English Learners Underrepresented in CTE Programs

Students at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School. (Photo by Jessica Glazer via Chalkbeat)

English learners accounted for nearly 11 percent of the city’s high school students in the 2015-16 school year, but account for only 5.3 percent of students in career and technical education (CTE) programs which help students to prepare for employment, according to a study by Advocates for Children of New York reported on in Chalkbeat. Daniela Brighenti writes:

The four-year graduation rate for English learners in 2016 was roughly 27 percent — significantly lower than the citywide average of 73 percent. According to the report, English learners could benefit from joining CTE programs, as the graduation rate for ELLs who completed most or all of a CTE program last year was a significantly higher 57 percent.

Additionally, the report says, CTE programs can help English learners graduate through a pathway that allows students to take a technical exam in lieu of one of the required social studies Regents exams. This “4+1” option could be particularly helpful for English learners, according to the report, because their pass rates on Regents exams are often lower than those of non-English learners.

Those English learners who do end up in CTE programs face disadvantages, the report says, with many not making it to completion. Though the 2016 graduating class had 23,000 students who completed at least two-thirds of a CTE course sequence, only 2 percent were English learners.

Go to Chalkbeat to read the report’s recommendation for how to encourage more participation by English language learners in CTE programs, and how their experience in those programs can be improved.

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