Book Reveals Massachusetts Voc-Tech Schools Are a National Model and Calls for Expansion

The schools combine strong academic performance with world-class training, but excellence is threatened by recent changes to admissions policy.

BOSTON, June 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Massachusetts According to a new book published by the Pioneer Institute, vocational and technical schools – with tiny dropout rates, strong academic results and graduates prepared for careers or higher education – should be expanded to meet demand. growing.

“Keeping voice technology students to the same academic and graduation requirements as students in comprehensive public high schools was one of the most transformative elements of the Commonwealth Education Reform Act 1993,” said the executive director of Pioneer. Jim Stergios. “Massachusetts is today the undisputed leader in technical and vocational education, with graduates among the best prepared to compete in the global economy.”

“Practical realization: from Massachusetts National Model Vocational-Technical Schools” traces the history, development, and status of the state’s voc-tech sector.

“Today, textbooks used by plumbers and major appliance repair personnel are written to a grade 14 level,” said Jamie Gass, director of school reform at Pioneer. “Automotive technicians are no longer just ‘gears’. They analyze computerized diagnostic equipment more than turning keys.”

The state’s more than 52,000 voice technology students alternate weeks between academics and studio work. With only half the academic instruction time, they match or exceed the academic performance of students at other public high schools in the state.

Voice Technology Schools in Massachusetts:

  • Teach more students with special needs (24% vs. 19% statewide)

  • Enroll more low-income students (44% vs. 39% statewide)

  • Have lower dropout rates (0.6% vs. 1.8% statewide)

Massachusetts voc-techs have succeeded through a combination of operational autonomy, schools of choice, rigorous teaching and relationships with local businesses,” said co-editor David Ferreiraformer executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators.

Voc-tech schools have advisory boards and maintain close relationships with local business communities that provide state-of-the-art equipment, training, co-op programs, and a direct career path for many voc-tech graduates.

Among the book’s recommendations:

  • Expand voc-tech education to serve all 52 communities, primarily in Berkshire and Hampshire counties, not currently in a voc-tech regional district.

  • Use the space available in public schools to accommodate the 5,000 students on the voice technology waiting lists.

  • Grant all voc-tech schools the same autonomy in budgets, programs, and staff that regional voc-tech districts currently enjoy.

“Hands-On Achievement” also warns of recent changes to voice technology admissions policies that threaten the success of these schools, such as failure to maintain applicant behavior and attendance records, which are essential considerations in schools where students need extensive training in the use of sophisticated machinery.

The move towards lottery admissions carries the risk of a mismatch between students and schools, undermining the principle that students actively choose the voc-tech model and potentially a misallocation of public resources, given that this costs taxpayers approximately $5,000 more on average to educate a student in a voc-tech school as opposed to a traditional high school.

For more information or to schedule interviews with the authors or publishers of the book, please contact Lizzie Nealon at 202-471-4228 ext. 103 or [email protected]

About the Pioneer Institute.
Pioneer Institute is a think tank dedicated to developing ideas that advance prosperity and vibrant civic life in Massachusetts and beyond. The organization produces research almost exclusively through external experts to ensure its credibility, and acts as a resource for legislators on beacon hill and for the personnel of the executive services of the State.


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SOURCE Pioneer Institute

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