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A Study on American School-to-work Vocational Education Reform in the1990s

Author ZhangYanZuo
Tutor LiangMaoXin
School Northeast Normal University
Course World History
Keywords Educational Reform STWOA Vocational Education
Type PhD thesis
Year 2013
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In the1990s, the Federal Government started a vocational education policy, School-to-WorkOpportunity policy. This policy initiated in few states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Californiawhere vocational education were comparatively advanced. In the aspect of theory, it wasguided by the theory of contextual learning and career development. With the development of theSchool to Work Opportunity Act of1994, this reform spread to the whole nation. STWOA aimedto help every student further his/her study, found the first high salary job by integratingvocational and academic curriculum, strengthening relationships between secondary andpost-secondary schools. It insisted that every student should receive vocational education,school-based learning, work-based learning, and connecting activity that consist of vocationaleducation activities, states should build up partnerships of employers, schools, teachers, parents,communities, and education specialists. This reform has large number of achievements. However,with the end of the deadline of the School to Work Opportunity Act of1994and the ClintonAdministration, the nationwide policy came to an end. After that, as the development of STWO,School to Career policy was scheduled by different states and districts.This paper has eight sections: preface; Section I states the background of this policy;Section II discusses the education conception of Clinton, the making process and the implementof the policy. Section III analyses the different aspects of the measurements of the policy by thecase study. Section Ⅳ discusses the role of the employers and schools during thereform.SectionⅤsummarizes the achievements and some disadvantages of the reform. SectionⅥresearches the STC policy.In the preface, this paper surveys the American and Chinese studies of the STWOA. Itpoints out that the American studies of the STWOA is very comprehensive which have involvedstudies of American policymakers, think tanks, and intellectuals in the university. The basis forthe selection of the thesis proposal and its realistic significance is discussed.In the Section I, this paper looks for the background of this policy. As the policy has the sameorigin, it firstly discussed the educational reform during the Reagan-Bush years. After the1990s,with the high dropout rate of the young man, the new economic factors that led by globalizationand informatization and the reflection of the social from all walks of life to vocational education,the educational reform has a new opportunity to achieve new development.In the Section II, this paper analyses the conception and the practices of the ClintonAdministraton. Moreover, it discusses the main contents of the School to Work Opportunity Actof1994which was the role of junction. In the Section III, this paper does case studies on California and the Philadelphia SchoolDistrict. It discusses the measurements in different aspects of the STWOA.In the Section IV, it analyses the impact of the employer and school during the reform. Inthe aspect of the employer, whether the intention for participating in this reform is charity or not,the employer’s attending gives a strong support to this reform. It gives the students a smoothpath that makes them transform school to work successfully. The schools guaranteed theacademic abilities of these students who attend the project of the reform.In the Section V, it analyses the impact of the parents and school counsolers during thereform and the Youth programs of this reform.In the Section VI, it discusses the achievements and the disadvantages of this policy.Meantime, it gives an evaluation for this reform. It argues that STWOA has a positive impact onthe teachers and the employers. But, the reform suffers the social oppositions. The limitation ofthe number of the students who attended the reform projects, the unsteady of the participation ofthe business and the sustainable development of the reform become the serious problems thatSTWO programs must deal with.In the conclusion, it summarizes ten critical elements that have profound impact on theSTWO system.It also points out the difference between traditional vocational education and theSTWO system.

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