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Making a Case for Career and Technical Education in Topeka

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FFA officer Noah Ochsner stands in front of the Capitol building during his trip to Topeka to discuss education.

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FFA officer Noah Ochsner stands in front of the Capitol building during his trip to Topeka to discuss education.

Topeka, Kan- Noah Ochsner, Greeley County senior, has seen his fair share of the Kansas Public Education System. “It’s definitely not real world”, Ochsner commented, “and honestly it’s not the teachers and the school districts fault. It’s the standards that they are required to meet that are causing the problem.” On January 10th, Ochsner along with other FFA officers and other Career and Technical Education (CTE) Organizations in Kansas discussed the future of Kansas Education and what is and what will be happening over the next year with the Kansas Department of Education, Kansas State School Board and the Kansas Board of Regents at the 2018 Career Technical State Officer Citizenship Day in Topeka. For years Kansas has been in an Education downfall. Most people will point to Governor Brownback’s sweeping cuts, but the issue is far beyond that. “The system has fallen behind. For years, we have been trying to fit the student to the system, and now we are finally realizing we need to fit the system to the student.” So what will the new “system” look like? How will we better prepare students to enter the workforce? These are the questions being tossed around by our state departments. The Kansas Department of Education believes the future lies in Career and Technical Education. CTE Programs have already been in effect for years, but students sometimes don’t know they exist or have not taken advantage of them. Currently, Greeley County High School offers Agricultural Education with FFA as the sole CTE program within the school district. Other schools around the state have multiple CTE programs that include Family and Consumer Science with FCCLA and Business programs with FBLA. The KDE plans to roll out new standards over the years changing the format of public education and leaving the ways of standardized testing in the past. Ochsner had the privilege to speak with Senator John Doll, Garden City, and Representative Russ Jennings, Lakin, about the importance of CTE programs to Southwest Kansas Schools and Greeley County. “We are extremely lucky to have two state legislators that truly care about education. I hope they keep fighting for what we need out here,” stated Noah. “Soon our schools will be a lot different than they are today. It won’t be in a year, it will be gradual; but like it or not, it will be happening. The time for change in Kansas education is long over due, today we have let our voices be heard. We are ready and we will lay the framework for those coming behind us for better days, the future of our state’s education is finally starting to look up.” — Submitted by Noah Ochsner
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