An excellent editorial from the Press of Atlantic City calling for the expansion of county vocational-technical schools and more career and technical education opportunities for all students.
…These public schools still offer training in trades, but increasingly their students go to college as well. More than 70 percent of the state’s graduates of vocational-technical schools attend a college, university or advanced technical school. No surprise, then, that the schools also offer a full range of academic programs.
A distinguishing characteristic of the schools is that their trade-school origin has focused them on learning by doing, providing a hands-on approach to education that is engaging and effective. That typically means connection to the world outside of education through internships, apprenticeships and related summer jobs…
…There probably are more students suited to a vo-tech education who would go that route if they could. But the answer is not to compromise the conditions that have made the schools successful.
First, vocational-technical schools should be expanded to handle the full number of qualified students who desire that educational path.
More importantly, regular public high schools should study the vo-tech model to see what practices and policies could invigorate their programs, increase student engagement and produce better outcomes.