U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Dr. Mitchell “Mick” Zais visited Aldine ISD’s Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career and Technical Education High School on Wednesday, March 4.
During his visit, Dr. Zais toured Blanson CTE High School to explore it extensive career and technical education programs.
His visit highlighted the Trump Administration’s goal of ensuring every high school student in the United States access to CTE programs that provide high-quality pathways to success after graduation.
President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal unveiled last month increases in funding for CTE programs by $900 million, increasing CTE funding to $2 billion.
Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney welcomed and thanked Dr. Zais for taking the time to visit the Aldine ISD campus.
“Everyday we work hard to demonstrate what’s possible for our students,” Dr. Goffney said. “We want them to have choices and at this beautiful campus provides them with a myriad of choices.”
Prior to his tour of the campus, Dr. Zais received an overview of Aldine ISD’s Career and Technical Education program by Franklin Higgins, AISD’s director of Career and Technical Education.
Blanson Principal Ben Ibarra shared information about the school, which opened in August of 2018. Ibarra told the deputy secretary that in its first year of existence, the school earned an “A” rating from the Texas Education Agency. In addition, last year Blanson students earned 604 industry certifications and had a 97% attendance rate.
Ibarra added that Blanson CTE offers 17 areas of study and this year has an enrollment of 1,264 students.
During his time at Blanson, Dr. Zais visited four classrooms/labs, the school’s collision repair classroom, its machine classroom, its audio/video production classroom and Emergency Medical Technician classroom.
At each stop Blanson students and teachers demonstrated what they are teaching and learning in their respective classrooms and answered the deputy secretary’s questions.
Following the campus tour, a panel discussion was held in the library with Aldine ISD Trustees, Blanson students and district administrators.
Robert Thomas, AISD’s program director of career and business partnerships, provided an overview of business partnerships the district has developed. Ibarra informed Dr. Zais that Blanson has 90 business partners.
Zais informed the group that President Trump is a strong supporter of high school CTE programs.
“This president is a huge supporter of CTE programs,” he said. “We hope Congress will support the President’s budget recommendation (to add $900 million in funding to CTE programs).”
Dr. Zais said CTE students are provided with opportunities to learn skills and trades that can result in good paying job right out of high school and they are given the chance to be treated like adults.
“When you start treating young people like adults, they start acting like adults and I’ve seen that here today,” Dr. Zais said.
Dr. Zais added he was impressed with is visit to Blanson CTE High School.
“I have been very excited with what I’ve seen here today,” Dr. Zais said. “The 90 business partners you have is a testament to the leadership here and in the district. This is a very impressive school.”
“This is so encouraging and uplifting. To the students here, I admire what you are doing and am impressed with your work ethic,” he said.