One of the challenges for technical education over the years has been the cultural emphasis on “traditional education” models that naturally undermines technical education as inferior and no more than a back-up plan for students. Our country’s main educational system does not serve all learners equally well, as it is biased toward students who happen to do well with traditional learning structures: standardized tests, lecture-based instruction, etc. Meanwhile, the students who are mechanically-minded, kinesthetic, hands-on learner often fall by the wayside because they may not succeed in the traditional structure. While we’ve begun to see a transition in cultural approach to education and an acknowledgment that people have different styles of learning, aspects of the negative stigma continue to linger. As we look to continue that transition in thought and make use of modern social media outreach opportunities, we’ve introduced #respect4tech as this year’s Clover Park Technical College theme. This theme is intended to increase public awareness and acceptance of professional and technical education as a worthwhile pathway for those students whose learning styles render it an ideal fit.
Hashtags on social media serve a purpose of categorizing posts, and when enough people share content with the same hashtag that topic begins to “trend.” Our hope is that by telling the CPTC story, we can raise the level of respect for technical education. Student success stories, alumni spotlights and program features that reveal the hands-on approach to learning taking place here can all serve to show the community the respect technical education deserves. As we share these stories, along with statistics about the value of technical education and even success stories from other technical education institutions, our hope is that we can create a growing trend of respect for tech. The theme of #respect4tech is more than just a hashtag, and it’s about more than just CPTC. It’s a cause that should matter to everyone in our society. With this theme, our college is taking a leadership role in pushing the statement that a vibrant, equitable and modern public education system reflects and respects the multiple approaches to learning needed to ensure all students the best chance of succeeding academically and professionally.