Monday, May 07, 2012


This week's Time Magazine has an article about the resurgence of CTE, Career and technical Education, Learning that Works. The article spells out the problem and then describes how some ground breaking programs are breaking the ice to put things back on track.
"Vocational education used to be where you sent the dumb kids or the supposed misfits who weren't suited for classroom learning. It began to fall out of fashion about 40 years ago, in part because it became a civil rights issue; voc-ed was seen as a form of segregation, a convenient dumping ground for minority kids in Northern cities. "That was a real problem," former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein told me. "And the voc-ed programs were pretty awful. They weren't training the kids for specific jobs or for certified skills. It really was a waste of time and money."

Unfortunately the education establishment's response to the voc-ed problem only made things worse. Over time, it morphed into the theology that every child should go to college (a four-year liberal-arts college at that) and therefore every child should be required to pursue a college-prep course in high school. The results have been awful. High school dropout rates continue to be a national embarrassment.
Today in the CSS wood shop, 4th, 5th and 6th grades students will be making math facts boxes and the high school students will also be making boxes. According to the article in Time Magazine,
"Some students can respond to two-dimensional learning, but most respond better when it's hands on. Every surgeon needs to know how to sew, saw and drill."
It is foolish for our nation to continue a two-dimensional educational strategy on the cheap. We all learn best, learn at deepest levels most efficiently, and to greatest lasting effect when we learn hands-on by doing real work. Doing real lessons in school would end the drop-out crisis and better prepare students for success. Even students who are going to college are more excited about learning when the do real things. Now, why would that be so hard for educators and politicians to understand?

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Well, it would take thought and effort to understand the problems as they exist now and the solutions that are staring them in the face. Thought and effort are rare among the political class.