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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Fri Feb 19th 2010, 12:08 AM
I am a firm believer that not every one will be heading to college. Not only are there the bleak economic aspects in our country now , but there is a need for a strong vocational training for those not college ready. Without these schools too many will not have the job and life skills.

I am noticing as the "school reform" is moving on full speed ahead....that there is almost a complete focus on college skills. That is not realistic at all.

At Bronx Vocational School, Concern Over Plan for Charter

Ruby Washington/The New York Times: Smith's senior carpentry shop. A total of 22 technical shops at the school are scheduled to close.

Citing academic failures, the city has proposed closing the construction trade program at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School, a 78-year-old vocational school in the South Bronx.

I must not understand...but when would "academic" failures close a vocational school?

But the school the Department of Education plans to put in place of the program, the 18-month-old New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industries, has had its own issues. Its founder is facing federal charges that he embezzled from a nonprofit company. Thirty percent of the students left after the first year, as did most of the teachers. And despite its name, it has no experience running hands-on vocational programs.

Supporters of Smith, the Bronx’s only high school with state-approved construction trade programs, fear its technical shops will suffer under the charter school’s management and wonder why the city would eliminate an established school only to put an untested school in its place.

Get that? The charter school founder is facing federal charges.

At A.E.C.I., teachers say they use the building trades as an academic theme, discussing architecture in global history class and asking students to write essays about opportunities in construction. Now in a small, cheery converted day care center on East 140th Street, the school said it planned to offer internships and trade courses as it expanded to include the upper grades, while maintaining its college prep focus.

Replacing vocational life skills training with college prep courses? Not going to work.

Writing essays about construction opportunities instead of getting hands on training. Not going to work.

The Indypendent discusses this issue further.

Experience the best teacher

Smith’s building trade programs — ranging from carpentry to electrical work — are on the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE) chopping block, and the city’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP) will be voting at the end of February on whether or not to “phase down” the programs at Smith beginning next fall. The DOE has decided to allow the school’s other career and technical education program (CTE), which focuses on automotive training, to remain open.

The DOE plans to replace the building trade programs with two smaller schools — Bronx Haven High School and New York City Charter High School for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Industries (AECI). Bronx Haven will provide classes for non-traditional and under-credited students, while AECI will offer vocational programs similar to those already offered at Smith — minus the hands-on training.

The co-location of AECI is part of a larger trend in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s education policy of replacing vocational schools that offer experience-based training in building trades, cosmetology and culinary arts with schools that offer textbook-driven instruction in these same trades, as well as classes in fields that require further education at the college level, such as accounting, fashion and entrepreneurship.

While Bloomberg’s emphasis on closing public schools in favor of privately run charter schools has drawn much public ire, the slow, yet steady, elimination of CTE programs throughout the city has received much less publicity.

Bloomberg’s bent for schools that emphasize college prep instead of hands-on learning leaves educators concerned.

It definitely concerns me. It is foolish to assume that every child is college-prep material. Some have other skills and talents to contribute, and they should be nourished.

A businessman speaks out about the need for the vocational school.


Jeffrey Smalls, who owns an electrical construction business, says he has hired students from Alfred E. Smith in the past, and knows all too well what a high school education in the building trades can do for young people in the South Bronx, one of the poorest congressional districts in the country.

“We have enough of a problem proving ourselves in the workforce as minorities. Alfred E. Smith catapults students from poverty into the middle class,” Smalls said.

A comment from the article points out that "New York City’s school wars continued to rage in neighborhoods across the city in February as the Department of Education (DOE) held public comment hearings on its proposed plans to install or expand privately-run charter schools inside 17 existing public schools."

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