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Charters and Choice

How can we give students options when their public schools are failing them?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

College Access

College: Can't afford not to go, can't afford to go...

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

 

The Dropout Dilemma

What are the real costs of dropping out?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

No Child Left Behind

What exactly is NCLB and how is it effecting our education system?

Overview

Pros and Cons

What's Next?

Candidate Perspectives

Early Childhood Education

How do we ensure that all children are prepared to enter kindergarten?

Overview

In Focus: Head Start

Candidate Perspectives

Teachers

Why are we struggling to recruit and retain teachers? What reforms do the candidates propose to solve the teacher shortage and improve their working conditions?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

School-to-Work

With a struggling economy, should lawmakers place further emphasis on federally-funded school-to-work programs? Moreover, do they work?

Overview

Candidate Perspectives

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School-to-Work Programs (STW)

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  Background  

A local labor force to improve the local economy?
Although a significant majority of teenagers transition from school to the workforce without breaking a sweat, many find the adjustment to be quite challenging. Moreover, a substantial number of teens are disconnected from school and employment altogether. From the rigors of choosing whether or not college is in your future, to exploring alternative options, several questions evade a cloud of uncertainty regarding that transition between school and work. According to a February 2008 report released by the America’s Promise Initiative, roughly 1.2 million students drop out of high school each year (link to drop out page). Given such dismal figures, could we turn to locally-operated, federally-funded workforce training programs for a cure?

 

History lesson: School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994

 
  The idea of providing school-to-work programs for high school students isn’t new. In 1994, congress passed the School-to-Work Opportunities Act with hopes of providing options for students. Under the 1994 School-to-Work Opportunities Act, school-to-work programs must entail these three core elements: school-based learning, work-based learning, and connecting activities. School-based learning requires for rigorous classroom instruction in both workplace experiences and academic skills. Work-based learning includes work experience, training and other workplace learning. Connecting activities are the efforts to connect and integrate the school-based and work-based components of school-to-work programs.

The Act was to help all youths in the United States acquire the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to progress the transition from school to work. More information can be found here regarding data from two surveys on school-to-work programs published in the August 2001 issue of Monthly Labor Review. Although the 1994 School-to-Work Opportunities Act expired in 2001, there could be room for a similar program designed to place more emphasis on locally-operated school-to-work training.

 
  Further Resources  
 

DISCONNECTED YOUTH: Federal Action Could Address Some of the Challenges Faced by Local Programs That Reconnect Youth to Education and Employment

The Transition from School to Work: Education and Work Experiences

 
  See Candidiate Perspectives on STW Programs