Thursday, December 6, 2012

CHE: On Students' Paths to College, Some Detours Are Desirable

I am a strong advocate of career and technical education in both secondary and postsecondary education. Sometimes, I think the growing emphasis on obtaining a college degree misses out on the fact that some students may want to pursue careers in the trades. Educators and policymakers need to provide greater postsecondary options for high school graduates. This Chronicle of Higher Education article reiterates my opinion about this issue.
The higher-education establishment in the United States has been obsessed with raising graduation rates ever since the Obama administration and two major foundations, Gates and Lumina, vowed to see that the country soon has the world's highest share of adults with college credentials. Getting students who start college to eventually finish is a noble goal. But we focus too much time, effort, and money on pushing students through a narrow, simplistic view of higher education—one that starts three months after high-school graduation and ends two or four years later with a degree. That vision doesn't reflect either the reality of today's students or the higher-level skills our economy needs in its workers to compete on the global stage.

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