Amid calls at national and state levels for more Americans to pursue higher education in science and technology fields, in part to serve advanced manufacturing’s job-skills needs, some educators have warned that colleges are not paying enough attention to fields that require some postsecondary training but not a four-year degree. Legislators in Texas are considering bills backed by a business coalition that wants to see more groundwork for that training laid in high school, a move that would involve loosening the state’s rigorous graduation requirements, The Austin American-Statesman reports.
Business leaders who back the legislative efforts say that workers with the skills their companies need are in short supply. They lay the blame in part on a high-school curriculum in which they say career training takes a back seat to college preparation. Measures the business leaders support would reduce the number of required courses in mathematics, science, and social studies, the Austin newspaper reports, and create several specialized paths toward graduation. Students choosing a “business and industry” track, for instance, could fulfill one of their required science courses by taking a state-approved diesel-mechanics course instead of physics.