Voc not a joke

Is there any education miracle that Massachusetts didn't perform over the past ten years? Here's another one: reinventing vocational education, public schools' oft forgotten and woefully downtrodden wayward cousin. But this ain't your grandpa's voc ed. Prodded by a slew of reforms, including the Bay State's high school graduation test and pressure from No Child Left Behind, Massachusetts's voc schools have risen to the challenge. "We do very well because of ed reform," explained Rogerio Ramos, principal of Diman Regional Vocational High School, where 60 percent of students typically go to college. Once known as schools for dummies, Massachusetts' voc schools have given a whole new meaning to interdisciplinary learning. Instead of the soggy drivel this phrase usually implies, the interdisciplinary part has meant bolstering the traditional technical-vocational curriculum with more reading, writing, math, and other core content. In other words, using opportunities like shop class to raise the bar, rather than bend it.

"Massachusetts' impressively successful vocational schools," by Julia Steiny, The Providence Journal, January 11, 2009

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