Sample F33 from James Bryant Conant, Slums and Suburbs New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961. Pp.42-47 A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,017 words 51 (2.5%) quotesF33

Used by permission0010-1760

James Bryant Conant, Slums and Suburbs New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961. Pp.42-47

Header auto-generated for TEI version

In a few school districts one finds a link between school and job . In those vocational programs organized with Smith-Hughes money , there may be a close tie between the labor union and a local employer on the one hand and the vocational teacher on the other . In these cases a graduate may enter directly into an apprentice program , saving a year because of his vocational courses in grades 11 and 12 . The apprentice program will involve further education on a part-time basis , usually at night , perhaps using some of the same equipment of the high school . These opportunities are to be found in certain cities in such crafts as auto mechanics , carpentry , drafting , electrical work , tool-and-die work , and sheet-metal work .

Formally organized vocational programs supported by federal funds allow high school students to gain experience in a field of work which is likely to lead to a full-time job on graduation . The `` diversified occupations '' program is a part-time trade-preparatory program conducted over two school years on a cooperative basis between the school and local industrial and business employers . The `` distributive education '' program operates in a similar way , with arrangements between the school and employers in merchandising fields . In both cases the student attends school half-time and works in a regular job the other half . He receives remuneration for his work . In a few places cooperative programs between schools and employers in clerical work have shown the same possibilities for allowing the student , while still in school , to develop skills which are immediately marketable upon graduation .

Adult education courses , work-study programs of various sorts -- these are all evidence of a continuing interest of the schools in furthering educational opportunities for out-of-school youth . In general , however , it may be said that when a boy or a girl leaves the high school , the school authorities play little or no part in the decision of what happens next . If the student drops out of high school , the break with the school is even more complete . When there is employment opportunity for youth , this arrangement -- or lack of arrangement -- works out quite well . Indeed , in some periods of our history and in some neighborhoods the job opportunities have been so good that undoubtedly a great many boys who were potential members of the professions quit school at an early age and went to work . Statistically this has represented a loss to the nation , although one must admit that in an individual case the decision in retrospect may have been a wise one . I make no attempt to measure the enduring satisfaction and material well-being of a man who went to work on graduation from high school and was highly successful in the business which he entered . He may or may not be `` better off '' than his classmate who went on to a college and professional school . But in the next decades the nation needs to educate for the professions all the potential professional talent .

In a later chapter dealing with the suburban school , I shall discuss the importance of arranging a program for the academically talented and highly gifted youth in any high school where he is found . In the Negro neighborhoods and also to some extent in the mixed neighborhoods the problem may be one of identification and motivation . High motivation towards higher education must start early enough so that by the time the boy or girl reaches grade 9 he or she has at least developed those basic skills which are essential for academic work . Undoubtedly far more can be done in the lower grades in this regard in the Negro schools . However , the teacher can only go so far if the attitude of the community and the family is anti-intellectual . And the fact remains that there are today few shining examples of Negroes in positions of intellectual leadership . This is not due to any policy of discrimination on the part of the Northern universities . Quite the contrary , as I can testify from personal experience as a former university president . Rather we see here another vicious circle . The absence of successful Negroes in the world of scholarship and science has tended to tamp down enthusiasm among Negro youth for academic careers . I believe the situation is improving , but the success stories need to be heavily publicized . Here again we run into the roadblock that Negroes do not like to be designated as Negroes in the press . How can the vicious circle be broken ? ? This is a problem to which leaders of opinion , both Negro and white , should devote far more attention . It is at least as important as the more dramatic attempts to break down barriers of inequality in the South .

Vocational education I should like to underline four points I made in my first report with respect to vocational education . First and foremost , vocational courses should not replace courses which are essential parts of the required academic program for graduation . Second , vocational courses should be provided in grades 11 and 12 and not require more than half the student's time in those years ; ; however , for slow learners and prospective dropouts these courses ought to begin earlier . Third , the significance of the vocational courses is that those enrolled are keenly interested in the work ; ; they realize the relevance of what they are learning to their future careers , and this sense of purpose is carried over to the academic courses which they are studying at the same time . Fourth , the type of vocational training programs should be related to the employment opportunities in the general locality . This last point is important because if high school pupils are aware that few , if any , graduates who have chosen a certain vocational program have obtained a job as a consequence of the training , the whole idea of relevance disappears . Vocational training which holds no hope that the skill developed will be in fact a marketable skill becomes just another school `` chore '' for those whose interest in their studies has begun to falter . Those who , because of population mobility and the reputed desire of employers to train their own employees , would limit vocational education to general rather than specific skills ought to bear in mind the importance of motivation in any kind of school experience .

I have been using the word `` vocational '' as a layman would at first sight think it should be used . I intend to include under the term all the practical courses open to boys and girls . These courses develop skills other than those we think of when we use the adjective `` academic '' . Practically all of these practical skills are of such a nature that a degree of mastery can be obtained in high school sufficient to enable the youth to get a job at once on the basis of the skill . They are in this sense skills marketable immediately on graduation from high school . To be sure , in tool-and-die work and in the building trades , the first job must be often on an apprentice basis , but two years of half-time vocational training enables the young man thus to anticipate one year of apprentice status . Similarly , a girl who graduates with a good working knowledge of stenography and the use of clerical machines and who is able to get a job at once may wish to improve her skill and knowledge by a year or two of further study in a community college or secretarial school . Of course , it can be argued that an ability to write English correctly and with some degree of elegance is a marketable skill . So , too , is the mathematical competence of a college graduate who has majored in mathematics . In a sense almost all high school and college courses could be considered as vocational to the extent that later in life the student in his vocation ( which may be a profession ) will be called upon to use some of the skills developed and the competence obtained . In spite of the shading of one type of course into another , I believe it is useful to talk about vocational courses as apart from academic courses . Perhaps a course in typewriting might be regarded as the exception which proves the rule . Today many college bound students try to take a course in personal typing , as they feel a certain degree of mastery of this skill is almost essential for one who proposes to do academic work in college and a professional school .

Most of our largest cities have one or more separate vocational or technical high schools . In this respect , public education in the large cities differs from education in the smaller cities and consolidated school districts . The neighborhood high schools are not , strictly speaking , comprehensive schools , because some of the boys and girls may be attending a vocational or technical high school instead of the local school . Indeed , one school superintendent in a large city objects to the use of the term comprehensive high school for the senior high schools in his city , because these schools do not offer strictly vocational programs . He prefers to designate such schools as `` general '' high schools . The suburban high school , it is worth noting , also is not a widely comprehensive high school because of the absence of vocational programs . The reason is that there is a lack of interest on the part of the community . Therefore employment and education in all the schools in a metropolitan area are related in different ways from those which are characteristic of the comprehensive high school described in my first report .

The separate vocational or technical high schools in the large cities must be reckoned as permanent institutions . By and large their programs are satisfactorily connected both to the employment situation and to the realities of the apprentice system . It is not often realized to what degree certain trades are in many communities closed areas of employment , except for a lucky few . One has to talk confidentially with some of the directors of vocational high schools to realize that a boy cannot just say , `` I want to be a plumber '' , and then , by doing good work , find a job . It is far more difficult in many communities to obtain admission to an apprentice program which involves union approval than to get into the most selective medical school in the nation . Two stories will illustrate what I have in mind . One vocational instructor in a city vocational school , speaking of his course in a certain field , said he had no difficulty placing all students in jobs outside of the city . In the city , he said , the waiting list for those who want to join the union is so long that unless a boy has an inside track he can't get in . In a far distant part of the United States , I was talking to an instructor about a boy who in the twelfth grade was doing special work . `` What does he have in mind to do when he graduates '' ? ? `` Oh , he'll be a plumber '' , came the answer . `` But isn't it almost impossible to get into the union '' ? ? I asked . `` He'll have no difficulty '' , I was told . `` He has very good connections '' .

In my view , there should be a school which offers significant vocational programs for boys within easy reach of every family in a city . Ideally these schools should be so located that one or more should be in the area where demand for practical courses is at the highest .

An excellent example of a successful location of a new vocational high school is the Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago . Located in a bad slum area now undergoing redevelopment , this school and its program are especially tailored to the vocational aims of its students . Hardly a window has been broken since Dunbar first was opened ( and vandalism in schools is a major problem in many slum areas ) . I discovered in the course of a visit there that almost all the pupils were Negroes . They were learning trades as diverse as shoe repairing , bricklaying , carpentry , cabinet making , auto mechanics , and airplane mechanics . The physical facilities at Dunbar are impressive , but more impressive is the attitude of the pupils .