Career-oriented courses at Texas schools get with the times

Movies are in 3-D, accountants who track fraud are in demand, and farmers now use computers to measure moisture in the soil. While the times have changed, high school career classes in Texas were much the same, sometimes emphasizing outdated skills, reports the Dallas Morning News—but that is now changing, too. New Labor Department revisions in career and technology education have trickled down to the Texas Education Agency and to school districts. Following the Labor Department’s lead to cluster career classes into 16 areas, the state has collapsed 600 approved classes into 200 carefully planned courses. But the new career and technology curriculum has hit at the same time as new state graduation requirements, causing some chaos. Wes Cunningham, principal of Frisco’s Career and Technical Education Center, said he thinks the state changes, for the most part, are good. They emphasize new skills for the job market. For instance, students interested in architecture have learned a computer program called AutoCAD, the standard for drawing plans. But that standard is changing to Revit, which produces 3-D drawings. Students will spend less time on AutoCAD and will add Revit, he said. That falls in line with the goal to make sure students are prepared for both a job and college…

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