New Directions for High School Career and Technical Education in the 21st Century
A new vision for vocational education is integral to comprehensive reform of the high school in the United States. This paper identifies and describes new directions for vocational, or career and technical, education in high schools at the beginning of the 21st century. It synthesizes thought and opinion of a variety of stakeholders, gathered through interviews and a review of policy-influencing documents and research.
The paper begins with an historical overview of high school vocational education in order to understand the present condition of the field, depicting the turn of the 21st century as a crucial crossroads at which important decisions for the future must be made. Forces influencing high school career and technical education at this stage are described: the new economy, public expectations, new cognitive science research about learning, and a variety of high school reform movements. The purposes of high school career and technical education are identified as
The importance of early childhood and middle school years in laying the foundation for the high school and beyond is emphasized.
The remainder of the paper elaborates four themes for the new career and technical education: career planning and development, high school reform, upgrading of vocational education, and the K-14 model. These themes are discussed in terms of six components, four that contribute to student achievement (high school majors, contextual teaching and learning, work-based learning, authentic assessment) and two that relate to the organization of schools and school systems (career academies and tech prep).
Information on the topics in this paper may be found in the ERIC database using the following descriptors: Career Academies, *Career Education, Early Childhood Education, *Education Work Relationship, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Elementary Education, High Schools, Integrated Curriculum, Middle Schools, Tech Prep, *Technical Education, *Vocational Education.
Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education