Proprietary, Career, and Charter Schools and CTE
Trends and Issues Alert 36
by Michael E.Wonacott
This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. ERIC/ACVE publications may be freely reproduced.
Proprietary and career schools have long provided postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) as private, for-profit institutions. In recent years, they have been joined at the secondary level by charter schools providing CTE. This Alert addresses important trends and issues affecting proprietary, career, and charter schools as providers of secondary or postsecondary CTE, as well as the implications of those trends for the more traditional, public institutions providing CTE.
The quality of programs and services, a long-standing issue for proprietary and career schools (Burd 1998), is also under scrutiny for charter schools. Issues include training students for oversupplied occupations (General Accounting Office 1997a), provision and effectiveness of student support services (Washington State 1998), state postsecondary oversight and licensing (California Postsecondary Education Commission 1995), and student success on state proficiency tests (Drew 2002). Prominent approaches to ensuring quality are accreditation for proprietary and career schools (Lewis 1999) and close charter school/employer partnerships (The Inside View 2001), with employer-linked charter schools a growing phenomenon (Learning from Experience 1998).
One question at the postsecondary level--perhaps a trend, perhaps not--is whether proprietary and career schools are becoming more like public community and technical colleges (e.g., Clowes and Hawthorn 1995), particularly in student characteristics (Farmer and O'Lawrence 2000) and breadth of training and education (Moore 1995). At the secondary level, the similarity between CTE charter schools and school-to-work concepts is often pointed out (Goodman 1998).
Abuses in Federal Student Grant Programs: Proprietary School Abuses. Hearing before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs. United States Senate, 104th Congress, First Session. Washington, DC: U.S. Congress, 1995. (ED 399 904)
Arizona Department of Education. Successful Strategies: Teaching and Learning in Arizona Schools. Phoenix: School to Work Division, AZ DE, 1998. (ED 430 123)
Burd, S. "For-Profit Schools Win New Respect in Congress." Chronicle of Higher Education 45, no. 2 (September 4, 1998): A47-A48.
California Postsecondary Education Commission. The Effectiveness of California's Oversight of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education. Sacramento: CPEC, 1995. (ED 403 803)
Clowes, D. A., and Hawthorn, E. M., eds. Community Colleges and Proprietary Schools: Conflict or Convergence? New Directions for Community Colleges No. 91. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1995. (ED 387 193)
Crossland, R. 1997-98 Articulation and Transfer in the State of Washington. Olympia, WA: State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 1997. (ED 416 922)
Czaja, M. D., and Belcher, S. "A Charter School in Partnerships for At-Risk Youth." Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Rural Education Association, Colorado Springs, CO, October 13-17, 1999. (ED 437 236)
Drew, J. "State Agrees to Terminate Village Schule." Toledo Blade, June 12, 2002, online, n.p.
Farmer, E. I., and O'Lawrence, H. "A Benchmark Review of Postsecondary Technical Students in Pennsylvania." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000. (ED 440 273)
Forrest, B. "Private Schools and Agricultural Education in North Carolina." Agricultural Education Magazine 70, no. 6 (May-June 1998): 7, 11.
General Accounting Office. Proprietary Schools: Analysis of Comments Received from an Association of Schools. Washington, DC: Health, Education, and Human Services Division, GAO, 1997a. (ED 413 422)
General Accounting Office. Proprietary Schools: Millions Spent to Train Students for Oversupplied Occupations. Washington, DC: GAO, 1997b. (ED 408 464)
Goodman, G. An Analysis of School-to-Work Implementation in Selected Charter Schools. Tucson, AZ: Creative Research Associates, 1998. (ED 435 839)
Hardy, L. "High Tech High." American School Board Journal 188, no. 7 (July 2001): 12-15.
The Inside View—October, 2000. Kansas City, MO: Charter School Partnership, The Learning Exchange, 2001. <http://www.lx.org/old_site/csp/csiv110200.html >
An Inventory of Business-Linked Charter Schools. Lansing, MI: Public Policy Associates; Washington, DC: National Alliance of Business; and Ann Arbor: Michigan Future, 1998. (ED 435 811)
Learning from Experience: Case Studies of Employer-Linked Charter Schools. Lansing, MI: Public Policy Associates; Washington, DC: National Alliance of Business; and Ann Arbor: Michigan Future, 1998. (ED 435 812)
Lewis, M. V. Student Outcomes at Private, Accredited Career Schools and Colleges of Technology: An Analysis of the Effects of Selected School/College Characteristics on Student Outcomes for School Years 1990 through 1993. Columbus: Center on Education and Training for Employment, the Ohio State University, 1995. (ED 379 492)
Lewis, M. V. An Examination of the Standards Established by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology. Columbus: Center on Education and Training for Employment, the Ohio State University, 1999. (ED 432 694)
Missouri State Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Technical Education: Missouri State Plan for Postsecondary Technical Education. Jefferson City: MOCBHE, 1996. (ED 437 099)
Moore, R. W. "Proprietary Schools-Are They Heroes or Villains in Education?" Journal of Technology Studies 21, no. 2 (Winter-Spring 1995): 60-65.
Redefining Public Education: The Promise of Employer-Linked Charter Schools. Lansing, MI: Public Policy Associates; Washington, DC: National Alliance of Business; and Ann Arbor: Michigan Future, 1999. (ED 435 813)
Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordination Board. Evaluation of Private Career Schools. Olympia: WA WTECB, 1997. (ED 413 524)
Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordination Board. Workforce Training Results 1998: An Evaluation of Washington State's Workforce Training System. Olympia: WA WTECB, 1998. (ED 425 348)
Zinser, J. State Education Funding Policies and School-to-Work Transitions for Dropouts and At-Risk Students. Washington, DC: National School-to-Work Office, 1997. (ED 413 482)
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT) <http://www.accsct.org> provides information on the accrediting process, other links and resources, and ACCSCT accreditation standards.
Career College Association <http://www.career.org/related_orgs.html > provides links to national and regional accrediting agencies, state associations, and other education associations.