Current Education Secretary and former principal Armando Vilaseca has heard it all from students.
"I am interested in science, I am interested in animals, what kind of things could I do?" Vilaseca said. And now he's pushing a plan that could help those interests come to life. "Well you could become a vet, you could become a technician, you could become a vet assistant," he said.
Vilaseca is backing Personal Learning Plans for all Vermont kids. The PLPs were introduced this winter as part of Governor Shumlin's proposed education reforms. They aim to tie individual educational goals with future career opportunities. "You need these classes in math, you need all of these classes in science and then understand if you want to be a vet then after you graduate from college with a science degree, you are going to have to go to veterinary school," Vilaseca said.
The plans would travel with kids from elementary to high school. For that student who loves animals it could include a visit to a vet in middle school and a possible internship come 11th grade.
"I would say it is more of a process and less of the document," said Ken Page with the Vermont Principals Association.
Page thinks the PLPs are a good idea. He used a similar model as a teacher-advisor at U-32 High School. "Talk to a lot of kids in high school, they still work hard for mom and dad or for the grade but they don't necessarily take charge of their learning," he said.
The plans aim to make education more relevant for students. The PLPs would include input from parents, students and teachers, and Vilaseca said there's a good chance they'll change. "If they change their mind, that's okay, because I would rather have a student change their mind at 15 or 16 than when they are 19 and have got a year and a half of college under their belt and now all of the sudden they need to go in another direction," Vilaseca said.
The PLPs are part of a larger proposal on education reform from the Governor this session. It also includes promoting the state's technical centers and allowing high school students to take college level classes.
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