Transition: Old Wine in New Bottles an article by A.S.Halpern

Oh how I love my husband being in grad school!  All these interesting articles keep popping up on my desk :)

except from "Transition: Old Wine in New Bottles" by Andrew S. Halpern

"...some interesting aspects of the vocational apprentice program in Germany have received recent public attention from the national syndicated columnist, William Raspberry, who visited these programs along with a contingent of educators from Indiana.  He introduces this topic with his perceptions of the haphazard manner in which many American youngsters begin their work careers.

Typically, they leave high school to look for work wherever they can find it - sometimes with help from family friends, sometimes going full time into jobs in which they worked part time during high school.  Only after a succession of random jobs, in seems, do they stumble upon something with real career potential - a permanent job with clear prospects for advancement that pays enough to support a family...  The delayed transition into adulthood signals to the youngsters that, no matter what we say, there is little real relationship between what they learn in school and their ability to make their way in the world.

...one of the three colums written by Raspberry...raised an interesting companion issue about the role of schools as instuments of social reform...

One of the reasons German youngsters seem more serious than ours is that German schools are more businesslike and career-oriented than ours.  While there are exceptions, schools are for those who want to learn something and are not used as day care centers or personality enrichment programs."

HES TALKING ABOUT SPORTS!!!  And, really, all extra curricular activities. But, seriously, school without sports?!  This Raspberry guy is a nut.

Just kidding.  But, seriously, I found myself lying awake in bed last night just digesting all these words.  Does this bleak assesment sound exactly like anyone else at 18?  ...19?  ...23?!  As I prepare to find sanctuary in the hallowed grounds of grad school, I have to look back and think that I was either a) always destined to stay in academics or b) my post secondary transition was a sham because I haven't found a way to translate the skill set I got from school into anything useful outside of academics. 

Raspberry might have a valid point about how there is little relationship between what we learn in school and surviving in the real world, especially now that there is so much focus on academic performance testing.  A 17 year old needs to know how to stay on a budget, or what interest means, how to use a cash register, how to use grocery coupons, or how to deal with people in a professional way.  Science class isn't teaching you that!  And how many high school graduates are going on to be scientists anyway?  We've become (myself included) snobby about college prep academics and have left the majority of kids totally unprepared to transition into the world with any kind of direction.

So, like I said, I'm really enjoying my husband's new wealth of brain candy.  Keeps me critical of the choices I'm making in life and gives me more direction for what to do about my own kids since the Dept of Education probably isn't going to jump on this anytime soon.

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