It is unfortunate that the importance of vocational education has diminished over the past twenty five years. The emphasis that used to be placed on learning a trade that would provide a living has disappeared with the typewriter and slide rule. We are no longer encouraging students to become skilled tradespersons. The vocational mentoring programs of recent past have been supplanted with SAT Prep courses. Where will we find skilled mechanics, plumbers, welders, farmers and masons in the coming decades? Who will care for our children, repair our cars, cut our hair, cook and serve our meals at a restaurant? A point has been reached in American Education in particular, where the skilled laborer is disrespected and undue importance is placed on academic secondary education. We have undervalued the experience that can be gleaned through practical application in favor of the classroom lecture. Unlike the European academic model, the US education system pushes all students toward pursuing a post high school academic path. Statistics show that only 25% of all students complete post high school degrees. However high schools routinely tout their matriculation to college statistics with great aplomb. The higher the percentage of college bound graduates, the more prestigious and successful is the school and its faculty. Those schools where the percentages show smaller pools of graduates accepted into a college of university are deemed “at risk” schools. The perception is that schools who “fail” to prepare their students for college are failing our students and society in general. Why is failure measured in this manner? Failure is when a student drops out of school because he or she cannot achieve any success through academic process solely. We do not take into consideration a particular student’s aptitude for a skilled vocation. When current high school students indicate a plan for their future that does not include...
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