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ERIC Number: EJ1230894
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Depth over Breadth: The Value of Vocational Education in U.S. High Schools
Kreisman, Daniel; Stange, Kevin
Education Next, v19 n4 p76-83 Fall 2019
Since 1983, policymakers and politicians have worked to stave off a perceived decline in the academic preparation of American students. Stubbornly low scores on international exams and signs that many U.S. graduates are ill-equipped for college and the workforce have lent urgency to this perception, and many states have made high-school graduation requirements more rigorous in response. As a result, American high-school graduates today complete more academic courses and more advanced coursework than they did three decades ago. At first glance, this seems clear evidence of progress. But much of those gains have come at the expense of student participation in vocational, or career and technical education, classes--a broad category of coursework that encompasses everything from welding, to sports management, to computer science. This raises a central question: What is the relationship between modern-day vocational or career and technical coursework and high-school graduates' success in college or in the workforce? Is vocational education an off ramp to college foisted upon lackluster students, or a different and less costly path toward adult success? The authors examine high-school and college transcripts and labor market outcomes for about 4,000 adults to find out. This study, making use of a nationally representative sample of early-career Americans, shows that students tend to enroll in vocational classes based on whether such options are available to them, suggesting that the commonly held belief that marginal students are funneled into such classes is untrue. Further, the authors find that not all vocational classes are equal: students earn about 2 percent more annually for each advanced or upper-level vocational class they take, but enjoy no wage premium for having completed lower-level or introductory vocational study.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A