Congress demands academic rigour

21st February 2003 at 00:00
UNITED STATES

Congress is pondering a seismic shift in the nature of vocational training in America - it wants to make it more academic.

Job-related training is hugely popular in the US, in fact such courses are more popular than maths or science. Nearly 45 per cent of students do three or more year-long vocational courses - in dedicated schools, special lessons, or day-release course - during their school career.

But new Congress legislation to be debated later this year, seeks to instil more academic rigour in hitherto practical, hands-on courses.

The introduction of standard compulsory tests- the cornerstone of the Bush administration's school reforms - has led to the pressure for higher academic content. Vocational students lag behind peers in test scores, but new targets for American schools hold all pupils to common attainment standards.

Another reason cited for improving academic content is technological advancements in the workplace, demanding more sophisticated training.

"Vocational education used to be regarded as ... academically inferior. But the face of it is changing," said Terry Orr, senior researcher at Columbia Teachers College's Institute for Education and the Economy. "Most technical fields now require further education beyond high school."

Workplace training is also suffering a budget squeeze. Funding as a proportion of government spending has halved over two decades.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now