U. S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education



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Archived Information

Preparing America’s Future
The High School Symposium

April 4, 2002—Washington, D.C.
- Excerpted -


2003

U.S. Department of Education

Office of Vocational and Adult Education

This report was produced under U.S. Department of Education Contract No. ED-99-CO-0163 with DTI Associates, Inc. Scott Hess served as the contracting officer’s technical representative. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service or enterprise mentioned in this publication is intended or should be inferred.


U.S. Department of Education

Rod Paige

Secretary
Office of Vocational and Adult Education

Carol D’Amico

Assistant Secretary
February 2003
This report is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the citation should be: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education, Preparing America’s Future, Washington, D.C., 2002.
To order copies of this report:

write to: ED Pubs, Education Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education,

P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398;
or fax your request to: (301)470-1244;
or e-mail your request to: edpubs@inet.ed.gov;
or call in your request toll-free: 1-877-433-7827 (1-877-4-ED-PUBS). If 877 service is not yet available in your area, call 1-800-872-5327 (1-800-USA-LEARN). Those who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a teletypewriter (TTY), should call 1-800-437-0833;
or order online at: www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html.
For a full text of each commissioned paper, visit OVAE’s Web site at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/pi/hs/commisspap.html. To view a webcast of the symposium, visit www.nccte.org and select the link “Professional Development Speaker Series.” To learn more about OVAE’s Preparing America’s Future initiative, visit www.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/paf.html.

CONTENTS


CONTENTS 3

MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY ROD PAIGE 4

MESSAGE FROM ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAROL D’AMICO 5

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6

CHALLENGES FACING TODAY’S AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL 9

What Ails High Schools? 9

How Should They Be Reformed? 9

Is There a Federal Role? 9

Chester E. Finn Jr. 9

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation 9

Achievement: High Schools in America 2001 11

Jan Somerville, National Association of System Heads and the Education Trust 11

The Missing Middle: Aligning Education and the Knowledge Economy 13

Anthony P. Carnevale and Donna M. Desrochers, Educational Testing Service 13

PREPARING STUDENTS FOR HIGH ACHIEVEMENT AND POSTSECONDARY TRANSITIONS 16

What Should Be the Federal Role in Supporting and Shaping Development of State Accountability Systems for Secondary School Achievement? 16

John H. Bishop, New York State School of Industrial, and Labor Relations, Cornell University 16

Reconceptualizing Extra Help for High School Students in a High Standards Era 18

Robert Balfanz, James McPartland and Alta Shaw, Johns Hopkins University 18

What Role Can Dual Enrollment Programs Play in Easing the Transition between High School and Postsecondary Education? 19

Thomas R. Bailey, Katherine L. Hughes, and Melinda Mechur Karp, Teachers College, Columbia University 19

Beyond Empty Promises: Policies to Improve Transitions into College and Jobs 21

James E. Rosenbaum, Northwestern University 21

THE ROLE OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION IN HIGH SCHOOLS 24

Raising the Achievement of Low-Performing Students: What Can High Schools Do? 24

Gene Bottoms, Southern Regional Education Board 24

The Role of Career and Technical Education in the American High School: 26

A Student-Centered Analysis 26

Kenneth Gray, College of Education, Penn State University 26

RECOMMENDATIONS 29

ENDNOTES 31

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 32



MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY ROD PAIGE

“We plan to apply ‘No Child Left Behind’ all the way up and down the line, to high schools and to postsecondary education. Accountability for student achievement, flexibility and local control, expanded parental support, and doing what works…the president’s plan will require us to leave behind some of the old ideas and ways and think anew.”


-Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education


MESSAGE FROM ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAROL D’AMICO

February 2003

Dear Reader,
It has been said that America’s interest in its high schools is tied to the fact that they are a microcosm of our society. High school is such a right of passage in America that we have dedicated television shows, movies and books to the state of high school education, from The Blackboard Jungle to “Boston Public.”
Yet for all of the attention and concern we focus on our high schools, they still face considerable challenges. Test scores for American high school students lag behind those of other industrialized, and even some developing, nations. While close to 90 percent of high school graduates plan to obtain a four-year college degree, only about one in four actually do so. Probably most disconcerting of all is the fact that for all the effort our nation puts into educating our children, many still lack the most essential skills when they reach adulthood. As our population ages and more qualified individuals leave the workforce, our nation faces the possibility of a critical workforce shortage in the next 10 to 20 years. This could have long-term ramifications for our economy and for our security.
For the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), it is essential to explore the roles that career and technical education in high schools may play in solving these problems. In doing so we must address the relationship between academic and vocational education and, using the principles of “No Child Left Behind,” determine how we can contribute to the renewal of an outdated high school system. Also we must connect our high schools more seamlessly to our two-year and four-year colleges.
To assess the challenges facing today’s high schools and take into consideration every possible action that could be used to address them, OVAE has launched the Preparing America’s Future initiative. Through this effort the Department of Education is reaching out to high schools, community colleges and adult education programs for guidance in helping us to “think anew.”
At the OVAE-sponsored Preparing America’s Future: The High School Symposium, held in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2002, we were privileged to hear more than a dozen experts on high school education speak on the role of career and technical education, and high school, in readying our youths for success in life. We do not necessarily endorse all the conclusions presented by the authors in their papers. Our intent in presenting these excerpts is to help start an important national discussion. I invite you to read the full length versions on our Web site and to work with us in this critical task of helping America’s high schools prepare her future.

Carol D’Amico

Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education




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