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ERIC Number: ED589831
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Aug
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
How the Other Half Learns: Reorienting an Education System That Fails Most Students. Report
Cass, Oren
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
America's education system, from kindergarten through the state university, is designed to produce college graduates. Those who stop short of at least a community-college diploma are widely regarded as failures, or at least victims of a failed system. Yet most Americans fall into this category, and current trends offer little hope for improvement. Politicians and policymakers are finally paying attention to this population--which, roughly speaking, comprises the working class--and calls for more vocational education and apprenticeships have become fashionable. But a more fundamental reordering of the nation's misshapen educational infrastructure is necessary if alternatives to the college pipeline are to take their rightful place as coequal pathways to the workforce. Key finding of the report are: (1) Fewer than one in five students travel smoothly from high school diploma to college degree to career; most Americans fail to earn even a two-year associate's degree. Students are as likely to drop out of high school, skip higher education, drop out of college, or earn a degree unnecessary to their subsequent jobs; (2) Contrary to conventional wisdom, a college degree is neither necessary nor sufficient for reaching the middle class. The wage and salary distributions for college graduates and high school graduates overlap significantly; high-earning high school graduates in a wide variety of fields that require no college degree earn substantially more than low-earning college graduates; and (3) While the potential demand for a serious Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway is huge, the federal government spent only $1 billion on CTE in 2016 but more than $70 billion subsidizing college attendance. State and local governments spent an additional $80 billion on college and almost nothing on expanding CTE pathways. Federal spending on college has more than doubled since 1990; spending on CTE has declined.
Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017. Tel: 212-599-7000; Fax: 212-599-3494; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress; SAT (College Admission Test)