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State Looks to Jump Start Students' Careers

Shreveport Times (LA) (01/22/14) Guidry, Leigh

At a recent public forum, Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White said school districts could begin implementing the Jump Start initiative next year. The program -- proposed by the State Department of Education to provide students with career education in high school -- would be phased in by the 2018-19 school year. The initiative would reform the current high school career diploma with the potential to earn more industrial credentials, which would require greater collaboration between school districts, colleges, and businesses to provide courses and workplace experiences to high school students. "There are more paths to prosperity than a four-year degree," said White. Jump Start would be an elective path for students pursuing a university-preparatory diploma and a required path for students pursuing a career diploma. "If we're going to dignify career education, we need to reward career education in our accountability system," he noted. The program should be accompanied by rewards for industrial credentials and academic achievements under the graduation index portion that accounts for 25 percent of a high school's annual performance score, he said. Additionally, White has proposed to double career and technical education funding for any program in a statewide technical field and subsidize training required at a facility outside of school. The Board of Education will consider the proposals in March, and if approved, they will be sent to the state legislature.
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