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The History of Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs

Throughout most of the 20th century, historically marginalized students: students of color (BIPOC),

low-income, female students and neurodiverse students, were overrepresented in low-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. These CTE programs and classes were designed to prepare students to get a low-wage job post high school, and nothing more.


Through discriminatory policies and systems such as tracking, historically marginalized students were placed in CTE programs solely based on their identity. Due to both individual and systemic biases, CTE courses became a home for students that school districts felt were unable to attend college, and unworthy of their full attention and resources. 


This left thousands of historically marginalized students without any choice or decision making in their own future, and with extremely limited options after high school. 

Our CTE Model

At Magnolia Project, we strive for equitable CTE through student leadership and decision making. Our students are the dreamers, doers and decision makers in their CTE experience. Through access to a variety of different industries, from viticulture to graphic design to academia, students determine their own career interests, and pursue experiences that are personally relevant and meaningful to them. 


Our program is designed for all students, regardless of if they are college, career, or gap-year bound. We do not sort or track students based on their future plans, nor do we pre-select experiences for students, or attempt to influence student’s meaningful next steps. Our goal is to provide rigorous, relevant learning experiences for all students, helping them define their meaningful next step. 


Through rigor, and high expectations, we live our core belief: that all students are capable of success in whatever they choose to do.

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

-Langston Hughess

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