The School-to-Work Opportunities Act:
Opportunities for Curriculum Action
As federal initiatives continue to influence the landscape of
educational practice, education-for-employment issues have become
central to educational reform. Federal Public Law 103-329 (H.R.2884)
of May 4, 1994, also known as the School-To-Work Opportunities Act of
1994, requires shared planning and informed decision-making processes
at the state and local level.
This act intends to improve the knowledge and skills of youths by
integrating academic and occupational learning, integrating
school-based and work-based learning, and building effective links
between secondary and postsecondary education (SEC. 3. ).
Implications for quality curriculum are threaded throughout the Act,
and opportunities abound for the development of comprehensive
curriculum that considers not only content but also pedagogy, student
assessment, and the infusion of equity and diversity considerations
throughout the instructional material.
The following sections of the Act directly address school-to-work
curriculum. They are cited here for the consideration of curriculum
practitioners at both the state and local levels:
- SEC. 102. School-Based Learning Component shall include... (4) a
program of instruction and curriculum that integrates academic and
vocational learning (including applied methodologies and team-teaching
strategies), and incorporates instruction, to the extent practicable,
in all aspects of an industry appropriately tied to the career major
of a participant.
- SEC. 205. Allowable Use of Funds: Funds may be used for... (12)
designing challenging curricula, in cooperation with representatives
of local partnerships, that take into account the diverse learning
needs and abilities of the student population served by the statewide
School-to-Work Opportunities system.
- SEC. 213. Application... State plan shall... (8) describe how the
State will adopt, develop, or assist local partnerships to adopt or
develop model curricula and innovative instructional methodologies, to
be used in the secondary (and elementary, where possible) schools that
integrate academic and vocational learning and promote career
awareness, and that are consistent with academic and skill standards
established pursuant to the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the
National Skill Standards Act of 1994.
- SEC. 215... Allowable State Activities include... (D) designing or
adapting school curricula that can be used to integrate academic,
vocational, and occupational learning, school-based and work-based
learning, and secondary and postsecondary education for all students
in the area served; (E) providing training to work-based and
school-based staff on new curricula, student assessments, student
guidance, and feedback to the school regarding student performance.
- SEC. 215. Additional State Activities. In carrying out the
statewide School-to-Work Opportunities system, the state may also...
(5) design or adapt model curricula that can be used to integrate
academic, vocational, and occupational learning, school-based and
work-based learning, and secondary and postsecondary education for all
students in the state.
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