President Obama recently visited P-TECH — the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, New York. While at the school, the President discussed his education agenda. As President Obama said, “In previous generations, America’s standing economically was so much higher than everybody else’s that we didn’t have a lot of competition,” he added. “Now, you’ve got billions of people from Beijing to Bangalore to Moscow, all of whom are competing with you directly. And they’re — those countries are working every day, to out-educate and outcompete us.”
Students at P-TECH are enrolled in a 9-14 curriculum developed in a collaboration between the New York City school system, City Tech, and IBM. After completion of the program, students graduate with the in-demand skill sets today’s workplace requires, and an associate degree in applied science (AAS) in computer systems technology or electromechanical engineering technology. The methodology of 1) developing a curriculum with employers, 2) driving collaboration between secondary and postsecondary schools, and 3) innovative project-based experiential learning in the basis of our career and technical education reform proposals. Based on the success of P-TECH, additional schools throughout the state of New York, and the Sarah Goode Academy in Chicago have been established.
To move to a national scale, IBM has taken the lessons from the initial schools, and developed a playbook for local implementation. In addition, IBM is working with others on proposals to reform the federal education program that funds career and technical education — the Perkins Career and Technical Education program.