ERIC Number: ED183966
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Jun-11
Reference Count: 0
Vocational Education and Social Mobility: A Study of Public and Proprietary School Dropouts and Graduates.
Wilms, Wellford W.
This study asks, "Are proprietary schools able to hold their students to graduation better than public schools?""Who are the dropouts and what difference does completing a vocational program make? Do completers get better jobs and earn more than dropouts?" A total of 1,576 students were followed after they enrolled in 50 public community colleges and proprietary vocational schools for 28 months, until they graduated, transferred to another school, quit school to go to work, or dropped out entirely. The students were enrolled in three upper-level occupational programs (accounting, computer programming, and electronic technician training) and three lower level occupational programs (secretary training, dental assisting, and cosmetology) in schools in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, and Boston. Of the original sample, 83% were interviewed at 6-month intervals until they left school. Results of the study showed: (1) the students most likely to drop out of both types of schools were poorer, minority students; (2) proprietary schools had greater holding power; (3) proprietary school students had, on the average, a 1 1/2 times greater chance of graduating within 2 1/3 years than those in public schools; (4) except in lower-level, female occupations, dropping out made no difference in students' job placements; dropouts from both types of schools had the same unemployment rates as did the graduates; and (5) dropping out had no effect on students' initial and later earnings; however, an important finding was that students with higher levels of ego development earned more over time. Based on these findings, it is concluded that vocational education is not an effective way to equalize students' opportunities in the labor market, and that proprietary schools are more efficient in providing entry-level job training than public schools. Recommendations are that students have access to information about schools' dropout rates and about jobs and earnings of past graduates; that the role of the more efficient proprietary schools in providing this training be expanded; and that the National Institute of Education give high priority to supporting research to redefine public vocational education needs. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Los Angeles. Graduate School of Education
Identifiers: California (San Francisco); Florida (Miami); Illinois (Chicago); Massachusetts (Boston)