This study explores whether medical vocational-technical education could be a tool to help Boston-area Catholic schools address declining enrollment and also provide economically disadvantaged students with skills that are in high demand among employers.
About Alison Fraser
Alison L. Fraser is an education policy, research and strategy consultant, and president of Practical Policy. She was previously the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Mass Insight Education, where she directed the Great Schools Campaign and the development of No Excuses for Failing Schools and Excellence in Math and Science goals. An expert in standards-based curriculum, she has coordinated activities and programs for the Coalition for Higher Standards and has led research in standards-based reform. She was an administrator at Blackstone Valley Tech.
This paper explores why vocational education has become such a popular option in Massachusetts, and why 52 Bay State cities and towns do not have access to either district or regional career vocational technical programs. It also examines funding for vocational- technical education. While vocational-technical education is more expensive than traditional high school, it would cost the state less than ½% of the FY16 education budget to provide 5,000 more CVTE placements in Massachusetts.
Society is recognizing that in today’s economy, many graduates of four-year liberal arts colleges are looking for work, while students from career vocational technical schools are finding high-skill, high wage jobs. Why? Because they have marketable, industry-sanctioned competencies and employability skills.
More than one million students drop out of high school in the United States each year, setting them on courses of lost income, diminished health, and increased odds of incarceration. Collectively, their decision costs the nation hundreds of billions of dollars in lost revenue, lower economic activity and increased need for social services.
This new Pioneer Institute policy brief on student writing in our schools will be helpful if it highlights the understanding that students will need to write often and at length in college and beyond.
Massachusetts, a pioneer in many ways, has always been at the forefront of vocational technical education. A century ago, the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School opened in Northampton. Smith is still operating today, and is the forerunner to a mode of education that remains vitally important to the state’s workforce. Massachusetts’ Vocational-Technical Education (VTE) is a unique method of academic, career, and extracurricular activity that creates a comprehensive blend of opportunity and advancement.