Vocational Education and School Reform

New Connections From School to Work

A Special Issue of Education and Urban Society
May 1995, Volume 27, Number 3

Edited by: Peter F. Seidman, University of California, Berkeley Kimberly A. Ramsey, RAND
(Both for the National Center for Research in Vocational Education)

In the past decade, vocational education has initiated deep, fundamental reforms concerning the integration of academic and vocational education as well as the seamless integration of secondary and postsecondary curricula ("tech prep"). The recent passage of Goals 2000 and the School-to-Work Opportunities Act has bolstered these reforms. Both initiatives are noteworthy because they cross the barrier between vocational and academic education, integrating them and pressing for improvement for all students. Most significantly, the legislation ties funding to such reform efforts. Such initiatives in tandem with a legislative push for performance standards and measures are central to the sea change currently occurring in vocational education as well as in the broader educational reform movement.

This issue examines vocational education reform and what it offers to the picture of broader educational reform. Leading scholars and researchers discuss the history of vocational education, the development of its professionals, curricular innovations, school-to-work transitions, and benefits to its graduates. Factors that may aid the incorporation of vocational reforms in urban schools, such as site-based management and policy-sensitive impediments that make reform difficult are also explored. This comprehensive review of the current system and recent research offers insight into what works and what doesn't, and it suggests promising future directions for policy and reform. The issue also highlights the practical ways general and vocational education reform can merge in a critical partnership, each sharing its strengths with and gaining strength from the other.

Contents/ Introduction; Peter F. Seidman and Kimberly A. Ramsey / Reconstructing Urban Schools With Work-Centered Education; W. Norton Grubb / The New Vocationalism in Urban School Reform; Kimberly A. Ramsey / What Teachers Learn in High School: Professional Development and the Redesign of Vocational Education; Judith Warren Little / The Role of the Urban Community College in Educational Reform; Debra D. Bragg and James D. Layton / Vocational Education, the General Equivalency Diploma, and Urban and Minority Populations;Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz / Cooperative Vocational Education in the Urban School: Toward a Systems Approach; James R. Stone III / New Directions for Policy on Education for Work; E. Gareth Hoachlander


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