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4 Strengthening Vocational Education: Conclusions and Recommendations VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND THE CHANGING ECONOMY Human capital is this country's greatest natural resource. At a time when many newly industrializing countries are upgrading the capabilities of their peoples at an unprecedented rate and when older industrial nations, now fully recovered from the effects of World War II, are challenging the technological predominance of the United States, the qualities and capaci- ties of the American work force cannot be allowed to deteriorate. In this chapter we call on the nation's public education system to do its part to strengthen the U.S. economy and its position in the world economy. We present conclusions and recommendations derived from our analysis of the material in the preceding chapters. Underlying our analysis and recommendations is the belief that vocation- al education has characteristics that distinguish it from other kinds of education in fundamental and important ways. Vocational programs are often conducted in settings different from those of academic or general education. Vocational education teachers frequently gain their occupational training and experience in industry, not in schools of education, as do most academic or general education teachers. The funding requirements of vocational programs may well be different from those of other programs. Our recommendations derive from these and other distinctive characteris- tics of vocational education and are intended to accommodate and to use to advantage these differences. We believe that vocational education suffers from being conferred gener- ally lower status than academic education, particularly at the high-school 63
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64 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS level. The status problem affects vocational education at the federal level, in state governments, and in the administration of vocational programs in local school districts. The detrimental effects of this inferior status are nowhere more apparent than in comprehensive high schools everywhere, in which vocational education is often overlooked or slighted in favor of college preparatory education. Some of the problems are overcome in special vocational high schools and postsecondary vocational programs, in which many programs are of relatively high quality and their status is generally higher and more conducive to effective operations. All of our recommendations are intended to improve the quality of vocational educa- tion programs and thereby to begin to raise their status. As we saw in Chapter 1, the challenges to vocational education posed by a changing world economy are complex and numerous. New entrants into the labor force require a level and range of skills different from those needed by past generations. Older workers in fading industries must develop new skills or accept lower wages, sometimes both. Productive members of society will increasingly be expected to modify, upgrade, and update their knowledge and skills in response to a pace of technological change at least as rapid as occurred during the great industrialization of America a century ago. The proportion of the American work force employed in manufacturing occupations has been declining for nearly four decades, and employment growth has been concentrated in service jobs. While there is disagreement as to the future growth in output of the manufacturing sector in the United States, there is agreement that employment opportunities in manufacturing industries will not increase. Any growth in manufacturing output will be due to the adoption of a more capital-intensive technology. As a con- sequence, not only will there be fewer jobs in manufacturing in the future, but also those that exist are likely to require different skills than are needed today. Moreover, the skills necessary for the service, financial, and other growth sectors are obviously different from those traditionally necessary in manufacturing. The problem of designing vocational education programs to meet these changing skill requirements is that there is no agreement on what these skill requirements will be or even on the general direction of change. The precise direction this change will take is even more difficult to specify. For example, while it is clear that the revolution in information processing has just begun, we cannot predict precisely the range of applica- tions, the speed with which they will be adopted, and the skills that workers will need in the new industries that this revolution is generating. Given the uncertainty regarding the skill requirements of the economy, it is essential that the education of America's young people is designed to enhance their abilities to adapt as necessary to these changing requirements.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 65 When change is rapid and its precise direction is difficult to predict, institutions that must adapt to these changes should be flexible. They require multiple channels through which information about economic, technological, and educational change can be processed. The decision points regarding how and when to implement change should be as decen- tralized as feasible, but local administrators or decision makers need in- formation from national and state levels. Adaptation at the local level can be encouraged through the supply of sufficient information for decision mak- ing. Decentralization allows for flexibility and adaptation in some parts of the system, even if others remain sluggish and slow to respond. As Chapter 2 noted, vocational education institutions in the United States on the whole are highly varied, contain an extraordinary range of points of decision, and have a considerable capacity to adapt to change. Just to name the types of vocational educational institutions is to emphasize their diversi- ty. Vocational programs in comprehensive high schools are perhaps the most numerous and best known. At this level there are also specialized vocational high schools, regional technical institutes, and area vocational centers, which high-school students attend on a part-time basis. Postsecondary vocational education is even more varied and complex. Junior and community colleges provide an extensive, varied, and highly flexible set of vocational programs. In addition, there are proprietary schools; regional occupational centers; on-thejob training provided direct- ly by industry, CETA, or JTPA centers; trade schools; and apprenticeship programs. The mix of these institutions and their mode of operation vary greatly among states and among regions within states. In some parts of the country, postsecondary schools play the dominant public role. In other states, regional technical schools are key. In still others, specialized vocational high schools make especially valuable contributions. While some policy analysts may object to the variety and overlapping responsibilities of vocational education institutions, the committee believes that the complexity of the system contributes to its strength. To the extent that vocational programs compete with one another for students, for teach- ers, for public resources, and for contacts with local business and industry, these institutions have incentives to modify and adapt their training to the changing labor market. The revolution in word and data processing, for example, has generated a strong market demand for workers with skills relevant to the operation of computers. Actions to supply training programs came first from industry. Postsecondary schools and proprietary institutions and now the more advanced high-school programs are upgrading their offerings in these areas. Those parts of the country in which program innovation was most rapid are reaping the economic advantages. Other
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66 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS states and localities are now making their own assiduous efforts to catch up, usually through state or regional economic development plans. Even though sluggishness may be found in some places, it is doubtful that a more centrally planned vocational education system would have responded to technological change more quickly. As decentralized and flexible as the American vocational educational system is, however, many of its components have become rigid and stag- nant, and it is in these areas that institutional reform is especially needed. The greatest problems are found at the secondary level, particularly in comprehensive high schools. Here public vocational education across the country began some six or seven decades ago, and here past practices have become so deeply embedded in an institutional framework that flexibility and responsiveness are more the exception than the rule. Requirements governing the recruitment, certification, promotion, compensation, and retention of teachers are so well defined that adaptation to new technologies is costly and slow. Also problematic are rules governing the allocation of resources, the acquisition of equipment, and the use of facilities. The Role of Vocational Education in Economic Development In economic terms, vocational education can be viewed as an investment in human capital to the extent that it contributes to the future earnings (and thereby increases the productivity) of its graduates who are employed. Some people enroll in vocational education programs while they are work- ing in order to upgrade their skills, thus increasing their productivity and attractiveness to their employers. Other students, particularly those in high school, are not working in jobs they will continue to hold after they graduate and will look for jobs once they graduate from school. Obviously, vocation- al education programs can improve the job productivity of their students only if there are ultimately job openings for those students to fill. Therefore, a healthy local economy clearly increases the returns to vocational educa- tion programs. But can vocational education programs actually create a healthy local economy? While it is true that strong economies have skilled work forces, that firms consistently rate the presence of a skilled work force as an important determinant of their location decisions, and that vocational edu- cation programs increase the skill levels of their students, it does not follow that vocational education programs can create a pool of skilled labor in an economically depressed area. Because the skilled graduates of vocational education programs most often leave distressed areas that cannot provide employment opportunities, a skilled labor pool cannot be developed and kept in place for any period of time. A strong vocational education program
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Conclusions and Recommendations 67 can nonetheless be an important component in local economic development initiatives. If a local vocational education program has the capacity to provide the training required by particular employers considering an area for relocation, the vocational education program itself can be a strong force in attracting them. It is the capacity of the program to meet or adapt to specific needs of employers, not the number of students trained or the pool created, that has the potential to attract jobs. Responsibilities of the Public Education System We have noted the critical need for young adults to master the basic educational skills and work habits required to achieve employability, whether college bound or not, and to attain more specific vocational skills and experiences. We also have noted that far too many high-school gradu- ates are deficient in basic or vocational skills, work habits, or all of these. The complex array of individual, family, and community factors that contribute to such socially unwanted results notwithstanding, we believe that the public education system must take responsibility for ensuring that young people are effectively prepared for both employment and further education. Every young person must be prepared, upon graduation from high school, for employment, further study, or both. All too often prepara- tion of college-bound high-school students has in the practices of high schools taken precedence over preparation for employment, with the un- happy result that vocational education students have inadequate basic and occupational skills. We believe that providing an effective array of voca- tional education opportunities is a role of public high schools equal in importance to their role of preparing students for college. While we do recommend expanded efforts at collaboration between vocational education and the private sector, we do not believe that employ- ers should assume greatly increased responsibility for education and train- ing. The economics of the private sector would work against employers assuming major responsibility for educating and training their employees. Probably only large firms could afford to do a substantial amount of training. Once trained, the workers would become a marketable commod- ity; firms would compete to hire them. The trained employees would be hired away from the firms that paid for the training, thus eventually removing their incentive to train. This situation is full justification for keeping the responsibility for employment training or vocational education in the public sector, where it is now. The diversity of educational institutions, which we support in general, makes it all too easy for each school or program to avoid assuming the responsibility for ensuring that students have adequate grounding in basic
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68 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS and vocational skills. Paradoxically, the fragmentation seems most severe in comprehensive high schools, which house academic, general, and voca- tional education programs. The teaching of basic educational skills is problematic both because of their importance and because of the ill-defined nature of the responsibility for teaching them. Vocational education teach- ers and administrators can shift the responsibility for failing to teach students who are not competent in the basic skills to other parts of the school system; in fact, teachers of academic and general education most often have not wanted vocational teachers to assume responsibility for teaching basic educational skills. The primary responsibility for teaching basic skills should be borne by elementary-school teachers and administrators. Introducing occupational information in the elementary grades can, we believe, help to motivate some students who are otherwise uninterested in learning school subjects. Remediation at the high-school level is a more difficult problem, one that often has ill-defined responsibilities. Issues to be resolved include who should bear the costs of remediation in high schools, how to motivate students, and which teachers are the best equipped to teach basic skills at this level. VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR As we have seen, collaboration between educators and business or labor leaders is not a new idea. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 established the policy of involving the private sector in vocational education planning through national, state, and local advisory councils. Employers and unions have been involved in the activities of vocational student organizations for many years. There are national organizations for people who carry out collaborative activities, such as the National Association of Industry- Education Cooperation and the National Work-Education Consortium. Close ties with business and labor seem to be typical of high-quality vocational education programs. The committee believes that collaboration between education and employment is needed in far more settings. We believe that collaborative ventures should be extended to other programs and situations and that a wide variety of options is open to those who want to improve their vocational programs through collaboration with employers. Why should businesses use their resources to help public schools prepare students for work? When most businesses are dealing with difficult eco- nomic conditions, incentives to collaborate with schools must include more than an appeal to their sense of civic responsibility. Collaborative efforts must be demonstrated to be advantageous to them. The availability of a trained work force may prove incentive enough to
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Conclusions and Recommendations 69 firms that otherwise would have difficulty hiring qualified workers. Thus it is rather easy to see why there are already links between such employers and high-quality vocational education programs. In such situations collabora- tion works to the advantage of all involved. However, using collaborative efforts to improve weak programs may require that educators be induced to improve their programs and change their administative procedures and that businesses be induced to use their resources to help improve the qualifica- tions of program graduates. The benefits of collaborative efforts accrue principally to employers, who gain access to better-trained potential employees, and to students, who receive better training and occupational experience. Schools benefit in that they can provide better training. Teachers benefit if they receive training or work experience from private-sector employers. Insofar as collaboration improves the education and training of future workers, it benefits society by increasing the workers' productivity and enhancing economic growth. Education and training are improved by collaboration with private-sector employers in four ways. First, with aid from the private sector, schools can gain access to better, up-to-date equipment and can then modify their curricula accordingly in order to train students in up-to-date job skills. Second, through collaboration and the sharing of information, schools can prepare students for jobs that are likely to be available when the students graduate. Third, students who have contact with employers through their school programs are likely to develop positive work habits and may find it easier to get jobs once they graduate. Fourth, through their supervised work experiences, students establish an employment record that may help them get jobs. Characteristics of Successful Collaborative Efforts Most successful collaborative efforts are initiated locally, but some are organized at the state or regional (within the state) level, and some success- ful local ventures expand to the state or even the national level. The types of projects that are successful in local situations vary greatly. Collaborative efforts are created in response to a perceived local need or problem. What works in Boston may fail in Houston. And a work-study arrangement that is effective for the Continental-Illinois Bank in Chicago may not work for a graphics firm in the same city. From this enormous diversity we can draw generalizations based on studies of collaborative projects that have been judged successful. Collaborative projects are like any other human endeavor in that their success depends on the individuals involved. The personal commitment of top leaders on all sides is critical. And, of course, the competence of the
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70 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS people actually running the project is essential. The best way to initiate and sustain a collaborative project may be through a "catalytic agent," that is, one key individual who is committed to the project, who can effectively communicate with the essential parties on all sides, who has a sense of what will generate success and what will fail. The catalytic agent may come from the school, from the business firm, from a labor union, or from a community-based organization, but he or she must understand the roles of all in the joint effort. Collaborative ventures, by their very nature, are voluntary and will be effective only if all the individuals involved are committed to the endeavor and are active, contributing participants. In such projects there are only active participants; none of the principal parties serves in a purely advisory role. The locus of the initiative for any particular project does not determine its success or failure; schools and businesses are equally likely to start success- ful partnerships. Some projects involve only one program or school and one business firm, perhaps also with the participation of a labor union or a community-based organization. A vocational education program may, for example, modify slightly its curriculum to adapt to advances in an occupa- tion with the assistance of industry in the form of borrowed equipment, borrowed personnel, supervised work experience for students, or summer internships for teachers. In other instances, several firms needing employ- ees with the same general skills may band together to work with several schools in a district. The impetus for either type of project may come from any one of the participants. Reviews of collaborative efforts reveal that most start on a rather modest scale, perhaps involving only one vocational program or a few student workers. Once the project is under way, opera- tions can be modified as necessary, and the endeavor can be expanded. Frequently employers who have once worked with the schools seek further involvement, perhaps in new areas such as basic skills or in elementary schools when they had previously worked exclusively with high-school vocational education students. Some people believe it is easier to sell collaborative projects, that is, to gain continued or increased support or to initiate such an effort in a new setting, if their success can be demonstrated. Documentation may be facilitated if the goals of the undertaking are clearly stated and if modest but usable records of progress toward meeting those goals are maintained. In this way, all concerned parties business people, educators, labor leaders, community leaders, students, and parents-can judge the value of the projects. We have noted before that there are many examples of successful collaborative efforts, but many more are needed. Why have they not arisen spontaneously? Some require relatively small investments of money or
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Conclusions and Recommendations 71 equipment, but all require a sizable investment of people's time and energy. Public-school teachers or administrators are logical ones to reach out to business for assistance in various forms, but they are exceedingly busy, sometimes overburdened, with the daily work of operating their programs or schools. Sometimes, too, school personnel do not know how to make contact with employers in the private sector. Community-based organiza- tions, labor unions, or employers themselves could assist in such instances. Presumably, when enough vocational education teachers gain work experi- ence in industry, this barrier can be overcome more easily. Attitudes toward education and training are also critical to collaboration. Educators must acknowledge that they do not have a monopoly on teaching and that the traditional arrangements of teaching may need to be altered to suit the needs of students, employers, and educators. Students and workers should look forward to periodic retraining throughout their working lives. Education should be viewed as an open process, one that encompasses all of a person's life, not just the hours spent in school and not just the school years. Legislation has been proposed in the U.S. Senate that would offer tax incentives to corporations to encourage them to contribute equipment and other forms of support to schools. One such bill, S. 1195, the High Technology Research and Educational Development Act of 1983, would include secondary and postsecondary vocational schools as well as elementary schools in its provisions. Corporate contributions that would carry tax advantages ("enhanced deductions") include computer equip- ment, software, and related orientation, maintenance, and repair services; scientific and technical equipment not more than three years old for use in education, research, and research training; and financial supplementation of faculty salaries or the loan of instructors from business and industry personnel. Recommendations Collaboration with Employers Mechanisms and incentives should be established to induce educators and employers to work together in the planning and provision of occupational education and training. Incentives for teachers could include releasing them from teaching and administrative duties, giving bonuses for establishing links with private-sector employers, and awarding internships in business. Education administrators should give consideration to awarding school credit to students who take courses taught in collaboration with employers-in the workplace or by corporate person- nel. Tax incentives may be appropriate to encourage firms to donate equipment to schools and to allow schools to use the employers' equipment
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72 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS for training purposes in the workplace. The equipment used for training need not always be new, but it should not be obsolete. Tax incentives may also be used to encourage employers to lend personnel to teach or to help support vocational education teachers in the schools. Coordination of Vocational Education and Employment Training There should be as much overlap as feasible in membership on local vocational education councils and private industry councils and on the state vocational education advisory committees and the state coordinating councils required by the Job Training Partnership Act. The committee endorses the provisions of the JTPA intended to ensure coordination among employment training organizations and the public school system. In urging better coordination between JTPA and public vocational educa- ti-on, we do not wish to remove all apparent redundancy. As noted at the beginning of this chapter, we believe that a diverse and decentralized system can better serve individuals' educational needs and respond more quickly to changes in the economy than could a monolithic education system. We recommend coordination in order to ensure the existence of an appropriate array of schools and training centers with different approaches necessary to meet the educational and training objectives of a diverse population. Supervised Work Experience rOr Students As we described in Chapter 2, there are three main types of work- experience programs in which vocational education students can partici- pate: cooperative education, work-study, and apprenticeship programs. While each of these tends to have distinctive characteristics, good programs share certain traits. The following comments apply least of all to work- study programs, however, since their primary purpose is to give economi- cally disadvantaged students paid employment rather than work experience as an adjunct to training. The two components of any supervised work-experience program the education and the employment should be closely related to one another. This principle is obvious, but it is not always followed. The importance and relevance of the skills taught in school should be made evident to the students both while they are in school and while they are working. Like- wise, the work required of the students on the job should be as close as possible to that required once the training program is completed, that is, in regular full-time jobs. The best programs with work-experience components are ones in which completion is determined on the basis of mastery of certain knowledge and
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Conclusions and RecommendFatzons 73 skills, not simply on the passage of time. The objectives of the training and the work should be clearly stated before students enroll in the programs. Progression toward competency in both components of the program should be determined at reasonable intervals throughout the program. The work-experience component of the program should be carefully supervised by the employer and also by a teacher or coordinator from the school. While this is standard practice in high-quality programs, it is not universally done. By saying that teachers or education coordinators should monitor the work of students, we do not mean that school personnel should be given authority over employees in the workplace. They should visit the students on the job periodically to see the work conditions, the work assignments, the type and extent of supervision, the nature of contact with other employees, and the like. This coordination by school personnel is essential to the meshing of the components of the program and also to the assignment of school credit for the work portion of the program when it is applicable. Wherever feasible the employers and education coordinators should make arrangements that enable students to work alongside other employees so that they see what full-time paid employment is really like. In this way, the students have the best opportunity to observe practical and effective work habits. It is important for them to see which of their habits or expectations are at variance with the behavior employers wish to see in their employees. In some industrial settings it may not be possible for students to be totally integrated with the regular work force. Concerns for security or occupational safety or constraints imposed by the students' limited skills may militate against their being incorporated into the regular work environ- ment. In such cases, and we hope they are few, extra efforts should be made to give the students routine exposure, albeit on a limited basis, to regular employees and their work. Remediation of deficiencies in basic educational skills should be separate from the work experience. It is not reasonable to expect employers to remedy these deficiencies or to employ students seriously in need of educational remediation. However, the schools can and should provide remediation to students who need help in mastering the basic skills before they participate in work-experience programs. Lack of competence in the basic skills contributes to the problem of access to high-quality vocational programs, which is discussed later in this chapter. The committee believes that to burden the employment component of such programs with remedia- tion is to doom them to failure. Similarly, to expect employers to hire students who have not mastered the basic educational and occupational skills required on the job is unrealistic; employers must be allowed to set reasonable criteria for selecting students for work-experience programs.
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74 Recommendations EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS Competency-Based Work-Experience Programs Unions, educators, and employers should work to change the requirements for the completion of cooperative education and apprenticeship programs; they should be based on competence rather than time. This change will be fraught with difficul- ties and will require the expenditure of considerable money and time, but we believe it is extremely important. Currently the most common arrange- ment requires that people participate in apprenticeship programs for a specified period of time, after which they become journeymen. In coopera- tive education programs, high-school graduation signifies completion. Some unions are working to modify apprenticeship systems, but progress is slowed by competing demands for the personnel and financial resources necessary to make the required changes. The difficulties in trying to revise programs along these lines are analogous to those in instituting minimum competency tests as the basis for awarding high-school diplomas. The difficulties in deciding what competencies should be included, deciding what levels of skill are required, and determining how to measure these abilities are not to be underestimated. Apprenticeship Programs The Office of Vocational and Adult Education in the U. S. Department of Education should work with the Federal Commit- tee on Apprenticeship and the Bureau of Apprenticeship Training in the U.S. Department of Labor to revise the criteria for completion of appren- ticeship programs. Completion should be based on competence rather than the period of participation in the programs. These groups should take the lead in developing appropriate training curricula and competency tests for apprenticeship programs. The Department of Labor should fund work by unions to develop criteria for completion and competency tests. IMPROVING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS We have identified three main areas in which we think public vocational education needs improvement. Our general approach is to recommend methods or policies that work in some settings and to apply them to the institution with the greatest need for improvement-public comprehensive high schools. Our first concern is vocational education teachers, particularly at the high-school level. We recommend changes in their pre-service and in- service training, in their certification, and in the policies governing their hiring and pay. Our second concern is the funding of public vocational
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Conclusions and Recommendations 75 education programs. We highlight problems and make recommendations based on our collective experience about what works in other situations. Our third concern is access to high-quality vocational education pro- grams, particularly for economically or educationally disadvantaged stu- dents. In this case we take a different tack. A significant part of the problem is the deficiencies in basic educational or occupational skills or work habits of disadvantaged students. We believe it would do no good for us simply to recommend stronger basic education and more effective socialization of these students. Therefore, we have chosen to recommend experimentation with a radically different way of improving access to programs and also remedying deficiencies in the basic skills of students. We acknowledge that our approach will meet with immediate and strong opposition from some quarters. We are willing to take the risk since more conventional means have not proved effective. We want to urge, however, that these particular recommendations be used to supplement and not to supplant current efforts in remediation and improving access. In other words, the funding of regular programs should continue at no less than the current levels and should not be diminished by experimentation. Strengthening Teaching The primary place of training and certification of vocational education teachers is in colleges of education, which seem to operate primarily to prepare teachers of academic subjects. By and large they have not paid special attention to vocational education and the differences in teaching methods required for vocational in contrast to other education. Occupation- al experience in industry, which can be extremely valuable for those who teach vocational skills, is often not awarded college credit, nor is it con- sidered in the certification process. Certification requirements are set at the state or local level, so there is variation across the country. Public-high-school teachers vocational and other are usually required to hold teachers' certificates earned through work at teachers' colleges. Certification requirements often specify particu- lar courses or particular teacher training institutions requirements that reduce flexibility in hiring and eliminate the possibility of discovering whether other types of preparation are effective. Requirements are not as stringent at the postsecondary level, so administrators have more flexibility and a potentially larger pool of teachers from which to choose. The single most important difference in vocational education at the two levels is that postsecondary schools can hire people who have gained their occupational training in business rather than in the classroom. This is generally viewed as
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76 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS an option that should be available to high schools, a view that the committee shares. The committee is not convinced that the benefits of certification require- ments for vocational education teachers outweigh the costs. We do know that the requirements limit the pool of potential teachers, some of whom might be talented and effective. We believe there should be university- based training for teachers, but we believe that allowance should be made for other types of training, particularly occupational training or experience in the workplace. We believe that the best way of determining the most effective means of preparing teachers is to let education administrators choose those people who appear to have the requisite occupational and teaching skills. Adminis- trators' choices will be made harder and riskier because of the difficulty in trying to predict who will be effective teachers. Such choice currently exists at the postsecondary but not generally at the secondary level. Nevertheless, we believe the risk is worth taking, at least on a trial basis, in order to improve the preparedness of vocational education teachers. If administra- tors select teachers who have no formal training in teaching, they should provide and require in-service training in these skills. Taken together, these provisions would allow greater flexibility in hiring teachers while giving some insurance against potentially harmful deficiencies in teaching abili ties. Awarding tenure to teachers is often thought to remove some of their incentives to adapt to change. This is of particular concern for vocational education, given the constantly and rapidly changing world of work to which vocational programs must adapt. The problem of keeping programs current is especially severe at the high-school level, in large measure because of the high proportion of tenured high-school teachers. Seniority, especially as a factor in deciding who is fired in a reduction in the teaching force, contributes to the problem of keeping vocational education teachers current in their occupational fields. Pay structures for high-school teachers vocational or other generally do not differentiate pay levels by field or competence. This makes it extremely difficult for schools to attract and retain teachers in subjects that are in high demand (such as computer-related or technical fields) or to reward especially effective teachers. While there has been widespread and vehement resistance to changing pay scales, experiments or new policies are being instituted in several places across the country. The level of teachers' salaries is an extremely sensitive issue. As noted at a convocation on precollege science and mathematics education held at the National Academy of Sciences (National Academy of Sciences and Nation
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Conclusions and Recommendations 77 al Academy of Engineering, 1982), opinions vary about how to raise the quality of high-school teachers. Some think pay for all teachers is too low to attract qualified people. Others think differential pay should be instituted so that market forces can work to adjust the salaries of teachers. Houston and Memphis are experimenting with differential pay scales, but the projects are still under way and the effects of the experiments have not been determined. Others think that low morale is a more severe problem than low pay and that recognition for outstanding performance and freedom from noninstruction- al duties would improve the quality of teaching. Recommendations Certification of Teachers Requirements for the certification of vocation- al education teachers should be modified to reflect the needs of vocational education-in particular, the importance of occupational training or experi- ence in industry. Certification should be based on judged competence in both teaching and the relevant occupation rather than on completion of a bachelor's degree in teacher education, which may be largely irrelevant to vocational education programs. Training of Teachers To serve adequately the needs of vocational educa- tion, teacher training institutions should develop, in addition to the standard curriculum, special curricula for people who have gained most of their occupational knowledge and experience through employment and not in college. The curricula for vocational education teachers should be short, effective, and aimed at teaching practices in a wider variety of instructional settings than curricula in many other education programs. They should allow people trained in the workplace to demonstrate their occupational skills and be exempted from some occupational courses. In-Service Training of Teachers In-service training programs for voca- tional education teachers should offer a variety of opportunities for teachers with different strengths and weaknesses. Effectiveness in teaching should be stressed for those teachers (most often those who learned their occupa- tional skills in industry) who have little experience in teaching. Internships in business should be made available on a regular basis so that all vocational education teachers can periodically sharpen their occupational skills and knowledge. Such work experience should be considered part of in-service training for teachers and should be awarded appropriate credit in a system that requires such.
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78 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS Part-Time Vocational Education Teachers Once certification require- ments are changed appropriately, high-school administrators should take advantage of opportunities to hire part-time teachers for vocational educa- tion programs. Recruitment efforts should be focused on employees in the private sector who are competent both in their occupations and in instruct- ing others in their areas of expertise. This practice has been effective in postsecondary institutions, and we believe it could be used to ease the problems in high schools as well. Pay Scales for Teachers Pay systems that reward the excellence of indi- vidual teachers and permit differentiation by field should be instituted wherever possible. Such arrangements should be included in collective bargaining agreeements. Strengthening Financing For funding purposes vocational education might well be viewed as more similar to university research programs than to other secondary education. Vocational program costs are highly variable and depend on equipment costs to a greater degree than many academic programs. The costs of keeping programs current with changing technology and of initiating new programs in reponse to the demands of the economy often exceed available funds. These costs for any program, while not incurred annually, need to be accommodated by the annual budgets of local and state education agencies. As we have seen, capitation financing formulas for school programs limit the ability of education administrators to allocate funds according to chang- ing priorities or differences in program costs. Capitation funding is a disincentive to schools' allowing students to attend classes in other schools. Funds available to accommodate changing priorities within vocational education and to improve or update programs are limited. The problem is particularly acute at local levels, where programs are modified and collaboration with the private sector is undertaken. Funds for program improvement tend to be spread thinly over many purposes, with little opportunity to assemble a critical mass of funds to achieve needed change in any one area. Finding funds to purchase or lease expensive capital equipment is often difficult, especially in local school districts, and arrangements to exploit fully the available equipment among different programs or schools are sometimes difficult to implement. The need for expensive equipment is often short term, offering the opportunity for several programs or schools to use the same equipment if barriers to sharing can be overcome.
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Conclusions and Recommendations Recommendations 79 Funding Formulas In addition to enrollment figures, vocational educa- tion program funding formulas should include factors that reflect determi- nants of program cost, such as the educational disadvantage of students (requiring remediation), the costs of capital equipment, the salaries of teachers and administrators, curriculum revision, and the like. Formulas should permit a phased shift in funding for students who are jointly enrolled in two schools or who shift from one school to another. Pooling Equipment Statewide and regional pools of expensive equipment that reasonably can be shared should be established. At the local level capital equipment resources, both public and private, should be identified, and means for scheduling their use among several programs should be established. Opportunities for leasing equipment, particularly for short- term training programs or economic development efforts, should be in- vestigated. Similarly, opportunities for borrowing equipment from busi- nesses should be sought. Funding for Program Improvement If public schools are to accomplish the goal of providing up-to-date and effective vocational education for all students who want it, they should have sufficient resources not only to maintain the good programs they have now but also to modify existing programs and initiate new ones to teach the skills required by employers. They will also need additional money to provide remediation for education- ally disadvantaged students. improving Access to Vocational Education Programs Young people who live in economically depressed rural areas or inner cities frequently find it difficult to gain access to high-quality education and training programs. Where high-quality programs are available, students with deficiencies in basic skills may be denied access because there are more qualified applicants than places in the programs. In such cases, there is virtually no incentive for schools to provide remediation for the basic skills deficiencies of the students who apply for admission to the programs. Administrators of superior programs have little incentive to seek out inner- city or rural young people as students or to help them meet quickly the academic requirements of admission. A second barrier to enrollment for disadvantaged students is the simple undersupply of sound vocational programs in many but by no means all depressed inner-city or rural communities. There may be few high-quality
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80 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS programs that are located within commuting distance of inner-city or rural residents. If economically disadvantaged young people from these areas move to an area in which there are better training opportunities, they generally do not have the financial resources necessary to enroll in the better programs. The committee has considered two plans, which seem to merit ex- perimentation, designed to ameliorate the problem of access to high-quality vocational education programs. The first is a system of vocational incentive grants, patterned after basic education opportunity grants. Such a system would provide grants to institutions on behalf of students between the ages of 14 and 18. The size of the grant would be scaled to the student's economic resources, generally including family income and economic obligations. The grants could be used to obtain vocational training in public or private schools anywhere in the country, without regard to the previous residence of the student. The grants would provide for training for each eligible student at maximum value equal to 100-120 percent of national average expenditures per student in secondary vocational education programs. Students could use their grants any time during their four years of eligibility and for sufficient time to complete their programs. We believe that such a program would encourage the development of good training programs in geographic areas inhabited by low-income fami- lies. The funding mechanism would provide a stronger incentive than currently exists for training institutions to enroll low-income youth. Such a program should supplement existing programs and efforts to improve access. The amount paid to an institution would be independent of other resources public or private-available to the accredited institution. Public vocational schools would have some advantage in competition with private schools because they would receive not only the vocational incentive grants but also the usual public funds. We have deliberately suggested a relatively high maximum amount for each grant to ensure adequate attention to basic skills as well as to vocational education needs. A vocational incentive grant program could give low-income students a larger choice in vocational programs than they currently have. The second model is adapted from the approach now used to design education programs for students with handicapping conditions. Under this arrangement state and local education agencies would be required to de- velop an individualized vocational education plan for every high-school student who sought it for any of the standard program offerings. The plan would specify objectives for both basic skills and vocational education as well as the programs through which the objectives could be met. To the extent that the objectives could not be met by the local public school, arrangements could be made with the active assistance and oversight of the
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Conclusions and Recommendations 81 state agency to make use of any appropriate resources public or private, local or other to meet those objectives. Federal, state, and local resources that ordinarily could be used for the education of the student could be applied to meeting the plan objectives, and the local and state agencies would be accountable for the quality and appropriateness of the vocational education provided. The primary advantages of this approach lie in the required focus on the needs of individual students, the increased potential for recognizing prob- lems and assigning responsibility, the increased participation of relevant people in the education decisions, and the potential use of community-wide resources to fulfill objectives. The primary disadvantages lie in the sub- stantially increased cost, especially in human resources, of preparing the plans; the disincentives to enroll more students, since they may request such plans; and the relatively weak incentives to create new program opportuni- ties. The committee recognizes that these two approaches vocational incen- tive grants and individualized vocational education plans represent signif- icant departures from current practices and is therefore unwilling to recom- mend national implementation of either model without substantial empiri- cal study. We have far more confidence in the practicality and effectiveness of vocational incentive grants, however, and frame our recommendations accordingly. We know that such grants are likely to meet with strenuous opposition within the education community. Still, we believe experimenta- tion is warranted and should help to improve vocational education programs and disadvantaged students' access to better programs. An important and anticipated effect of vocational incentive grants is the promotion of competition and entrepreneurship in the provision of voca- tional education. Private and public schools alike would compete to enroll students, presumably by strengthening their programs and by actively recruiting to enroll students with such grants. This open competition offers the advantage of flexibility, but it also raises the issue of consumer protec- tion. Students should not unknowingly waste their grants and their time on ineffective training programs. Two procedures could avoid this: One is accreditation of training institutions, and the other is a requirement for "truth in training." Truth in training, as outlined in our recommendation below, is the less cumbersome procedure and, if carried out effectively, is likely to provide a greater degree of protection overall. It would be relative- ly easy to implement, since vocational educators are accustomed to evaluat- ing their programs in terms of completions and placements of students and in terms of employers' views of training. The two procedures are not mutually incompatible and could well be used jointly. For programs that have been in existence three or more years, the
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82 EDUCATION FOR TOMORROW'S JOBS truth-in-training evaluation should include data on enrollments, comple- tions, placements, and beginning wages. The academic qualifications of program completers should be described. A forecast of job openings for the next two years should be given. Upon request, potential applicants should be given the name, address, and telephone number of the personnel office of firms that have hired graduates. For newer programs, the materials pro- vided to prospective students should include as much of the above informa- tion as possible, together with a somewhat more thorough prospectus describing the skills to be taught, the types of training and work experience, the expected size of the job market, minimum academic qualifications required of students, and the training and experience of faculty. Recommendations Vocational Incentive Grants The federal government should initiate a substantial experiment in vocational incentive grants for high-school voca- tional education students. The experiment should be designed to test eligi- bility criteria, appropriate grant levels, and implementation processes and to assess the effects on students and educational institutions. The purposes and authorities of the Job Training Partnership Act seem appropriate to this experiment, and the resources therein, together with those available to the U.S. Department of Education, should be used to finance this work. Consumer Protection in Vocational Education All training institutions that accept vocational incentive grants or that receive Vocational Education Act funds should be required to provide to any interested party detailed descriptions of their programs, including courses offered, skills taught, requirements for enrollment, and opportunities for work experience, as well as written evaluations of each of their programs. CONCLUSION In this chapter we have outlined our findings and conclusions regarding the vocational education system, its relation to the changing economy, its role in economic development, its interaction with private-sector employers, and its institutional strengths and weaknesses. Readers who would like to place a vastly increased responsibility for training on employers will be disappointed with our recommendations. We firmly believe that it is the responsibility of the public education system to prepare students for both employment and further education. We do not think that responsibility should be shifted to private employers, although we do think employers can help significantly in the ways we have outlined.
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Conclusions and Recommendations 83 We believe that some important and fundamental changes need to be made in the vocational education system if it is to do its job effectively. Probably the most important of those changes are intended to strengthen the teaching and financing of vocational education. One central change that we see as desirable seems virtually impossible to legislate or institute. We would like to see vocational education become an equal partner with college-preparatory education in the education system as a whole. The most effective vocational programs are deserving of that respect now, and we would like to see all programs raised to that level of quality and esteem.
Representative terms from entire chapter: