Credit: Christopher Corr, Getty Images/Ikon Images
Vocational education, now known as “career tech ed (CTE),” is back in vogue, says Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Young people need a “middle path” to middle-class jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, he tells KUNC reporter Claudio Sanchez. However, Carnevale wouldn’t want his own son or daughter in CTE.
. . . a huge number of technical certificates that take a year to complete, pay more than a [four-year] college degree. You can make a lot more money with a certificate in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Still, “high school to Harvard” is the “tried-and-true path” to success, says Carnevale. “Until we invest enough to build an alternative pathway and respect real work in the U.S., I wouldn’t risk my child’s [education], even though I know that learning by doing is more powerful than learning with your head alone in school.”
Thirty to 40 percent of young people say ‘school is irrelevant.’ But saying to [parents], ‘I’m going to send your kid to trade school,’ will not appeal to people.
CTE will succeed if it develops a broad set of skills while teaching technical skills, Carnevale says.
In Europe and Singapore, businesses help design training programs and hire the graduates. That’s a “long shot” in the U.S., says Carnevale.
For more than 30 years, the U.S. has rejected practical, applied learning.
Every year, more than 400,000 young people in the top half of their high school class go to college, and eight years later they have not earned either a two- or four-year degree or certificate. So at some point, failure matters. Education reform in pursuit of academic excellence is floundering. We need to change our curriculum. The notion that the Common Core will make people college and career ready is largely a fantasy.
“Politicians want to put a BA in every pot,” says Carnevale.