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).

More By Author