Newschannel six asked in our online poll question, if people think graduating high schoolers are prepared enough to be on their own; a large majority said no. Some Texoman's feel like test scores are all that matter. In that case are book smarts and test scores becoming more important than real world experience?
Renae Murphy, Public Information Officer for the Wichita Falls Independent School District said, "The State of Texas has taken the path for public education to be about college readiness. Career readiness has not had the focus at the state level that college readiness has had." She mentioned, the Carrigan Center where students can take a variety of classes and gain real experience.
Principal of the Carrigan Center, Steve Wolf, gave me the run down, "We have programs in welding, construction technology, auto-collision repair, electronics, as well as cosmetology." Gina Strong, the cosmetology instructor said kids in her classroom start with mannequins, then work there way up to real people. At the end of there course Strong said, "They go sit for their state board exam, and whenever they take their test, they pass their test and they're licensed.
The career center even helps with job and internship placement. But, Wolf says the kids have to want it, "An education is what you put into it. And I think that we have programs and opportunities for students that will prepare them for life after high school. It's up to them to seize that opportunity." Students also learn how to build resumes, interview, even etiquette in what are called soft classes. Strong says, "You know you can teach a kid all the trade in the world but if you can't teach them the skills to keep their job, then it's kind of all in vain."
The WFISD offers a variety of readiness programs, beginning at the junior high level. However, they are still bound by state law. Murphy says, "We are hopeful that the legislature and through Texas Education Agency that perhaps we will see some of that career readiness be more of a focus."