Vocational-Education Column

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As world leaders prepared for last week's jobs summit in Detroit, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley went to Baltimore to release a report warning that nine out of 10 jobs created by 2000 will require skills that half of U.S. entry-level workers lack.

"Our education system is rooted in the old assembly-line vision of education, but that's not preparing our children fast enough for the emerging economy,'' Mr. Riley told students at the Baltimore Finance Academy, which trains high school students for jobs in finance.

"What differentiates what Americans earn more and more is what they know,'' Anthony P. Carnevale, the co-author of the report, "Quality Education: School Reform for the New American Economy,'' and the chairman of the National Commission on Employment Policy, told the students.

At the end of the two-day summit, officials from the seven participating countries issued a statement that echoed Riley's concerns and called for greater emphasis on job training in schools.

Educators should make the costs and standards for work-based training clear before employers become involved, a report from the Institute on Education and the Economy says.

The report, "A Time for Questions: The Future of Integration and Tech Prep,'' summarizes a three-day summit that the institute sponsored last year with the National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

"Curriculum integration and tech prep are promising educational reforms,'' the report says. "But in practice, these programs vary greatly in quality, depth, links to work, and so forth.'' Some of the barriers discussed in the report are the historical division of high schools into classes for college-bound and noncollege-bound students, the lack of evaluation tools to measure integration and tech-prep initiatives, and the need for professional development.

Copies are available for $5 each from I.E.E. Publications, I.E.E., Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 10027; (212) 678-3091.

The National Governors' Association has formed a school-to-work round table. Chaired by Gov. Jim Edgar of Illinois and Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. of North Carolina, the round table includes governors, business leaders, and educators. The group will work to develop a consensus on the goals of state school-to-work systems and the roles of the public and private sectors in building them.--Drew Lindsay and Lynn Olson

Vol. 13, Issue 26

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