“International models for apprenticeship programs showcase some of the downsides in our own, as well as some methods by which we can improve”.
I support the notion of creating a two-track system in our public high schools: one for those who know they are college-bound, and one for those who know they aren’t. One is not better than the other–they should just be viewed as different tracks to better meet the needs and interests of students. I believe this will lead to increased retention and graduation rates in college, but also less turnover and greater productivity in our nation’s business and industry sector.
I would like to see the first two years of high school focus on general education requirements with an emphasis on mathematics, reading, critical thinking, writing, and the like. It could also include exploratory educational opportunities where members of the higher education and business/industry sectors introduce learners to multiple possibilities. Then, in the final two years of high school I support the notion of continuing their basic academic skill development but adding a layer of post-high school opportunities, through a combination of volunteer (third year) and paid (fourth year) apprenticeships.
Other countries are having good success in preparing individuals for the workforce, both those who choose to attend a university after finishing high school and those who don’t. Why can’t the United States explore a model like this?