Vocational Education At Risk Because of Focus on College

Filed under: In The News, Education: Teens

vocational education

Obama's budget calls for cuts in vocational education. Credit: Getty Images

A lot of kids will never get a college degree -- at least one in four won't even make it through high school in the usual four years.

Despite that, the Boston Globe reports funding for vocational education in the United States is in serious peril.

Saying he wants America to produce the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, President Barack Obama is focused on raising overall academic standards and college graduation rates. However, the Globe reports, that comes at the expense of vocational education.

The administration proposes cutting federal vocational training grants to public high schools and community colleges. Overall, according to the newspaper, Obama proposes a 20 percent reduction in his fiscal 2012 budget for career and technical education (to a little more than $1 billion) even as he seeks to increase overall education funding by 11 percent.

The Globe reports the only alternative to public schools for vocational education is profit-making colleges and trade schools. However, they're often criticized for sending students deeply into debt without improving their job prospects.

Despite the president's high hopes, fewer than a third of all 25- to 29-year-olds in the United States earned a bachelor's degree or higher last year.

The value of vocational training for young people who do not attend college should not be overlooked, William Symonds, director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, tells the Globe.

Vocational education "can prepare you for jobs in which you're going to earn a very solid middle-class income," he says.

"That's not to say that you're going to be a hedge fund manager making millions a year, but you will prepare for jobs that will pay more than a living wage," he adds.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.