MDRC in the News

Researchers Recommend Ways to Strengthen College and Career Pathways

Education Week’s College Bound Blog


New high school programs that merge career technical education with rigorous academic courses to prepare students for both college and career are gaining momentum. But new research suggests more needs to be done to strengthen successful “pathways” in schools if the concept is truly going to take off.

“New Pathways to College and Careers: Examples, Evidence and Prospects” by Mary Visher and David Stern highlights successful college and career pathways in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Tennessee, where vocational programs have been transformed into comprehensive full-time, academically rigorous high schools.

Visher, with the nonprofit research organization MDRC, which released the report this month, and Stern of the University of California-Berkeley, note that the number of high school students in vocational education who also took academic coursework for college jumped from 28 percent in 1982 to 88 percent in 2000.

Still, career pathway high schools that embrace technical programs with a strong academic component are exceptions and are perceived by many as an alternative track to challenging academics for students who are not college bound, the authors say…..

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