BU484 – 01N
A shift in the way the United States prepares students for life after high school is long overdue. The U.S. education system currently fails to prepare many young Americans to lead successful adult lives because our preparation strategy is narrow, focused on readying students to attend four-year colleges and universities. As a result, many youth leave high school no more fit to succeed in college than to thrive in the world of work. Even though high school schedules lack job related courses, vocational school prepares you more for the workforce than conventional high school because the curriculums are hands on based and vocational education combines theory and realistic approaches.
There is a need for more effective approach that supports the American system. We must offer young people in high school and beyond multiple pathways to success, instead of putting so much emphasis on attending a four-year college. Engaging employers into crucial work of preparing young people for success, such as providing career counseling and offering opportunities for work-based learning and actual employment and create a new social compact with youth, in which key stakeholders in a state or region educators, employers, and government officials -- pledge to collaboratively improve pathways for those who are now being left behind.
The structure and demographics of today’s high schools states that forty percent of white students attend high schools that is 90 percent or more white, while roughly one-third of Latino and African American students attend high schools that are 90 percent or more minorities. Minority students are also much more likely than white students to attend high schools that confront the challenges of concentrated poverty. In predominantly white, affluent suburban school districts, nearly every student arrives ready for high school work and then graduates. In all-minority inner city schools in high-poverty neighborhoods, most entering students lack a good middle school education and only half to two-thirds graduate. With only a third to a half of high school graduates today prepared to succeed in college, how likely is it that American high schools will succeed in their mission of preparing all students for additional schooling or training?
Reforms over the past twenty-five years offer some hope. The standards and accountability movement has made the American high school a more focused and academic place. College preparatory course taking has increased substantially, as has standardized testing. Mandatory exit exams have been imposed. In addition, during the past decade, in particular, reformers have made a concerted effort to improve the low-performing high schools that serve low-income and minority students. Investments by the federal government and by foundations have led to the development of several types of reforms that have been proven effective, thus raising hopes that the nation’s lowest-performing high schools can better serve their students. Still, the American high school has a considerable way to go to be able to prepare all students for further schooling or training.
To advance all its students, it must find a way to bring to scale the methods and mechanisms, conditions, and know-how that have enabled a few low-performing high schools to achieve this transformation. Being honest with students about the workplace is tremendous preparation in and of itself. Kids need to know that there is no such thing as a low-tech worker anymore even fast food restaurant cashiers need to know something about computerized equipment. Students will need individualized career plans that prepare them to change jobs frequently and go back for training and education all their lives. They will have to learn how to keep tabs on…