Towards A Vocation Nation

by Chris Bodenner

John McWhorter sees "great stuff" happening with education reform under Obama:

Take, for example, the National Center on Education and the Economy’s plan to have eight states experiment with allowing public school students to graduate after tenth grade upon finishing clearly stated requirements, and to then go on to community college. The states will have pilot schools using this program just two autumns from now. [...T]he NCEE experiment can serve as a needed wake-up call to America about the value of community colleges, and more specifically, vocational training.

One of the most ironically damaging aspects of the GI Bill in the 1940s was the notion, now so deeply entrenched in the American soul as to seem not an opinion at all, that four years of a liberal arts education at a university is a default experience for people after high school, and that to not do this is opt for, or be saddled with, the lowlier fate of “Not Going To College.” In this era when we so often bemoan the plight of uneducated young men, it is high time we returned to championing vocational education as America used to – and once again the Obama Administration is on it, with its plan to put 12 billion dollars into community colleges.

The NYT recently debated the idea of 10th-grade graduation. In related news, Utah is flirting with the idea of making 12th grade optional (though primarily due to budget woes).