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Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools

 

Nicholas Wyman , CONTRIBUTORI write about job skills in the 21st-century workplace.  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Instructor helps a student participating in a woodworking manufacturing training program in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg Charlie Negron

Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.

But in the 1950s, a different philosophy emerged: the theory that students should follow separate educational tracks according to ability. The idea was that the college-bound would take traditional academic courses (Latin, creative writing, science, math) and received no vocational training. Those students not headed for college would take basic academic courses, along with vocational training, or “shop.”

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Ability tracking did not sit well with educators or parents, who believed students were assigned to tracks not by aptitude, but by socio-economic status and race. The result being that by the end of the 1950s, what was once a perfectly respectable, even mainstream educational path came to be viewed as a remedial track that restricted minority and working-class students.

The backlash against tracking, however, did not bring vocational education back to the academic core. Instead, the focus shifted to preparing all students for college, and college prep is still the center of the U.S. high school curriculum.

So what’s the harm in prepping kids for college? Won’t all students benefit from a high-level, four-year academic degree program? As it turns out, not really. For one thing, people have a huge and diverse range of different skills and learning styles. Not everyone is good at math, biology, history and other traditional subjects that characterize college-level work. Not everyone is fascinated by Greek mythology, or enamored with Victorian literature, or enraptured by classical music. Some students are mechanical; others are artistic. Some focus best in a lecture hall or classroom; still others learn best by doing, and would thrive in the studio, workshop or shop floor.

And not everyone goes to college. The latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that about 68% of high school students attend college. That means over 30% graduate with neither academic nor job skills.

But even the 68% aren’t doing so well. Almost 40% of students who begin four-year college programs don’t complete them, which translates into a whole lot of wasted time, wasted money, and burdensome student loan debt. Of those who do finish college, one-third or more will end up in jobs they could have had without a four-year degree. The BLS found that 37% of currently employed college grads are doing work for which only a high school degree is required.

It is true that earnings studies show college graduates earn more over a lifetime than high school graduates. However, these studies have some weaknesses. For example, over 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or under-employed. And income for college graduates varies widely by major – philosophy graduates don’t nearly earn what business studies graduates do. Finally, earnings studies compare college graduates to all high school graduates. But the subset of high school students who graduate with vocational training – those who go into well-paying, skilled jobs – the picture for non-college graduates looks much rosier.

Yet despite the growing evidence that four-year college programs serve fewer and fewer of our students, states continue to cut vocational programs. In 2013, for example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, with more than 600,000 students, made plans to cut almost all of its CTE programs by the end of the year. The justification, of course, is budgetary; these programs (which include auto body technology, aviation maintenance, audio production, real estate and photography) are expensive to operate. But in a situation where 70% of high school students do not go to college, nearly half of those who do go fail to graduate, and over half of the graduates are unemployed or underemployed, is vocational education really expendable? Or is it the smartest investment we could make in our children, our businesses, and our country’s economic future?

The U.S. economy has changed. The manufacturing sector is growing and modernizing, creating a wealth of challenging, well-paying, highly skilled jobs for those with the skills to do them. The demise of vocational education at the high school level has bred a skills shortage in manufacturing today, and with it a wealth of career opportunities for both under-employed college grads and high school students looking for direct pathways to interesting, lucrative careers. Many of the jobs in manufacturing are attainable through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and vocational programs offered at community colleges. They don’t require expensive, four-year degrees for which many students are not suited.

 

 

 

 

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Sprint for Schools” fun 5K / 10K for Ninos de Guatemala

This organization does wonderful work in Guatemala. I have been apart of this for over a year now. They build and operate schools in Guatemala and really need to raise funds in order to provide lunch for the children during the school year. Every little bit is a little bit more. You can visit and learn more at www.ninosdeguatemala.org. I will be volunteering on Saturday. We are still looking for volunteers and runners if anyone is interested. Email me at tamara@ninosdeguatemala.org

Saturday, May 6, 2017

PRIMARY  26 Broadway 8th Floor New York, NY  10004
    • Running-5K – Individual Age group/open

About This Activity

Join us for a fun run 5 and 10k to help raise funds for an amazing charity that works to put Guatemalan children through school, while providing nutritional meals, healthcare, and family support! Our “Sprint for Schools” will begin at the beautiful Primary, where participants can pick up registration packets, store bags, and get geared up for the run. Our run will take us through Battery Park and up the west side along the beautiful Hudson, before looping back. Then, come enjoy drinks and the afterparty at Primary to celebrate a job well done!

Niños de Guatemala is a nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala by providing quality education and healthcare to children. NDG continually strives to ensure not just the academic but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of our students. All of the children in our programs receive two nutritionally balanced meals a day, medical and dental care, instruction on proper health and hygiene, sexual education, and access to our on-site social work and psychology departments. NDG also coordinates programs to provide vocational training for the mothers of these children’s families to further their opportunities in life.

Early Bird Tickets $35 – Available Until Sunday, March 26!!

We can’t wait to see you all out there Sprinting for Schools!

THE DETAILS

  • REGISTER – Space is limited to 200 people!
  • Bring your friends!
  • Meet, Check in or Register, and pick up your race packet at Primary  9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Dress warm!
  • 10:15 a.m. Start time for both the 5K and 10K runners / walkers
  • Finish,  Head back to Primary for an apres run celebration
  • Stay with your friends and enjoy the day!
  • There are no refunds for this event…

Race Map:

Event details and schedule

THE DETAILS

  • REGISTER – Space is limited to 200 people!
  • Bring your friends!
  • Meet, Check in or Register, and pick up your race packet at Primary  9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Dress warm!
  • 10:15 a.m. Start time for both the 5K and 10K runners / walkers
  • Finish,  Head back to Primary for an apres run celebration
  • Stay with your friends and enjoy the day!
 
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Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Events

 

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Event: Benefit Art Show for Niños de Guatemala

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Help us provide a better life for Guatemalan children and their families by investing in amazing local art!

Join us for an evening reception to celebrate this benefit exhibit, featuring a range of stunning works by budding NYC artists. Enjoy drinks, light bites, live music, raffle prizes, and a meet-and-greet with the creators!

Proceeds from the sale of all art are donated to Niños to help provide Guatemalan children with an education, health care, nutritious meals, and renewed hope in the future!

Interested in submitting or sponsoring? We are still seeking artists and food/beverage sponsorships!! Please contact us by emailing holley@liveprimary.com with your details.

Niños de Guatemala is a nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty in Guatemala by providing quality education and healthcare to children. NDG continually strives to ensure not just the academic but also the physical and emotional wellbeing of our students. All of the children in our programs receive two nutritionally balanced meals a day, medical and dental care, instruction on proper health and hygiene, sexual education, and access to our on-site social work and psychology departments. NDG also coordinates programs to provide vocational training for the mothers of these children’s families to further their opportunities in life.

Tickets at Eventbrite

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Events

 

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This Valentine’s Day Make a Contribution for the Love of Education

To  Loyal Read Think Write Teach Followers,
 
Valentine’s Day is usually a very personal (Person to Person) celebration, but this year, I ask that you consider a different kind of love. As a board member of Friends of Ninos de Guatemala, a non-profit organization that builds and operates primary and secondary schools in Guatemala, this Valentine’s Day, I ask you to make a contribution for The Love of Education. 
 
 
 
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Niños de Guatemala (NDG) provides underprivileged children with an education. NDG runs two primary schools and a secondary school wich house over 500 Guatemalan children that would otherwise not have been able to go to school. The organization is self-sustainable due to several business initiatives such as a Spanish school and tourist activities.

NDG is continually striving to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of our students, as well as the academic. All of the children in our programs receive two nutritionally balanced meals a day, medical and dental care, instruction on proper health and hygiene, sexual education, and access to our on-site social work and psychology departments.
 
 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in African American News

 

China-built railway linking Ethiopia and Djibouti officially opens for business

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Following a few months of testing on the Ethiopian side, the China-funded and built railway linking Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa with the strategic Red Sea port of Djibouti was officially inaugurated in Djibouti on Tuesday.

The new 750km railway line turns a week-long drive through a winding pot-hole filled road into a smooth 12-hour ride to the coast. The project, backed by $4 billion of Chinese investment, is expected to be a boon for the economies of both African nations. Landlocked Ethiopia, one of the fastest growing markets in the world, gets access to the sea, while the tiny country of Djibouti gets easier access to 94 million Ethiopian customers.

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Last October, Xu Shaoshi, head of China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, gave a speech at the railway’s inauguration ceremony in Addis Ababa acting as Chinese President Xi Jinping’s official envoy. Xu hailed the project as “a railway of Sino-African friendship in the 21st century.”

It replaces an old diesel railroad line started by the French in 1894 that had fallen into disuse and disrepair after years of war and famine. It also marks the second time that China has built a trans-national railway through Africa. The last one was the Tazara Railway connecting Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam with Zambia’s Kapiri Mposhi in the 1970s.

We likely won’t have to wait 40 years for another one. South China Morning Pot reports that this could be just the first stage in an ambitious trans-African track that would link the Red Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.

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In the meantime, the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway serves to signify China’s continued investment on the African continent. Perhaps no where is this investment more evident than in the burgeoning manufacturing powerhouse of Ethiopia. In 2016, $20 billion of Chinese investment poured into the country which is fast trying to change its global image from a country filled with drought and famine to one that is filled instead with factories and railways — recently attracting no less than Ivanka Trump’s shoe manufacturer to move shop from China to Addis Ababa.

Furthermore, according to AFK Insider, Ethiopian Airlines is in the process of adding a direct flight to Chengdu, its fifth non-stop flight to a Chinese city, and Ethiopia is working on launching a civilian satellite into orbit with the help of China.

Meanwhile, the tiny East African country of Djibouti is home to China’s first overseas military outpost, a naval base that Beijing insists is only a logistics hub for China’s naval and trade presence in the Gulf of Aden.

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Matt Bonini contributed to this story

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2017 in African News

 

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What A New Year Means to Me

For me, a new year means a new opportunity to reconcile the past. There are moments during the 365 days of the last year that many feel invested. They feel permanently committed to an idea and/or ideal, a person, and/or position. I do not intend to discuss the joys and benefits of starting anew. I want to talk about those 365 days that most people want to forget. Those days are long; each of those days filled with opportunities. January 1st is not the only chance we get to change. Every day we wake up is an opportunity to reflect on the day before. We don’t have to follow through on poor choices until the year ends and a seeming magical portal opens to erase the past. On January 1st we are still our old selves. Wherever we go there we are. Though many may wish, we cannot escape our self. What we can do, is be very conscious of our every move. Each decision we make leads us to a future and a past. Each day we have the power to choose. It’s not just one day that counts. Every day matters.

Read Think Write Teach

Happy New Year!

 
 

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Americans don’t read as much as they used to

In 1982, nearly six in 10 American adults — 57 percent — reported having read at least one work of literature, like a novel, short story, play, or poetry collection, in the last 12 months. But as of 2015, only 43 percent can say the same:


(The Washington Post)

That decline marks a 30-year low in Americans’ reading habits, according to new data from the National Endowment for the Arts. For comparison, in 2015, 66 percent of respondents went to a movie or attended a live performance.

Among adults who do read, demographics make a difference. Women are more likely to read literature than men; white people are more likely to read than black or Hispanic Americans; and higher levels of education correspond to higher literature consumption rates. Bonnie Kristian

 

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