Public schools are largely being evaluated on the percentage of students who are prepared for college (“DeBlasio’s empty boasts about graduation rates,” New York Post, Jan. 30). The latest example is New York City, home of the nation’s largest school district.
Although 75.9 percent of students who started in public schools there graduated, only half met CUNY’s standards for admission. The disparity between the two is seen as evidence of failure. But where is it written that college is for everyone? What about taking into account students who have no interest or aptitude for college?
More specifically, I’m referring to vocational education. Students who want to learn a trade and take courses in line with that goal should be given equal weight to students who want to go to college in evaluating schools. But vocational education continues to take a back seat to an academic curriculum. This does a terrible injustice to both students and their schools.
I’ll bet that the percentage of students who graduate on time after taking a vocational curriculum would far exceed the percentage of students who graduate on time after pursuing an academic curriculum. Yet we completely ignore vocational education in this country. Our competitors abroad are far more realistic. For example, Germany accords vocational education the same respect it confers on academic education. It’s little wonder that Germany has the lowest unemployment rate among young people in the industrialized world.
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