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Vocational Education

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A researcher at The Johns Hopkins University has concluded in a study of high-school dropouts that youth employment is neither harmful nor a contributor to delinquent behavior. The researcher, Michael S. Cook of the university's Center for Social Organization of Schools, also contends that returning to school does not automatically benefit the students who drop out.

"Recently, some researchers have hypothesized that youth employment may be harmful and lead to delinquency," Mr. Cook said. "They reason that employment exposes youngsters to job stress and to negative socialization in the workplace and decreases the amount of control and surveillance that parents can exert."

But his study of 203 high-school dropouts over a seven-month period disputes those theories. The study showed, Mr. Cook said, that employment "had little positive or negative effect" on delinquency.

Mr. Cook found, moreover, that dropouts who returned to school suffered from some negative psychological effects that the schools must address if such students "are to succeed in their second efforts."

Copies of the study, "Jobs and Schooling: Youth Employment, Personality, and Delinquency," are available for $3 from the center's Education Research Dissemination Office, The Johns Hopkins University, 3505 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md. 21218.

Responding to questions raised by studies of schools by two task forces, the Southern Regional Education Board has produced a report that attempts to help each state focus on the major problems in vocational-education programs.

Among the issues to be resolved, according to the sreb report, are the coordination of programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels; the kinds of training courses to be offered at both levels; and the purpose of vocational training at the high-school level.

For a copy of the full report, write Mark D. Musick, director of state services and information, sreb, 1340 Spring St., N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30309.

A survey conducted by the National Center for Research in Vocational Education has found that seven of every 10 state legislators are interested in skills-training programs and follow closely any vocational-education legislation in their states. But despite their interest, the survey found that only half were able to describe their state's vocational education structure.

The legislators surveyed gave vocational programs at the high- school level a "B" rating, while postsecondary programs received mostly "A" ratings. The researchers noted that the percentage of "A's" given postsecondary programs was twice that given the secondary programs.

Copies of survey, "As Others See Vocational Education," are available from the center's Publications Office, Box N, 1960 Kenny Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210.--sgf

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