Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century
This new report from the American Youth Policy Forum and the Harvard Graduate School of Education challenges the “college for all” rhetoric that dominates much of the current ed-reform movement, making readers rethink the “college- and career-ready” call to arms. The report points out, fairly convincingly, that only 30 percent of jobs in 2018 will require a BA or better. But by forcing all students into an academic track that may or may not correspond to their interests and career needs, schools are creating bored, uninterested, and unmotivated pupils who are ready for neither college nor career. Instead of this single tracking, the report argues, we should create multiple pathways for students—both academic and career-based. Citing examples from central and northern Europe (the apprenticeship structure of Germany, the vocational-education opt-in structure of Finland), it urges an increase in employers’ roles in student learning so as to improve rigor, relevance, and business relationships. The report works better as a manifesto than a roadmap, but it raises an important issue worthy of serious consideration—and reconsideration.
Harvard Graduate School of Education, “Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century,” (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education with the Pearson Foundation, February 2011).
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