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Ed Committees Sidestep Divisive Issues

The General Assembly’s interim career and technology committee stopped short Wednesday of calling for the creation of a dual track diploma in North Carolina. Instead it recommended “endorsements” for the already existing high school diploma.

Each student in North Carolina is required to take a certain number of electives. The endorsements would simply reflect whether those electives met the requirements for one of three special designations – career, college, or both.

It would be up to the State Board of Education to determine the requirements, which, according to the committee, should be in place by the 2014-2015 school year.

Citing a “skill gap” in fields reliant on science, technology, engineering and math, the report also recommended a streamlined process for hiring career and technology teachers; the sharing of resources between public schools and community colleges; and a concerted effort to increase the number of students enrolled in vocational education programs.

In a similar fashion, the Education Oversight Committee also avoided hot button K-12 issues in its final report, which focused instead on improvements to teacher training programs, college completion rates, and the transition from two-year to four-year colleges.

The omission of vouchers, education savings accounts and charter schools, however, means very little.

“I imagine they are going to take substantive legislation that will need a lot of committee review and a lot of study,” Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Republican from Archdale who co-chairs the committee. “That’s probably something that would not be normally handled in this report.”

“They probably will come up,” he said, “just not in that report.”

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