ERIC Number: ED435825
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Aug-23
Reference Count: N/A
An Assessment of the Historical Arguments in Vocational Education Reform.
Hyslop-Margison, Emery J.
Early in the 20th century, vocational education was a concern of educators in the United States as schools struggled to meet labor force needs during the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economic base. A 1914 Congress-authorized commission studied whether federal aid to vocational education was warranted. Charles Prosser, a student of social efficiency advocate David Snedden and principal author of the commission report, viewed separately administered and narrowly focused vocational training as the best way to assist nonacademic students in securing employment after school completion. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 specified noncompulsory programs and established a precedent of federal-state financing for vocational education. Snedden accepted social stratification as inevitable and believed most students derived little benefit from traditionally organized academic studies. John Dewey, the most vocal opponent of Snedden's social efficiency framework, believed vocational education should be part of a comprehensive curriculum to help students develop expanded occupational options. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 expanded the scope and influence of job training in schools. The contrasting views of Snedden and Dewey revealed dialectically opposed positions on desired program format and on individual existential capacity and the moral responsibility of education in a democratic society. A morally appropriate model for vocational education would be the comprehensive democratic approach advocated by Dewey rather than separately administered, narrowly conceived skills-based programs. (Contains 20 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Smith Hughes Act; Vocational Education Act 1963