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College or career? California invests $500 million in program that tackles both

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Students in Eastside High School's Biomedical Academy participate in a health care simulation.

A question that has long vexed American secondary education is whether to prepare students for college or a career. With the creation of the Golden State Pathways Program, California has decided to invest in both.

The state budget sets aside $500 million in competitive grants to establish a new program to ensure students “advance seamlessly from high school to college and career.” Its goal is to help students transition from high school to well-paying, skilled careers. The pathways include A-G course requirements for admission to state universities and the opportunity to earn 12 college credits through dual enrollment, AP or IB classes. Work-based learning must be part of the pathway, and schools must offer support to students along the way.