Reprinted from the website, Control Congress.
Posted by John Konop on Monday, January 25th, 2010
Our high schools are facing skyrocketing drop out rates, declining test scores, and limited tax revenue (because of the recession). No Child Left Behind’s one-size-fits-all education model, with its unfunded mandates from the state and federal government, has been a massive failure by any measurement.
Georgia has unfortunately followed No Child Left Behind’s lead and established a one-track-fits-all philosophy, which forces all students into a college-bound curriculum. The result: students with an aptitude for vocational/tech curriculum are demoralized (and dropping out in greater numbers) and college-bound students are not challenged by an increasingly watered-down curriculum aimed at accommodating everyone (including students who would be better served by a vocational/tech curriculum).
A common sense approach
The solution to these problems requires only common sense and familiarity with an already proven approach. For example, Macon, GA, has developed a multi-track (college-bound and vocational/tech) system based on each student’s aptitudes. By putting vocational students and college bound students on different tracks, the school has realized amazing results.
From Macon.com: “…the immediate benefits from the career academy include lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, and a more skilled labor pool in the county, [school administrator Carpenter] said. The Newnan school’s web site states the county’s dropout rate has fallen by half since it opened, and the graduation rate for students in dual enrollment programs is 98 percent.”
HB-215, the "Graduating Everyone Matters Act"
Georgia State Representative Steve Davis has proposed a bipartisan bill (HB-215) to promote this multi-track concept. The bill will provide separate tracks for high school students (a college-bound track and a vocational/tech track) using joint enrollment programs with local colleges and technical schools to support honors and vocational programs.
HB-215 would 1) increase graduation rates, 2) provide our local economy with work-ready students who will increase tax revenues, and 3) decrease the money governments spend on welfare and crime. It will also lower the overall cost of education by better utilizing college and technical school resources, many of which have surplus capacity.
Please contact the new Speaker of the House David Ralston, who promised to put Georgia’s kids before lobbyist interests. Hold him accountable by demanding that he bring HB-215 to a vote. And please forward this e-mail to your friends who care about the quality of Georgia schools.
E-MAIL AND OR CALL!
What is new about this? It is already in place - called ACCEL/Postsecondary Options (available through public and private 2/4 year colleges) and Tech Prep/Dual Enrollment (available through technical colleges ie DeKalb and Gwinnett Tech). This is nothing new particularly in DeKalb and Gwinnett.
DeKalb quit awarding a tech prep diploma -- and you have to have a 3.0 GPA to do dual enrollment.
See, no one can really visualize what a terrific vo-tech high school looks like because they really just don't exist in Georgia.
Check out this one in my home town in Ohio. These kids absolutely love this school - they all get jobs after high school - and there's a waiting list to get in. They also offer adult job training at night.
New Jersey and other areas in the northeast have terrific vo tech -- it really is considered a viable option for anyone not interested in college. The kids learn a trade and can earn a living coming out of high school. I think it's a wonderful program.
Until a few years ago, there was a technical prep diploma and a college prep diploma, and despite teacher suggestions that the system stay the same, it was changed to one diploma track. 10th grade is the year when students turn 16 and many of them drop out. We need separate tracks so the students who do not plan to go to college will not drop out because they are frustrated with school.
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