Category Archives: Vocational Education

Student Shares Her School Choice Story

During National School Choice Week, the youngest member of the Independence Institute Education Policy Center’s team, Arrupe Jesuit High School Junior, Diana De La Rosa, had her first op-ed published in a Colorado newspaper.

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Talent Pipeline Report Confirms that Eddie is a Very Wise Little Boy

Now that the holiday season has passed, students across the nation are settling back into their school routines. Despite the snow outside, for many college and high school students summer is fast approaching and with it the desire to gain professional skills through an apprenticeship or internship. These students recognize that industry experience is vital to a complete and well-rounded education. To back their claim, the Colorado Workforce Development Council has released its newest Talent Pipeline Report. The report’s number one recommendation?   “Accelerate and Deepen partnerships between education, business and industry to develop Colorado talent.”   That’s right, just as my friend Connan Houser at the Independence Institute claimed, It’s time for more public-private cooperation in education. I wish my school would consider this idea–I could design buildings for a company using Legos or help the accounting department with my abacus.   As exemplified by one of the movements leading enterprises, the effort to vitalize the relationship between business and education in Colorado is proving to be successful.   CareerWise, a Colorado nonprofit apprenticeship program, has had over half of its partner companies renew and agree to bring aboard a second group of students this coming fall. It has […]

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Business and School Partnerships are Moving in the Right Direction

Higher education institutions already appreciate the value of vocational education–you’d be hard pressed to find a university without internship opportunities or a work study program. Why is it then, that we relegate high school students to a purely theoretical learning environment? Many learn better through hands-on experience, many have interests outside of traditional curriculum, and many show promising ability and initiative that is suppressed in the generalized traditional setting. In order to afford our high school students with the opportunity to graduate with professional skills, and to give them the option to become qualified workers without attending a traditional four-year institution, we must welcome Colorado’s emerging apprenticeship, work study, and extracurricular programs. In a recent op-ed in the Greeley Tribune, titled It’s time for more public-private cooperation in education, the Independence Institute’s newest research associate and education policy geek Connan Houser features some of Colorado’s premier opportunities in vocational education. Whether a student desires to go straight into higher education, or straight into the workforce, these programs are exceptional opportunities for young professionals to develop real-world business skills and to begin exploring their career interests. I’d like to be either an astronaut or the Bronco’s quarterback when I grow up, but […]

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Tax Reform Would Harm Cristo Rey Students

The House of Representatives’ newly proposed tax reform would greatly impair the Cristo Rey Network’s ability to provide educational opportunities to low-income students. The Washington Examiner’s Todd Shepherd–the Independence Institute’s former investigative reporter–describes the negative implications of the proposed tax reform in his piece House tax reform could cripple innovative education model aimed at low-income families. My good friend, and senior fellow at the Independence Institute, Ross Izard, wrote a private school profile called Building Hope: A Profile of Arrupe Jesuit High School that exemplifies the local impact of the Cristo Rey Network here in Colorado. Cristo Ray’s consortium of high schools emphasizes the combination of “four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience.” The network is Catholic, but open to all students. Its primary concern is helping low-income students reach success, despite religious affiliation. The network is incredibly successful–it has graduated over 13,000 students, 90 percent of which enroll in college. That’s an enrollment rate 29 percent above the national average for low-income students and 4 percent above the national average for high-income students. The average Cristo Rey household earns around $37,000 annually, but the network’s 32 schools are exclusively private, college-prep institutions. To […]

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A Field Trip to SVVSD's Career Development Center

As most of my readers know, there are few things I love more than field trips. Education policy is great, interesting stuff, but it sometimes becomes too easy to lose oneself in the spreadsheets and numbers and studies and… you get the point. But education is about kids, not statistics or esoteric policy arguments. That’s why it’s so important for us edu-wonks to get out there and see education in action—especially in places where districts are forging ahead on paths designed to provide more options to their students. With all that in mind, I took a very cool field trip this week to St. Vrain Valley School District’s Career Development Center (CDC) in Longmont. If that sounds familiar to those of you who follow the work of the Independence Institute Education Policy Center, it’s because my policy friend Ross Izard mentioned the center in “Altering Courses,” his most recent private school profile. The profile takes a look at Crossroads School in Longmont, an alternative private school that serves kids who haven’t been able to find a good educational fit anywhere else. Crossroads has an agreement with St. Vrain under which its students can attend classes at the CDC. Very cool. […]

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