Ignorant of yet increasingly interested in the politics of education, I’m more intrigued than ever after reading this conversation published in today’s Washington Post. In it, education columnist Jay Mathews and reader -slash- high-school program coordinator Chris Peters argue over the merits of vocational education in secondary schools. The debate touches on, among other points, the risk of vocational ed becoming a “dumping ground” for minority students due to racist counseling; the hypothetical role and actual effectiveness of community colleges (at least in California); and potential elitism in mandating college prep curricula. I don’t know whose arguments I agree with more, but most of the issues they address certainly resonate with my high school experience: I went to a large, ethnically and socio-economically diverse public school in California, and my school had majorly unsettling segregation of (mostly-minority) regular students and (mostly white and east-asian-american) advanced-placement kids.
Sorry I don’t have time to pull some of the most interesting quotes from the column (2 papers and an exam due tomorrow), but if you have a couple of minutes, I just wanted to share. Thoughts?