• 1.  

    Vocational education has been shaped by federal legislation since the first vocational education act was passed in 1917. According to the current legislation, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1990, vocational students are those not headed for a baccalaureate degree, so they include both students expecting to work immediately after high school as well as those expecting to go to a community college.

  • 2.  

    This point of view underlies the reforms articulated in the 1990 reauthorization of the Carl Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act (VATEA). VATEA also promoted a program, dubbed "tech-prep," that established formal articulations between secondary school and community college curricula.

  • 3.  

    This argument is reviewed in Bailey & Merritt (1997). For an argument about how education may be organized around broad work themes can enhance learning in mathematics see Hoachlander (1997).

  • 4.  

    These wage data are reviewed in Levy & Murnane (1992).

  • 5.  

    The Goals 2000: Educate America Act, for example, established the National Skill Standards Board in 1994 to serve as a catalyst in the development of a voluntary national system of skills standards, assessments, and certifications for business and industry.

THOMAS BAILEY is an Associate Professor of Economics Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is also Director of the Institute on Education and the Economy and Director of the Community College Research Center, both at Teachers College. He is also on the board of the National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

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