U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos addressed an arena full of spirited students Friday to emphasize the importance of career and technical education.
The remarks were part of the annual convention for the National FFA Organization, previously known as Future Farmers of America. The group caters to students who have an interest in agriculture and leadership.
This was DeVos’ second visit to Indiana in as many months, and her third visit since she took office earlier this year. She has frequently held up Indiana’s charter schools, private school voucher system and innovation schools as models for the rest of the nation.
While DeVos did not specifically mention Indiana’s career and technical education focus, the initiative has been a particular favorite of the current vice president, former Gov. Mike Pence. Current Gov. Eric Holcomb and state Superintendent Jennifer McCormick have also set broad goals encouraging more students to pursue career and technical education and study subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math.
“Options including technical schools and community colleges and ‘earn-and-learn’ programs such as apprenticeships — high-quality, rigorous and relevant career and technical education plays a vital role,” DeVos said.
Indiana is currently revamping its high school graduation requirements, and a major piece of that is including “pathways” for students who are looking to start jobs after high school or study in technical fields like agriculture and manufacturing.