Students need a choice of college prep or trade school, writes Ilana Garon, who teaches high school in the Bronx, in the Huffington Post.
Uninterested in learning to spot the symbolism in Animal Farm, tenth-grader Danielle announces she doesn’t plan to go to college. Instead, she’s taking community college courses to qualify as a massage therapist. “I want to have something ready to go when I graduate,” she says.
A few years ago, I would have been horrified at this pronouncement. . . . But these days, I’m more inclined to be impressed by Danielle’s self-awareness, foresight and her implicit understanding of a fact I wish our system leaders would see: that perpetuation of the current “college for all” trend in education is neither economically viable nor beneficial to all students.
Career tech students would need strong literacy and math skills, Garon writes, but not necessarily the same skills required to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Curricular emphasis in trade schools would perhaps be shifted from traditional literary analysis (themes, symbols, etc.) to literacy in functional documents, perhaps teaching students to read technical articles or to use math-based software programs that would be applicable to our tech-reliant workforce.
Queensland, Australia has introduced a “learning or earning” program after 10th grade, a commenter writes. Students can take academic classes to prepare for university, train for a job at a technical college or start a trade apprenticeship.