Tag: vocational technical

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Chris Sinacola and David Ferreira, co-editors of Pioneer’s new book, Hands-On Achievement: Massachusetts’s National Model Vocational-Technical Schools. They share information from their new book on the story of the Bay State’s nation-leading voc-tech schools, and how accountability tools from the state’s 1993 education reform law propelled their success. They talk about the pivot from the singular focus on occupational education, to a more balanced approach that required a solid grounding in high-quality reading and math skills. They review Massachusetts’s voc-tech schools’ status as high schools of choice, and how this impacts these schools’ remarkable graduation rates, and high demand. They discuss voc-tech schools’ success at educating special needs students, who enroll in these schools at disproportionately high rates. They explore how best to close racial achievement gaps, and how voc-techs have partnered with businesses and unions alike to help place their students in careers. The interview concludes with a reading from their new book.

Stories of the Week: In New Mexico, the Governor has submitted an education reform plan, after a 2018 court order requiring statewide education reforms to address inequities impacting students with disabilities, English language learners English, Native Americans, low-income students. Has the focus on raising academic achievement pushed out physical education from K-12 schools?

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard open with commentary on the George Floyd tragedy and K-12 education’s role in addressing racial injustice. Then, they are joined by Jeffrey Riley, the Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, to talk about the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. Commissioner Riley walks them through the remote learning guidance he issued, the timeline since the closures in March, and efforts to meet financial and technological obstacles in different parts of the state. He discusses work to acclimate teachers to online learning platforms, and options for re-opening in the fall. He also shares an innovative program that he launched in Lawrence that is now available in other parts of the state to respond to the growing demand for vocational education. Lastly, they delve into how to improve the Boston Public Schools, the subject of a recent audit warning about graduation rates, facilities, and academic performance, with 30 of the district’s schools ranking in the bottom 10 percent statewide.

Story of the Week: Cara and Gerard reflect on the George Floyd murder, police brutality, and racial injustice across America, and the important role of school leaders and teachers in facilitating constructive dialogue. How can education policymaking help with this ongoing crisis? They discuss the benefits of increasing access to high-quality educational opportunities and early literacy programs; engaging in conversations about our broken criminal justice system; improving the preparation of police officer candidates; and ensuring that people of all races feel empowered to speak up in support of human dignity and against injustice.