kitchen table math, the sequel: missing voc ed

Sunday, March 8, 2009

missing voc ed

comment left by Anonymous:
In the district where I now live, many kids go from high school to a technical school. Cosmetology, auto mechanic and other shop-type fields, various IT fields, various medical fields (medical and nursing assistant, surgery tech, radiology or lab tech etc.). Many of those fields used to be offered in high school; now it is up to the families to pay for them afterwards. The cost can be significant; I was told by one medical assistant that her 10-month program cost $10,000. How is that progress? BTW, these jobs not only pay decent wages, but can't be outsourced, either.

I see a need for strong college prep, but some districts also need strong vocational prep. Pretending that all kids should go to college and watering down the college prep curriculum accordingly serves no one well. The military does a great job of vocational education that translates into good civilian jobs.


VickyS said...

I couldn't agree more. These jobs can't be outsourced (Thomas Freidman writes about them), pay good wages, and many offer rewarding work environments as well. I bet there are a lot of folks who would rather be driving around town doing electrical work than shuffling papers behind a desk!

I have often wondered about the origins of the "college for all" push since I am not yet convinced that all good 21st century jobs will require a college education. Maybe someone on the receiving end of all the tuition (and textbook!) moola is behind it.

One thing I didn't know is that these careers could ever be accessed directly from high school. Around here, you always had to take 9 mos to 2 years of at a post-highschool vo-tech.

Anonymous said...

A relative of mine was the principal of a large vocational program in the 50s-60s. They offered auto shop, sheet metal, tool and die making and many other "shop" trades, as well as the secretarial/office programs, cosmetology and practical nursing (LPN), among many others. I had an opportunity to see the work of one of their graduates, in the mid-80s. As a secretary, she would be told to write a letter to X, saying A,B and C and the letter would appear on her boss's desk in minutes; properly worded and correctly spelled and formatted. All too unusual.

lgm said...

Vo-tech is offered through BOCES in NY school districts, outside of the five major cities. It is up to the district to budget and contract with BOCES for vo-tech services. In my county, BOCES offers cosmetology, culinary, computer repair, CAD, heavy equipment operator, nurse assistant, practical nursing, auto technology, collision repair technology,fashion, interior design, advertising art & design among others. Years ago plumbing and carpentry were offered. Here's a friendly summary:

It is also possible for an accelerated jr or sr or a nonaccelerated sr student in good standing to only attend high school half time, and use the other half to attend community college or the private vocational provider of their choice on their own dime.

Catherine Johnson said...

We toured the big BOCES voc-ed campus a couple of years ago. (They were nasty as heck to us re: Jimmy.)

The campus was pretty great & the teachers seemed on top of things & good.

I did think the attendance was a bit thin but not sure I would know.