Students need flexible path to graduation

My praises to Gregg Janus for his op-ed concerning career technical education (Herald, May 20). He captured a difficult dilemma we as a nation are facing in education. As a teacher at Durango High School for the last eight years and previously in Farmington, I have seen how the policy of college readiness for all has evolved and affected students seeking vocational job training or flexible pathways toward graduation.

There are many students with tremendous innate ability who seek flexibility in an education system that will lead to the career they want meaning not necessarily college. Although it is stated in the district and school strategic plans that flexible pathways toward graduation will be developed, efforts are thwarted by graduation requirements. In Durango, our credit requirements for graduation have been driven by the recommendations of the Colorado Consortium of Colleges and adopted by the board of education. Over the years, these requirements have increased, becoming specified to a greater degree, making it more difficult for students to take either electives of personal interest or achieve dual credit.

The partial outcome of this policy is not only that the school has lost CTE programs and electives, but students have lost interest and struggled with relevance. I am glad to see the pendulum swinging back after 40 years; maybe it needs a bit of a push.

Njal Schold

Durango