Craig A. Cunningham has written what I think is a “must-read” post in the Education Policy Blog on the role (and definition) of vocational training in schools.
Here’s a quote from it:
“The call for “vocational training” in schools reflects an underlying confusion about the meaning of “vocational training”?
It can mean teaching very specific job-related skills such as welding, auto repair, or cooking.
Or, it can mean competencies such as “the ability to manage resources, to work amicably and productively with others, to acquire and use information, to master complex systems, and to work with a variety of technologies” (from the summary of the final Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report from the US Department of Labor).
If the former, then “vocational training” isn’t education at all, but training that serves primarily to limit a person’s opportunities and options, making him or her a mere instrument of industry, subject to the commodification of labor and inevitable displacement by changing economic conditions. In that narrow sense, vocational training has no place in K-12 schools.”
That’s just a small “taste.” It’s definitely worth a visit.