Mini Position Paper

7 July 2016

Many schools exist that don’t create student success. In too many school systems today, students are deprived of the education they need to become successful in life. What is society doing to make sure these students find their way? What does it take for them to become successful participants of society? After reading Freire’s, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, I must say there is some truth to students being oppressed for they are being forced to matriculate in an educational environment they aren’t familiar with; can’t survive in; or don’t want to be in.

Students who are in the predicament noted above are not able to thrive in a strong academic environment because, as Freire states, they don’t know their reality. If they knew their reality, they would be better prepared to adjust to what they need for academic success. My position is that students that will better succeed in vocational or magnet schools.

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The vocational option is best suited for students that are not college bound and need to learn hands-on job skills to work right out of high school. For the nontraditional student the magnet option can work well.

As a dancer, I attended magnet performing art school and this opportunity allowed me to learn about my craft and move on to earning a scholarship to Temple University in dance and theater. It allowed me the option to get involved in a field that I love and having a love for what you do makes the difference in which you become. There is no denying that people are mentally in different places at different times in their lives. Whether they have been raised in a single parent home, or whether they grew up in an environment that isn’t conducive to learning, it is important that students know what they can handle in an educational setting.

For some students, an advanced math class or AP courses may not be reasonable. There are some students that understand where they stand academically and know that they aren’t able to learn under the same conditions as other students. These students need to develop other avenues in which to become successful. Vocational and Magnet schools are a great source for students that aren’t ready for a rigorous academic curriculum. Although students will still get the core courses they need to graduate, they will also have a trade that will at least keep them employed and able to take care of them after graduating.

There are students that have a love for cosmetology, auto mechanics or even plumbing. One important fact is that there are colleges that offer two year degrees in these vocational trades. It is crucial that today’s generation know that there are options outside of becoming a doctor or lawyer. While we always need lawyers, doctors, and teachers, the world also needs mechanics to fix cars, a plumber to fix leaks the correct way or even a specialist to make sure a heating or air conditioning system is properly working.

It is important that today’s student be comfortable in knowing that being academically challenged is okay, and that choosing a vocational education is an option. Vocational Magnet educations are just as important and should be interjected in all of today’s schools for they too serve a vital function in preparing our students in life. “The Guardian”, a newspaper printed in the U. K. , ran an article in 2013 regarding vocational educations. It questioned the validity of the concept of vocational educations by asking the public if they value vocational skills.

The article allowed people to give their opinions. Although most people were in support of vocational education, there were some that weren’t. One person commented that though he didn’t look down on vocational education, he would not consider the vocational route if he didn’t get the grades needed to attend a university. He finished by explaining he would definitely go for A-levels because in his opinion, “they are far more respected by employers and universities”. In his opinion, having a career rather than a skill is more esteemed.

After reading the article, I was stunned at the idea that vocational educations aren’t respected. That a plumber or custodian is not valued is a disrespectful and cocky position to take. Society will always needs someone to make sure offices are clean and bathroom toilets run properly. People underestimate that diverse careers are needed for the world to effectively revolve. Unfortunately vocational skills like plumbing, carpentry, and electricians have been downgraded in social status over the years.

One of the biggest issues in education today is low graduation rates, low college entry and a growing rate of unemployment. Vocational education can be the resolution to this problem. What are missing in schools are alternatives like a technical baccalaureate, which offers valuable learning and real skills, and leads to real jobs for young people. Getting children in the right program for their learning needs is what leads to success. Vocational qualifications serve a need for particular kinds of students and are very important skills.

Vocational education training provides career and technical education for students interested in jobs that are based upon labor-intensive or real-world jobs. The plus side to vocational education is that students have the opportunity to work in their field while in school; it requires less education than four year degree programs; the vocational fields are vast and varied such as, pharmacy and medical technicians, paralegals, medical assistants, office assistants, cosmetologists, mechanics and construction workers; it assists in higher graduation rates; increased employment; and overall student achievement.

The objective in education is to assist students in their quest of having a stable life. A vocational education reinforces the connections between secondary and postsecondary education, and improves accountability for students.

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