For the past decade major business leaders and authors suggested that America needed a college educated work force to maintain our competitive balance internationally. They pushed hard. That major initiative overlooked the diverse and necessary fields required for a booming economy that only require career certifications and associate degrees. Thankfully, the national vision and conversation recently expanded to include all post-secondary learning. I believe that broader philosophy fits the needs of our community better than more restrictive approach.
Children certainly need a vision that some level of college attendance or career preparation (workforce certificates) is necessary to secure a better future for themselves and their families. In the past our district started too late in the education process talking to our students about their futures.
No longer is that the case.
This week is College Week in Pasadena ISD. College and career discussions were the norm this week, as they have been for several years, from pre-kindergarten classes through high school. At every grade level this week you saw college t-shirts being worn and logos hanging from every classroom door. Our College Night involved well over 1,000 students and more than 100 colleges, giving our high school kids a chance to explore their options. Our renewed emphasis is working. In 2002, only 46 percent of our students attended college at any level. That number surpassed 60% last year.
My years at Texas Tech were among the best years of my life in terms of what I learned and the friends I made…including the woman I met and have been married to for almost 37 years. What I learned in my graduate studies at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and Lamar University served me well. I want that same experience for our students who want it.
It is our hope that Pasadena ISD students will graduate high school with a clearer dream of the direction life will take them through the job certifications they earn or the bachelors and doctorate degrees they will hang on their walls in the years to come.