atlantic”

Submitted by Jim Stone, NRCCTE Director.

NRCCTE Director Jim Stone was cited in a recent feature about CTE in The Atlantic’s National channel. In “Meet the ‘Fly Boys’ of Memphis, the Future of American Education,” author Brian Resnick describes the Memphis City School District’s commitment to offering a variety of rigorous, college-preparatory CTE programs that are open to all students without geographical attendance restrictions. The article describes how, with financial backing from their local community, two seniors in the four-year Aviation program at Wooddale High School were able to compete in the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) held in The Plains, Virginia.

  • In the face of the recession and declining numbers of skilled technical workers, a key piece of the Obama administration’s education plan is a renewed emphasis on Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, just like the one Carter and Hooker attended at Wooddale. Today’s CTE programs are not the vocational curricula of the past, which focused solely on trade education. They include college prep as well, giving students more options after graduation.
  • The trick to getting kids interested in STEM, Stone says, is to give them access to a whole variety of activities early on, hoping one will spark their interest. “Giving kids exposure to this at an early age can have a powerful effect in getting them to think about different ways of what their future might be,” he says. And without such opportunities, “we’re just turning kids off in droves.” The challenge is then, is how districts with limited funding can show kids these limitless opportunities at an early age.

Although the boys did not win the competition, one plans to earn an aircraft mechanic’s license at a local community college while working as a paid intern at FedEx, then continuing on to Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University, where FedEx will pay his way. The other student plans to attend Middle Tennessee State tostudy aircraft control.

For the full article go here.