New Vocationalism in the United States: Potential Problems and Outlook

C.S. Benson

The topic of this 1992 paper, the new vocationalism, refers to a set of profound changes in the education of American youth that were subsequently embodied in the federal School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994. Charles Benson, former NCRVE director, describes the new vocationalism as integrating academic and occupational curriculum, combining classroom instruction with work-based learning, and connecting secondary with postsecondary education. The paper explains the rationale of these ideas, summarizes existing evidence, analyzes obstacles, and discusses the prospects for these changes. Topics covered include cooperative learning, Tech Prep, youth apprenticeships and career magnets, all aspects of the industry, evaluation, and the economic context of reform. This eloquent essay is a useful reminder of the philosophical and practical roots of current efforts in work-related education reform. This article is reprinted from the 1997 issue of Economics of Education Review.

MDS-889 / October 1998

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