The California Constitution guarantees every child in California a fundamental right to a meaningful education and an equal opportunity to attain that education. As interpreted by the California Supreme Court, a meaningful education in the 21st century is one that prepares students for civic engagement, college, and a career.
The successful implementation of this constitutional guarantee requires certain key components: effective teachers, support services for students, and a rigorous curriculum that involves real world career experiences and applications as well as the academic content needed for students to enter and complete college. The current measure for “necessary academic content” are the minimum standards for admission into the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC) systems, also known as the “A-G” standards. While there are some high-quality career preparation programs that successfully implement the academic content of A-G courses, many times students are forced to choose between the academic courses they need for college admission and career technical education (CTE) courses that may not implement the same academic material.
Parents, students, and employers throughout the state stress the importance of being prepared for both college and a career, not college or a career. It is a subtle, but important difference that when misinterpreted can often deny students the opportunity to chose between many postsecondary options available to them. Avoiding policies and practices that place college and career in opposition to one another or make them optional pathways can help ensure that all students have a meaningful choice of college and career when they graduate.
Statewide alliance of 25 grassroots organizations dedicated to improving education for poor students of color and immigrant students.