ERIC Number: ED406073
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
The New Vocationalism in Rural Locales.
This paper critiques current "school-to-work" practices in rural schools. A look at the rural context reveals that rural workers are more likely to be unemployed and are paid less than workers elsewhere, resulting in high rural poverty. In addition, many kinds of rural decline (in services, transportation, job availability) are tied to larger trends in the increasingly globalized political economy. The trend is for work to leave rural communities, and consequently students taking part in a school-to-work program must leave as well. It is not uncommon for such a program to consist of bus trips to regional centers where rural people commute or migrate to work. What students learn in the process has less to do with job skills than with the larger implicit lesson: if you want work, you must abandon your community. School-to-work in rural locales feeds several dangerous, though widespread, cultural assumptions: first, that children should spend 12 years of formal schooling with their eyes continually focused on the future (although we have no idea what work will look like in the future, nor how much will be available), and second, that youth should consider their own self-interest before their community's welfare. An honest approach to school-to-work would allow students to explore public policy assumptions and results--to see connections between the work available in their communities and policy decisions made elsewhere. This approach would empower students to make decisions that affect the quality of life in their own place. It would be civic education developed through the application of traditional school subjects to the realities at hand. (SV)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A