AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AT THE CROSSROADS

WHEREAS, employers worldwide have raised their demands for workers with high academic achievement and sophisticated technical knowledge, skills and other abilities; and

WHEREAS, quality vocational education and school-to-career programs are successful approaches for delivering workforce preparation and high academic skills; and

WHEREAS, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is providing a certification that benchmarks rigorous standards for vocational instructors; and

WHEREAS, standards-based vocational education and school-to-career reforms, like other high-skill approaches to education improvement, have become the object of persistent attacks; and

WHEREAS, these attacks continue to fuel proposals, mainly by conservatives in Congress and some state governments, to create block grants of monies provided by federal laws, a practice that threatens to reduce funding for vocational and other needed programs and thwart progress toward creating quality vocational systems; and

WHEREAS, national proposals to shift funding from secondary vocational programs to tech-prep programs fail to recognize the need for increased funding for both types of programs to improve the quality and quantity of secondary and postsecondary offerings and create a seamless workforce preparation system:

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to oppose national and state attempts to block grant or reduce funding for vocational education, will advocate for adequate funding for secondary and postsecondary programs and will encourage states to sustain quality school-to-career systems; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will encourage the development and use of technically sound and practical assessment tools that measure academic skills learned in applied instructional contexts. Assessments of this type will demonstrate the contribution of vocational education to academic achievement; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will advocate for research-based programs that use contextualized learning methods to improve achievement of students toward reaching high and rigorous standards. The goal will be dissemination of curricula and instructional techniques, professional development, counseling and other program elements to affiliates; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will provide information to members that will assist them implement high-quality vocational programs, including encouraging members to participate in local policy-making activities such as those available under the Workforce Investment Act and helping them identify new funding sources; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will advocate for research-based professional development for educators in vocational, technical and comprehensive schools. The purpose of this professional development will be to strengthen awareness and applications of academic skills, applied learning standards and effective strategies for incorporating them into curriculum, instruction and assessment; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to fight for adequate support for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will help assess teacher shortages in vocational education and develop policies to address these shortages while simultaneously supporting efforts to improve career counseling; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support construction, renovation, retooling and other modernization efforts to create instructional environments that meet the needs of staff and students.


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