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January 17, 2013 (Sacramento)—Sweeping updates to California’s career technical education (CTE) standards—designed to reflect the changing face of technology and set higher academic goals—received approval from the State Board of Education Wednesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced.

The new standards are one of the cornerstone achievements of Torlakson’s Career Readiness Initiative. Building on the previous CTE standards, the revised standards were created with input from more than 300 representatives from business and industry, labor, and postsecondary and secondary education, ranging from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to mental health experts and environmental innovators.

 “This new framework sheds light on many new 21st century industry pathways, from game design and mental and behavioral health to green energy and international business,” Torlakson said. “They also tie in well with the rigorous academics and modern relevance demanded under the Common Core State Standards.”

Some two million students across California are already pursuing career technical education in their middle or high schools. Students in these programs tend to graduate at a higher rate than their counterparts.

The new standards, written for grades seven through twelve, lay out 59 pathways to graduating ready for careers and college within 15 industry sectors. Public hearings on the changes were held in Sacramento and Los Angeles in the fall, in addition to an open public comment period.

The new standards reflect current business and industry practices, as well as the new expectations for skills and knowledge. Examples include:

  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment (added Game Design and Integration pathway);
  • Business and Finance (added an International Business pathway);
  • Energy, Environment, and Utilities (rewritten to reflect use of new energy sources);
  • Fashion and Interior Design (added a Personal Services pathway);
  • Health Science and Medical Technology (rewritten with new pathways for Patient Care, Public and Community Health, and Mental and Behavioral Health);
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) (updated to include new ICT formats in communication and added a Games and Simulation pathway);
  • Public Services (rewritten to include new Emergency Response and Legal Practices pathways); and
  • Transportation (rewritten to include all new pathways to represent all phases and modes of transportation: Operations, Structural Repair and Refinishing, Systems Diagnostics and Service).

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