Governor Bill Lee is big on pushing a vocational/technical education agenda. In fact, it was his first public policy proposal.
Back in 2015, Mike Pence was the Governor of Indiana. He proposed an expansive program to enhance vocational/technical education. Here’s more on how that’s worked out from an economist at Ball State University in Indiana:
Back in 2015, I welcomed Gov. Pence’s call for more vocational education in schools. But, what was designed as a wise policy to prepare more students for a productive life at work ended up causing the state’s school board to weaken curriculum requirements. This has left us with a workforce less prepared to withstand automation-related job disruption.
Let me say it plainly. Our educational policy shifts were not merely unwise but wholly uninformed. By focusing on the needs of just a few vocal businesses at the expense of students, we have significantly weakened the state’s economy.
By softening the educational requirements in high schools, and by promoting jobs of today rather than careers for the future, we may well have squandered the opportunity for rapid growth during the longest recovery in U.S. history. It is time for the General Assembly to undertake a thoughtful and informed review of our human capital policies. It is also time for employers and households to make it clear to elected officials that the long-term interests of Indiana lie in a well-educated and well-trained workforce.
Stay tuned to see if Lee follows the Pence script by expanding vocational education and then expanding vouchers, potentially doubly weakening Tennessee schools.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport