Vocational education has long had a bad rap in the U.S. For years, voc-ed was written off as Plan B for underachieving kids. But the idea of using high school to better prepare students for a changing workforce has undergone a slow and subtle transformation.
For one, it's not called voc-ed anymore. It's career technical education, and the tent's bigger than it used to be. CTE isn't just about auto repair or construction. Career-tech programs across the country are also preparing kids for jobs in fields like health care, design, engineering, and early childhood education.
There's a steady stream of hype surrounding the pluses and pitfalls of classroom tablet computers. But for a growing number of special education students tablets and their apps are proving transformative. The tablets aren't merely novel and fun. With guidance from creative teachers, they are helping to deepen engagement, communication, and creativity.
The average cost of one college year across all degree-granting intuitions in the U.S. was more than $19,000 in 2012, and we don't need to tell you what direction the price is heading. Which means lots of students are now borrowing heavily to make college work. President Obama threw some of them a lifeline earlier this week, with revisions to the government's Pay As You Earn program.
Politicians, parents and plenty of anxious teachers have long called for a free pass on next year's tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
It's not that they want out of them entirely (though some do). Most simply want to be sure teachers and students aren't judged on scores from this first generation of Core tests. And now, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation agrees: