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A Chronology of the History of Vocational and Technical Education in the United States

Excerpts from the book "A History of Career and Technology Education in Oklahoma," by Danney Goble

University of Oklahoma historian Danney Goble writes, "I began (writing this book) knowing very little; I ended in absolute awe. Here is the story of one thing that Oklahoma does well, does better than most Oklahomans know, maybe as well as can be imagined." 

No other Oklahoma educational system serves such diverse constituencies, either in age or occupational status and interest. And while much of the content in Oklahoma's other education systems remains fairly static (how much does a history course change, after all?), the content taught in our programs changes regularly, driven by advancing technology.

The strength of Oklahoma's CareerTech system lies in its diversity. Its constituencies are many and varied: junior high school students, high school students, dropouts, unemployed adults, employed adults, senior citizens, prison inmates, Oklahoma's businesses and industries; the list goes on and on. Each of these constituencies has its champions; Oklahomans who have personally experienced what the system has done for them or who have witnessed that personal growth in others.

The system's diversity also has brought a variety of challenges: the challenge of meeting high expectations, the challenge of meeting new standards and accountabilities, the challenge of managing and staffing such a diverse system and the challenge of funding emerging technologies.

The emphasis on education at the federal level, including the new legislation, No Child Left Behind, provides us with the opportunity to play a critical role in help to improve the academic performance of Oklahoma's students. Through efforts such as Tech Prep and High Schools That Work, we've seen firsthand that cooperative efforts between career and technology educators and academic teachers pay big dividends in increasing academic performance.

Still another challenge is maintaining quality instruction by recruiting, retaining and developing instructors on the front line. We have placed great emphasis on our teachers attaining national certifications in their respective fields. In addition, in just two years, a total of 29 Oklahoma CareerTech instructors from across the state have earned certification through the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

Our mission, our single and steadfast mission, is to help Oklahomans succeed in the workplace.

Last Modified on Dec 21, 2022