Three major issues face higher education in Oklahoma: the stigma placed on CareerTech certification, the failure to complete college and the shortfall of rigorous higher education.
In today’s educational environment, there still seems to be a stigma attached to a CareerTech education or career certification. Oklahoma has one of the finest CareerTech systems in the country. Yet many parents and students believe the only credible education is a college degree. This comes at a time when we’re hurting for those in the trade fields who often have greater earning capacity than those with a college degree.
We need to encourage students who have talents and inclinations to work in building, plumbing, energy and the myriad of other fields that don’t require a college education. The challenge is to develop more pride in completing career certification and work in the fields that don’t require a college education to be successful.
The Board of Regents for Higher Education in Oklahoma is to be commended for its efforts to increase the percentage of those who start college and those who complete a degree program. Oklahoma has become a model program for Complete College America. This is a nationally led program to dramatically increase plans and goals to encourage aggressive state and campus programs that encourage and support degree completion.
As the owner and operator of institutions of higher education, the state owes it to student and parents, footing the bill, to do everything possible to encourage and support a higher percentage of graduation. This can be done through better remediation, student advisement and tuition plans that encourage students to complete their degree.