We in California need a highly trained workforce. Many of our students learn valuable skills that help them land jobs in our Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs in our high schools. Governor Schwarzenegger's proposal to allow school districts to use money earmarked for career technical education courses for other purposes is a terrible idea.


Nearly a third of California students entering high school drop out before earning their diplomas. In fact, many will drop out before high school. For many of these students CTE courses give them a reason to continue going to school. Ending the already limited vocational training opportunities in our schools will make this situation even worse.


For too long education funding has favored college preparation courses at the expense of career technical education classes. We need both. Many good jobs don't require a four-year college degree but they do demand good math skills, hands-on experience and vocational training.


Students leaving high school should have the skills they need to begin promising careers. Far too many do not. For years career educational education has failed to receive the attention it deserves robbing many students of the chance to prepare for good jobs and a better future.


The economic downturn should not be an excuse to take funding away from critical programs like career technical education. Investing in these programs today will reap big benefits in the years ahead.


I urge our community and this paper to join me in telling our legislators to reject Governor Schwarzenegger proposal and to protect career technical education in our schools.