GCPS does a good job preparing students for college – that is, those who are willing and able to attend, such as higher-level academic students and Advanced Placement (AP) students. That emphasis has been the college/ academics-for-all model brought about by the early-2000’s No Child Left Behind Legislation. This legislation caused many subsequent distortions to public education.

Not so well done since that time was career and vocational education. There was less emphasis on it. Many GCPS schools were placed into the Academy model (primarily Title I and low-income schools), in which high schools/clusters would focus on certain career areas. (Examples: Entrepreneur and Leadership Academy, Health & Human Services Academy, Construction Academy) These efforts could probably be seen as “Vocational Lite” education since the investment at each Academy school, at least at first, could be minimal.

I would give students more choice in their Academy placement. At some schools, students were placed in academy programs they did not choose. Students should have voice and choice; unpopular academies should be scrapped. We need more vocational emphasis, more schools, and better, perhaps four-year vocational model schools. Rockdale County’s “Rockdale Career Academy” is a four-year technical school that serves specific community-driven career needs. Perhaps this could be a model for Gwinnett to improve its technical offerings.