Many American high school graduates are unprepared for the work world or college, according to a recent survey, and at least one education association says a shift in high school programs, challenging curriculum and continued focus on a federal vocational education, training designed to advance individuals' general proficiency, especially in relation to their present or future occupations. The term does not normally include training for the professions Development Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the apprenticeship system and the home were the principal sources of vocational education. grant are some solutions. Two in five recent high school graduates say there are gaps between the education they received in high school and the skills, abilities and work habits that are expected of them in college and work, according to Achieve Inc.
's 2005 survey, Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work? A Study of Recent High School Graduates, College Instructors and Employers. Fewer than 25 percent of graduates feel they were significantly challenged in high school, the survey says. The National Association of Secondary School Principals say this isn't a surprise. "We have been for some time saying that a real concerted effort needs to be made to improve America's high schools, which have been the sort of neglected stepchild of the school reform movement in the last 20 years," says Michael Carr, NASSP spokesman.
While President Bush is calling for more high school testing, Carr says that's not the solution. "More testing doesn't tell us anything we don't know," he says. "We need real strategies.
The model of the American high school no longer needs to exist." School is still built on the agrarian society in terms of the school year, generally, from late August through June, and it is still four years long. But Carr says some children can graduate in three years while some need five years.
Carr says NASSP does support Bush's emphasis on Advanced Placement and international baccalaureate programs. "We believe academic rigor in high school needs to be significantly increased," he says, through more challenging curricula. But Bush's request for deep cuts to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act will hurt a successful program for students that work after high school, Carr says. Bush wants to replace it with a new $1 billion block grant program, Secondary and Technical Education State Grants.