In an important step to improve college and career readiness among middle level students, today Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)—co-chair of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus—introduced the Middle School Technical Education Program (Middle STEP) Act. Cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Mark Warner (D-VA), the bill has received several endorsements from national education organizations—including strong support from NASSP.
This legislation would greatly benefit middle level students by presenting them with CTE programs to foster their college and career development—giving them a leg up on their future. Middle schools would partner with postsecondary institutions and local businesses to create opportunities such as apprenticeships and project-based learning, which are usually reserved for high school or postsecondary programs.
“The Middle STEP Act will expose students to a wide range of career choices through hands-on learning so they will be more informed about future paths and what they can do in high school to pursue them,” said Kaine. “Middle school is an important time for students to explore their own strengths, likes, and dislikes, and CTE exploration programs are great tools to educate them about the type of coursework or training that goes into a career field that matches their interests.”
The Middle STEP program would also provide students with academic counseling to develop a plan for how their high school endeavors will prepare them for a future in high-demand 21st century jobs.
NASSP knows that the middle school years are a crucial time to engage students in a rigorous curriculum that will help them transition into high school and be successful in postsecondary education or careers. In fact, according to the Association for Career and Technical Education, students participating in CTE programs have graduation rates of more than 90%, and we should ensure that more students across the country have access to quality CTE programs.
Click here to read Sen. Kaine’s press release and learn more about the Middle STEP Act.