Vo-tech joins the 21st century

Vo-tech, now known as career technical education, isn’t for low achievers any more, but the stigma remains.

High schoolers learn do-it-yourself engineering at a community college’s STEM summer camp.

About Joanne


  1. Any stigma associated with voc ed is partly the fault of the ed world and politicians, who have been denigrating any non-college-prep options for decades.

    Voc ed doesn’t deserve the just-for-low-achievers tag. I remember my classmates in the secretarial program, in the 60s; fluency in shorthand, 100 wpm typing, proper format and good grammar and composition were start points. They were expected to be told to compose a letter saying XYZ (very general description) and have the letter ready for signature within 30 minutes, with zero errors. My FIL was the principal of a tech HS, until his retirement in the early 70s, and kids had to apply for tech slots; secretarial, cosmetology, auto mechanics, LPN nursing, sheet metal, tool & die, carpentry etc. Each program had specific entry requirements and the academic coursework, such as math, was tailored to fit the field. The kids graduated with solid background, ready for good jobs.

  2. Please not that this is not a universal option. DIstricts like mine, who have access to county-wide pre-engineering vo-tech courses, routinely see them as elitist and opt out of offering them to their students, favoring hairstyling etc.