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Vocational EducationFor many years, public high schools in the United States emphasized vocational skills-the skills students would need to learn a trade and get a job. Classes in auto repair, office skills, and woodworking, for example, were common. The

Essay topics: Vocational Education

For many years, public high schools in the United States emphasized vocational skills-the skills students would need to learn a trade and get a job. Classes in auto repair, office skills, and woodworking, for example, were common. The last few decades have seen career and technical training fall out of favor in public education, replaced gradually by additional academic courses. While many schools maintain a vocational program, these programs are often threatened with elimination when school budgets are strained. Given its uncertain status in many schools, it is worth considering what value vocational training adds to education.

Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular way of thinking about the value of vocational training in education.

Perspective One

Schools must seek to prepare all students for their futures. Career training provides focus for many students and helps schools reach those who don't excel in academic subjects.

Perspective Two

In every field, the skills workers need today are based on knowledge and communication. As such, schools should focus on academic subjects only.

Perspective Three

No one knows what jobs will be available in the future, so it is not wise to train today's students for any specific career.

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Essay Task

Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on the value of vocational training in education. In your essay, be sure to:

• analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
• state and develop your own perspective on the issue
• explain the relationship between your perspective and those given

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.

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