Politicians and education reformers never talk about producing more plumbers or IT technicians or dental hygienists or physical therapists, just more scientists and engineers. President Obama and Bill Gates preach incessantly about the need for the United States to produce degree holders to keep up with the technological demands of a global economy. And that is certainly a noble and necessary goal. Yet, for every engineer we produce, we need hundreds, if not thousands, of skilled technicians to manufacture and repair the innovations those engineers create. Clearly, current education reform based almost entirely on standardized test scores and college degrees is the wrong direction for Colorado and for the United States...
Colorado needs to design educational standards and goals that move beyond basic academic skills learned at desks and measured by standardized tests. For every new magnet or charter school like the Denver School of Science and Technology, Colorado districts need to offer technical education like that found at Hamilton Career Technical Center near Cincinnati, Ohio. Hamilton is winning praise for its record of producing skilled health care technicians, electricians, and mechanics, and offering viable careers to non-academic students.
I think we need both--education that ensures at least basic academic skills, as well as either college-bound academic education or vocational training that incorporates academic skills into education about trades.
Who's really against vocational education? Why this push for everyone to go to college when we can't even get too many of our students to master algebra?