Harvard Report Calls For Less Emphasis on College Education
“College for all” has been the mantra of education reform for decades. A new report from Harvard Graduate School of Education argues that greater emphasis on vocational training, apprenticeships, and technical job training outside of a formal college setting would better serve America’s young people.
“Behaving as though four-year college is the only acceptable route to success clearly still works well for many young adults, especially students fortunate enough to attend highly selective colleges and universities. It also works well for affluent students, who can often draw on family and social connections to find their way in the adult world. But it clearly does not work well for many, especially young men,” say the researchers in their report, Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century.
They point to the fact that men make up only 43% of enrolled students on American college campuses, that 30% of African Americans and fewer than 20% of Latinos in their mid-20s have an associate’s degree. The United States now has the highest college dropout rate in the industrialized world.
Most other advanced nations, notably Germany, place more emphasis on vocational training in high school. Structured programs that combine work and learning better enable adolescents to grasp how they’ll market and use their skills in the real world. “Consequently, these [vocational training] programs are not designed to serve those with a history of school failure.”
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