Originally Posted by One_Girl
I actually wasn't being defensive, these things in my area aren't free. We don't have local camping and you have to pay to a lot of money to get into those other things so here they are high end things to do. Everyone makes judgement based on what they know. What I know is that the things you listed are things that people with money do and that poor people are often looked down on as not enriching their children's lives because they find other ways to enrich their lives. Obviously you also jump to conclusions and harsh judgement based on what you know. That is just something people do. If you don't want to hear feedback about a topic don't post it on an open public forum.
Vocational jobs in my area only pay at or slightly above minimum wage and there is definitely a stigma against teachers who encourage kids to focus their skills on obtaining a minimum wage job. Students were also inappropriately routed into the vocational trades and there is a worry that this will happen, I am pretty sure minority groups are still very underrepresented in AP classes to this day and I think there would be a lot of concern that this would become a bigger problem if vocational schools were widely available. I know many people who were routed into classes with lower expectations and who's families thought they wouldn't do much with their lives, my own family thought I wouldn't even make it through high school. A lot of them have gone back to college and were able to do so because they had enough education to make it in college with one remedial math class. The idea of routine kids into a trade, cutting out the education that makes it possible to change your mind later in life, and making expecting too little from kids okay again is very disturbing to me because I know how it felt to be the one who had too little expected of her and I know people who have gone on to do a lot more than I have to prove people wrong. I have also supported my family on minimum wage and it is something I don't want for my child.
It would be nice if the system changed and everyone made at least a livable wage, but that doesn't seem like reality. I don't think that offering vocational classes in public schools is going to be a viable way to change the way vocational trades are viewed, it may even do more harm because the market is already so flooded that it is hard to find a job with a livable wage even with an actual AA in a vocational field.
I'm just gonna call this water under the bridge and move on. I apologize if I took offense where none was intended. There is nothing flashy about our family LOL. If we are middle class (and I strongly doubt we are) we're clinging to the bottom rung. I don't want to shut down the discussion or shut anyone out, and I find this post very interesting. We really are not that far apart in our ideas, it seems, perhaps just coming at it from opposite ends. I also am totally aware that this discussion is probably going in the direction of ideology and education theory, and may not provide any practical real-world answers. That's cool with me :)
My main point has been that it seems that high school is not preparing students adequately for college, nor is it preparing students adequately for real-life. The issues you bring up totally illustrate that point, and all the frustration that wells up from it. There is something deeply wrong with an education system that churn out students, after 13 years of education, who are unable to make more than minimum wage. That is wrong on so many levels.
My question to you, keep in mind this is theoretical/idealistic and I know that it's not possible in our current educational system...what if a student could graduate high school with the equivalent of an associates degree in a specific field that interests them? Look at your local community college's website and look at the programs they offer. The student would still have the general education classes, but would also have a marketable skill. If they work in their field for a few years while establishing their independence and growing up still a bit more, they can still go on to college. They can totally change their field of study, or get further education that would enable them to advance in their current field. I don't see it as either/or when it comes to vocational training and standard undergraduate study. There are many people who support their families working in skilled labor. There are many adults who go back to school. There are plenty twenty-somethings who enter college for the first time. There's nothing wrong with those people. Hell, maybe they have it right.
I don't recall the exact numbers, but not all that many people work in the field that they got their undergraduate degree in. For some people it's really hard to decide "what they want to be when they grow up." Personally, I know one person in real life who works in a field that he has a degree in. I have an English degree. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? LOL But seriously, at the age of 34 I am finally beginning to put it to some use (going for a masters in education). If I could have taken a few years off between high school and four-year college and earned a living wage while doing it, I would have done that while I try to figure out what I really want to do with my life. Of course, there are people who are highly motivated to go to college right away. There are people who know what they want to do with their life seemingly from birth (my BFF knew from 5 years old that she wanted to be a marine biologist, and she got her marine biology degree, and I am envious of her focus and determination). There are people who are so academically insatiable that they cannot fathom not going directly into a four-year university. That's fine. But I think that the vast majority of students do not fall in that category.
Just for the record, we had a very bare-boned vocational program where I went to school. Very underfunded and with a HUGE stigma attached. The "riff-raff" were sent there, the problem kids, the girls who were pregnant, and the boys who fathered children in high school. The girls studied cosmetology and the boys studied auto mechanics. And it was SO underfunded that these kids literally learning NOTHING. Sad, but true. I am not advocating for this kind of vocational education, but rather a quality vocational path that works. Again, like you said, sending more children through our current vocational system would not work. I 100% agree. But what if we had a excellent and viable vocational system? What if there was some sort of alternative for students who can't or don't want to go to college, ever or not yet? Again, theoretical. I am, thankfully for everyone, not the dictator of America who is going to throw the educational system on its ear tomorrow LOL.
Maybe the term "vocational" is a trigger. Is there a better term? There seems to be a lot of baggage with the word (myself included).